Saturday, March 30, 2013

Let's actually do Cambodia properly this time and I mean it this time (for a week)

I seem to have an aversion to Cambodia that I don't have for other popular South East Asian destinations, but it's one I've tried to get over by staying for incrementally longer periods each time I buy the $20 visa and head into the kingdom of tuk tuks, amateur con artists and more tuk tuks. The first time I stayed for about 20 minutes, the next time a couple of days and this time more than a week, so it must be growing on me. Actually, I'm not sure why I haven't spent much time here before now.

It might all come down to the bad first impressions I had of the country, which were being scammed a fistful of dollars on a visa run in March 2011 and a few dollars more by a money changer when I went back in November. Although Cambodia isn't quite as bad as Vietnam in that regard, it left some indignant consumer rage in my system that cancelled out any awe I might have felt wandering around the ancient temples, which are spoiled by too many tourists anyway. Those photos from the Angkor Archaeological Park took ages to crop down and are my crowning achievement in precision tourist genocide. Hmm, maybe I should have used a less sensitive term.

Luckily for me, Southern Cambodia was a lot less photogenic and I seemed to spend a lot of the time deliberately taking photos of things that annoyed me. But for all its faults, I'll probably come back some time to stay slightly longer again. I can't say the same about Vietnam.

Phnom Penh
- don't have Khmer language installed? You racist)

Thrifty tip 1: Canadia Bank ATMs don't charge for international card transactions like most others (ANZ apparently charges $4). You can find this one by exiting the airport, dodging the taxi touts and heading back along the wall of travel agent stands, next to a sandwich shop

Thrifty tip 2: Don't get a tuk tuk from the shouty men in the airport car park. Walk the 50 metres to the high street and the going rate to riverfront hotels drops from $7 to $5

In the Great South East Asian Beer Off, Angkor tasted almost exactly the same as my vague memories of Beerlao, Chang, Myanmar and San Miguel.

It's just beer, isn't it? If I wanted something nice I'd drink Ichitan barley tea or a milkshake

Wat Phnom

This is apparently the only thing even resembling a hill in this city. I'd like to see those cyclos try to tackle Edinburgh. Actually, I really wouldn't. Please don't take me up on that

These lions have a slightly less serene view than the ones at Pre Rup

You really are spoiling these effigies.
Seriously, please stop killing animals for this

Wat Ounalom

I've seen a lot of temples in the last few years, so by this point it's only the ones I come across first within walking distance of my hotel that will get any sort of attention, regardless of significance

Besides, stupas are never going to look impressive again after Myanmar set the bar too high

Without a guide I don't have insight into the dramatis personæ of Khmer Buddhism,
but I admire the practicality of the guy on the left

Take your chaos elsewhere, you boys, girl and etc.


I don't know Wat this place is. It's in-between Wat Ounalom and the Royal Palace, but it doesn't show up on Google or my tourist map. What are they hiding?
I can only presume there's a Roswell-style UFO in there
(but am prepared to delete this sentence hastily if someone points out it's a dead king or something, sorry)

Templed out, I didn't bother paying to get into the Royal Palace. I doubt a green Buddha and grey pagoda would be as entertaining as watching these monks feed too many pigeons

Unlike the well-maintained pagodas, the colonial buildings have really let themselves go

Wat Botum Park, one of the only sanctuaries from tuk tuks. Though motorbikes are still allowed to speed around and shatter the tranquillity, obviously

I was a bit annoyed by the cars and bikes parked on the pavements,
but stringing up your bed where I'm walking is going too far

That's enough falsely entitled, superior complaining for one day. I've got a day of dead stuff to look forward to in the morning, that should make me feel better

1 comment:

  1. The royal palace was a bit rubbish, you did well to save yourself the extravagant $6.50 ($6-2000riel) price tag.

    You'll also be pleased to know that the colonial building your photographed (I think) is now a bar. They haven't done any renovations or anything, they just put some seats outside and let you wander around the empty rooms. That and they've put a huge sign on the front of the building advertising their happy hour (two-for-one [241?] beers, house wines or cocktails from 5 - 7pm). We got some free nuts as well.