Right, very sorry, I've got a bit slack with the blog entries so time foe a quick catch up with everything.
Having moved on from Saigon, we moved into the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. In terms of capital cities, I can't really say it is up there on my places to re-visit. A bit dirty, and congested it doesn't offer too much in terms of beauty and landscape. However it is mounted in a lot of recent history. As you may know over the past 30 or so years Cambodia had been subject to the Khmer Rouge rule under the order of Pol Pot. During the time of the regime over 2 million Cambodian citizens were killed by thyat ruling party. In the capital there are a couple of places dedicated to remembering the atrocious regime. The main and most visited point are the killing fields. Similar to a concentration camp; men, women and children were taken to this orchid held prisoner for a night or two and then killed. No real reason behind the killings, but Pol Pot aimed to wipe out a generation so the Khmer Rouge could rule with no opposition. This tactic meant he unfortunately targeted children. The killing fields are, as you may expect, a very depressin place. At the centre of it stands a large glass tower filled with around 2000 human skulls, all killed at that orchid. It is a disturbing thing to see. The scary thing is that there have been 20,000 bodies discovered in the ground at the orchid but the majority of the area is yet to be excavated. There expect the number of bodies to be at least doubled. We did a day of this and to be honest we felt we could do no more. I think it is the first place I have actually felt emotionally drained. It is hard to understand or grasp why such a thing went on and why there is little known or spoken about it in the western world. Anyway having done this and visited a couple of museums on the regime we were left with not a lot to do. As I said Phnom Penh seems to lack in culture. We visited a night market but it didn't have much atmosphere. I also happened to visit a hospital here; we thought I may have had malaria, fever and everything else but luckily after a few tests, a night in hospital and some strong prescriptions we decided to move on down to south Cambodia and to Sihanoukville.
Sihanoukville is right on the coast and a very traveller based stop over. We arrived to a nice bit of beach and some very nice weather. Unfortunatley it was getting to the time of year where hear was becoming unbearable. We had heard some stories that just off Sihanoukville are some really nice islands which are worth visit. We chased this up and found out that a place called Bamboo Island was supposed to be a small bit of paradise. The following day we took a two hour boat ride to the island. What greeted us where about 7 wooden huts, one bar/restaurant where everyone socialised and then an untouched beach with crystal clear waters. Paradise I think may have been an apt way of describing Bamboo Island. We ended up spending 5 days there, meeting some awesome people and starting to feel like we were actrually travelling. No electricity until 6pm and then it only lasted 6 hours. We really were cut off from the outside world. It was here that we also met the 3 girls we would end up travelling with for a bit; Ruby, Rachel and Claire. They were doing exactly the same rooute as us and as we seemed to get on quite well as a result we decided to travel with them for a while. Bamboo Island, for me, was the place where I thought I was actually a traveller. Taken enough time to hit me! Our next move from Sihanoukville was up to Siem Reap where Angkor Wat was the centre of attention.
After a 10 hour bus ride we arrived in Siem Reap. The heat here was unreal and air con was certainly a neccessary privelege. You may have heard of Angkor Wat, the most amazing series of temples in all of Asia. It's Cambodia's most prized jewel, with the main Angkor Wat building the centre of the nation's flag. It takes an entire day to do the temples but in reality there are so many you could take at least 3, but that would cost $20 a day and I think temple fatigue may hit you. We did an entire day of the temples. They were quite a sight, spread over a vast area, the buildings are dated back to around the 1200's yet they stand pretty much un-damaged. The size of each temple is unreal, beyone comprehension. We started the day watching the sunrise of the main temple, was slightly cloudy but still a sight to see. And then we the help of a guide worked our way around the other temples. Siem Reap itself is a nice town, quite quiet and based around a lot of stalls and markets. The main attraction of the town will always be Angkor Wat. After a few days in Siem Reap we decided on tearing up camp and moving back into Thailand and then down to the south of the country.
Cambodia was lovely, a country which has yet to be hit by mass tourism but slowly gaining in travellers and tourism so there is friendly vibe about the whole coutnry. Definitely a place to re-visit later on in life. Well Cambodia is done and my next entry will fill you in on south Thailiand, our quick trip to oz and what we have done since. Will really try and get some photos up soon as well. Hope all is good.