CAMBODIA – a complete travel guide

“…now you can go where people are one
Now you can go where they get things done
What you need my son:
Is a holiday in Cambodia
Where people dress in black
A holiday in Cambodia
Where you’ll kiss ass or crack…”

This is an excerpt from the song “Holiday in Cambodia” by the US band “The Dead Kennedys”. They were a punk band, hence the lyrics are meant to grate on you in their very cynical way.

And as a matter of fact, Cambodia has always been a synonym for murder and destruction and by no means a holiday destination; apart from Angkor, Asia’s most important sanctuary, that has been a World Heritage Cultural site since 1992.

Two monks admiring the model of Angkor Wat at the Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot at Phnom Penh
Also, monks were prosecuted during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Only when my friend Philippe told me about his plans of travelling to Cambodia, I took into consideration that it might be an interesting destination and a country worth exploring. I decided following his example.

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PHNOM PENH – a guide to Cambodia’s provincial capital

Phnom Penh hasn’t much to impress. On the other hand, it surprises by being probably the world’s most provincial city with more than two million inhabitants in the metropolitan area.

Street Scene from Phnom Penh
One of the main streets of Phnom Penh – still having a certain provincial flair.

It’s rare to travel a country and not missing much by avoiding its capital. Actually there are tourists who do not make it to Phnom Penh at all. They go from Bangkok to Siem Reap and from there straight to Sihanoukville from where they cross the border to Vietnam via Kampot and Kep; and that’s it.

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SIHANOUKVILLE – Cambodia’s most popular beach town

Sihanoukville is Cambodia’s most popular beach town, however, it has a rather bad reputation – particularly among European tourists and travellers.

Sokha beach in SIHANOUKVILLE - Cambodia's most popular beach town
Tranquil Sokha Beach

But I find that already this picture shows that Sihanoukville absolutely has its nice corners and can be the perfect gateway to various great locations.

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KEP – Cambodia between crabs and rice fields

Kep – probably the most underestimated town in Cambodia – has it all. The rice fields in the backdrop of grand mountains, a crab market with all the exotic treats, a nice little beach where Cambodian families are enjoying food, drinks, and each other’s company right on the sidewalks or in one of the simple cabanas.

Crab Marekt in KEP - Cambodia between crabs and rice fields
One of the numberless fish hawkers on the famous Crab Market in Kep.

After having been in distress when visiting Koh Rong Samloem in unfavorable weather conditions, I sought shelter for one night in Sihanoukville. The next morning, I took off to explore some of Cambodia’s countryside where everything feels just so settling.

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From KAMPOT to THANSUR BOKOR and back

I want more. Much more. Money? No way! I want more time! More time to live – 106 healthy years. But I first and foremost want longer days – at least 36 hours, better yet 48.

Wat Trauy Kooh in KAMPOT from where to go to THANSUR BOKOR and back
Wat Trauy Kooh on Fish Isle Kampot: Studying with a view

I came to Kampot today.

Kampot is very, very nice, actually the nicest place in Cambodia so far. Apart from the deserted beach on Koh Rong, but you cannot compare a secluded beach to the capital of a province.

While Kampot is nice, the guest house I’m staying at is the coziest I’ve been to in Cambodia by now. The room is quite small, but it’s so pleasant and with all these pretty, pretty details. I’d like to spend time here.
Quality time.
Reading. Writing. Cherishing.

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Guide to SIEM REAP – beyond ANGKOR WAT

So here comes my guide to Siem Reap – beyond Angkor Wat. A place that at first made me feel bad. And ignorant.

Because contrary to expectations, Angkor did not blow me away.

SIEM REAP - beyond ANGKOR WAT
The world-famous reflection can be captured as well at 7 a. m.

This lack of enchantment makes me feel like such a jaded snob who thinks to have seen it all. However, I remember how the temple site in Sukhothai dazzled me. Was the spell broken? Will I no temple ever mesmerize me again?

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