From Rabbit Island we were going to be making our way to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, but not before some very important stops. Understanding the recent history of a country such as Cambodia is hugely important, and so visiting the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and S-21 were significant occasions for us. It’s hard to say how we felt going there, I very much wanted to learn more and fully understand for myself what occurred at these places and why, but to say we were looking forward to this experience is the wrong phrase, however for a long time this destination had been high up our list of important places to visit. To begin the account of our visit, I feel I should introduce what I already knew.
Our arrival into Cambodia was a memorable event. After leaving Don Det by boat, back onto the bus, then another bus, and finally having to walk the final stretch across the border wasn’t the usual customs and checks we were used to. In fact, applying for a visa involved signing a bunch of papers, and paying around 10,000 kip for a “medical certificate” (pretty sure we were basically paying to NOT have one!). Another several hour bus ride slog and we’d finally made it to Siem Reap! We arrived at the lovely Living Quarters Hostel and soon headed out with the gang to the infamous Pub Street to find some food. Having been in the relatively remote and quiet Laos for the past couple of weeks, the hustle and bustle of city life was a bit of a shock. Added to that, we were now dealing with yet another currency to add to all the confusion! Although we had very much enjoyed at the scenery and new experiences Laos had to offer, we knew we like Siem Reap and Cambodia almost immediately. The relaxed and cheery attitude was appealing, but some of the locals could get a little too cheeky and try and milk you a bit (one particular kiddo was keen on hissing at people for not giving him money…).