Cambodia has always intrigued me, it’s always topped the list of countries I wanted to visit. I had heard mixed reviews and to top it, was the discussion I was privy to the previous day I crossed into Cambodia. I had heard horrendous experiences of travellers getting stuck at the border.
I rode into Cambodia from Laos through the Veun Kham border. This was one of the most peaceful border crossing for me. The first 70 kms to the nearest town Krong Stung was horrendous with traces of tarmac. The journey through the new highway had nothing interesting for me to stop and cherish. It was more depressing and hence I rode non stop to Siem Reap.
As I was nearing Siem Reap, the landscape began to change. It was a complete contrast to the road that led me to the city. It is well laid out, clean, gracefully landscaped city with buildings having a colonial touch. The canal and the walk way add to the ambience. The city was affluent and that was evident from the landscape.
The primary attraction is the Angkor Wat and the other temples within the Angkor complex. The tour packages are well organized as they have packages for single days and multiple days. For a keen observer, it will take a minimum of three days to do a quick visit. Every temple has its rich heritage and history.
The highlights over and above Angkor Wat was the Mine Museum which has a very touching story of Mr. Aki Ra and his constant endeavor to make his country safe by clearing the landmines and adopting children in the villages who have been left homeless. The floating village was truly an eye opener. I had been to the floating villages in Thailand and that was more touristy. This floating village is on the second largest freshwater lake Tonle Sap and when I say large, it’s endless. The floating village is a self sufficient ecosystem with 1200 houses, 5000 inhabitants with the basic facilities like schools, police stations, churches, hospitals, and yes, they are all floating.
The downtown area is the centre of the city and is the tourist hub. It has The Pub Street is one of the most happening places in Siem Reap. Even though it is effectively a single street, there’s a whole bunch of shops around the area that houses exciting pubs, restaurants, cafes, boutiques and, of course, the all famous ‘Happy Pizza’ joints. I was lucky to find a South Indian restaurant (Vanakkam India) run by a guy from my home town. I relished the meals and ensured I was there for all the three meals of the day. Anybody in search of authentic South Indian food, I strongly suggest and ensure that your will search will end here.
Cambodia truly has a diverse landscape to be explored. The country has gone through massacre and the life of the affected is really bad. Yet the people are positive and hoping for a better tomorrow. My stint was only in Siem Reap, but I will be back in the near future to explore the rest of Cambodia.
The one question that I am asked countless times is
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE SUCH A MAJOR STEP IN YOUR LIFE?
Travel & riding have always interested me; different landscapes,
Warrier's Trail is a crazy dream of a simple guy that was inspired by a desire to travel, meeting people, see places and live life full of uncertainty.
The dream is to travel 40 countries, in over 500 odd days in 5 regions (S.E.Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe & Africa)
A journey of exploration!