A brief overview of the place
Cambodia, although filled with ancient temples the population is very young. It’s a Buddhist country that has a lot more going for it than the 8th wonder of the world, Angkor Wat. The country is a wonderland of culture, nature and optimism, despite its dark history.
What I did here
Angkor wat- Siem Reap
Angkor Wat is the largest temple complex in the world situated in 500 acres of land. A lot of people think that Angkor Wat is the only temple in the Angkor temple complex but there are a lot of other mesmerising temples to see. If you want to see the sunrise over Angkor wat like many other travellers then you need to be there by 5 am with a jacket, as before the sun rises it is a little chilli. After exploring the Angkor Wat temple, The Bayon temple is worth a visit.
1- day pass ($37)
2- day pass ($62)
3- day pass ($72)
The Killing Fields- Phnom Penh
1975 to 1979 Cambodia was under the rule of the communist party the Khmer Rouge which was lead by a man called Pol Pot. His aim was to have a society of equality which meant making everyone presents. Of course, not everyone liked this so, Pol attempted to weed out the traitors by torturing and killing anyone who challenged his rule. Local people, many innocents, were brutally tortured and killed. Today the fields and the prison are open to visitors to learn about the horrific history that has made Cambodia what it is today. Two of the seven survivors are at the prison most days so, you are able to meet them and hear of there experience first hand. Although awful, I would strongly suggest going.
We rented quads for the day and got to explore Siem Reap at our own pace. Our guide was able to take us deep into the countryside so we could see how life really was away from all the tourist attractions. We were taken to places that you couldn’t get to by car so it was really cool to be able to go off the beaten track (literally).
Pub Street in Siem Reap
Most cities have an area that is purely for partying and in Siem Reap this place is called, Pub Street. No confusion as to what you will find down here. There is a huge variety of bars, restaurants, clubs, market stalls, massage parlours and shows. This is where all the wild nightlife is, so if you like to party, this is the place to be.
Where to stay
One Stop Hostel, Siem Reap@Pub Street
This is one of the best hostels I have ever stayed in! I found it on the Hostelworld app. It is clean, cheap and situated right next to Pub Street which is where all the nightlife is in Siem Reap. There is a communal terrace that overlooks the colourful buildings and a lovely dining area. It is the perfect place to crash after a long day of exploring.
#342, Sivatha Blvd, Opposite Cambodia National Bank, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Mad Monkey Phnom Penh
This hostel is a party hostel. With its very own rooftop bar, you are never stuck for a place to have a good time. Everyone was very friendly and we had a lot of fun here. The rooms were clean but it was hard to get an early night because of the partying. The hostel is great but, not such a good choice for those early risers.
Building 26, Street 302, BKK1 Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The struggle is Riel
The Cambodian currency is Riel but they also accept the American Dollars. It’s hard enough using one currency but, the locals have become very good their exchange rates. Don’t be surprised if you pay for something in USD and get the change in Riel or the other way around.
Cambodia is home to 16 million people but half of the population are less than 15 years old and 16% is under 30. The older generation was killed during 1975 and 1979 under the Khmer Rouge Regime. When they lost power in 1979 there was a mass celebration which resulted in a large baby boom.
Things to know
Its still very common to eat insects in Cambodia and a lot of people are confused as to why. There are stalls that look like pick-a-mix but instead of scooping sweets out they are filled with cockroaches and grasshoppers. A lot of the older population worked in the rice fields when they were young, and didn’t get fed enough, so in efforts to try and fill themselves and get more nutrition, if they found a bug, they would eat it because they were so hungry.