It’s a holiday in Cambodia…

…as Jello Biafra put it back in 1980:

In brief, the following has happened since i returned from Burma to Bangkok in the end of February:

Marja flew to Bangkok so there’s 2 of us now.

Went to Kanchanaburi and Sankhlaburi for two weeks almost. Drove around with a Honda Dream, saw waterfalls with too little water, read books, etc. Marja worked.

Came back to Bangkok and saw some movies, spent time in Bangkoks posh malls, ate a mint / cookie dough ice cream with almond and mini marshmallow toppings plus cream fudge at Cream Fudge. Also ate sushi and some good Thai salads. Stayed in Chinatown, in the area where all the people taking car engines apart work and live. It is a lot nicer than Banglamphu.

Went to the bigger Ko Chang near Trat. It was very very different from what it was 6 years ago. The west coast (Lonely beach, Bailan beach, White sands,…) of the island is awful. And they are still building. However, Long Beach on the east coast is still nice and quiet. But if you want a quiet place go to the other Ko Chang near Ranong, it’s nicer.

A day in Trat and on to continuing my 10 month holiday in Cambodia. We took a moto (= honda Dream or similar + driver; we and our luggage fit nicely) from the border to Koh Kong. “Welcome to Cambodia! Here you can do anything you want,” said our driver on the way, trying to sell weed and everything else.

Koh Kong was quiet and dusty. With some crusty barang (Khmer for farang) sitting in bars. The next day we took a boat to Sihanoukville, a strange place, Costa del Kampuchea as a guide book puts it. A lot of people including those crusty barang again. The beaches near town are dirty. Otres beach a bit south from town is OK.

Kampot was nice and quiet. For some months the Bokor hill station was closed for tourists as the road up the hill is being renovated, but now it is possible to get there again – the price has gone up from 8 dollars to around 20 dollars, the difference consisting of course of bribes to the contractor redoing the road, the police, etc. A cool place in all senses, great views, eery old buildings and the air is cold.

Took moto from Kampot to Kep and a boat on to Koh Tonsay (rabbit island) near Kep likewise, a little like the Ko Chang near Ranong, but even less developed. Did nothing there. We only spent a day since we we’re tired of beaches.

On to Phnom Pen, a big city, but pleasant. Did the mandatory gore tour of Khmer rouge attrocities, the Tuol Sleng prison also known as S21 and some killing fields. Depressing places of course. The reamaining Khmer Rouge leaders are to be finally tried in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Period of Democratic Kampuchea, but the news tell that this tribunal is out of money.

The garment industry is producing a lot in Phnom Pen. At the “Russian” market you can buy your H&M, Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, Abercombie & Fitch, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, etc. gear very cheaply (shirts for 2-3 dollars). Some of the stuff even has the destination country’s price tags on (50$…70£).

A LOT of NGO offices in town. A part of the town seems to be known as NGO land. Hopefully they do something good with their dollars.

Lexus LX470 or RX330 seem to be the cars of choice if you can afford one. There are lots more motorbikes than cars of course, and old cars too, but still, a funny amount of those huge Lexuses. (Or is it Lexui?)

From Phnom Pen a bus to Battambang, which is a small place. Took a cooking class and made Amok, Lok Lak and sour soup. Very nice to cook after 7 months of no cooking.

On to Siem Reap. The town is not as bad as i’ve heard. There are no beggars (where are they?) and it is pretty quiet. We have just finished 3 days of seeing Angkor Wat and other very old ruins and they are very very nice. A lot nicer than Bagan i have to say. The season isn’t the greatest though, I think the ruins would look nicer in the rainy season. The moss and leaves would be greener.

Tomorrow on to Kompong Cham and elsewhere, should cross the Laotian border before the 3rd of April.

edit: photos added!

photos from Wednesday, March 19th 2008
Trees Tree root poser 3 Trees and rubble headless lady Tree power 3 Tree root poser Tree root poser 2 Ruins Perky ass lion Tourguide Bokeh Garuda .... Sitting on a demons head Mr.Demon ... Buddha, 2 elephants and a Garuda
photos from Tuesday, March 18th 2008
Siem reap traffic Monks Dead tree 2 Tree power 2 Stump Green ruins Dancers Two trees Dead tree
photos from Monday, March 17th 2008
Poser Tree power Tree power 4 What it mostly looks like Two ladies Trees on ruins Bayon Ruins at sunrise Angkor sunrise 3 Angkor sunrise photographers Angkor wat Angkor at sunrise Angkor sunrise Flashlight traces
photos from Saturday, March 15th 2008
Wedding soup Fish and fish parts
photos from Friday, March 14th 2008
Battambang dog Sunset in Battambang
photos from Thursday, March 13th 2008
Traffic 3 Phnom penh 2
photos from Tuesday, March 11th 2008
Tourists and skulls Skulls Cell
photos from Monday, March 10th 2008
trishaw Phnom penh Traffic 2 Traffic Another market Market Khmer contraposto Toilet 1959
photos from Friday, March 7th 2008
Boatman Casino 7 Casino 6 Casino 5 Casino 4 Casino 2 Casino Casino Peek suicide cliff 2 Suicide cliff Post office Terveisiä Suomesta
photos from Thursday, March 6th 2008
Kampot
photos from Wednesday, March 5th 2008
South of Sihanoukville 2 South of Sihanoukville
photos from Tuesday, March 4th 2008
Sihanoukville
photos from Tuesday, February 19th 2008
Banana The engine part neighbourhood in Bangkok chinatown The engine part neighbourhood in Bangkok chinatown 2 Mall
photos from Monday, February 11th 2008
Bridge jumper

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