When I went there: October 2014
I went to Cambodia on my year of travelling with a friend. We went here after Vietnam and had been told the country was quite poor and not as pretty as other Asian countries, but I disagree, I loved it.
We started in the capital Phnom Penh, our hotel was satisfactory for our stay and provided us with a clean room. We were pretty central but still got a Tuk Tuk pretty much everywhere. We only had 2 days in Phnom Penh and on the first we walked the city. We discovered a Costa and got so excited to recognise something from the UK that we had to make a purchase. The city was dirty and very busy which made us both a little nervous. We headed down the river and came across a gathering of people at the river side. We joined the crowd and saw something that looked similar to a log in the water. We slowly walked along and came across an English speaking couple so we stopped and got chatting. Turns out they were also from Aberdeen! Small world! They explained to us what had happened, it turns out the log was actually a dead body that had floated upstream. I will not go into details as it is rather disgusting. The Cambodians stood around watching it as if they were watching a show, the police did nothing. Eventually a young boy waded into the water to bring the body to shore, at this point the smell and view was too much and I had to leave. We carried on walking through the city and entered some temples. We needed to be covered up before entering so changed into trousers. One our way back to the hotel the dead body still lay on the pavement in a plastic bag. We didn’t eat out very much as we were craving simple food, we ordered soup one night from our hotel and asked for bread with it but we were served soup with ketchup and the second night we tried again and they could not understand the concept of soup and bread, we were on the phone for over ten minutes. To get out the city we visited some waterfalls I had seen online, we took a tuk tuk there that seemed the longest journey ever. My friend was starting to panick we were being kidnapped and the plan was she would grab a rock and hit him over the head if he tried to capture us. This did not happen and we made our way to the waterfalls alive!
Our next stop was Sihanoukville, we had heard great things about this place and it was very pretty. We got a bus from Phnom Penh south for 5 hours. We made 1 toilet stop and it was dire, it was a hole in the ground. We made it to Sihanoukville in one piece and walked to our hotel. We made friends with a couple from the bus and they joined us, we were followed the whole way to our hotel by tuk tuks shouting at us wanting us to pay for a lift. Our hotel room was covered in ants so we had to go back to reception to be asked to be moved, the second room was covered with damp. We were not very happy. We were supposed to spend a few days in Sihanoukville but we hated the hotel and the area was very poor. Our final night we heard constant screaming from outside so we checked out and went up to Siem Reap as soon as we could.
Siem Reap was really nice, our hotel was beautiful. We extended our stay here, we were that impressed with it. Most of our days we sunbathed by the pool or toured the town centre. There was always markets on through the day or through the night. We preferred to go at night as it was cooler. There was a number of nice bars for cocktails and different cuisines to try. We booked in for a massage at the hotel and it was bizarre. They had us put on pyjamas and massaged us through clothes.
Angkor Watt is a must see in Cambodia and we had heard the best way to see this was by tuk tuk. We hired a tuk tuk for the day who took us round all the temples. At the start we were very interested and excited as there was so many and towards the end it was like “here we go another temple.” The weather was very hot and every temple was busy. We visited the temple where tomb raider was filmed and of course the main temple Angkor Wat which is the largest religious temple in the world.
Verdict: I loved Cambodia and would really like to go back, especially to Siem Reap Go Back? Yes!