More Fun things to do in Cambodia

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    hit the beach

    by richiecdisc Written May 7, 2005

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    Cambodia has a well kept secret. They have some of the nicest beaches in Southeast Asia and since not that many people know about them, they are nearly tourist free. I will have to admit, it was not part of our original itinerary but when a planned trip to the north jungle outpost of Banlung fell through, we quickly found our way on a bus to Sihanoukville rather than swelter in Phnom Penh’s heat any longer. It turned out to be the best move of the trip as we finally got to relax with no sights to rush to. With big open beaches, warm gentle waves, and a host of good places to eat after a tough day at the beach, I’d say that anyone with even two days to kill should give it a go.

    Cambodia's beaches are underrated
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    Tonle Sap

    by SirRichard Written Mar 24, 2004

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    Tonle Sap is the inmense lake you will see in the maps in the middle of the country. Is in fact the 2nd largest in Asia (after Baikal) and is a main way of transport in the country, when rains make the dusty roads too bumpy.

    I sailed the lake on my way from Siem Rep to Phnom Penh. On the wayfrom Siem Rep to the shore of the lake (about 20 minutes) you will see local life in the shore.

    Once you sail into the lake is so vaste that the brown waters look like an inner sea. The trip to Phnom Penh from Siem Reap takes about 5 hours. Don’t forget the sun lotion!

    The lake's shore
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    Angkor Thom

    by SirRichard Written Mar 8, 2004

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    Angkor Thom is like the "heart" of the Angkor Wat temples complex.
    Is a cuadrangular shaped area including the Royal Palaces, the main temples and some other small complex, all surrounded by walls and accesed by 4 gates, oriented north, south, west and east.
    The main highlights here are:
    - The south gate with its giant faces
    - The Bayon Temple
    - The Lepper King Terrace

    A map of the place
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    The Bayon

    by SirRichard Written Mar 8, 2004

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    The Bayon is one of the main temples in Angkor Wat. Is located inside Angkor Thom, in the very centre of all the complex.
    It is an "open air" temple, organised in "terraces" or levels, with many carvings on the walls and "towers" with 4 sides, in each of which there is a huge carved face. Those enigmatic faces are 2-3 meters high and are one of the most wonderful memories I have of Cambodia...

    1 of the faces...
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    Angkor Wat

    by richiecdisc Updated Dec 1, 2005

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    It would be easy to say Angkor Wat is over hyped. It is an attraction that some tourists fly to right from Bangkok as a day trip despite considerable cost. It is fast becoming the number one attraction in Southeast Asia and joining the ranks of exotic icons like Machu Picchu, The Great Wall of China and the Pyramids. This list is not formed by mere attraction value but a bit by how hard they are to visit. When it comes to Angkor Wat, if you go the hard way by local buses, some might question your sanity. But despite the hardships of getting there and the exorbitant admission prices ($20 for one day/$40 for a three day pass), Angkor Wat will not disappoint. Full of history and atmospheric gloominess, its grandeur hits you on arrival and the three days you’ll spend there (if you’re smart and lucky) will never be forgotten. Details on my Angkor Wat page

    a reflective morning shot for Sandy
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    A visit to the capital of Phnom Penh is essential

    by richiecdisc Updated May 7, 2005

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    Phnom Penh offers a chaotic sensory assault with its odd mix of gentle Asian beauty and raucous Wild West sensibilities. From the clandestine tourist areas to the squalor of its backstreets, one is constantly confronted with obscene displays of wealth and those of abject poverty. It’s an unlikely place to see so many SUVs but that is just what you find along with a ragtag conglomerate of amputees, beggars, and street urchins that you soon come to appreciate as more a true indictor of the condition of the economy than the shiny luxury vehicles cruising by. Just when you are ready to write off the Cambodian capital as corrupt beyond pardoning, you cannot help but notice the helpful and friendly everyday citizen. It’s the person frying up that plate of noodles or blending up your fruit shake with a beaming smile that shines from within and in no way is a mere enticement for your business. Phnom Penh is full of the requisite tourist sights and amenities that travelers crave when out on the road. But when it’s all said and done, and you are back home looking at your much sought after photos, it’s the smiles you never captured that you now look back on as your fondest memory of a city trying desperately to become an integral part of Southeast Asian tourism. Details on my Phnom Penh page.

    a colorful capital
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    Visit Banteay Srei

    by ellsasha Updated Mar 18, 2006

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    Banteay Srei (the citadel of women) is one of the most beautiful and elaborately decorated of all the temples and is about 30 kms NE of Siem Reap. It was not built by a king but by a minister to King Rajendravarman in 967 and dedicated to Shiva. It is build of reddish/pink sandstone which is exquisitely carved. The temple is on one level and small by comparison to the Bayon and Angkor Wat, but it is one of my favorites. The temple gained publicity in 1923 when it was the subject of a celebrated art theft when the French man Andre Malraux stole 4 devatas which were subsequently returned. Parts of the temple are no longer accessible to tourists for reasons of preservation, but for the most part you can still view the restricted areas from a distance. This should not be a deterrent to visiting, though. Try to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

    Banteay Srei from Inside the Outer Walls Closer View of the Inner Temple One of the Pediments One of the Libraries Beautiful Stone Carving
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    Tonle Sap Lake

    by ellsasha Updated Apr 9, 2006

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    Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and provides a living for more than 1 million people living on and around the lake. The fisheries of Tonle Sap provide the main source of protein for the Cambodian people. The lake is drained by the Tonle Sap River into the Mekong River near Phnom Penh, but the flow of the Tonle Sap River reverses during the rainy season when the Mekong river is high and water is pushed into the lake flooding it to almost tenfold its size and raising the water level as much as 9 meters. In the rainy season water covers much of the surrounding forests and provides a covering of fresh, fertile silt for rice growing; it is a perfect breeding ground for fish, in fact, creating one of the most productive fisheries in the world. The reversal of the current in Tonle Sap River in November signals the time of the annual water festival when fishermen and rural workers flock to the towns and cities to celebrate the harvest in an almost carnival atmosphere. The boat races in Phnom Penh rowed by skilled, well trained oarsmen are the highlight of the 3 day festival, and people flock from miles around to watch.

    If you like bird watching, Tonle Sap Lake is a great place, as thousands of birds flock to the wetlands in June just before the rains begin. The lake is populated with carp, catfish - which grow to an incredible size, herring, and perch, just to name a few of the hundreds of species of freshwater fish found there. There is sadness there too; large fishing companies are starting to monopolize the good fishing grounds making it difficult for the small fishermen to stay independent.

    The floating villages (Chong Khneas) close to Siem Reap where Khmers, Vietnamese, and some Muslim floating communities thrive, move as the waters increase and recede during the monsoon and dry seasons. In my opinion these villages are fascinating; I went early in the morning before 8:00 a.m. (a must to avoid the crowds) and paid 15 dollars for a government boat for a three hour sail.

    Mobile Floating Shop Floating Bowls Transport Children in Villages Humble House Boat Made Pretty with Flowers Even the Animals Float in the Floating Villages Grocery Store
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    Siem Reap is a surprising pleasure

    by richiecdisc Updated Dec 1, 2005

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    Siem Reap really cannot be avoided if you want to visit Angkor Wat, the prime tourist attraction of Cambodia. The surprising thing is just how nice a place it is despite an obvious chance for it to be otherwise. As Cambodia goes, the Siem Reap offers more tourist infrastructure than most but someone manages to maintain a small town feel. You still mostly feel like you are in a village even if in close proximity to such tourist attraction as Angkor Wat. Though most only spend a day or two here, it would be easy to spend more as generally you are away all day visiting the ruins. If you have the time, linger a bit in one or the country?s more comfortable spots. More details in my Siem Reap page.

    Siem Reap offers a rest from Angkor Wat
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    Aspara Dance Show

    by Homanded Updated Aug 10, 2005

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    Angkor Mondial Restaurant - the show consists of beautifully costumed women, young men and a plentiful buffet.
    Dinner is a wide array of seafood, veggies, rices and Chicken/Beef Satai.
    The music is wonderful, the costumes are colorful and the dance stories are creative.
    Best booked through your hotel as it will ensure you a table close to stage.
    Another plus: If you're wanting to photograph, you can freely walk up to the stage and photograph the girls in their costumes.
    At end of show, they even provide a final few minutes where you and members of your party may walk up on stage and have your pictures taken with the dancers.

    Aspara Dancer
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    Phnom Penh

    by bijo69 Updated Feb 27, 2005

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    There are quite some things to see in Cambodia's capitol...the King's Palace, the Silver Pagoda aswell as the reminders of the cruel reign of the Khmer Rouge.
    Do walk along the promenade of the river Mekong and have a drink at the Foreign's Correspondent Club. Visit the temples and go shopping at the markets.

    Mekong embankment
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    Ta Prohm

    by bijo69 Updated Nov 5, 2009

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    This temple was left over to the jungle completely! The French discoverers decided to leave one temple like they found the whole complex. Ta Prohm was built at the end of the 12th century by JayavarmanIII and was a Buddhist monastery .
    It really has a special athmosphere! Don't miss it!

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    Ta Prohm

    by ellsasha Updated Apr 8, 2006

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    Ta Prohm - dedicated to the memory of Jayavarman VII's mother. This temple is in the natural state in which it was rediscovered - untouched by archeologists except for structural strengthening. It was such a wonderful experience clambering over the collapsed masonry and ducking into the caved in galleries, all the time surrounded by the sounds of the green feathered parakeets who live in the hollows of the trees (many of whose roots now force apart the giant stones which make up the temple walls). This temple had an ethereal quality which left me with a sense of what it must have felt like to live there in the time when the 12,000 or so people lived in what was then a working Buddhist monastery. It is famous for its massive kapok and banyan trees, and it is said that the temple inspired Rudyard Kipling to write "The Jungle Book."

    Part of the Centre Sanctuary One of the Amazing Trees Incredibly Preserved Stone Carving Unbelievable Root Stucture Amazing
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    S21 Genocide Museum

    by mad4travel Updated Feb 16, 2005

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    This is not for the fainthearted.

    What makes this place all the more gruesome is that all this took place less than 30 years ago and that what was originally a school could be turned into something so evil.

    Be prepared for classrooms that have been turned into torture chambers with photos on the walls of the decomposing bodies they found when the place was liberated.

    There are classrooms turned into individual cells by the crudest building methods using rough bricks or planks of wood. Probably the worst of all is the upper floors where people were herded together to lie side by side manacled by the ankles and had to go to the toilet where they stood and get punished for moving if they were uncomfortable.

    Over 17000 people passed thru its doors, most were teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers. Anyone with an education who could be an enemy of the state. You were tortured until you admitted you were CIA KGB or any kind of spy. Those that did not die under torture were sent off to the killing fields to be beaten to death.

    The ground floor has an exhibition of photos of some of the people who passed through. Many have vacant expressions of defeat, some have genuine terror in their eyes.

    It is am immensly sobering place and I don't think you can fail to be moved, especially when you see a childrens climbing frame in the playground next to gallows where they strung people up from their ankles, beat them unconcious and then lowered them into a vat of excrement to revive them.

    On leaving the musuem in silence ,feeling pretty ***ty I was approached by a taxi driver asking if I wanted a ride. I said no as I was getting a bus. He asked me where I was from. I said England. He replied " Ah England, lovely jubbly"(You brits will get that), it brought a much needed smile to my face and restored my faith a little bit in humanity.

    Genocide Museum
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    Battambang : Phnom Sampeau

    by bkoon Updated Feb 27, 2004

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    Phnom Sampeau is a hill-top temple near Battambang town. The ride to the foot of the hill was quite an interesting one, passing through paddy fields and villages, despite almost being suffocated with dust while riding on the highway.

    Up at Phnom Sampeau, there are several things to see. One of which is this newly built stupa.

    Other than the stupa, you would be able to see a wat, some field guns and a killing field. The view of Battambang from Phnom Sampeau is breathtaking.

    Stupa
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