A little bit of KhoaSan Road, and a Whole Lot of Cambodia.

26 01 2013

Item’s I have learned today:

Sorry.. I have been seriously neglectful of this thing.  Life back in the States and updating the blog don’t seem to work out very well together.

-Khoa San Road (in Bangkok) is a seriously DANGEROUS place for tourists.. not in terms of crime, but in terms of large increments of money being spent, and the existence of a wonderful thing called “buckets”

-I learned all about ping pong shows.. I don’t feel the need to write about it on here (it’s quite disturbing)… you can google it…no, really.. don’t.

Back to the travel tales of my 6 week trip to SE Asia before returning to Seattle in September.  I had just finished up a week long trip to Northern Laos and was now on my way to reunite with my long lost buddy Bekah in Bangkok.  I had my first overnight train journey, arriving in Bangkok bright and early the next day.

After attempting to sleep in the hotel room that Bekah reserved (meaning.. I didn’t, and since I have such amazing abilities to sleep on trains – i.e.I don’t) it was off to explore Bangkok round two with about 3 hours of sleep. I sent Bekah off to the Grand Palace as I had seen it already in my first few days, then it was off to the see the Sleeping Buddah and explore all that is Khoa San Road.

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After eating at a place called something like “We make cocktails REALLY strong” (literally, not joking, I’m pretty sure that was the name of the actual restaurant)  and having a bucket with Leigh (a fellow traveler, Bekah befriended while exploring BKK)… We called it a night as it was off to meet Bec (former flatmate and friend from NZ) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia the next day.SE Asia 253

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia was on a whole different level all together. Amazingly beautiful country, but with such a tragic recent past.  I was really completely ignorant before arriving. I had heard about the killing fields, but hearing and seeing are too COMPLETELY different things.

It was impossible to not be affected. We spent the day going from the killing fields to S21 (one of the prisons) but some how we didn’t have the same appreciation for the royal palace and the markets after words.

1-4 Cambodians (1 in 4!!!) were killed in these fields during the time of the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. Estimates of total deaths is in in the millions.  It’s really hard to imagine that that was just over 30+ years ago.  The Khmer Rouge executed anyone they believed that was associated with the former government.. basically the entire educated class.  The one particular killing field we went to had over 8000 skulls, and was still washing up clothes from the victims.  It was heart breaking to say  at the very least.

Words can’t really do it justice.. here are a few pics…  (warning… not for the faint of heart, some of these images are quite upsetting).

Siem Reap, Cambodia

After a hard few days in Phnom Penh it was off to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.  Now let me go back and say that despite the atrocities that happened to this country a little more than 30 years ago, the Cambodian people are still some of the most wonderful people I met during my 6 weeks in Asia.

Angkor Wat... no I did not take this picture

It was a completely different mindset to leave Phnom Penh and the killing fields and then head to the largest ancient Hindi temple and religious monument in the world.  Angkor Wat was fantastic. We took a “VIP” tuk tuk (it’s license plate… literally).. to the temples and saw Angkor Wat on Day One. We walked around, and stayed and watched the sunset.

Perfect thing to do at an ancient temple... fix your hair! :-p

Perfect thing to do at an ancient temple… fix your hair! :-p

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We ended up staying at this place called the “Mad Monkey Hostel” if you are ever in Siem Reap, I highly recommend it. The crowd is young, the staff are cool, the owners alright.. haha 🙂 They have a roof-top beach bar complete with a beer pong table.. I won’t even begin to describe my amazing beer pong skills (meaning, I was lucky if the stupid ball hit the dang table, let alone made it into one of the cups… I lasted all of one game… and then opted out.. shockingly).

Day Two we went to Angkor Thom and Bayan (where tomb raider was filmed).  My camera managed to die while going through these ancient temples, but here are a few pics…

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Day Three we decided to relax by a pool.. and then head on (as Bec had to be back in Malaysia for her flight home in a few days)


Part of Cambodia.. but not really.  It’s fun, there’s some cool beaches… theres some cool pubs/bars on the water.

We spent the day relaxing on the beach (only to be asked by every few mins if we wanted to buy bracelets, hairbands, sunglasses, get our legs waxed, etc). That was slightly vexing. You see these gorgeous Cambodian children, literally probably around 6-8, and instead of spending their days in school and playing, they are wandering around the beach trying to sell stuff to tourists.  I mean, what kind of childhood is that?  I’m not really sure what the solution to the problem is, but it def helps to put your own life and childhood in perspective (or at least it did for me).

Anyway.. rant over.  After a few days of lounging around on the beach, it was off to fly to Kuala Lumpur… Malaysia.  At this rate you will probably get an update on that by New Years (2014).

Happy 2013 everyone! 🙂

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