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Cambodia

Curious what backpackers do in Cambodia? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • We got to the beautiful family run cafe at 11am. I was really keen to do a cookery course whilst we were away and I am so glad we waited until Cambodia.

    The setting made it extra special, right on the shore of the emerald Secret Lake,
    The husband and wife duo (sorry can't remember their names) greeted us with beaming smiles and a refreshing ginger ale with lime.

    Then we set to work of how to create four delicious dishes:

    Massaman Curry
    Chicken Kampot Pepper
    Beef Lok Lak
    Amok Chicken.

    It was so lovely getting an hands on approach, especially as i have missed my kitchen the most whilst being away. The amount of preparation and ingredients that goes into each dish is incredible and i feel so greateful that i can now take these skills home and share with friends and family.

    My favorite dish was the Masssaman curry and the beef lok lak... so yummy and even more tasty because I had cooked it, well with a little help.

    A really fun day!!

    https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g608455-d6894758-Reviews-Khmer_Roots_Cafe-Kampot_Kampot_Province.html
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  • Siem Reap is the town and gateway to the historic temples of the Khmer empire. We used two of our days here, to explore as many of the incredible buildings as we could.

    Day one was an a hot and overwhelming experience. Two reasons ; the vastness of the workmanship of a time before and the sheet influx of over eager people desperate to get their perfect shot. There is no denying Angkor Wat is stunning and a place to be behold. However, the magic is diminished by the lack of respect and sheer opportunism of the human race.

    We moved on to Angkor Thom, my favourite. The calming but authoritative faces looking down on me, made me feel safe yet humbled. Humbled by the fact that nearly a thousand years ago, the people who constructed this temple, took time and effort to fit each jigsaw stone in place to create the face of Jayavarman VII. Incredible.

    We finished our day at the temple of Ta Prohm, where the "Spung" trees have claimed the temples of centuries before. Mother nature again triumphing over man.

    Day two was an EARLY start. 4am to be precise!! We were picked up by our Tuk Tuk driver Seymour, who I call "see more Temples".
    He ran out out of petrol on the way to Angkor- he had one job! Ha! But we couldn't be miffed, he was just so sweet and smiley.
    Eventually after two break downs and a couple of spits in the petrol tank, we reached Angkor Wat. Cloaked in darkness we made our approach, finding a spot to sit and take in the show that was about to begin. As the sun rose, the silhouette of the temple grew in hight, reflecting in the pools that lay the feet of Apsaras.

    The day finished with a dip in our hotel pool. £6 a night for a luxury experience.
    http://sambath-residence.com/
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  • Before we got to the forests of Mondikulri, Tammy had been doing some research into how to see elephants in their natural habitat. We were insistent on not going along the tourist route and end up riding them or swimming with them... Far as I can remember. Elephants are just meant to be Elephants, so that's exactly what we wanted to see.

    The Elephant valley project is NGO that has 300000 hectares, for elephants that they have rescued. Most of the elephants that we met had been treated badly, and over their time at EVP had learn to become elephants. Ruby, Pearl and her friends were all born in captivity.

    Ruby, a female who was born into logging with male elephants. Only knew how to behave like a teenage boy when she arrived, and they nick named her "the bodyguard", as she keeps an eye on her new family.

    You are not allowed to touch or approach them, unless they approach you. Ruby seemed quite curious of me, and she allowed me to stroke her side. A moment I shall never forget.... Quite like an elephant eh?!

    After a morning trekking through the forest, eating brown ants and meeting our new friends we arrived at base camp .A lunch of fresh fish, rice and fruit was served cooked by the local Bunong people. Delicious.

    For the afternoon trek, we found the terrible two. Easy rider and Gayling, they were munching their way through bamboo . We followed them down to the river pools, and sat on the rocks.... It was bath time.

    A day I'll never forget. ❤️
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  • We made it to Cambodia yesterday!!!

    Today was a good day, one of the best.

    Tam treated me to an early Xmas present; wood carving at the Angkor Handicraft Association. She found the course on a dealt cool website www.backstreetacadamy.com

    We were taught by An, who has been wood carving for 16 years. It took us three hours, with a lot of help to produce what we did. I did love the carving, but what I really enjoyed was chatting with An and his translator Malish. We discussed Khmer culture, food, politics, Buddism and most humbling the Cambodian genocide. I will never forget our morning together, they were beautiful people.

    After we had finished our masterpieces and said good bye to our new friends, we headed to pub street for 50cent draft beer as Khmer food. Yum. We met as American chap who was travelling solo, he was super friendly and we swapped travel highlights and tips and even touched upon the Trump issue . (sssshhh)
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  • Last year , it was recorded that Cambodia's blood banks were empty. People died as a result of this. So it is advised to visitors to give when you visit, so we did.

    The whole experience was amazing, there were so kind and grateful and not to mention bloody painful ha! (pardon the pun)

  • "Like Scotland in the summer" was the the words uttered by Tam, as we arrived to the Nature Lodge in Sen Monorom .

    Horses and cattle walking free amongst us, as we ate wholesome food and cooled down from the humid few months. A beautiful retreat to unwind, read and cozy up in the cold nights.

    From here we explored the jungle and the wildlife.

  • Everyone raves about the mystical spiritual feeling you get when visiting Angkor Wat, as we literally almost ran from the backside of Angkor Wat,to catch the light and the sun at the perfect moment, I thought yeah right. In all honesty just being there for that magic hour of sunset, was an enriching experience. Our guide was incredible, he knew exactly where to go and he is obviously befriended with the guards as he would say "quick take a couple of pictures here, we aren't really allowed here"- right up Roedolf's alley off course.

    Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence!! Today we nailed it, life is all about timing and our timing was perfect.

    Amazed by Angkor
    {Issy}
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  • This is where our tomb raider journey begins. Unlike Angelina Jolie in the Lara Croft Tomb Raider Movie, we had to first queue for tickets.

    Our guide/temple photography expert took us to buy tickets for tomorrow and told us that we can use those to also get in today to catch the sunset for free. Already glad we have this guy!

    We stopped at the back of the temple which is clearly not where almost 10,000 tourists a day enter.

    We first walked over what looks like reasonable size river, this was actually the mote that goes around the temple, this should already have indicated to us that what we are about to see would be magical. Then we entered through a hole in the exterior city wall which have fallen into ruins over time.

    Inside the wall was a lush jungle and you could hear birds and insects all around. As we turned onto a path leading to the temple we could see the main tower of the temple sticking out between the trees and I got goosebumps as it felt like we were in the scene of a movie just walking to the temple.

    We did not have time to go inside today but we were amazed by the sunset and the beautiful colors that nature brings to this beautiful 900 plus year old temple.

    I can not wait to see more tomorrow!

    {Roedolf}
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  • The main reason why we came to Phnom Penh was to see the killing fields at Chorung Ek and the prison Tuol Sleng (also called S-21).

    To be honest I didn't even know about this massive genocide until one of Jaco's friends in NZ asked if we are going to the killing fields when we are in Cambodia. Strange as this happened more recently (1975-1979) than the German Holocaust and whipped out a 3rd of the population of Cambodia.

    We first visited the killing fields which was bizarrely peaceful with lots of plant growth and birds sounds breaking the eerie silence as people walk around listening to the audio guide and no one says a word.

    No words is probably the only way to describe what we experienced today, and bitter disappointment in how cruel us humans can be.

    The current Cambodian government has resurrected a memorial in the middle of the killing fields that holds all the excavated bones and clothes found at the site during the excavations. This is in line with the Cambodian belief to hold the remains of a deceased in a special place to honor the dead. This memorial not only honors the dead but reminds man kind of how dangerous power hungry leaders could be.

    At S-21 it was much of the same with blood stained floor, very visual paintings and photographs telling the story of the horror and pain that more than 20,000 people in that prison endured in their last days. Only 12 prisoners of this place left the prison alive and some as still alive today.

    Two of the 12 survivors are responsible for most of the paintings and literature that tells the stories and they were actually there for book signings today. We only saw them towards the end of the tour and I couldn't get myself to even look at them for longer than a second or 2 without being overcome by emotion over what they have endured and here they are telling the story not only for their own healing but to try and educate the world so that a genocide like this never happens again.

    Hard to experience what we have seen today but I am glad we did.

    What i think strikes me most, is that this happened only a couple of years before the end of apartheid and personally affected every single person in Cambodia (oppressors and oppressed, while population suffered from PTSD for years, no matter which side you were on), and it seems like all the Cambodian people now are almost proud that this is a part of they history and they want the world to know it and learn from it, wouldn't it be great if South Africans can be proud so to speak of our history and show it to the world for everyone to learn from our mistakes. I think that would do wonders to heal the open wounds in our lovely country and build a better tomorrow for everyone in the nation.

    {Roedolf}
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  • Our rustic adventure got off to a rocky start. Our ticket was for the 11am speed boat that takes 30min to get us to Koh Rong Samloem, at least that was the plan.

    We got to the pier about 45min ahead of time and the boat arrived at the pier at 10:55. It took the best part of 30 minutes to get everyone from the island off the boat and get us on the boat. So the boat ended up leaving the pier at 11:35, the boat was filled to capacity.

    About 20 minutes later we dropped off about 30 people at the main beach and picked about 50 people up. It was extremely crowded but we were the next stop so we did not really care. When the boat pulled away you could feel it was struggling because it was overweight.

    We were just about too far to be able to swim back to land when the boat ran out of gas. What a nightmare, trying to get it refilled in the middle of the ocean. Another 20 minutes of just floating around while the refill and they got the boat started again.

    Finally we arrived safely at M'Pai beach. Only took 2 hours to get here. Now 4 days of relax and no traveling, but we have to face the boat trip back again.

    {Roedolf}
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Cambodia, Kambodscha, Cambodia, Kambodja, Kambodia, ካምቦዲያ, Campuchia, كمبوديا, Kambodiya, Камбоджа, Kamboji, ক্যাম্বোডিয়া, ཀམ་བོ་ཌི་ཡ།, Kambodža, Cambodja, ཀམ་བོ་ཌི་ཡ, Kambodia nutome, Καμπότζη, Kamboĝo, Camboya, KambodĪa, Kanbodia, کمبودیا, Kambodso, Kambodza, Cambodge, Cambodg·e, An Chambóid, કંબોડિયા, קמבודיה, कंबोडिया, Kambodźa, Kanbòdj, Kambodzsa, Կամբոջա, Cambodgia, Kamboja, Kambódía, Cambogia, カンボジア国, კამბოჯა, ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា, ಕಾಂಬೋಡಿಯಾ, 캄보디아, کەمبۆدیا, Kambodya, ກຳປູເຈຍ, Kambôdja, Kamapōtia, Камбоџа, കംബോഡിയ, Kemboja, ကမ္ဘောဒီးယား, Kambodsja, कम्बोडिया, Cambòja, କାମ୍ବୋଡିଆ, Kambodża, کمبوډيا, Camboja, Kambuya, Cambodscha, Kamboje, Camboggia, Kämbôzi, Kamboodiya, Kamboxhia, கம்போடியா, కంబోడియా, Камбоҷа, ประเทศกัมพูชา, Kamboçiýa, Kemipōtia, Kamboçya, كامبودژا, کمبوڈیا, Cam-pu-chia, Kambocän, Orílẹ́ède Kàmùbódíà, 柬埔寨, i-Cambodia