Cambodia: Lots of New Experiences
We had no problems with B to communicate in China. In Vietnam, B took the role of the guide. When we decided to travel to Cambodia, we realized this would be the most exotic country simply because we don’t know the Cambodian language.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is a neighbor to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The latter being the destination we were coming from. Everybody told us it would be real piece of cake. We just step off the bus, took another which would take us to the border. Then we just cross the border on foot and hop onto another bus on the other side and ride to Cambodian capital Phnompenh.
After a while of going around we were still in Vietnam. However, eventually we discovered the right bus and got at the borderline. There is one fascinating thing about Asia. You can wait for hours and still have a lot to see. Eventually, you don’t mind buses not respecting time schedule (if you even can find such a thing). It took us a while to get to know what’s going on. podaří najít). A tak jsme se chvíli rozkoukávali, než jsme prozkoumali, co a jak. We reached Mộc Bài, a Vietnamese borderline city, in the evening. Once we went through all procedures and paid for the Cambodian visa we got to Bavet (on the Cambodian soil).
Allegedly, Bavet is not interesting at all, or rather just for casinos luring in gamblers from all over Vietnam. Its location at the border is what brings it most money. No wonder we couldn’t find a bus to Phnompenh. We didn’t realize the last had left just couple of minutes before we reached the bus stop (it didn’t follow the schedule). Another one would leave in the morning as one Vietnamese woman told us. She gave us delicious baguettes while we were sitting tired with our backpacks at the road and watching at which bus we should wave.
Fortune was on our side. We found accommodation real cheap and on the following day we stood out in front of a hotel because it was from there where our bus was supposed to stop. Couple of hours later we entered the capital.
Phnompenh was surprising. It was not for the heath yet for the city itself. We were not used to architecture, local food and that we don’t understand people on the street. As we took our camera out we began to shoot photos like crazy and the first object was a temple with golden roof. We also took photos of stupa – monks’ burial grounds.
Our hostel’s location was bit remote yet a wonderful mosque was adjacent to it. However, the houselord didn’t give us even sheets for missing blanket. On the other hand, he gave us advice where to go.
So we ate fried noodles with pineapple, got rested and set off early in the morning toward the royal palace..
GPS: (Bavet) 11°04'31.9"N 106°10'15.0"E
Text and photos: Hana Bašová
Cambodia is a former part of the French colonial empire; it is a country where many interesting sights are located. Today we will look into its capital.
The capital of Cambodia sits on the confluence of three rivers– Tonlé Sap, Bassac a Mekong. Slightly more than one million people live there. There are almost no high buildings thus it lacks this big city feeling.
The first place we saw landmark we saw in the capital was the royal palace. Glittering roofs welcomed us as well as silver floor and crowds of happy tourists from Cambodia and foreign lands. Our trip was less merry for we were about to see the Museum of Genocide and the Killing Fields no far from the city.
The Killing Fields (Choeung Ek) are another places linked to the cruelty of the Khmer Rouges led by General Pol Pot (1975–1979).
It is almost unthinkable to see Cambodia and not to see Angkor Wat the famous temple which is the symbol of the country present also on the national flag.
You can buy tickets valid in entire Angkor Wat with different duration . Me and B decided for a three-day ticket. We did want to enjoy all the temples in slow pace. The first two days we explored surrounding temples and we left Angkor Wat itself for the last day.
When our alarm set off at four a.m. it took us some time to realize where we were, especially after the strenuous day before. Siem Reap is a small town visited by tourist in large numbers thanks to its Angkor Wat temple complex as well as other temples. The town was still asleep when we hopped on our rented bikes to ride to our next adventure.
We travelled several days by bike after we left Siem Reap. Even though we didn’t want to admit it, we already felt the rising number of kilometers under our feet. Our departure from Cambodia was getting loser as well. Therefore, we decided to take a break for couple of days and go to Sihanoukville, a seaside town.
Before we travel to Cambodia, we spend several days in Thailand. We travel in a bus to Koh Chang, the elephant island. It is supposed to take about 5 hours but we got lost. It seems the driver is not familiar with the route so he drove to a different port instead. Eventually, we boarded a ferry, so me and my friend reached Lonely Beach.
As much as I hate to travel by bus, I would repeat the ride from Nha Trang and Da Lat. The former is the city of two hundred thousand. It is the most popular spot to spend honeymoon at in Vietnam. It is situated at 1500 meters in the Central Highlands. You can enjoy a number of great views while on the road. And it gets even better on bike …
Thinking where to run to get yourselves warm? Do you like places that are not spoiled by mass tourism? Or do you want to know the exotic landscape? Koh Rong Sanloem is the true paradise. Koh Rong Samloem could be compared with the islands of Thailand thirty years ago, when many were not discovered by tourists. Quiet island without roads and cars.
We reached Hanoi (Hà Nội in Vietnamese) by train, again. Friends had been waiting for us at the train station already. Hospitable as they were they took us on their bikes to their place. Founded in the 11th century, Hanoi’s original name was Thăng Long – Soaring Dragon. The legend says the emperor saw a dragon soaring at this place so he founded the city there.
Endless beaches with white coral sand, countless of Buddhist temples, breathtaking mountain vistas, many kinds of exotic life, and vivid life in the capital.
Ko Lanta island is an ideal place for peaceful rest, or to enjoy cool tropical atmosphere of southern Thailand. Half-empty beaches, bungalows, and small pensions scattered across coconut groves will enchant you. The same applies to sleepy bars, restaurants, and there are also great possibilities where to dive, or you can visit a vast national park in the mountainous middle of the island. It will take you mere three hours to get there from the Krabi airport.
It seems that only beautiful resorts and beaches is what Thailand offers to its tourists. Actually, there is much more.
Southeast Asia has been getting increasingly popular. Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Cambodia… But they forget about Laos. Yet it offers more than you can imagine even though the Americans sprayed it with more bombs than entire Germany in the WWII.
Former Laotian capital charms everybody who stops by at there. Thousand years old history meets French colonialism which give it fantastic atmosphere.
Upon we explore Hanoi a bit we planned to see other places which are must see in the capital. The first one was the Ho Chi Minh Museum (Lăng Chủ tịch Hồ Chí Minh).
Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is often regarded economic heart of Vietnam. It is not as hold as Hanoi (Hà Nội) but still it has some magic.
Every time I have the feeling I know something more about something I come to realization which tells me the opposite. I spent one year of studying and travelling in China. Bit arrogantly I had felt Asia couldn’t surprise me much more. Fortunately, I hadn’t boarded a plane to the Czech Republic, instead I boarded a plane to Vietnam.
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