What is your first thought after somebody is telling you about Cambodia?
Is it Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Ta Prohm or the amazing and biggest lake in South East Asia, Tonle Sap?
Seriously, you should visit all of the places I just mentioned.
But you don’t really often read about travelers going to Phnom Peng, right?
And I am not even sure if I would advise anyone to go there, if you are in Cambodia awhile.
But I enjoyed it not to face crowded places full of tourists. On the other side it was the first time in my life that I traveled with my mother.
We were both excited. I came to Cambodia during the monsoon period, but enjoyed at the end dancing in the rain with homeless children who got nothing but were full of joy!
I waded through the monsoon rain and lost one of my flip-flops, but I did not care. I was just happy, happy to feel the rain, happy to be there, happy to know that I actually have everything in life to be happy.
It should be also the first time that I had to face the rough reality of those children.
My mum and I just left a market and one child came to me and was just looking at my food, his one and only object of desire.
I gave him everything and he devoured the food.
After that I was just sitting in the tuk-tuk on my way to Choeung Ek and cried…
Our driver was straight at the beginning so polite and kind to us, that I felt sorry for him living in this condition. Before I left the country, I gave him all the Cambodian Riel which was left.
But I don’t think it is the right solution, I feel sometimes desperately helpless to change nothing in their life.
Cambodia filled my heart with indignation, frustration, but also joy for life. It was a paradox: It taught me how to appreciate my life more (wait until I would visit India!) and to deal with silly situations in life wonderfully.
I had to face a country, in which the traces of war were still tremendously present in people’s daily life.
I had to face a country for the first time in my life, in which children didn’t want my money but my bread.
I had to face myself and my priorities in life.
Places to go in Phnom Peng:
The Royal Palace was suspiciously empty!
Phsar Thmei (Market)
Choeung Ek (Killing Fields), you can learn more about the harrowing late 20th century of Cambodian history.
We Paid 15$ for the tuk-tuk driver per day, but it’s really important to clarify the prices in beforehand. The drivers are also willing to give you a ‘discount’ if he can drive you more than one day in the capital.
I have never been good at bargaining, but Asia will teach you how to become at least intermediate ; ).
The country deserves a tiny special place in my heart.
Thank you for everything, Cambodia!
Some pictures of amazing Angkor Wat- The Place To Be!
What do you think about it? Did you get similar experiences in Cambodia?
My impression of Cambodia was like a humid, rainy, hot summer day.