Where I’ve Been #7: Cambodia, Summer 2009Posted: July 27, 2016
Welcome to Travel Month on 14 Shades of Grey! While I’m off to Europe, please enjoy these posts about travels I’ve done in the past.
After graduating from college in 2009, I went home for the summer and to prepare for grad school the coming fall. My mom had heard about a tour to Cambodia from some friends, and suggested we gave it a try. I’d never had any interest in going to Cambodia, but I’m always happy to travel to new countries, so of course I jumped at it.
We flew to Ho Chi Minh City to meet the tour bus, and were driven across the border, toward Siem Reap, where we visited Angkor Wat. Angkor is awesome, in every sense of the word. Even with all the tourists, the temple grounds are large enough that you can walk around pretty much alone, soaking it all in. And it’s not just the history or the architecture. You can actually feel the passage of time there, from the massive, moss-covered carvings to the trees growing over the temple walls.
(And you can see that my travel photos have improved. I got my DLSR for Christmas 2008, and this was my first time taking it on a trip.)
From Angkor, we had a brief stop in Tonlé Sap, the Great Lake, before heading to Phnom Penh. One of the things that astounded me about Cambodia is how empty it is. Growing up in Vietnam, I’m used to towns and villages standing close to one another and close to the road, but here in Cambodia, you can drive for days without seeing more than two houses in a row. As our tour guide put it, “You can drive on whichever side of the road you want, because there’s nothing to crash into!”
Phnom Penh was treated mostly as a shopping destination for the tour (it’s an inevitable part of any Vietnamese tour), but we did get to visit the beautiful, serene Royal Palace. Phnom Penh is a little too crowded and noisy for me (though it’s nothing compared to Hanoi); still, it was a great experience.