Here I am back in Bangkok for my fifth time. In hind sight, I completely got this trip backwards. I spent a total of ten days in Bangkok while only spending four days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It turns out that I truly loved that city and blame myself for cheating my time there. So, while I will keep this post in chronological order I will focus on Phnom Penh.
Of course Bangkok never disappoints but since I had seen basically every tourist site the city has to off (many of them twice) I found it difficult to fill my time. I’m thankful that I had a chance to meet up with my good friends, Brian and Greg, for a day. Also, I actually ran into some people that I met here eight years ago! Back then we would meet a couple of times a week for the latest (extravagant, but cheap) lunch buffet. I called us the “Lunch Bunch” back then. We relived old times and certainly had another great lunch together.
It’s so hot and steamy here in Bangkok that I was happy when the time came for me to move on the Phnom Penh. While the weather there was still hot, it was not nearly as humid so it was more comfortable for walking around. My first stop was the Foreign Correspondents Club which was near my hotel. This is where all the reporters stayed during the 1970s when Pol Pot was conducting his genocide in Cambodia and the Viet Nam war was just winding down (interestingly enough it is called “The American War” here). Not much has changed in the old building and it really was nostalgic remembering that time as I was in high school then and remember the news reports of those days.
But the next morning, the fun really begins. Before I left California I found a guy on Trip Advisor that takes you all around Phnom Penh in a tuk tuk. To get a sense of what that is like you can click here for my You Tube page.
Our first stop was a museum called S-21. It was a sad place where thousands of people were tortured and interrogated during the Pol Pot regime. Anyone who wore glasses, had soft hands, or were educated were taken here where confessions were extorted from them such as the were working for the CIA or KGB
From S-21 we moved on to an even more gruesome place called The Killing Fields. Here tens of thousands of men, women, and children were victims of a horrendous genocide during the Pol Pot regime.
But things got better after stopping at those two heart-wrenching places.
I was beat after day one with Visal, but since he only charged $30/day, I had booked him for two full days. The next morning found us visiting several of the temples and royal palaces spread around the city.
One of the highlights was travelling outside the city (by tuk tuk of course) to visit an island in the Mekong River where a family still practices making silk by hand. From cultivating the larvae, spinning the thread, and weaving the silk on a loom. It was very interesting. But to me, one of the most interesting aspects was the ferry crossing the Mekong, one of my favorite rivers.
If you would like to see more about the silk making process, you can watch my short video
That brings us back to Bangkok, and I fly home tomorrow–a rather grueling trek. So, for now, I’ll say tuk tuk–I mean ta ta–My life is a trip!