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cambodia

Kingdom of Wonder
During ancient times, the kingdom was widely known as Angkor Empire or the Khmer Empire, Now it's "Kingdom of Cambodia". Kingdom can be visited by Land thru Vietnam, Lao or Thailand. Even-though The Kingdom of Cambodia has faced some hard times in second half of 20th century, It's filled with some of the most amazing & friendliest people I’ve ever seen (yes, they are very much friendlier than Thai).


(Royal Palace, Phnom Penh)

Visa on Arrival:


Visa on Arrival can be obtained at the Visa Counter upon arrival at Cambodia International Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Even though the visa on arrival procedure very seems simple, we need to fill too many forms after arrival (with same information). Need to handover the filled forms with US$30 & a Passport size photo (can take instant photo for US$ 2) to get the Visa on Arrival.
Money Exchange:


1 US$ Equals 4,050 Cambodian Riel (Approx), as on August 2015. Even though we can find several money exchange in the touristy area of Phnom Penh & Siem Reap, Literally there is no need to exchange to Cambodian Riel unless you don't bring US Dollars. US Dollars is accepted everywhere (even in street restaurants) and they give back the change in Riel (they calculate 1 US$ as 4,000 Riel).
Food:


Before visiting Cambodia, i have searched about food in internet and thought of tasting several Khmer Food, but i have changed my mind after seeing menu card in restaurants. Most Restaurants serve pork & beef as main choice. So, Stayed away from typical Khmer food and have stuck to Chicken Fried Rice most of the time. I've seen people eating spiders, snakes & insects too.
Accomodation:


Even though the cost of accommodation is cheaper in Cambodia, the quality doesn't match with the hotels in several South East Asian nations like Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore. Only Few hotels have elevator facilities. You can get a decent double bedroom with Air-con and few basic amenities for 20 US dollars.



Cambodia
03.08.2015 - 07.08.2015


Team mates: (from Left) Thiruvenkadam, John & Me


Learning from mistakes continues: As usual we booked the flights on AirAsia before a year, then googled before couple of months to figure out a way to explore Cambodia in 5 days, i realized that i have made a mistake by booking round-trip to Phnom Penh (the capital of Cambodia), instead we must have entered through Phnom Penh & exit through Siem Reap (wasted half-a-day traveling back to Phnom Penh to catch the return flight).

Places to Explore: Since we have only 5 days to explore Cambodia, we have decided to visit 2 main cities, ie.. Phnom Penh & Siem Reap. Angkor wat, the World's biggest Hindu temple complex in Siem Reap is our main place of interest. Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia also has several places to see.

Quick Navigate to
Travel Blog

Day 1
Arrival

Day 2
Walk around the Hotel
Killing Fields
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Independence Monument
Royal Palace
Silver Pagoda
National Museum
Wat Phnom

Day 3
Transfer to Siem Reap

Day 4
Sunrise @ Angkor Wat
Phnom Bakheng
Bayon Temple
Baphuon Temple
Ta Prohm Temple
Angkor Wat
Koulen Restaurant

Day 5
Departure



Travel Blog

Day 1
We arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport, Phnom Penh, Cambodia around 04:20PM. Even though Visa on arrival procedure seems very simple, we need to fill-up too many forms like Arrival card, Customs declaration Form, Health declaration form & Visa Application form (that too with same information). Phnom Penh Airport is very small & not crowded, We paid Visa Fee US$30 and submitted all the forms with a photograph. We have got arrival visa & immigration stamped in our passport in less than 20mins from the time of arrival.

Arrived, Phnom Penh International Airport

View from Aircraft Window


Landed on Phnom Penh International Airport


AirAsia FD606, Arrived Phnom Penh @ 04:20pm


After crossing Immigration, this place seems bigger than Immigration section
Too Many Money Exchange & Pre-Paid SIM Card Counters


Hardly we need internet just after arrival to stay in touch with family & friends
After looking at offers through all counters, We decide to go with Metfone
2GB Data for US$3 & 1.5GB Data for US$2 valid for 7 days


Here it is
Beware, the vendor tried to overcharge US$1
Need to Double Check data balance before Using it.

Transfer to Hotel

Airport Taxi, they charge US$12 to drop anywhere in the city limits
After a Photo with driver, I've tried to enter the car to sit in left seat at front as usual
Driver Stopped me & Exclaimed "How will i drive the car then? "
Sorry gentleman, I don't know this country is adapted to Left hand drive


Where is the Steering wheel??..............
Once the car started moving, I felt like sitting in Merry-Go-Round
Looks like entire traffic is trying to fall in front of the car!!!!!!
Couldn't sit in the front for even 5 minutes, But managed nearly 30mins...


Checked-in to Hotel

Angkor International Hotel, Phnom Penh
They upgrade me to Triple Bedroom, :) but i stayed alone


Clean Hotel with Basic Amenities


Phnom Penh

Day 2
Woke-up at 5:30am & couldn't sleep further, so called my friend for a morning walk around the hotel. Started from hotel at 6:15am and walked towards Tonle Sap River. Walking through the market we have reached the river bank and a short stroll along the riverside and up-to Royal Palace, then returned back to hotel. We could see people walking, jogging, exercising & some were doing yoga near the river banks.

Places visited: Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center), Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Independence Monument, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Wat Phnom & National Museum

Morning walk around the Hotel

Angkor International Hotel, Exterior View


Walking through Market to reach Tonle Sap river


Market


Sunrise behind Tonle Sap river, Must have reached bit earlier for better photograph


Few people were doing Exercise


Good place for Morning walk


Few people were doing Yoga


Returning Back to Hotel from this point


Morning Snack Stall is about to open (have seen this along roadside)
Started Feeling Hungry after seeing this


Bought some snack for US$1 (She gave us 9Pcs)
Looks like donuts, but don't know its name. Tastes good.

Killing Fields

Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


May look like listening to Music, But NOT
Listening to Audio Commentary, It's hard to describe about the tragedy happened at this place
Click here to know more about Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


Exterior may look beautiful, but not recommended for a weak-hearted to have a closer look near it.
Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


Closer look
Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


Shocking truth behind it
Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


Listening to Audio Commentary
Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)


Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Genocidal Center)

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Originally it's Chao Ponhea Yat High School
Converted to prison & interrogation center in Khmer Rouge Regime (1975)
The classrooms were used as tiny prison and torture chambers
Click here to know more about "Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum"


Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum


Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum


Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum


Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum


Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum


There were only 12 known survivors out of an estimated 17,000 people imprisoned here
Only 3 of them are thought to be still alive
Mr.Bou Meng is one of them.


Mr.Bou Meng, One among the very few survivors
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Lunch Break

Tuk Tuk Cafe Restaurant


Chicken Fried Rice @ Tuk Tuk Cafe Restaurant


Tuk Tuk, Waiting outside Tuk Tuk Cafe Restaurant


Just a Photo with our Taxi & driver (Right)
Mr.Koy, Mobile: +855-12731870

Independence Monument

Independence Monument


Independence Monument (Rear view)


Near Independence Monument


Near Independence Monument


His Majesty "Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk"
Heroic King, Father of Independence

Royal Palace

Just waiting outside the palace for few minutes until Opening Hours


Just Crossed Ticket Booth
Ticket Costs US$6.50per person


The Royal Palace
(Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol)


The Royal Palace


The Royal Palace


The Throne Hall
The "Preah Thineang Dheva Vinnichay Mohai Moha Prasat" means the "Sacred Seat of Judgement"


The Royal Palace


The Royal Palace


The Royal Palace


Angkor wat miniature @ The Royal Palace
Very eager to see the Original

Silver Pagoda

Silver Pagoda


Silver Pagoda

National Museum

Not interested to look inside museum
Just stopped for a Photograph


National Museum


National Museum


National Museum


National Museum


Cambodian Cultural Show booking was going on
National Museum

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom


Wat Phnom


Wat Phnom
It's about to rain & it's the final attraction of the day.


Day 3
It's hectic (and lazy too) to search for coffee after getting up from bed in the morning, i hate hotels that doesn't have coffee maker in room. The day started with search for coffee and we bought it on a 24Hour store near hotel. After morning walk around hotel we got ready on time to catch bus (already booked) to siem reap, we were waiting waiting waiting & waiting for a long time for the shuttle van to reach boarding point of Giant Ibis Transport, shuttle van picked us after an hour delay and it's luggage compartment is already fully loaded and we have managed to keep our luggage in it. The day didn't started well and the journey from Phnom Penh to siem reap took an hour more than it should, because of ongoing road work along the route. The journey was comfortable and we reached Siem Reap late in the evening. From the point of arrival we reached hotel by Tuk-Tuk, they charge US$ 2.

We got a good deal (US$ 18 for whole day) with a tuk-tuk driver for visiting several temples near and around Angkor Wat for next day. It started raining in the evening and we decided to relax in room to take a break after a long journey

Coffee time

Couldn't find a coffee shop (Hectic, if Hotel room don't have coffee maker)
Bought a cup of coffee in 24Hr Shop


24Hr Shop

Street Scenes in the Morning

Hotels getting ready to prepare breakfast


Feels Lazy


Kids rushing to school


Can you park the car like this?


Tangled


Fancy Tuk Tuk


Become a Regular customer
She offered an extra piece for free :)

Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by Bus

Giant ibis Transport


Boarding


Started to Siem Reap


Selfie with Thiruvenkadam


Selfie with John Edward


Stopped for Lunch Break


Lunch



Siem Reap

Day 4
Woke-up at 4am to get ready to view sunrise behind Angkor Wat. Also little bit excited to see Angkor Wat, the World's Largest Hindu Temple.

Our Tuk Tuk driver arrived on time and we have started from hotel in the dark. We need to buy a pass at the ticketing counter to visit temples around siem reap. Ticketing counter is already crowded around 5:00am and everyone of us has to stand in the Queue to take photo and get it printed on the ticket. We bought one-day pass for US$20.

Places visited: Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, Bayon Temple, Baphuon Temple, Ta Prohm Temple, Koulen Restaurant

Angkor Wat, there is no word to describe about it's sheer size of the land it occupies (said to occupy an rectangular area of about 500acres) and has an outer wall which measures 3.6 Kilometers. Simply Amazing.... Angkor wat is too much crowded early in the morning, and it seems every tourists are marketed to view sunrise behind Angkor wat (i think only people who are interested in photography will like to see it on sunrise).

Phnon Bakheng, located over a small hill is a nice place to view partial area of Angkor Wat from a distance

Walking around Bayon Temple & Baphuon Temple (located near by) will make you feel dehydrated for sure and its also one of the must see temples near Siem Reap.

It seems Ta Prohm Temple is left unnoticed for many years, trees have grown deep routed over the walls of temple and its one of the location which appears in Tomb Rider Movie.

It feels good to finished the day with Buffet dinner by watching cultural dance at Koulen Restaurant

Sunrise behind Angkor wat

It's 5:35am, but crowded already
Angkor wat temple complex


Few people sitting here to watch sunrise behind Angkor Wat
Angkor wat temple complex


Disappointing Sunrise
Angkor wat temple complex


Angkor wat temple complex


Angkor wat temple complex


Angkor wat temple complex


Angkor wat temple complex


Entry Point to Angkor wat (After crossing the moat), View from inside
Angkor wat temple complex


Entry Point to Angkor wat (After crossing the moat)
Angkor wat temple complex


Angkor wat temple complex is surrounded by this Moat
This Moat covers an area 1.5Kilometer by 1.3Kilometer

Phnom Bakheng

Located above a small hill
Phnom Bakheng


Phnom Bakheng


Phnom Bakheng


Ruined temple structures
Phnom Bakheng


Angkor wat temple complex can be seen at a distance from this point
Phnom Bakheng


Restoration work under progress
Phnom Bakheng


Angkor wat temple complex (at a distance)
View from Phnom Bakheng


Zoom Shot (Photo Credit: John Edward)
Only inner part of the Temple Complex is Visible
View from Phnom Bakheng


Info about Angkor wat (at the view point)
Phnom Bakheng

Bayon Temple

Main Entrance
Bayon Temple


Main Entrance
Bayon Temple


Tour around temples on this Tuk Tuk
Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple


Un-Maintained Shivalingam Statues
Several Broken Shivalingam Statues found here & there inside this temple
Bayon Temple


Buddha Statue is Kept on top of Broken Shivalingam Statue, it seems
Bayon Temple


Bayon Temple

Baphuon Temple

Baphuon Temple


Pathway to the main Temple
Baphuon Temple


Baphuon Temple


View from Level 1
Baphuon Temple


Baphuon Temple


Baphuon Temple


Have to climb several stairs to reach the top
Baphuon Temple


Steep stairs
Baphuon Temple


View from the top
Baphuon Temple


View from the top
Baphuon Temple

Ta Prohm Temple

Ta Prohm Temple was used as a location in the film "Tomb Raider"


Roots of "Tetrameles nudiflora" tree running along the second enclosure
Ta Prohm Temple


Restoration work in progress
Ta Prohm Temple


Ta Prohm Temple


Statues might be there in history books
Ta Prohm Temple


Inner part of the temple
Ta Prohm Temple


Ta Prohm Temple


Ta Prohm Temple


Ta Prohm Temple


Broken Shivalingam Statues
Ta Prohm Temple


Exit path to rear side of the temple
Ta Prohm Temple


Exterior View (Rear Side)
Ta Prohm Temple

Angkor Wat

Entered from rear & exit thru front side of the temple
Angkor Wat


Rear view
Angkor Wat


Second Enclosure (from moat)
Angkor Wat


Second Enclosure (from moat)
Angkor Wat


Second Enclosure (from moat)
Angkor Wat


Second Enclosure (from moat)
Angkor Wat


Second Enclosure (from moat)
Angkor Wat


Walk way to view the carvings on the stone wall of Second Enclosure
Angkor Wat


Walk way on the Second Enclosure
Angkor Wat


Carvings on the Stone Wall
Angkor Wat


Third Enclosure (from Moat)
Angkor Wat


Wide Angle Lens worked perfect
Third Enclosure (from Moat)
Angkor Wat


Third Enclosure (from Moat)
Angkor Wat


Several Unmaintained Shivalingam Statues found inside the Temple
Angkor Wat


Khmer Traditional Dress, it seems
Angkor Wat


Long Queue to see the innermost Enclosure
Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Innermost Enclosure
Angkor Wat


Innermost Enclosure
Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


It started Raining
Angkor Wat


Center Point of the Temple
Angkor Wat


Rain is about to stop
Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Long passage to walk from Second to Third Enclosure
Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Angkor Wat


Walkway to cross the Moat
Angkor Wat


View from the Road
Angkor Wat


Moat that surrounds Angkor Wat

Koulen Restaurant

Buffet Dinner
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Khmer Cultural Dance Show
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap


Restaurant Exterior
Koulen Restaurant, Siem Reap

Departure

Our Tuk Tuk Driver (left) Ready to drop us at Bus Termial
Excellent Service at Siem Reap


Ready to Check-out Hotel
The Moon Villa & Cafe, Siem Reap


Private Bus Terminal
Giant Ibis Transport, Siem Reap
Return Journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh by Bus


Private Bus Terminal
Giant Ibis Transport, Siem Reap