Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Highlight: Trying to make it back to the hotel at 3am in a thunder storm.
With heavy hearts we left Vietnam behind us and went to find out what all the fuss is about with Cambodia. Lots of people had recommended it to us before we left so we were excited to see what was in store for us.
Unbeknownst to us we were arriving in the heart of the Water Festival, which is one of the two huge parties in Cambodia (the other is the Cambodia New Year), and everyone was off work for 4 days to celebrate.
The locals lined the streets, stages were erected, boats were raced along the river and the whole city was turned into a festival.
We weren’t in the biggest festival mood having visited S21 – a school which was turned into a prison when the Khmer Rouge were in full swing, and there were many stories of atrocity which were just a small part of their regime which took the lives of over 20% of the Cambodian population in a period of 5 years. Staggering numbers.
Simon braved the Killing Fields the day after but Tom opted for a sunset cruise with someone we met the day earlier instead. Photos of the sunset cruise below rather than the Killing Fields…
As per the traditions of the festival which signals the end of the rainy season, the sun was shining down on the celebrations during the day, we had been working our way south and we can really feel it.
Weather was fantastic at all times except for after a big night out exploring the nightlife (including finding ourselves in what we can only imagine was a gay bar due to there being a 99:1 ratio of guys to girls, not helped by our presence), the heavens opened. And it was some of the heaviest rain I’ve ever experienced, so we took shelter on someone’s doorstep for an hour until it passed. It didn’t pass, so we just accepted we were going to get soaking wet, which was kinda fun.
One of the other evenings we went to watch a Cambodian pop concert. The locals we loving it and singing along to all the big hits, though none of them had made it over to the western world yet as far as we were aware, so we just bobbed along as best we could.
After 3 nights we headed yet further south – to Sihanoukville.
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