After one day in Saigon, where we did not left the hotel because of the bad lobster.... Our ride to the Mekong Delta was waiting for us. It took us to a little town called Cai Be where we had a small boat to guide us across the water to the floating markets. Where lots of boats were trying to sell their products.
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From Chau Doc we said goodbye to amazing Vietnam. Time to take a long boatride (almost 6 hours) to Pnom Penh. The capital city of Cambodia.
What can I say about Cambodia, a country with a terrible history and not that long ago..
But should I tell you about the horror of the "Khmer Rouge", maybe I should. It is an important part of their past even though I rather talk about the beauty of the country and the people working hard to recover and have the peace they so very much deserve. Even though we were here for just a few days what we saw was impressive, sad, amazing, horrifying and beautiful.
When you visit Phnom Penh please realize what has happened in this country just 30 years ago and is still alive in this city. You can not go around it without being confronted with it's horrible past. So the best way, at least we think, to deal with it is to dive in. It means: go to the Tuol Sleng museum. This former school was turned into a prison in the years that the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia. It was the final stop for a lot of people: men, women and also children. When you visit it, you get a glimpse of the horror of those times. You can hire a guide, usually someone with a personal connection to this prison, he/she often has parents, brothers or sisters that have been kept prison there and were tortured and killed. And for what reason? Nobody really knows. Even today, high rank members of the Khmer Rouge are still living in freedome, hiding and protected by others.
After visiting this museum we went to the Killing fields of Choeung Ek. One of many mass graves in Cambodia from this periode. One that has been discovered; people are convinced that there are still more to find. After all, some estimate that almost 2 million people were killed during the Khmer Rouge regime. When you visit this place you get a strange kind of peace and quiet over you even though you are aware of all the terror that took place there. Lets hope this will never happen again, anywhere in the world.
Of course, the capital city of Cambodia has more to offer. The royal Palace is a must. It is amazing and very colourful. Especially the crazy "iron house", a greyish building. It was a gift from Napoleon II of France to King Norodom .... No point in asking yourself why they had to place it there where it is right now. Other places to visit are the "Silver Pagoda" and the national museum with the world's finest collection of Khmer sculpture. And last, but not least...the beautiful riverfront with countless bars and restaurants with good food at very affordable prices.
The last days of our adventure here in Cambodia had to end with the magical temples of Ankor. From Phnom Penh we took a bustrip to Siem Reap. It was a really good bus, fare, water and a snack, even a toilet and onboard video (only not working). Afterwards people told me that it was a wise decision to come here overland by bus, and not by boat. So here is our advise... take the bus guys. Once arrived and checked in our hotel we went into the city. A typical tourist location with hotels, bars, restaurants markets and massage salons all over the place. And on every corner... taxi sir????? Anyway, the next day our driver helped us to buy the tickets which enabled us to visit all the temples around Ankor for 3 days.
What can I say about the temples, impressive, magical...insane...make your own judgment. But you will never forget about them once you saw them.
Vietnam part 3
In the evening we went to Can Tho were we had a nice hotel. For dinner we went to a restaurant where we met two curious waiters who were happy to practice some English with us.
The next day would be our second day in the beautiful Mekong Delta. With 2 floating markets, in Cai Rang and Phong Dien. But also a visit to the small bird park of Thot Not and to end our day, a visit to Sam Mountain for the beautiful views it offered us.
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This was the adventure of Vietnam and Cambodia... two different but both impressive countries who allowed us to be their guest for a short while. I like to thank everybody that we met, who helped us, or was just with us for a short moment. You all helped us to have an experience which we will never forget.