Cambodia. This was stop number 2 on our trip around the world last year. Long ago when I would dream of traveling the world, I will admit Cambodia was not on my top list, but now that I’ve been, all I think about is going back! It is definitely a must see, for reasons I’ll explain.
Our journey here began when we flew from Chiange Mai, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia. For those who aren’t familiar with Cambodia, Siem Reap is the city right outside of the world famous Angkor Wat temples. Before visiting the temples of course we had a day to ourselves to explore the city a bit. It was a pretty relaxing day enjoy the markets, exploring some temples and trying some of the local foods (frog legs, yum!). One of my favorite things we did that day though was visit the Angkor National Museum. For anyone going to visit Angkor Wat, I highly suggest visiting this museum first. The museum was so informative in the history of the Angkor Temples and really helped us understand the different religions and symbols displayed throughout the temples. I felt that our experience exploring the temples was much more meaningful and enjoyable because we knew about some of these things first!
Over the next 3 days we spent all of our days exploring the temples and ruins all over the Angkor Wat complex. When visiting Angkor Wat you have a couple of options. You can buy a 1 day, 3 day or 7 day pass. I wish we could have explored for 7 days but we just didn’t have the time so we opted for the 3 day pass. One might think “you really need that many days to see a couple of temples?”. Well, the Angkor ruins are spread out over more than 400 square kilometers so there is lots to see and lots of ground to cover! Of course we didn’t see everything, but 3 days there allowed us to go slow, take our time and see some incredible things. Fun fact is that the temples of Angkor are not included on the list of the New 7 Wonders of the World, but after visiting, I definitely think they should be!
The next few photos were taken at our Angkor Wat sunrise experience. While it was immensely crowded (see photo) and we had to get up at 4:00 a.m., it was so beautiful and I would still definitely recommend making this a part of your Angkor Wat experience.
(HUGE crowds of people. We luckily got a spot right on the pond but were nearly pushed in a couple of times!)
Our second and last stop in Cambodia was it’s capital city Phnom Penh. To get here we took a 5.5 hour bus ride from Siem Reap. When visiting a new country we believe it is important to be informed on the history and culture of the place, even if it’s a sad and terrible history, which unfortunately part of Cambodia’s was. One of the first places we visited while in Phnom Penh was the “killing fields” of Choeung Ek about 14.5 kilometers away from the city. It is one of the many sites around the country where the Khmer Rouge practiced genocide during the late 1970s. Visiting this sad place was a humbling, and heartbreaking experience. You can read more about it’s history here. We only had a total of 2 full days in Phnom Penh so with the remainder of our time we explored the Royal Palace, walked along the water and enjoyed the sunset by the rooftop pool at our hotel.