Phnom Penh: Contrasts in Cambodia

Sunday, October 26, 2014
I arrived in Phnom Penh with no knowledge and no expectations what so ever. I saw it mostly like a quick pit stop before Siem Reap and the legendary Angkor Wat.

Driving from in the suburban of Phnom Penh this place fooled me to be the poorest place I've visited in Asia so far. As we crossed a big bridge the landscape suddenly changed. Temples and statues, palm trees and well-organized benches by the river.
Our Tuk Tuk driver Tony had got us safely to a cozy backpacker hostel - he seemed very legit and I quickly noticed how welcoming and smiling people in this country is. My travel buddy Lasse and I made a deal with Tony to pick us up the next day for a city tour.

Phnom Penh has a major modern time history - with torture, killings and gruesome inhuman crimes which make me shiver. First stop on our city tour was a tough one; the killing fields. A scary place where the communist dictatorship used to send out buses filled with prisoners; simply to execute them without wasting bullets.

On display you'll find human skulls from executed prisoners (out of respect I wont post photos of the skulls and bones, but I was told that with every rainy weather the staff picks up more human remains like teeth and bone fragments), mass graves decorated with bracelets from visitors paying their respects and the magic tree, which used to have speakers blasting out music, simply to block out the screams from prisoners being executed.

Up to as much as 3 out of 8 million Cambodians were slaughtered.
Once you've visited the killing fields, you have to head to Tuol Sleng prison, where  the captives were held and tortured before driven to the killing fields for execution. That's if, of course, they didn't end their days in the prison.
Only 7 men out of 20.000 survived the prison. One of them was still at the prison - selling artwork.

After shivers and such contrast to our little Denmark, we needed a bit of food and decided to try some local dishes; 'red curry chicken' and 'a mok'. Both very delicious and well-tasting from the kitchen of Tuk Tuk Cafe.

With renewed energy we headed for a local thai boxing fight as our last stop. Action, intensity and screaming fans made this an experience to remember. Even though it was held in a warehouse, there was referees, a ring leader, commentators, TV-coverage and professional fighters of course! With free entrance and a lot of fights we couldn't complain!

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.