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Cambodia 2014, Phnom Penh

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat at sunrise is not where our Cambodian experience started, but it is the place most tourists set out for when visiting Cambodia.

We left the UAE very early in the morning and after a flight that stopped in Ho Chi Minh city we arrived in Phnom Penh in the afternoon. We were met by our guide and we set out to see the capitol city. It is a thriving metropolis of 2.5 million souls.

One of our first stops was the only hill in the city. According to lore and legend, the hill was a project sponsored by a rich widow, Madame Penh. The story goes that during a flood of the Mekong she discovered four statues of Buddha and hired many workers to create this hill, or Phnom as a hill is called in the Khmer language. It is the highest point in the city, and as you probably surmised by now, gives the city it’s name.

 

Entrance fee

Many people complain that foreigners are charged entrance fees when locals are not. However it is tough to complain about a dollar.

 

Wat Phnom

This is the main entrance to the wat she built on top of the hill she had built.

Many people come here to pray for luck. Good grades, love, business success, anything really.

Madame Penh

When their wish is granted, they return to make offerings of flowers or food. I imagine the monks eat it at night. I doubt Madam Penh does.

Reclining Buddha

Inside the Wat, there are many Buddhas, of course. My favorite Buddha has always been and will always be, the reclining Buddha. My inspiration for a happy life!

Mekong cruise

After we popped all over the city, we went on a sunset cruise on the Mekong River and enjoyed a Cambodian brand beer!

 

We are after all tourists, so of course visited the Royal Palace.  It reminded me very much of the Royal Palace in Thailand. Except for one thing. The Silver Pagoda. As the story goes, silver was the currency before the French occupied Cambodia. So, the Cambodians melted down their silver and turned it into 5000 tiles that weigh a kilo apiece and covered the floor of this wat with them. Inside is a Buddha made of Baccarat crystal and covered with jewels. In front of that is a Buddha covered in diamonds. An amazing site.

The next day we left for Siem Reap. We drove. We wanted to see some countryside. Yes, we saw plenty of countryside. We passed through many small towns that for the life of me could have been in any third world country. The same stores selling the same stuff. But about halfway, just in time for lunch we came to Spiderville, or Skuon.

Skuon, Cambodia

Skuon is a town so small that unless you know to stop, you will miss a culinary delight.

Skuon, for some reason, has many varieties of insects for sale, fried and ready to eat. I found grub worms and cockroaches as well as spiders and other creepy creatures prepared for the bravest of the foodies.

Our guide, bless him for the excuse not to, warned our western stomachs against indulging. But he munched down a cockroach. All I could think of was a word that starts in D and ends in A. So I passed.

Our guide, bless him for the excuse not to, warned our western stomachs against indulging. But he munched down a cockroach. All I could think of was a word that starts in D and ends in A. So I passed.

A few hours later we were in Siem Reap, the home of more temples than I care to count. That includes the aforementioned Angkor Wat.  The next post will cover these temples until you are up to your temples in temples!

Please return. Please share this on FB, tell a friend, make a comment. If you do not I will send you a fried tarantula!

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Charles Freeman says:

    Great blog and the photos are fabulous!

  2. Richard Bagel says:

    Wait … what word? (” … a word that starts in D and ends in A …”)

    Hi Forrest! Less about the scenery more about your two! That’s the story. I like it when you tell one short tale with one of you as the protagonist.

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