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Cambodia – Land of Peace and Prosperity

February 14, 2015 — 0

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Inner_Post

Cambodia – Land of Peace and Prosperity

February 14, 2015 — 0

Empires rise and fall. Great empires have their peak and then they falter and while some fall slowly but surely, others simply decimate quickly and suddenly due to varied factors. Well, I am not intelligent nor well researched enough on which category the history of Cambodia falls, but what I can say is that visiting the country did showcase the Great Empire Cambodia once had and that it lost its way in between to become one of Asia’s lesser prosperous countries now (2015).

I do see signs that the country wants to get back on its feet and regain some of the lost glory and ironically, the ruins of the glorious past are its immediate catalysts that are helping it do the same. This brings us to the journey of Angkor Wat. Which we took in early 2015. Read on for more! It was surely a delightful / insightful experience.

Click here to see the temples and other highlights of the trip!

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So why this was the place we want to see at the time

The trip plans were hatched in the holiday season of December 2014 when we were planning where to go for Easter. Chinese New Year plans were not possible for logistical reasons and hence focus turned to Easter. We have been to several “usual” Asian countries and we were looking for a place where there was visa on arrival for Indians. Cambodia fit the bill.

We were also excited to see the world famous Angkor Wat since that is a place we have heard so much about but not been able to see and experience. It is one of the wonders of the historical world, UNESCO heritage site since early 1990s and we had heard numerous things of its historical greatness.

It is also a place that my friends who have been there, tell me that is quite reasonable / cheap for the luxurious experience you can get given the high quality of their hotels (especially hospitality) and given we have a sweet infant at home, we thought that is another check box ticked.

Lastly, the place is also one of the few ones that is so reasonable and easy to access and yet, considered very safe (we didn’t try to experiment much though). To add to this, which is more from experience after the trip – Cambodian people or Khmers, are one of the friendliest people I have seen, especially with tourists. This is a virtue you do not often see in countries on the lower end of economic strata.

Right, so with that, on with the trip!

A few checkpoints before the trip

Cambodian Visa – Except a few ASEAN and neighbouring countries, we all need a visa, although the process is simplified through the online program if you are arriving at either Siem Reap and Phnom Penh (capital) or select border crossings.  We applied for the visa in person through the embassy in HK and it was issued to us right then and there. Online visa takes three days while there is visa on arrival as well, but we wanted to avoid the separate line that is usually there for VoA at the airport, given we were arriving late in evening and travelling after a full working day in office. (all info as of 2015)

Another thing, it is handy to carry mosquitoes patches and/or cream. Also, hat and sunscreen coz it can get really hot!!! Although one can choose to just spend the mornings and evenings to go out (there is little action during the day) but these are quite handy there. Btw, you can get nice hats at very reasonable price (US$3-4) from there itself.

 

Heading to Siem Reap from Hong Kong

The purists will say there is a direct flight to Siem Reap which is extremely comfortable. Given the lack of decision making well ahead of time and as described in the main page direct flights were just not economical enough (even in economy, no pun intended) for us to take. So out goes Dragon Air, and in comes Vietnam Airlines! The flights were via Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (one stop) to and fro, with 1hr layover while going and 7hr layover while returning, which sounds a lot but actually it turned out quite well, we had a great time at the airport.

As for Vietnam Airlines it was actually quite a decent flight except for our parents, mainly as they didn’t have veggie options and we unfortunately forgot to pre-book it for them.

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Click here to see the temples and other highlights of the trip!

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