A Taste of Cambodia...Our First Impressions

A Taste of Cambodia...Our First Impressions

Travelling to #Cambodia was a #cultural eye-opener! Here I will share my observations and highlights with you of my #active trip; from temples to bus-karaoke, pigs on a motor-bike to open-air barber-shops. What time do the monks here rise to hard drive shopping tips!


We fell head over heels for Cambodia – which caught us completely by surprise. This South East Asian country isn’t perfect, definitely rough around the edges. 

We fell head over heels for Cambodia – which caught us completely by surprise

Here are our first impressions we made – for better or worse! Enjoy!

The famous temples of Angkor Wat

from  $60

Visiting Ancient Temples of Angkor Wat

ActiveCulture
 Siem Reap, Cambodia
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Angkor Temple Tour 2 Days 1 Night

Countryside Adventure

These are Cambodia’s greatest pride and they are resembled everywhere: on the money, on the beer, in hotel names & restaurant names, and it is the national symbol on Cambodia’s flag.

Angkor Wat

Water buffaloes as common in Cambodia as sheep are in Scotland!

Water Buffaloes

Cambodians love to cycle

While it’s all about moto-scooters in neighboring Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodians cycle everywhere – between villages, in town, to get to school or to work, or to transport goods.

Keen Cyclists

Old-fashioned cyclos are still used in everyday life of Phnom Penh and other towns.

Old-fashioned Cyclos

Durians...

While we weren’t the biggest fans of the fruit whose odor is best described as ‘pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock’, Cambodians LOVE durians! 

The Durian is the national fruit of Cambodia and we even found an entire statue dedicated to this interesting fruit.

Durian Fans

Monks get up late in Cambodia

We’ve seen monks receiving their alms very early in the morning in neighboring Laos (6.30am), however the monks in Cambodia make their way around time much later; we usually saw them around 9.30am!

Monks

Pigs on motorbikes are a common sight…

Pigs on a Motorbike

…so are cows in the streets.

Cows

History

Cambodia’s terrible past is still ‘tangible’ everywhere you go.

Almost ¼ of the population was killed during the Khmer Rouge’s regime 1975 -1979 and there is a distinct lack of people between 45 and 65.

History

Buses? Nah…

In the capital, and most other cities, there are no inner city buses. Instead, they have shared pick-ups or trucks.

Shared Pick-ups

Beaches

The beaches in the South and on the islands are stunning!

Beaches

Motorbikes pull anything!

Motorbikes

Food and Drink

The typical Khmer dish ‘Amok’ (similar to a Thai curry, but with egg added in the sauce) is delicious!

Khmer

Cambodians Love Fresh-Squeezed Lime Juice

So did we! A fantastic thirst quencher in the sweltering heat!

Lime Juice

Smoking is ridiculously cheap in Cambodia

Smoking

Sadly, Cambodia is dirty

We see piles of garbage everywhere. People just don’t seem to realize that throwing their garbage out in front of their house means it will rot there for eternity. 

This is one of the most frustrating observations of Cambodia…

Dirty

Most of the gas stations still look like this:

Gas Stations

Gas at a ‘real’ gas station is expensive!

It costs $1.29 per liter ($4.88 per gallon) in a country where the average GDP is $912 per person per year.

Expensive

Barbershops are open-air

Barbershops are open-air on the side of a road or in the market

Barbershops

People in Cambodia love to wear pajamas

Not sure why, but we saw people in PJs everywhere we went!

(We are aware that these gowns are not actual PJs worn at night, but the PJs still describes them best.)

PJs

Temple Gates

Dirt roads leading to a temple are often marked with detailed gates at the start. The countryside is full of these!

Temple Gates

Ice

Ice is usually transported on the back of a tractor, uncovered. The ice transport stops in front of every shop / house and then cuts off as much ice as needed with a rusty old saw. 

More ‘Western’ places thankfully make their own ice with filtered water in house.

Ice

Cambodians love karaoke on public buses

These low-budget videos blare constantly, even on long-distance rides, and while we really, really don’t like Khmer music, we’d sing-a-long if we could…but we can not read Khmer so we are left to observe…

Karaoke

Need a new external hard-drive? 

Hard Drive Deals

Pick one up for the same price in Cambodia as at home, but these come filled with hundreds of TV shows, movies and music of your choice – a traveler’s dream!

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