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17.01.2006, 09:08

NEWS 47: CAMBODIA - LAOS - New Photos

Dear friends,

sorry that you did not hear anything from us in the last 14 days, but the internet connections in Cambodia were really bad... Now we are in Laos...
The first day of this new year 2006 we crossed the border between Vietnam and Cambodia on the river. That means we went by boat and stopped at two little huts for the stamps. The boat trip was very nice and the same night we arrived in Phnom Penh. The capital is not so big and so we visited on one day almost all sights. Very impressive was the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda with the typical Khmer architecture.


On the 3rd of January we went by bus to Battambang. We visited some monastries and temples there and talked with some monks. In one monastry they called us inside their English lesson and so we said some words. Very funny. It is really amazing how fast and eager the Cambodians leran English. We met different people who had been studying English for only one month but they already spoke pretty well.
From Battambang we went by boat to Siem Reap (Angkor). That was very interesting but also depressive because Cambodia is one of the poorest countries we ever visited with a lot of simple bamboo huts without energy and taking the dirty water from the river. All over the country especially children are begging for money and selling things. Many children never go to school. The war in Cambodia (Red Khmer) is over almost 10 years but the country does not recover, also not with the help of many NGO's (Non Governmental Organisations).
Arriving in Siem Reap is a big contrast to the rest of the country. There you can see some very expensive and noble hotels/resorts for all the rich tourists for visiting the area of Angkor Wat the probably most famous ancient city. The entrance fee is 20US$ for a day and a 3-day ticket is 40US$. Most of the tourist take the 3-day ticket because the area is really huge and impressive. But for us one day was enough. In the end the palaces seem to be all the same... at least for us. We rented bicycles, went almost 40km by bike and drunk 8 litres of water and additional coconut. It was really hot. The palaces and temples are really amazing especially imaging that the city of Angkor had had 1 million inhabitants 1000 years ago. At this time big European cities like London had 75.000. Amazing. In Siam Reap (8km away from Angkor) we rented a nice Bamboo Hut for 3 US$ a night. Nice place. Most of the tourists come by plane just for Angkor.

Back to Phom Penh we went to the south to the beaches of Sihanoukville. We found a nice room directly at the beach and enjoyed some nice days. Because it was very hot we got up 6 o'clock every day and walked along the beach and did some Yoga.
One day we went for snorkelling and visited one "Dream-Island". On the way back to Phom Penh we visited the small city Kampot with some interesting caves. Some kids showed us the hidden trails in the cave - very nice. We went also to Bokor Hill Station an old Hill Station where the French used to live during the Colonization. We did not like so much that place but the view from the 1000m high mountains down to the sea was espectacular.

We enjoyed Cambodia very much. The people are very poor but very friendly. Very seldom we were overcharged and felt really well in the country.

At the end of our just 14 days in Cambodia we went to the north and crossed the border to Laos by boat. We went by a little speed boat for 8 people, but the sitting position is worse than in an airplane... For 50km it took 80minutes. So you can image with what speed we went. Crazy. And that between rocks and little bushes. You really have to trust the driver. The border points are really nowhere and so we had to pay a little "fee" of 1 US$.

The last 3 days we stayed on a very nice island in the Mekong River called Don Det. The French had built an 8km railway on this island to pass the big waterfalls of the Mekong but there are only 2 old rusted locomotives left. It is interesting what the French all did here in this area during the colonization and they left just 60 years ago. On the island we stayed in a simple but nice bamboo hut for 1,50 US$ the night. The owner did not speak a lot of English and we were included in the family life. We had some nice days.
Today we arrived in Pakse and rented some good bicycles for the next 4 days, because we want to cycle a loop of 200km up to the coffee plantations and some traditional minority villages.

Okay friends. I did not write that much about all the things we did the last weeks but again you have an impression about our nice time here.
Now we are starting the last weeks of our journey. In the end of frebruary we will fly to Germany from Bangkok. The day is not fixed yet...

So soon we will meet again.

Anja and Soeren


17.01.2006, 09:16

@ Soeren


Anja found a nice sign on the wall of a toilet in Angkor. That sign is probably made for our friends from China...


Furthermore we found Beer from Mittweida... I guess nobody in Germany drinks that beer that's why you can find it in Cambodia...;-)


And for our friends from Brazil: we found BAUDUCCO in the supermarket!!:-D



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16.02.2007, 00:42

@ Soeren

Drop it.

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