We arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, early afternoon yesterday. The boat journey from Chau Doc took about 5 hours and included quite a bit of waiting around at the border crossing, firstly to leave Vietnam and then 100 yards later to be issued with visa's to enter Cambodia. Great scenery of the Mekong River along the way and then the buildings of Phnom Penh beginning to come into focus . The stupa's and bright rooves of the Royal Palace and other official buildings looking quite magical. A short Tuc Tuc ride to our hotel and then we head off out to see the city.
Food, at least in the capital has much more choice than Vietnam. Neil ended up eating pork chop and mashed potatoe of all things last night! We spent the afternoon looking round the Royal Palace which is not far from where we are staying. Built in the late 19th Century it is impressive, but very bright with lots of gold rooves and coloured decorations. Very similar to the Royal Palace at Bangkok but on a slightly smaller scale.
A sobering day today with an early start to visit the Killing Fields of Choeng Ek by Tuk Tuk which is 14kms from the city. It was one of the main sites where people were taken to be executed by the Khmer Rouge in the 70's. There is an emormous stupa built to honour the victims with a glasss tower housing 8000 skills. You are asked to show your respect here first before walking round the site. The remains of the mass graves and the descriptions of how people were killed including women, children and babies is horrific and leaves you feeling extremely sad and very moved. Many of the mass graves have not yet been excavated but they believe there were close to 16,000 victims at this site alone.
We went back into town to see the Tuol Sleng Museum which was the site of the KR security prison where the victims were detained and tortured before being taken to Cheong Ek for execution. The sites and descriptions are beyond belief and description.
So only day 2 in Cambodia and we feel like we've seen a large amount in short time. We are getting an early bus tomorow to Siem Reap where we will visit Angkor Wat, a source of national pride and one of the places I have been wanting to visit in a long time.
A big thank you to anyone who has left a message/s on our site, sent an email or put a message on my facebook page. They have been wonderful! 4 weeks into the trip so far and any news from home is very welcome indeed. On that note: Kate how's my house, and Jill, who's in the final of XFactor?!!!!