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Created 23-Dec-08
Modified 31-Oct-23
86 photos
Christmas in Cambodia

December 2008

Here is a larger set of photos from our trip to Cambodia. We spend about 8 daysin Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Angkor Wat and traveled via Ho Chi MinhCity, Vietnam. I have also posted a select collection with less photosof our trip in the "Cambodia, Angkor Wat & The Killing Fields Gallery" ... I figured one can only look at so many temples and bones before getting too bored.

Cambodiawas a excellent trip! The weather was just perfect with cool morningsand present days. The people of Cambodia were extremely friendly andthe local economy is about 10 years behind what you find in Vietnam.This seems pretty good, considering that it was 1991 (following thegenocide of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 and the invasion by Vietnam) whichkept the country closed to outsiders.

Almost everyone we metwas directly effected by Pal Pot and the Khmer Rouge, and if bornbefore 1980, they were directly involved (either as a prisoner/slave oras a Khmer Rouge member). With that said.. it's amazing that they canwork side-by-side (victim and persecutor) with what seems to be, littleor no animosity towards each other. Cambodia is about 95% Buddhistwhich may explain the lack of animosity towards each other, but thisalso seems very ironic as these "Buddhist" people are the same onesthat inflicted such torture on their fellow Cambodians?

SiemReap is a small township just down the road from the massive Angkor Watregion. Once nothing more than a wide spot in the road, in the last fewyears Siem Reap has become a tourist enclave. It was startling to seethe amount of tourist. I guess there really isn't many isolated spotson the globe anymore? I tried my best to keep the tourist out of myshots, which was fairly easy in the early mornings, but by noon thebuses arrived. We very much enjoyed Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. It'samazing that we were able to totally explore and climb any of thetemples with little or no restrictions or oversight. And if you visitthe more remote temples and locations, you can escape the crowds. Verymuch an "Indiana Jones" kind of adventure.

Phnom Penh is verymuch a city on the move. like Vietnam, Phnom Penh is in a race to jointhe 21st century. Still very much a 3rd world city.. it's remarkable tosee how much progress has been made in the few short years since thecity was repopulated following the total evacuation in the late 70's& 80's.

All in all it was a good trip.. and we are looking forward to visiting again.

Short History of the Khmer Rouge and Angkor Wat.

TheKhmer Rouge was the communist ruling political party of Cambodia -which it renamed the Democratic Kampuchea - from 1975 to 1979 The KhmerRouge is remembered mainly for the many deaths of an estimated 1.5million people or 1/5 of the country's total population under itsregime, through execution, torture, starvation and forced labor.Following their leader Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge imposed an extreme formof social engineering on Cambodian society - a radical form of agrariancommunism where the whole population had to work in collective farms orforced labor projects. In terms of the number of people killed as aproportion of the population (est. 7.5 million people, as of 1975), itwas one of the most lethal regimes of the 20th century.

One of their mottos was:

"To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss."

Categories & Keywords
Category:Travel and Places
Subcategory Detail:Cambodia
Keywords:Angkor Wat, Bayon, Cambodia, Genocide, Kampuchea, Khmer Rouge, Killing Fields, Phnom Penh, Pol Pot, S21, Siem Reap, Temples