On Thursday I begin my 10 day travels to Cambodia & a quick wink of Thailand! I’ll be visiting the capital city of Phnom Penh, moving onto Siem Reap as home base to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat that is compared to the wonder of Machu Picchu.
For those interested, I will provide some general information about Cambodia here as I will most likely blog about my adventures either during my trip or after I return. Furthermore, there is a stigma about Cambodia being incredibly unsafe as a result of the 1970’s TV images and the land mine threat. I will also write about how the areas I will be in are rather safe as opposed to the ‘you’re going to die’ conversations I’ve held with people.
First of all, it’s location. The whole country is slightly smaller than Oklahoma. Please see the map. Located between Vietnam, Laos, Thailand & the Gulf of Thailand, the weather for this time of the year is REALLY hot. I checked the 10 day forecast and it looks like we will be seeing the country with varying high temperatures between 86-92 F with 50-60% chance of rain everyday. The low temperature does not drop down under 79 F at all. We will be just entering into the rainy, monsoon season, so hopefully we don’t see much of it.
The population is 13,995,904 people.
The official language is Khmer with few speaking French from when French colonized there and a bit of English.
The Romanization of the Native way to say Cambodia is Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea
I will be 12 hours ahead of USA’s East Coast
Both men and women can vote at the age of 18 under a democratic constitution
Cambodia is divided into twenty provinces
Thearavada Buddhism is practiced by 95% of the population
The economy is steadily rising – in 2006 it grew 13% mainly by their textile and tourist industry. As a result of Cambodia’s history in the 1970’s – more than 50% of their population is younger than 21 years old. Much of the country lacks basic education skills, most notably in the countryside as a result of no infrastructure.
(all this information derived from the CIA World Fact book)
As far as safety goes, I will be tramping around in cities and high tourist spots. Therefore, the two major concerns that I’ve heard are landmines and abductions – for me, these won’t be an issue. While landmine threats are existent, the areas that I am visiting are absolutely mine free. No tourist has stepped on a land mine in four years. Additionally, the number of locals in the countryside that are stepping on landmines have decreased substantially. In 1996, there were 3000 incidents with an improvement of 1000 in 1999. The Khmer Rouge ended back in 1998 and no one has been abducted since then. Again, I will be in major touristy areas, not in the countryside、so I have nothing to worry about. I will take the same precautions here that I would back at home.
Information derived from here.
I am really excited to get there; I need a break from my routine life here in Japan. I’ve really been ignoring my blog lately, mainly because I don’t have anything to write about. I will be keeping a journal while on my trip and will hopefully find time to write up on my blog when I get back. I will have a brief one day visit in Thailand on my way back to Japan – we will cross the border by land, which should be an interesting experience in itself.
Some of the spots I will be visiting include: Wat Phnom, the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Sisowath Quay, Toul Sleng Museum and the killing fields, Phsar Thmei boutiques, Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, Angkor Thom, Banteay Srei, Kbal Spean, Beng Mealea, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan and Srah Srang.
I’ll let you know how they are when I get back!