Siem Reap and Angkor rock!

Sunset at Phnom Bakheng

Wow, Siem Reap – the tourist city that serves as hub to the nearby area of Angkor -really rocks. In the very sense of the term.

If you like ancient sites and ruins (like me) then this place is ten times bigger and better than Disneyland can be for a ten year old kid. Many travelers have high expectations before they visit Siem Reap and the ancient Angkor sites. So far all those I’ve met, told me that these expectations were even exceeded.

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Battambang – The Movie

The Battambang Bamboo Train

The Cambodian northwestern town of Battambang is connected by road and railway to the capitol Phnom Penh, which lies about 200km southeast. Taking the train would be a no brainer for a railway buff like me. However, all the locals will advise you to take the bus instead. Trains on this line run only once a week and they are painfully slow – requiring 14 hours for a trip that takes “only” five hours when using the bus.

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Kampot’s concerto for a rainy day

Downtown Kampot

Kampot is a beautiful and elegant colonial city, its fall from grace as a port nearly fifty years ago has left it in a time warp. There is a raw beauty in the streets and some of the buildings reminded me somehow of Cuba. Although small and not a tourist hotspot, this town has a lot of interesting things to offer. No wonder that I ended up staying here longer than in Sihanoukville.

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Uncool and Amok in Sihanoukville

Sokha Beach

Let me confess: I wanted to go to Sihanoukville. Yes, I voluntarily wanted to see the place. It has a nice name and many people rave about the place. Although I knew that I was going to a beach town, I realized on the bus that choosing this destination might have been a mistake. It was full of backpackers putting a lot of effort in looking cool, means: posh behaviour and wearing shades to avoid eye contact.

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Culture shock in Bangkok

Bangkok

What a culture shock! Arriving in Thailand for the first time after almost 15 years proved to be a mixed bag of feelings. This is not the Bangkok I knew. There is a new airport, actually with a highway connected to it. No more need to take the dreaded “Tuk-Tuk“, as there is this new shiny new thingy – called “Skytrain” – which moves tourists (and locals) fast downtown. Speaking of the inner city. This has changed as well. During my stay in Bangkok, I kept looking for familiar places – such as temples and hotels I stayed in. Although I recognized some temples, they seemed to have been transported to a new location as the surrounding area looks just so different.

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