Tônlé Sab

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18 travelers at this place
  • Day64

    Boat racing and Fireworks in Phnom Penh

    November 15, 2016 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Today was out second full day in Phnom Penh, and having been to the emotionally heavy sites of Khmer Rouge atrocities yesterday, we were looking for something a bit lighter today. It was also the third and final day of the Water Festival, the culmination of a huge party for the locals.

    Setting out from our hotel, we dropped off some washing to be cleaned and folded, before heading to the waterfront and walking north. As we had left early, the racing associated with the Water Festival hadn't yet started, but there was still a lot to see along the embankment, as street sellers set up their shops, and families picniced on the grassy verges.

    Eventually we arrived at Wat Phnom, a buddhist temple built on a wee hill, in the middle of a roundabout. Walking to the top, there were quite a few locals there, perhaps as a result of the Water Festival. For them it was an incredibly religious affair. For us, considerably less so.

    Next, we headed to the central market, Psar Thmey. The idea was to book a bus to Siem Reap, but we weren't able to find the ticket office. We did manage to have a wander through the market itself, and found a great many wonders. The seafood section was particularly interesting. So many different fish, so many different snails, so many different crabs and lobsters,

    Feeling a bit hot and sweaty, we headed back to the hotel for a half-day shower, and then headed out again to watch the finale of the Water Festival's racing, and secure our seat for the fireworks show that night. We watched about hour hours of racing, which was pretty exciting at times. Watching about 100 people paddle a boat at speed is spectacular, and it amazed us that despite all of the bouncing and flexxing of the boat hulls, they didn't ever split in two. Other excitement for the day: one of the two judges boats at the finish sank, and one of the crews on one of the racing boats had a fit and was carried to the hospital tent, by a sea of his teammates. If he had been conscious, it would have been one of the bext crowdsurfing moves ever. Unfortunately, this poor man was not doing too well.

    After a few hours, we managed to find Gauthier in the mess of people at the tourists' tent, and sat down on the embankment itself, to be a bit closer to the action. As the racing finished, the winners were presented with medals by the King / Crown Prince (not sure which of the two it was), before they paraded up the river carrying the Royal swords, and standard. And then, as the day turned to night, the fireworks began.

    We were pretty close to the fireworks barge, so had a very good view. THe view was so good in fact, that we could see the men running around on the barge lighting the fuses of all the fireworks. Whoever they were, they were very brave indeed.

    When the fireworks were over, we had dinner at a restaurant staffed by disaffected youth being trained in hospitality. After dinner, there was time for a few drinks, and then it was time for bed.
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    Angela Ahmed

    So lucky that you managed to be there for the Water Festival. It sounds great and very entertaining. 🚣🏻🎊

  • Day6

    Cycling Phnom Penh

    January 30, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    The hotel offered free cycles, naturally Isabel and I went for a cycle through town to the Royal Palace.

    The bikes were clearly designed for asian people which is more Isabel's size, and I was a sight for sore eyes on this bicycle.

    This was also our first taste of actually driving on the roads here as most of the time there are no sidewalks or bike lanes, so you just have to brave the traffic. Funnily enough you just go and ring your bell as you go and no one seem to run into you. Its really amazing that there is this understanding on the roads to avoid each other even if there really are no rules.


    It was pretty quiet at around 10, but our drive back at noon was terrifying I would be stuck in a traffic jam and can't see Roedolf, who is miles in front of me. The traffic on our way back around the Independence monument is pretty similar to that of the arc the triumph and that on a bike is a matter of commitment and faith. I constantly thought what I am doing? And then I pie myself that its ok and at least we have good travel insurance. The fact that we stayed out till 2am after minimal sleep the previous night on our bus journey, didn't exactly contribute the best cycle ever, but we managed to soak up the atmosphere, see the Royal palace & have loads of fun. Everything is pretty much an adventure in Cambodia.

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    Sonja Gouws

    Haha jy lyk soos 'n sirkusapie!🐒

  • Day63

    Cambodian History - Genocide & Festivals

    November 14, 2016 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 31 °C

    On our first full day in Phnom Penh, we decided to spend it learning about the atrocities committed against the Cambodian people by Pol Pot and his regime. This comprised a visit to the Ek Choeung Genocidial Centre (the Killing Fields) and the Tuol Sleng Prison Musuem.

    Upon exiting our hotel, we found a Tuk Tuk driver named Mr Cow who agreed to take us on a return trip to the Killing Fields for $15 USD. We jumped in and started our journey, with Mr Cow stopping at key points of interest and telling us a bit about the history in each location. Cow told us about government corruption (pointing out the police taking bribes), the cost of living, the forced removal of local farmers and the reclamation of their paddy fields (used to grow crops such as morning glory) to build expat housing estates and the relocation of locals (with little or no government payout) to make way for large building developments. It's safe to say that although the Cambodian way of life has greatly improved since the reign of the Khmer Rouge, the country still has a long way to go in equal and fair treatment of the Cambodian people.

    After about 40 minutes of driving along uneven roads through small villages, we arrived at the Killing Fields. The first thing I noticed when queuing to buy a ticket was signs which prohibited people from playing Pokemon Go inside the centre. It saddened and shocked me that these signs were required and that people had so little regard and awareness for the atrocities that were committed here. We later found out by reading the local newspaper that both the genocidal centre and the Tuol Sleng Prison museum were used as meeting points for Pokemon Go players which rightly drew anger from survivors and victims families. The shear ignorance is unbelievable.

    Upon paying, we recieved our audio guide and commenced our tour of the museum which was as you might expect, harrowing. The tour takes you around the mass burial sites where small fragments of bone lie on the surface of the soil as the audio guide recounts stories of surviviors and soilders. Recovered clothes and larger bones are presented in glass boxes at various points throughout the tour which finishes off by showcasing over 3000 skulls in a large temple, which are identified by their age, gender and the method of murder. I had been warned that this place was a very difficult to come to, and by all accounts it was, but, it is also important to witness the evil that can be done by other human beings to ensure that you are able to do everything in your power to ever prevent it from happening again.

    Feeling a bit washed out, we took a quick break by doing a little bit of shopping before we headed to the Tuol Sleng S21 Museum. Mr Cow (who had waited for us in the Museum), offered to stop and wait for us while we perused the Russian Market, so we took him up on the offer and went to explore the shop stalls and food hall. 1 hour later, with more elephant merchandise than I knew what to do with, we proceeded to the museum, where we said our final goodbyes to Mr Cow, who had been so warm and friendly and gave him some extra money for showing us his city.

    Before the Khmer Rouge, the S21 was a school. During Pol Pot's reign, it became a torture centre, where thousands of men, women and children were sent to be interrogated and tortured, after which they were sent to places like the Killing Fields where they were murdered. Entire families (including children) were killed during this time for fear of retaliation and revenge being sought against the regime. The museum showcases the cells for both solitary and mass detention, pictures of prisoners and mechanisms of torture. Again the audio guide takes you through a number of first hand accounts while you walk around and witness the brutality of the human race.

    We walked the 30 minutes back to our hotel, deep in discussion about how humans can be so cruel to one another whilst surrounded by hordes of Cambodians celebrating the Water Festival. This in itself suppressed the sadness I felt after spending the day witnessing crimes against humanity at its highest level. It was now the second day of the three day Water Festival and things were getting crazier by the minute. The water festival is held to celebrate the end of the monsoon season and the semiannual reversal of flow of the Tonlé Sap river. In 2010, 347 people were killed and 755 were injured in a human stampede. The annual festival was cancelled for the following 3 years and was only held again in 2014. However, the 2014 festival failed to attract the crowds and in 2015 it was cancelled again. So the Cambodian people have waited 2 years for this event and they were certainly in a mood to party.

    We quickly dropped back in at the hotel for a swim and shower, before heading down to the waterfront to meet Gauthier and Brice to watch the fireworks in a cordoned off area with seats which was set aside especially for tourists, and adjacent to the Royal tent. We had the best seats in Phnom Penh (with the exception being the Royal tent) however, it felt weird being given special treatment to watch a local festival when the locals peered in through the fence from the outside.

    Whilst in tent, we ran into our South African friends - Bianca and Jon, and decided to go for a few drinks before grabbing a bite to eat. We had a few happy hour beers and went on our merry way fo find dinner before I died of hunger.
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    Angela Ahmed

    I'm sat here on the train on my commute to the City with a tear in my eye! Great writing, very moving. Thanks for the history lesson. x

  • Day19

    The Corn

    March 29, 2016 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Am Abend waren wir dann vegan essen. Fleisch und Fisch konnte man aber auch dazu ordern 😄. Am Schild hatte es sich eine kleine Eidechse gemütlich gemacht. Und hier kann man sich an das Eis im Bier gewöhnen - hauptsache eiskalt! Was bei Temperaturen um 37 Grad Celsius sicherlich auch nicht verwunderlich ist.Read more

  • Day33

    Phnom-Penh Royal Palace (3)

    February 12, 2016 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 33 °C

    The inner compound wall of the palace complex is beautifully decorated with vivid frescoes of scenes from the Reamer - the Khmer version of the Indian epic, Ramayana. They are about 100 years old and have suffered so are being restored now.Read more

  • Day5

    Phnom Penh

    January 29, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    I felt very lazy but had to clear my mind and process all the gruesome information of the communist brutality earlier today. I went for a little run to Sihanouk boulevard, I saw the Independence Monument which was built in 1958 for Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. The North Korean embassy impressed with its glamorous gold. I was also lucky to catch the sunset and make it back to the hotel in decent light.

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  • Day13


    January 17, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Nach dem Mittagessen wenden wir uns dann den schönen Seiten von Phnom Penh zu. Als erstes besichtigen wir den Königspalast. Zu sehen ist unter anderem der 1917 erbaute Thronsaal, doch sind fast alle Gebäude nur von außen zu besichtigen, in den Thronsaal darf man nicht mal hineinfotografieren. Obwohl alles eine moderne Adaption des Khmerstiles darstellt, fühlen wir uns wiederholt an eine kleinere Ausgabe des Königspalastes in Bangkok erinnert.Read more

  • Day13


    January 17, 2017 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Unmittelbar an den Königspalast schließt sich die 1962 von König Sihanouk erbaute Silberpagode an. Die heißt so, weil der Fußboden mit 5329 Silberfliesen belegt sein soll. Aber erstens darf man in der Silberpagode nicht fotografieren, und zweitens ist die ganze Pagode mit Teppichen ausgelegt. Nach der goldenen Pracht aus Myanmar sind wir hier also enttäuscht: der Name verspricht mehr, als er halten kann.
    Auf dem Areal rund um die Silberpagode befinden sich auch die königlichen Mausoleen in Form von Stupas.
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  • Day21

    Letzter Tag

    March 31, 2016 in Cambodia ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

    Heute ist leider unser letzter gemeinsamer Tag 😢😢😢. Viel haben wir nicht gemacht. Morgens am Pool, danach spazieren am Mekong und eben schon gegessen: Artillery. Das war lecker 🙌. Jetzt packen und danach noch kurz über den Night Market.Read more

  • Day4

    Phnom Penh

    December 18, 2016 in Cambodia ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Phnom Penh in 3 Worten.


    Für uns war Phnom Penh nur ein Zwischenstopp auf dem Weg nach Sihanoukville. Da jeder der schonmal dort war meinte es würde sich nicht lohnen, haben wir nur eine Nacht in einem ziemlich coolen Hostel gebucht. An unserem einzigen Tag dort besuchten wir die Killing Fields, auf denen Tausende von Menschen ihr Leben verloren. Während der Herrschaft der Roten Khmer wurde Kambodscha zu einem Argrarstaat umgewandelt. Die Bevölkerung aufs Land vertrieben, Banken,Universitäten und religiöse Stätten zerstört. Die Bevölkerung sollte fortan aus ungebildeten wie in der Steinzeit lebende Bauern bestehen. Gebildete Menschen wurden verdächtigt gegen das Regime zu kämpfen und folglich ermordet. Bald reichte es schon wenn man Brilltenträger war um als verdächtig zu gelten, dann wurde nicht nur der Verdächtige ermordet sondern gleich auch seine ganze Familie damit niemand sich rächen konnte. Aus Freunden wurden Feinden, es wurden auch 300 kopflose und uniformierte Rote Khmer Soldaten gefunden. Munition war wertvoll, somit wurden die Menschen mit Bambusstöcken, Macheten und Werkzeugen zu Tode geprügelt. Viele lebten noch als sie in die Massengräber geworfen wurden. Sie starben erst durch die Chemikalien die in das Grab geschüttet wurden um den Gestank zu überdecken. Nach dem Untergang der Roten Khmer und der Befreiung Kambodscha durch die Vietnamesen. Lag Kambodscha in Trümmern.
    - 1/3 der Bevölkerung ermordet
    - Städte verwahrlost und verwüstet
    -jegliche Infrastruktur zerstört
    - beinahe die komplette gebildete Mittelschicht ausgelöscht

    Nach der Besichtigung der Killing Fields sah ich die Khmer mit ganz anderen Augen. Fast jeder wird jemanden verloren oder vielleicht sogar alles verloren haben. Die junge Generation ist die erste seit langen die in Frieden aufwächst. Die Menschen sind freundlich und scheinen trotz der einfachen Verhältnisse in denen sie leben glücklich. Denn sie leben in Frieden.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Tônlé Sab, Tonle Sab