Moving on from Ho Chi Minh, I made it across the border with relative ease and only having to cough up $35 for a Cambodian visa.
My first stop was Phnom Penh, the capital city, which in all honesty I wasn’t too enthralled by. The most interesting part was visiting the S21 visit museum, detailing a prison of the Cambodian genocide. The exhibits are again emotive, but it is an important part to understand what went on in the region.
There is also the Grand Palace (remember to cover shoulders and knees! Unlike did and I had to return to the Guest House to get a scarf and change…), which is ok as palaces go and one of the things to see in town.
I moved on to the famed Siem Reap pretty quickly. The difference in the tourism scale between the two cities is immediately obvious, with the market, bars and street advertisments all geared towards the hoardes of tourists who visit here each year, all, seemingly, with a common purpose – Angkor Wat.
Following the crowd as is so usual of me, I went to Angkor Wat for the sunrise, which was quite spectacular in itself. Though I would impress here that a day pass ticket to the temple park costs $37! There was a good walk around the temples, carved beautifully and with interesting architecture. In the park, there are many temples to visit, including Angkor Thom – remnants of the ancient city that used to be there – and a temple with trees growing through it, giving it a weird, natural feel.
I was excited also to see that there are monkeys in the park! But be careful though, they looked a little vicious when approaching tourists…
Despite the many, many tourists, this place is worth a visit. I even managed (after a quick nap back at the hostel – the 4am start had tired me out!) to get back for sunset on the hill temple. A bit before sunset, there was a bit of rain, but also an amazing rainbow which we could see in its entirety from our high viewpoint.
Beautiful sight, but somehow, like many places, the magic is dulled a little due to the booming tourism. I am part of the problem though, so can’t really complain…