Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cambodia: Random Photos from Siem Reap, Battambang, and Phnom Penh

We visited three cities, Siem Reap, Battambang, and Phnom Penh, that collectively were some 500 kilometers apart, so between the cities themselves and travel between them, we have a considerable number of photos of country and its people. Here is a sampling.

Siem Reap

Preferred modes of travel in Siem Reap.  Tuk-tuks for tourists and bikes and mopeds for the locals.

Nice Thai restaurant.  The local food was fantastic.

A bustling local market.

Small village on the way out to some of the more remote Angkor sites.  Most of the road side vendors were selling weaved baskets, which sold for just a few bucks.  The same baskets costs hundreds in the States.
Making palm sugar.
And selling it along the road.
Lush countryside with many farms and cattle ranches.

Quite a bit of low ground and standing water.  We were there in the dry season, so one can only imagine how much standing water there is during the monsoon.
No small wonder that many of the houses in the countryside were built on stilts.

Famous street in Siem Reap.  Lots of restaurants, bars, shops, and massage places.

Your local gas station, complete with snacks for you and bottled gasoline for your auto. Though there appeared to a growing number of real gas stations similar to the ones in the US, particularly in the cites, these types of places appeared to be in the majority in the countryside and smaller towns.
Bus stop on the four hour drive from Siem Reap to Battambang.

Sangkor River flowing through the center of  the city.

The local market.

The market was the central feature of the downtown area.

Battambang supposedly contains some of the best-preserved French colonial-style architecture in Cambodia.  That may have been so, but we were less than impressed.  While this particularly building and a few others looked rather nice, we found most of the city's buildings quite rundown and in need of a bit of cleaning and repair.  The city itself, while generally friendly, was rather dirty and not very tourist friendly.  Sadly, there seemed to be many homeless children.

Our hotel, however, was great.  Beautiful, relaxing, with great food, and served by a very friendly staff.  The owner was particularly nice and acommodating.   Tragically, his entire family was killed during the rule of the Khmer Rouge back in the 1970s.  He escaped to France, spent 40 years living in Paris, married a French woman, had a family, and then returned to run the hotel.

Locals fishing in the Sangkor River, just down the street from our hotel.

Typical home on the banks of the river.
Another home down the street from our hotel. 

Views of the countryside near Battambang


 Prasat Banan Temple near Battambang

Local lore is that Angkor Wat was modeled on Prasat Banan, which was built in the 11th century.  

Phnom Penh

View from our hotel.
Independence Monument.
Typical traffic.
Street side food stand.
Streets along the Tonle Sap River, one of two major rivers flowing through the city.  The other is the Mekong.  The building on the left is the Foreign Correspondents Club, which attempts to honor the days when foreign war correspondents had plenty of business in Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia.
Where the two rivers meet and the Mekong begins its course to Vietnam and the South China Sea.

Gate to the Royal Palace.
Another busy street.
While the city is vibrant and there is a great deal of money flowing in, there are a considerable number of poverty-stricken areas.

One more entry on Cambodia to go.....

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