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Cambodia

The Kingdom

Story by Ashok Kumar March 1st, 2016

kingdom of cambodia

Cambodia has always been a place in my travel bucket list for quite a while. This is actually one of the first few trips where I really focused on the photography aspects and also the beauty Cambodia has to offer. If you are on a budget and love exploring, Cambodia is the place to be. Was there for about 6 days and visited Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. We all know that one place everyone will, or rather must visit when they are at Cambodia.

Angkor Wat

Arrived in Phnom Penh and managed to get the last bus into Siem Reap. Bus was supposed to take 4 hours but it turned out to be a 8 hour one. But it was an experience. Once we checked ourselves into the hotel, showered, and we were off to the majestic place known at the Angkor Wat. And trust me when I say this, it one of the best sunrises I have ever seen in my life.

View from the entrance.
Sunrise
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carvings

Another thing that intrigued me while I was at the temples (more to come) were the carvings inside the temples. For something that old, the place was beautiful as the carvings were done precisely. But down the road, heartless people came to vandalise the place but one thing that still remains is its beauty and its original factor.

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Floating village

After a tiring walk around the Angkor Wat Complex (we had little sleep), decided to listen to our tuk-tuk driver and head down to the floating village. Low and behold, it was the first time ever I’ve seen a village on its own surviving on what is on the water. Schools, markets and even crocodile farms were present in the village. But one thing that was common amongst the villagers was all of them had a smile on their faces.

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Down by the river.
Crocs
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Wherever it is, Beckham is still a top draw.
Guess nothing beats bringing a smile to kids who are less fortunate.

angkor thom & ta phrom

These temples were made famous from the movie Tomb Raider. Once we were in, all you could here from the touts and those selling merchandise were ‘TOMB RAIDER TEMPLE’. It really felt like a broken record. But thank god the place was breathtaking and beautiful. For those who are visiting, try not to fall for the touts. They usually get the cutest children to sell and your heart would definitely melt. But you buy from one, you have to buy from the others.

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Choeung ek Genocidal center

After exploring the beauty of Siem Reap, we headed back to the capital city, Phnom Penh. This place has to be one of the most heart wrenching places I have ever been to.

The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center is a reminder of what Cambodia has gone through the last 40 years. We arrived at the centre to a very quiet and solemn place. You didn’t need a reminder that you were entering a solemn place. Plugged in to our headphones and off we were to our learning journey. And a tear or two definitely left my eyes.

Buddhist Stupa
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The stupa is filled with 5000 human skulls. Just by one look, you will know how the person got executed.
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Tuol sieng Genocide museum

This was the place where the execution and the punishments took place. From the outside, it looks like any ordinary school. But deep inside, the walls tell you a story. The barb wires reminded you that no one was allowed to escape. The numbers on the wall speak of the days they were inside not knowing day or night. And the photos in the room reminded us of the innocent people who lost their lives.

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Cambodia was a reminder where no matter how much of beauty it beholds, it always has a history that no one in the country would ever forget. The reminders were so stark, you couldn’t ever close your eyes to it. Will I ever come back?

Definitely.

Till the next one,

Ashok Kumar

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Footnote: All photos taken by a Sony RX100Mii
Cambodia