•Everything’s roger in Cambodia•

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From Bangkok we continued our trip on August 12 towards the east. After 6 hours on the bus we reached the boarder of Cambodia. The moment we put a foot on Cambodian soil we had fallen in the hands of the Cambodian corruption: „You have passport photo? No? Give me US$ 3!“ and also the „Bus-Mafia“ was ripping us up, big time.

 

First they insist you to take the free shuttle-bus to the international bus station and once you are there – in the middle of nowhere – you are helplessly lost. You have two options: either you take an overprices taxi or you take the wrecked-up bus which only leaves when it’s full.“Eat or die!” As environmentally conscious travelers we decided to take the bus… what a bad decision! After waiting for a long time (2 hours) the bus finally took off, stopped at a run-down “Bus-Mafia”-related  restaurant and finally continued its journey to Siem Reap where we arrived to bargain hard with the sassy Tuk-Tuk drivers to get us to our accommodation. All-in-all this Cambodian “Mafia-trip” took us 6 hours – a bad record for 150km.

 

In Siem Reap we then spent 3 days and we really liked it. We visited the temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm (where the movie “Tomb Raider” was filmed) which we liked the most. It is simply amazing to see what people were able to construct 1000 years ago and that it’s kept over such a long period of time. Pretty amazing!

 

 

From Siem Reap we then hopped on a bus to Phnom Penh – the capital of Cambodia. There we met our Argentinean friends Maggie and Roy and had a really great time. The following lines are from them (guest article). Here you can see their travel blog! Many thanks guys!”

 

When someone travels around the world not only discovering new worlds, different cultures and amazing sceneries, but one also finds beautiful people like Patrick and Sonja. A dinner in between, a few beers, many anecdotes and life stories, and suddenly we are just great friends. During a trip, the time spent with friends turn into months and each day’s activity becomes an invaluable story.

 

In Phnom Penh we learned about the sad background of this suffering country Cambodia. Together we visited the “Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum” which used to be a school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a torture centre where prisoners were confined and treated like animals until the time of their death.

 

 

With goose bumps and a lump in the throat we walked around the “classroom-cells” of the old prison. A blow to the heart, but the class history was not complete, we still had the Choeung EK “Killing Fields “ on the list, one of the many places where one of the greatest genocides of the world was carried out.

 

Thousands of thousands “prisoners” arrived daily at this site and were killed in the most horrible ways and then buried in huge mass graves. With our hearts broken into several pieces and a huge feeling of sadness we learnt the day’s lesson: “Never again.”

 

And the cruelest fact of the whole story is: nobody knew about the inhuman crimes. Only when Pol Pot megalomaniacally attacked Vietnam (1978), the Vietnamese stroke back and realized what had happened under the Khmer Rouge regime.

 

The next day we went to the Russian market and were surprised of its size and the variety of goods being sold there. From art to handbags and food – simply everything! We continued our trip around Phnom Penh at the Royal Palace. The Silver Pagoda and the other royal buildings were majestic and we were amazed by the architecture with its detailed carvings and decorations. Highlight of the Silver Pagoda is the silver-tiled floor and the “Maitreya Buddha”, a life-size, 90kg golden Buddha statue with 9584 diamonds. From there we strolled along the riverside and had a “sundowner” at a rooftop bar.

 

 

Phnom Pen is definitely worth a visit and offers a great insight in Cambodia “dark” past. It helped us a lot to understand why Cambodia is what it is today and made us very grateful for everything we have… especially our “freedom”! And also the city itself is interesting to visit as there is a mix of colonial (French) and traditional buildings which tell a lot about the country’s past. The two days with Maggie and Roy past by way too fast and we wished it would have been more days. We simply had a great time together and hope to see you guys again soon.

 

While Maggie and Roy keep on discovering Cambodia, we are heading to the 20th and last country of our world trip: Vietnam!

 

Here you can check out the pictures from Cambodia.

 

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