One of the first surprises was this snake draped boy who greeted me from his floating fishing village. He graciously accepted the dollar bill as a thank you for his effort. I landed in Phnom Penh and joined my Gate 1 travel group. It was wonderful to let someone else be responsible for all the travel connections. My group of 22 people is destined for Cambodia, Bangkok, Laos and Vietnam. One of our first stops was The Killing Fields where over 1 million people were executed by the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979. We heard a personal account from a survivor of the prisons whose life was saved because he could repair scooters, Walking The Killing Fields is chilling, as you can still see clothes and bones working their way up through the soil. The guide provided a very factual account but it was tough to listen to as an American, as somehow we supported the killers in this civil war. This picture was a tree where visitors leave bracelets to honor the children who were killed.
From there we flew to Siam Reap and Ankor Wat. These amazing temple structures were built in the 1100’s to honor Kings. My favorite was the ruins called Ankor Tom where the jungle is still trying to reclaim the temples. Moving these huge stones, erecting them and then carving miles of intricate murals was simply amazing. I can definitely recommend a visit, but AVOID April as it is the hottest month of the year. The temples often were built by Buddist and then changed by Hindu Kings and sometimes back again so the modifications were interesting as the religions evolved.
Finally an Ox Cart ride through the rice fields.