Cambodia has modified loads since I visited as an lively backpacker 20 years in the past, however what I quickly discover is that not all change is nice
Just lately I spent every week in Cambodia the place I visited the tropical southern island of Koh Rong, the laid-back city of Kampot, and the vibing capital of Phnom Penh.
It was my first time again within the Kingdom in 20 years.
Naturally, a lot has modified since I used to be a 20-something backpacker looking for out the most effective funds experiences my greenback may purchase.
A whole lot of issues have modified since then – some for the higher, however sadly, some for the more serious
Whereas I’m nonetheless a budget-conscious traveller, nowadays I’m extra constructed for consolation, therefore, the choice to fly into Sihanoukville from Ho Chi Minh Metropolis at appreciable expense in comparison with different choices like “bussing” it through Phnom Penh.
Sihanoukville is the leaping off level to the attractive islands only a 30-minute speedboat trip offshore within the Gulf of Thailand.
Koh Rong is maybe the best-known of the islands dotted alongside the shoreline, and that is the place my journey actually started.
A spotlight is the western facet of the island the place a 5 kilometre stretch of white sand seashore and turquoise waters awaits. Within the video beneath, you’ll get to see simply how lovely it’s.
I stayed on the island at Treehouse Bungalows excessive up within the treetops and never too removed from the principle ferry terminal, making it a handy place to remain.
After three sun-kissed days spent getting about by motorcycle, swimming and beachcombing alongside stretches of remoted seashore with nobody else in sight, I set foot again on the mainland for the two-hour rail journey east to Kampot.
Below French-colonial rule within the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, Kampot was Cambodia’s most vital seaport earlier than the institution of Sihanoukville across the time the French left within the Fifties.
As of late it’s well-known for its pepper and French-colonial structure, which is behind the city’s push for UNESCO World Heritage itemizing.
I stayed on the enjoyable Bamboo Bungalows on the banks of the attractive Praek Tuek Chhu River simply a few kilometres outdoors the city centre not removed from the “Outdated Bridge” constructed by the French and that survived Cambodia’s darkest interval beneath Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime.
My remaining vacation spot earlier than flying house to Ho Chi Minh Metropolis was the capital Phnom Penh.
As I discussed earlier, I’d visited right here 20 years in the past when journey was extraordinarily difficult and the influence of the Khmer Rouge was nonetheless uncooked.
A whole lot of issues have modified since then – some for the higher, however sadly, some for the more serious. Watch the video beneath for extra particulars.
One factor that’s a must-visit in Phnom Penh is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, the positioning the place shut to twenty,000 Cambodians had been tortured and executed throughout Pol Pot’s reign of terror that claimed thousands and thousands of lives.
Whereas profoundly unhappy, the museum is well-curated and organised in such a means that even if you happen to don’t pay additional for the audio information (US$5), you don’t miss out on the vital points of what happened right here.
After a morning go to to the museum, the pool at Plantation City Resort & Spa was the perfect place for some quiet introspection and reflection on the expertise.
The resort is ideally situated close by the Royal Palace making it a superb base to discover the town on-foot.
For extra in-depth element of my expertise travelling in Cambodia in 2023, watch the video beneath.
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