Into Cambodia, and Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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At our guesthouse

The bus ride, though 7 hours all said and done, was actually quite painless.  The boarder crossing was made simple with the bus company taking care of visas, stamps, and all those logistics.  Arriving in Phnom Penh, we were mugged by tuk tuk drivers, not to our surprise.  We ended up with a gentlemen named Sitha, who although nice, seemed a bit on the sly side to me...maybe it was constant laughter, maybe it was meerly his look..but, he would be coming back shortly to take us to the Choeung Ek, the most prominent "killing field". 

Now, seeing the outskirts of the city, being very poor and having dirt roads, I was extremely surprised to see wide bulevards, parks, and convienent marts as far as the eye can see once entering downtown.

Thousands of victims' skulls
  A bit of a surprise.  After driving around for a while, we settled on this place for $4/night that was by "the lake".  The conditions were par, at best, but it was cheap and close enough to grab some food and a few beers later.  Plus, we were only staying one night.  It was also the first night I've ever stayed where I needed a misquito net...

Sitha came back as promised and we commensed on the 14 km tuk tuk ride.  The cost of entry was either a dollar or 2, and I think it was worth it, at the very least to see first hand evidence of the Kyhmer Rouge violence that took place in the late 1970's.  I was under the impression that the mass graves were still filled with the bones of its victims, however, save the thousands of skulls in the mass grave stupa, only a few sparsely located bones fill the site.  The desciptions on the excavated grave sites tell the story of the victims found at that respective site, i.e., women and children.

We had a few beers with the driver and admission collector (with some of his buddies), and stories were told to us how the Kyhmer Rouge had affected these very people.  On the way back, Sitha let my buddy drive the tuk tuk for a while, which prooved not the best idea, but at least it didn't crash.  We also got a flash tour of downtown Phnom Penh and headed out for some dinner/drinks with the idea that it would be another early day tomorrow.

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At our guesthouse
At our guesthouse
Thousands of victims skulls
Thousands of victims' skulls
Tower
Tower
Mass burials
Mass burials
Burial site
Burial site
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk