I wrote this description of my trip to Cambodia for two reasons. One, I could. I had recently bought a smartphone with a small folding QWERTY keyboard and it comes with a document processor. And second, because I had time as I had decided to take a bus, as I will describe below.
I decided I wanted to go to Cambodia, mostly because the idea of having Thanksgiving in Thailand was not appealing, especially after last years Thanksgiving in Iraq. Also, leaving Thailand allowed me to renew my Visa without question and mine was about to expire the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Anyway, I decided on a 3 day 2 night package trip because I had no idea what to expect. The trip was taking a bus all the way from Bangkok to Angkor, Cambodia. I wanted to go there because I had read about the ancient ruins.
The bus trip was interesting. I had never been on a bus trip like this anywhere in the world so it was a new experience in many ways (and it gave me time to write this). The way to the Cambodian border from Bangkok was uneventful, from there on is a different story. At the border, we had to wait while our visas were processed. There I was warned about Cambodian children being thieves, later i found out they are also annoying beggars. "Beware of the children" became my general theme for the trip.
At the border, Cambodia has established a gambling zone and there are many casinos. From there, the road immediately turned to dirt and for 300 kilometers the road was bumpy as hell and the bus was hot. As uncomfortable as it was I was glad i did it. I got to see the real Cambodia and it was pretty grim. Most Cambodians live the way they did for thousands of years, in simple wooden/grass thatched stilted houses, catching fish from ditches along the road and working in rice patties. There were rice patties pretty much the whole way, with the occasional water buffalo to add flavor (to both the scenery as well as the rice patties. Angkor is an oasis of civilization just as Las Vegas is in the US, with the nice size airport and many hotels springing up out of nowhere. This is all supported by the tourism brought in by the ruins. The picture below is typical of the houses encountered on the way to Angkor.
Angkor Thom (Khmer for the 'Great City') was the last and probably grandest of all the capital cities of the ancient Khmer empire. Founded by King Jayavarman VII in the 12th century, the city is 9 km² and at one time had a population of more than one million people ..... READ MORE
Angkor Wat is probably the most well known of all the ancient Khmer temples of Cambodia. A powerful symbol of Cambodia, the temple's popularity has seen it become a source of great public pride as witnessed by its inclusion on the national flag .... READ MORE
Banteay Samre (or the Citadel of the Samre) is a medium-sized Khmer temple complex at Angkor. Built during the early 12th century during the reigns of King Suryavarman II and King Yasovarman II, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple was constructed using pink sandstone in the Angkor Wat style and is named after the ancient Samré, an ethinic group of mountain people who originated from Indochina.... READ MORE
One of the most enigmatic and beautiful of the Khmer ruins is the small temple at Banteay Srei. Unlike the other temples at Angkor, Banteay Srei was not built by a king, but by a nobleman who served during the reign of King Rajendravarman II and King Jayavarman V. Construction on the temple began in the year 967 AD .... READ MORE
The Killing Fields are actually a large number of sites situated throughout Cambodia where, at least 200,000 men, women and children were detained, tortured and executed by the Khmer Rouge regime .... READ MORE
One of the most popular places to view the sunset at Angkor is at the temple mount at Phnom Bakheng. Constructed nearly 200 hundred years before Angkor Wat during the reign of King Yasovarman (889 – 910 AD), the temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It is believed that in its day Phnom Bakheng was the principal temple of the Angkor region ..... READ MORE
Probably the most enigmatic and alluring of all the temples of Angkor is Ta Prohm. Located approximately one kilometer east of Angkor Thom, on the southern edge of the East Baray (reservoir), Ta Prohm was founded by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII. Constructed in around 1186 AD the Mahayana Buddhist monastery and university was built to honor the King's mother ..... READ MORE