Thursday, January 19, 2012


After NYE in Patong, Phuket, Thailand (read: insanity), Sarah, Adrian and I spent our first day of 2012 getting our hinnies to Cambodia. Here’s just a few random photos from NYE before 2012 in Cambodia begins.

Hanging out before (all from the dive trip) and on Patong Beach
Sending off our laterns for 2012! 
Our first stop in Cambodia was the capital, Phnom Penh. We met our friend from U of A, Leila there as well. The four of us actually thought Phnom Penh is a nice city. We stayed at a great hostel called Mad Monkey - great atmosphere. We just had a couple nights in the area exploring the killing fields and learning more about the atrocities that happened in Cambodia in the 1970’s. Scary thing to me is how this wasn’t all that long ago and that not many people even had any idea that it was happening. 

Choeung Ek - Killing Fields 17km outside of the capital
S-21, A School turned torture prison during the Khmer Rouge regime
Such delicious curry! Mine was a dry curry called Char Kreung.
After Phnom Penh, we were onto Siem Reap in a crammed 6 hour mini-van ride. I met a very nice Cambodian man who works for a US NGO called Room to Read . The program encourages children to attend school - many of them just don't have the uniform, pen, paper or a bicycle to get them the 4km - 14km to school. Makes me realize how much we take school buses for granted. It's also very common for girls to get married at 15 or 16 and don't get the opportunity to finish high school. Pretty great what this organization is doing to promote education in rural communities. 

We were pretty wiped and decided to explore the main town a bit & treat ourselves to a lovely $5 massage before temple madness begins.

I really loved Angkor Wat and the many many amazing massive temples. It blows your mind! My favorite of all was Beng Melea – well worth the 90 min tuk tuk ride. My one tip is to get outside of the main temples and explore the further out ones. Less crowded and your time spent is much more relaxed. I wish we had more time so we could have spread it out a bit and had some breaks between temples. 3 days exploring temples was exhausting and fantastic at the same time. Here is what we did with our 3 days:
Day 1
Angkor Wat (sunrise)
Pre Rup
Banteay Srey - very detailed
Kbal Spean - waterfall
Banteay samre - empty one, fun to wander - scarf girls
Ta Som
Per Rup again for sunset
Our Discovery of Fresh Sugar Cane Juice - yum!
Sugar made from palm - pretty  neat to watch them make
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Pre Rup in the morning. Nice and empty
Banteay Srey
Banteay Srey
Ta Som
Pre Rup for Sunset
Day 2
Preah Ko
Beng Melea – far, but awesome! You can climb all over it. (Extra $5)

Sunset at Tonle Sap Lake & Floating Village - 3k people, even a school, temple, pig pens and restaurants. Worth checking out, we were really surprised with this community!
Fun times in Bakong
Preah Ko
One of the many adorable Cambodian children that wave and blow kisses!
Entrance to Beng Melea - can you even see me?!
Beng Melea
Beng Melea
Beng Melea

Village at Tonle Sap Lake - Incredible!
Sunset at Tonle Sap Lake
Pretty amazing handi-craft work
Coconut sticky rice with black beans
Day 3
Srah Srang (we attempted sunrise here but our tuk tuk didn’t show, sad L)
Neak Pean
Prasat Preah Khan
Angkor Thom – Capital City of Jayvarman’s empire
Bayon – part of Angkor Thom, huge Buddha carvings
Terrace of the lepper king 
Elephant Terrace
Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider)
Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Ta Prohm
Elephant Terrace
Amok - traditional Khmer (Cambodian) dish
Nothing like a little planking in "Tomb Raider"

To see my photos in entirety, you can get on Picasa:
Phnom Penh
Siem Reap

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