Here you’ll find travel reports about Kandal. Discover travel destinations in Cambodia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

50 travelers at this place:

  • Day183

    Siem Reap

    March 8, 2017 in Cambodia

    Today we had a quieter day, catching up on trip planning, arranging transport, laundry, etc (not exciting, but necessary). We have decided to stay in Siem Reap for another few days, instead of our original plan to move on to another town in Cambodia. There is plenty to do here and it should give us chance to catch up on preparations for the next leg of our trip (we fly to New Zealand next week), as well as fortifying ourselves before the 10-hour bus journey to Bangkok and another imminent round of jet lag... Selfishly, it also means that I do not have to spend my birthday tomorrow on a bus! We went for a last swim in the pool of our fantastic hotel before we had to check out and move to a hotel across town (also very nice and above budget - a birthday treat!). We went out for a walk in a park by the riverside and saw lots of large fruit bats roosting in the trees - fascinating to see. Having missed out on the Foreign Correspondents Club in Phnom Penh, we found the FCC in Siem Reap and enjoyed a "happy hour" cocktail there this evening (whilst Solana practised her photography skills again!). We ended up going to an Indian restaurant tonight and, although not up to Bradford standards, it was better than we expected. We also saw a pharmacy that doubled (tripled?) as a mini-mart and money exchange shop - possibly an idea for pharmacies in Britain who are feeling the economic pinch?...Read more

  • Day181

    Angkor Wat

    March 6, 2017 in Cambodia

    And now for the big one - we visited Angkor Wat this afternoon. Apparently it is the largest place of worship in the world. It certainly was very impressive, even after seeing the temples at Angkor Thom this morning. We entered Angkor Wat over the stone bridge across the 180m wide moat that goes all the way around the temple complex. We were explaining to Solana that the moat was made to protect the temple and she concluded from that that anyone bad who tried to get over would be pushed into the water to be eaten by crocodiles! You then walk along a long pathway that leads to the main temple complex, with the iconic view of Angkor Wat in front of you along the way. Once inside, we spent a couple of hours exploring. It was pretty busy inside but it quietened down a lot towards 5pm. Solana met a couple of other little girls around her own age, the first we think was Japanese and the 2nd, pictured here, we're pretty sure was Cambodian; the two of them attracted quite a crowd, all wanting photos of the cute little girls! Solana is loving the idea of Buddha and today she was asking questions about the offerings people had made to the statues in the temples; we told her about offerings and she wanted to make an offering herself. After talking about the different types of offerings (many of them here were sweets - bearing a remarkable resemblance to Werther's Originals!), she offered some money; a monk then offered her a blessing of luck with holy water and tied a red cotton bracelet around her wrist. It was lovely to see her interaction with him. As it got later, the light got even better and we managed to get some photos of Angkor Wat together with its reflection in a lake - seen here with us spoiling the artistic view!

    As with many things, the photos don't really do it justice but it gives you a flavour of what we've seen anyway. All in all, it was very reminiscent of the days we spent in Central America 12 years ago, wandering around the Mayan and Aztec sites including Chichen Itza, Tikal and Copan - but here there are slightly fewer mosquitoes and definitely more tuk-tuks! It is also striking every time we see such ancient buildings, the similarities between different such sites in very different parts of the world, geographically distant and often built in different eras - e.g. the Mayan and Aztec temples of Central America, Machu Picchu in Peru, Angkor Wat, the ancient cities in Thailand, the pyramids in Egypt. It makes us wonder - did ancient civilisations have more contact with one another than we know, or did many different groups of people come up with similar ideas independently?.... We also saw a bit of wildlife around the temples today - including monkeys, lizards, myna birds, butterflies, frogs and parrots. Tomorrow we plan to visit some of the other temples in the area (to get our moneys worth from our $62 each tickets - they went up in price dramatically just last month, from only $40 per person!).
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  • Day184

    Julie's Birthday

    March 9, 2017 in Cambodia

    On Thursday we celebrated my birthday in Siem Reap. I had a few birthday cards (which Solana was very excited about and desperate to "help" me open!) and Laura even managed to find a bottle of fizz as a present, which was a nice surprise. In the morning we did a Cambodian cooking class. We visited the food market, then made some traditional Cambodian dishes. We both made mango salad to start, then Laura made beef lok-lak and I made fish Amok for main courses. They were tasty and, although some of the ingredients may be difficult to get at home, we would try to recreate them with substitutes where needed.

    In the afternoon we visited another temple (photos to follow in a separate post). In the evening, the hotel staff knocked at the door and brought me a birthday cheesecake, complete with candle! It was a nice touch and Solana loved it - she thinks a birthday is not complete without a cake & candles. For dinner we went to a Japanese shabu shabu restaurant - where you select items from a food conveyor belt and cook them in a soupy broth at your table. It was great fun (once we'd worked out to avoid the offal!) and they even had a bit of sushi - tasty. The day was rounded off by finishing off the bottle of fizz - a great way to end a good day.
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  • Day181

    Siem Reap & Angkor temples

    March 6, 2017 in Cambodia

    Yesterday we made the 7 hour bus journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap - after not looking forward to it, the bus was actually OK and the journey was smooth. Best of all, the hotel waiting for us at the end of it (Mulberry Boutique Hotel, in case anyone wants to make a note) is amazing. Laura's many hours of searching paid off when she found an online special offer and we have a family suite here, with 2 bedrooms over 2 floors, plus 2 bathrooms and a sitting area, all for only £20 per night for 2 nights! It is normally $150 per night, so unsurprisingly we were unable to negotiate the same deal to stay for a 3rd night but they did offer us it for $60, so as it is so lovely we've decided to stay an extra night as a pre-birthday treat. It is by far the best room we've had on our trip so far (and almost certainly will remain so - given the expense of our next destinations!).

    Today we hired a tuk-tuk and driver to take us to see some of the temples. This morning we went to the Angkor Thom complex. We started with Bayon, the large temple you see in photos #3 & #4, with many very large faces carved into the stone. We then walked around as much of the rest of this massive temple complex as Solana, and the heat of the day (temp in mid-30s C and sunny - too hot for sightseeing in the middle of the day). It was amazing to think how they built the temples so tall and precisely, with no machinery to help (most of them were built in the 1100s) - something we've said again and again at ancient temple sites across the world. The rock carvings here were impressive too, with many including elephants and people carved into the rock faces, some repeated dozens of times over. After a well-earned ice lolly, we came back to the hotel for a dip in the pool and lunch, before heading out again this afternoon.
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  • Day184

    Last Cambodian temple visit

    March 9, 2017 in Cambodia

    On Thursday afternoon we went out in a tuk-tuk to visit one of the further out temples, Banteay Srei. Although this site was smaller than the others we have visited, it was more colourful (with stone shades of pink, yellow and grey) and ornately and intricately carved than the other sites we've visited. It has been good to see the differences between the different temple sites around Siem Reap. Although we haven't seen all of them, we feel like we've done enough to get a good flavour of the area, without feeling too "templed out".

    On the way to Banteay Srei we went to a butterfly centre and had an informative tour, seeing many different types of colourful butterflies and caterpillars. We also got to see some chrysalis, a little frog and some giant stick insects (plus more mosquitoes than we would have liked). Banteay Srei is about 40km out of Siem Reap and it was also good to see a bit more of rural life on the way out to this area. However, as I'm sure anyone who has ridden in a tuk-tuk will understand, it was a bone-shakingly bumpy ride - we had to hold on to Solana a few times...and we wished we had selected our most rubust bras for this particular journey!
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  • Day182

    Ta Prohm & around

    March 7, 2017 in Cambodia

    Today we went to Ta Prohm - also known as "Tomb Raider" temple, as this is where they filmed it. It was very different to the temples we saw yesterday, with much of it still in ruins and still undergoing restoration. They are working against the clock, as the trees and roots grow through the temple stonework and the jungle tries to reclaim the land. On the one hand, it is a real shame to see the already precarious structures being damaged further but on the other hand it has a strange beauty about the place. We all really enjoyed exploring the ramshackle temples and, if it weren't for the dozens of other people milling around, we could easily have believed we had just discovered them! The first 3 photos here are from Ta Prohm.

    Afterwards we went to the nearby temple complex of Banteay Kdei (photo #4). This was a better preserved site than Ta Prohm but not as well preserved as Angkor Wat or Angkor Thom that we saw yesterday. It had great long corridors of doorways, that you can see all the way through. It also has high vaulted towers between the corridors and many of these were homes to colonies of bats - which we could both smell and see! We also loved all the many brightly coloured butterflies we saw fluttering around at this site - we must have seen at least 6 different species just during one 10-minute rest stop. Slightly less welcome wildlife were the ants - we were reading an info sign and didn't notice until too late than Solana had stood in an ants nest - they were all over her foot and she got bitten several times, bless her. After much screaming, lots of cold water and a carry back to our tuk-tuk, she was OK....

    We managed to see Sras Srang (photo #5), the royal bathing pool (more like a large lake!), before we headed back to town. Cambodia seems to be a big fan of hammocks, in the same vein as Costa Rica. It is interesting because we didn't see any hammocks at all in Vietnam, until we reached the Mekong area where they started to make an appearance, but here they seem much more popular. Whereas in Costa Rica there were plenty of hammocks for the tourists (as you saw from our photos), here they seem to be reserved for the locals - many of whom appear to be quite fond of a siesta! The last photo shows Solana with Sing, our tuk-tuk driver for the past 2 days - she is quite taken with him and keeps asking us where he is.

    Finally, for those of you who were wondering, I have now seen my cherry tree in blossom to remind me of Springtime at home - thanks to Gemma for the photo of our garden. You can all sleep soundly in your beds tonight now!
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  • Day4


    May 19 in Cambodia

    It was an early start this morning and by about 0745 we were in the tuktuk and on our way to Oudong, stopping only for a coffee at the waterfront so that Tanya didn’t get too grumpy. it was a fairly long ride (about an hour and a half) but interesting as we left the city behind and drove into the countryside.
    Oudong was the site of the royal capital of Cambodia from the 17th to the 19th centuries but as the majority of buildings back then were wooden all that’s left now is a collection a temples and stupas across the tops of a couple of hills but still well worth a visit and the effort to climb the stairs to the top. Even though it was a hot day we fully explored the area accompanied by our driver who was able to tell us about the various temples and stupas. On the way back to the tuktuk we came across a group of monkeys being annoyed by some young tourists and saw one of the monkeys drinking water out of a bottle he had liberated from them. Then we visited the National Meditation Centre before stopping off for a bit of lunch.
    On the way back we stopped off at a silversmiths village where they had some beautiful pieces of hand made silver and we could see some patterns being hammered out by hand. Was it good silver, well there were three monks there negotiating a price for some so I think it was and needless to say Tanya had to have a couple of bracelets!
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  • Day2

    Cambodia - Killing Fields

    May 14 in Cambodia

    This was really confronting for both of us. For me all I could think was that while this horrific genocide was happening I was worried about boyfriends and what I was going to do with my life. I heard about Cambodia and pol pot and Khmer Rouge vaguely but nothing about what was really happening. This amazing city of Phnom Penh was cleared of all people and they were sent into the country to work in farming. There were no schools, teachers, doctors, hospitals etc and many educated people were told they were going to be sent away for retraining but they were actually killed. The terrible thing was this wasn’t done by another country, this was Cambodians killing Cambodians. The Killing Fields is just one place we’re there was mass graves for the people killed. Women, children - no one was safe. Over 8000 people killed and buried at this site. The Cambodian people are incredibly brave and strong. Really was an eye opener and makes you think twice when we complain about our lives.Read more

  • Day43

    Day #40 disturbing, youngest past

    October 15, 2017 in Cambodia

    Denkt man an Geschichte, fallen einem uralte Geschehnisse ein, aus längst vergangenen Jahrhunderten und Epochen, dessen Jahreszahlen man sich für eine Prüfung im Geschichtsunterricht ins Kurzzeitgedächtnis drücken musste.

    Dieser Ausschnitt aus der Vergangenheit, wie er sich hier in Kambodscha abgespielt hat, ist noch so jung und zugleich so grotesk grausam, dass es mir die Sprache verschlug, als ich die Schauplätze dieser dunklen Ära besuchte.

    Bereits in Vietnam waren die Dokumentationen des Krieges und dessen Folgen erdrückend und natürlich kann ein bestimmter Krieg nicht mehr aufwiegen als ein anderer. Den Schmerz, die Verluste und Zerstörungen welche Kriege verursachen, sind niemals Messbar und immer unnötig.

    Und trotzdem, was sich in diesem kleinen Land, welches eingeklemmt zwischen Vietnam und Thailand gerne mal vergessen geht, vor weniger als 40 Jahren abgespielt hat, machte mich tief betroffen, insbesondere weil ich noch nie davon gehört habe und weil es etliche Jahre nach dem 2. Weltkrieg geschehen ist, in einer Zeit in welcher die ganze Welt auf das Thema Genozid sensibilisiert hätte sein solllen.

    Zum Ende hin, des Vietnam Krieges, wurde auch Kambodscha stark in Mitleidenschaft gezogen. Amerikanische B52 Bomber entluden bereits zu Vietnamkriegszeiten gezielt Sprengsätze über kambodschanischem Gebiet. Ziel waren nach wie vor die Vietkong und ihre Sympatisanten, getroffen wurden aber hauptsächlich kambodschanische Zivilisten.
    Die wachsende Wut dieser Umstände trieb das einfache Volk direkt in die Arme einer kleinen maoistisch, sozialistisch orientierten Gruppierung, später bekannt unter dem Namen Khmer Rouge.

    Im Frühjahr, 1975 zogen sich die USA und auch Frankreich aus dem Land zurück. Kambodscha war bereit für die Unabhängigkeit. Viele bejubelten die aufstrebende Macht der Khmer Rouge und glaubten an die Visionen des Anführers Pol Pot. Dieser versprach ein Paradies, nach dem Vorbild des Kommunismus, in welchem Alle gleich waren und jeder genug zum leben hat. Misstrauen und Paranoia verhinderten jedoch jede Form von logischem und rationalem Denken, was schlussentlich zu einer Katastrophe führte.

    Innert 48 Stunden wurden die Bewohner Phnom Penhs und anderer grosser Städte auf das Land getrieben, um Zwangsarbeit zu verrichten. Die Khmer Rouge rekrutierten hauptsächlich Kinder für ihre Bewegung und bildeten sie zu erschreckend effizienten Soldaten aus. Minderheiten, Akademiker und gebildete Menschen wurden zu Feinden erklärt.

    Das tragen einer Brille oder zarte Hände, waren bereits Beweis genug, dass man samt Familie, verhaftet und ins Gefängnis gesteckt wurde. Im von uns besuchten Hochsicherheitsgefängnis, Tuol Sleng, besser bekannt als "S-21", wurde den Gefangenen unter Folter ein schriftliches Geständnis aberzwungen, in welchem sie festhalten mussten, dass sie für die CIA oder den KGB arbeiteten, Organisationen, von welchen die Opfer vermutlich noch nie gehört haben, nur um sie anschliessend auf den "Killing Fields" zu ermorden.

    Das S-21 war ein ehemaliges Schulgelände mit mehreren Gebäuden, welches von den Khmer Rouge umfunktioniert und umgebaut wurde. In den Klassenzimmern wurden zum Teil Ziegelsteinmauern hochgezogen, um winzige Einzelzellen zu erschaffen. In anderen Räumen wurden Verankerungen im Boden angebracht um Gefangene, zu hunderten, an Fussfesseln, dort festzuhalten.
    In den Folterkammern fand man jeweils einen leeren, metallenen Bettrost mit Fesseln vor, an der Wand das dazugehörige Bild, welches zeigte wie die Befreier die Opfer nach dem Einmarschieren vorfanden. Die offenen Durchgange der Stockwerke waren mit Stacheldraht gesichert, damit die Gefangenen nicht hinunterspringen und sich selber umbringen konnten.

    Als wir im Innenhof der Anlage auf einer Bank sassen, erschien plötzlich ein Pfau, der seelenruhig auf der Suche nach Nahrung, umherspazierte. Mit seinem schillernden Federkleid und der eleganten Gangart, bildete er einen surealen und etwas tröstenden Kontrast zu diesem bedrückenden Ort, welchen ihn umgab.

    Ich habe vorher noch nie ein Konzentrationslager dieser Art besucht.

    Anschliessend an den S-21 Besuch, fuhren wir raus, zu einem der Schauplätze, bekannt als "Killing Fields".
    Gefangene, welche ein Geständnis abgelegt haben, wurden in Lastern hierher gebracht und noch in der selben Nacht, ermordet und in Massengräbern verscharrt. Um kein Misstrauen seitens der Bevölkerung zu erwecken, verwendete man für die Exekutionen keine Schusswaffen, welche zu viel Lärm verursacht hätten, sondern prügelte die Gefangenen zu tode. Ein anderes Argument war auch, dass die Kugeln zu teuer und wertvoll waren, um Verräter damit zu töten.

    Heute steht vor Ort eine Gedenkpagode, in welcher sich die Gebeine der Opfer meterhoch stapeln. Unter dem angrenzenden See, liegen immer noch tausende von anonymen Toten. Man beschloss, sie dort ruhen zu lassen.

    So geschah es von 1975-79, Nacht für Nacht, mit lauter Propagandamusik, um die Schreie zu übertönen und ohne dass Details dieser Grausamkeiten die Landesgrenzen wirklich überschritten oder angehört wurden.
    Alle Menschen mit Fachwissen waren ermorded oder geflohen und die Menschen aus den Städten hatten keine Ahnung von Landwirtschaft. Das Volk verhungerte langsam und wurde gezwungen, sich zu tode zu arbeiten.

    Keine vier Jahre dauerte es, bis die Khmer Rouge Bewegung und ihr "Steinzeitkommunismus" am Ende und zerschlagen waren. Von einer 8 Millionen Bevölkerung wurden rund 3 Millionen durch ihre eigenen Landsleute und ohne Grund getötet.

    Die Anführer konnten in den Untergrund fliehen und wurden viel zu lange nicht verurteilt. Die Grausamkeiten, welche sie begangen haben, wurden von den grossen Nationen dieser Welt nicht anerkannt, schlimmer noch, die Khmer Rouge wurde von den Weltmächten weiterhin als Regierung Kambodschas anerkannt und hatte sogar einen Sitz in der UNO.

    Die ehemaligen Kindersoldaten sind heute gerade mal in ihren 40ern.
    Das erste Strafgerichtsverfahren gegen einen der Anführer der Khmer Rouge wurde 2009 eröffnet.
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  • Day5

    People can be very cruel

    January 29, 2017 in Cambodia

    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.

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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kandal, Propinsi Kandal, Кандал, Provincia de Kandal, Provinsi Kandal, Provincia di Kandal, カンダル州, កណ្តាល, 칸달 주, Wilayah Kandal, Kandal Lalawigan, صوبہ کنڈال, Кандаль, Kandal Province, จังหวัดกันดาล, 干丹省

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