Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and a place of intense recent history for the Cambodian people. This city now is a busy hub, but once was the place where the Khmer Rouge took over and slaughtered millions of its own people.
The Khmer Rouge was the governing body in the 70’s and was the communist party that took control. In this horrible time for Cambodia millions of innocent people were mercilessly slaughtered for no reason. Totally heartless fucking acts of violence against its own people.
The two places that are memorials for what happened are the S21 Prison and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields. Now both appear to be calm peaceful places from a first glance, but once you start walking around and really see and hear about what happened at those places it hits you pretty heavily. I knew a small deal about the Khmer Rouge from my friend Bohn and the atrocities that took place. Seeing it for myself was a totally different experience. It’s hard to imagine what happened to these people and that another human had become numb enough to actually carry out the orders, “Kill or be killed…”
Not everything in Phnom Penh is overly sad and dark like the memorial sites. There is the Royal Palace of Cambodia, which is smaller than palace in Bangkok and doesn’t have a nearly as many buildings. If you’ve never been to the palace in Bangkok then it would be pretty remarkable to see, however since I’ve seen the palace in Bangkok…I was left unimpressed.
In the palace they had a building called the Silver Pagoda, which has a silver tile covered floor. When you walk in you expect to see a shining mirror like floor covered in hundreds of silver tiles. What you’ll really end up seeing is a red carpet covering the entire floor expect for a small roped off section…what a let down…
The last thing that is definitely a must mention for the capital is how serious and often pick pocketing, bag snatching, and mugging happens. When I was there a group of girls got their bag snatched by a group of young punks on motorbikes. Once they’ve got what they need they’re gone. Much like the shit that is KUTA of Bali…much of the same shit happens here.
SIHANOUKVILLE & KOH RONG SAMLOEM
Taking another long ride down Cambodian roads you really see how poor the infrastructure is. Many times there is no actual road and you’re driving over what seems to be dirt fields. Not that I wasn’t used to it by this point in my travels, but to the condition at which Cambodia’s roads were still sucked.
The only thing I did when I finally made my way south was head to the beach and go freediving. Despite the water looking clear and nice from the surface, once you’re in it, the clarity is quite bad. It was so murky and you got like 5 meters (15ish feet) of somewhat clear visibility. However, the beaches on Koh Rong Samloem, the island south of Sihanoukville, were the best beaches I’ve seen yet. They were incredibly clean, good soft sand, and a very relaxed atmosphere.
There are two main beaches where the boats come in, the sunrise beach and sunset beach basically east beach and west beach. If you take the boat from The Dive Shop Cambodia it takes 2.5 hours and lands on the sunset beach. It's like the only boat that goes that side. The other boats go to the main side, which has more accommodation. You'll probably find something easier there as well. I stayed in the other side. Both are super chill. But the main side has more people and more expensive bungalows. I stayed on the west side and really enjoyed the chill atmosphere. Bonfire nights, Khmer style ribs from Huba Huba, Jungle trekking, clean comfy bungalows from Happa, and lying in hammocks all day.
All in all I’d say Cambodia is a nice country. Although the majority people aren’t rich they make up for it by showing you their kindness and generosity. The hustlers can be pretty annoying at times, but they’re trying to get some money.
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Till next time. Peace OUT!