Category — Cambodia
Cambodia was a challenge for us, but a rewarding one. I think we all left with a renewed appreciation for the strength of the human spirit.
Our travel report is here.
April 3, 2009 2 Comments
A Day in Pictures
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Temples of Angkor Wat are Cambodia’s must see site.
The temples were built around 1100 by King Suryavarman II, a powerful Khmer king, who extended their civilization and empire to northern Thailand, Burma and the northern tip of Malaysia.
King Suryavarman II built Angkor Wat to serve as a holy capital city and eventually as his funerary temple.
Angkor Wat is actually a series of temples spread over a very large area. Each temple has its own unique character and purpose. In many places, the jungle is reclaiming parts of the temples.
Angelina Jolie fans may recognize some of the temples from the Lara Croft Tomb Raider movie.
We’ve posted more pictures from Angkor Wat here.
March 30, 2009 4 Comments
One week before we arrived in Phnom Penh, a trial that many Cambodians had been waiting three decades for finally began.
Kaing Guek Eav, a 66-year-old former math teacher, supervised the brutal torture of 17,000 men, women and children at the infamous Tuol Sleng prison, also known as S-21.
There he would extract “confessions” from prisoners before sending them to the nearby Choeung Ek Killing Fields for execution.
In 1975, Khmer Rouge “Brother Number 1” Pol Pot turned the former Toul Svay Prey High School into the Khmer Rouge’s main detention center. Today, Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields are the most visited sites in Phnom Pehn.
At Tuol Sleng, school classrooms were turned into torture chambers. As you walk through the buildings, many of the instruments of torture are still in place – and the faces of those killed stare out at you.
From Tuol Sleng, it is a thirty-minute drive to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, where the prisoners were executed.
March 27, 2009 5 Comments
On our travels we’ve seen plenty of vendors selling pirated DVDs. But in Cambodia they take piracy to a whole new level – they’ve got a cable TV station showing pirated movies!
I know it can’t make Hollywood happy, but at least we got to see Slumdog Millionaire.
March 25, 2009 2 Comments
What can you say about a place where the top two tourist attractions are a torture museum and a genocide memorial?
From early the 1970s through the mid-1990s, the people of Phnom Penh (and all of Cambodia) were brutalized, starved and murdered by their own government while the rest of the world largely looked the other way.
Given the city’s sad recent history, we did not know what to expect – especially since we had to spend five days in Phnom Penh while we waited for our Chinese visas to be processed.
In the 1950s and 60s Phnom Penh was one of Indochina’s most cosmopolitan cities. Some influences from its days as a French colony remain: Wide boulevards, lively restaurants and buzzing nightlife. If you look closely, you can imagine the city it once must have been.
Today the most striking thing about Phnom Penh is the incredible resilience and optimism of its people. During our stay, we met two ordinary people who taught us something about the extraordinary spirit of the Khmer people.
The first we met by chance.
March 23, 2009 9 Comments