The Kingdom of Cambodia or known locally as Kampuchea is located in the south eastern part of the Indochina Peninsula. Following a 5 year struggle communist Khmer Rougee forces captured Phnom Penh in 1975 and ordered the evacuation of all towns and cities. Over one million displaced people died. The place to initiate your understanding of these events is the Gateway to Cambodia where we arrived on the Mekong River: Phnom Penh. Visiting the Killing Fields and S20 museums is profoundly disturbing but if you want to understand the sheer horror of what Cambodia endured in the 1970s it cannot be missed.
Jungle clad Angkor Watt is the jewel in Cambodia’s Crown – it is the largest single religious monument in the world. The 800 year old ruins of the Khmer Empire are vast and awe inspiring. You cannot fail but to feel a deep spiritual connection to the place.
We would love to return to this small friendly country and enjoy the diving and beaches on offer. Truly magical.
DAY 19: Phnom Penh and Killing Fields; DAY 20 & 21: Siem Reap and Angkor Watt
THINGS WE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT CAMBODIA:
- Cambodia’s flag is the only one in the world with a building on it.
- There is no McDonalds in the country. It does have a Burger King!
- Many Cambodian locals believe that counting the chirps of a gecko will predict whether one will marry or not. It’s also considered good luck if a tokay gecko is in the same room and calls out seven or more times.
- Rare animal species: Once thought to be extinct in Cambodia, the Asian giant softshell turtle, also known as Cantor’s giant softshell turtle or the “frog-faced” turtle, is making a comeback in parts of the Mekong River. Also in the Mekong, you can find critically endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, which look like small beluga whales.
WORTHY CHARITY: The Children’s Improvement Organisation in the outskirts of Siem Reap, is home to a wonderful orphanage.
RELATED READING: Click on Cambodia and enjoy this suggested reading list to enhance your experience of this wonderful country.