From Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh

Sihanoukville

We took a night bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, reputably the best city for beaches and island hoping.

Arriving early in the morning, we spent the day on the beach. It was the first time in a while we had an entire day doing nothing! The beach was ok, but nothing amazing compared to the Philippines or Thailand. We spent the evening looking for a party some girl on the beach invited us to, walked half an hour by night on the beach (without a flashlight, of course), got attacked by a dog on the way, and ended up finding nothing!

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Our hostel on the beach

On the next day, we decided to move a little bit and went on an island hoping tour: the boat left at 9am and took us on islands around Sihanoukville for snorkeling and relaxing. Very touristic, we didn’t really enjoyed it: everything was timed up, some people were disrespectful (standing on corals, leaving garbage on the beach) but at least the view was great!

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Fairly bored, we left the next morning for Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.

Killing field and S-21

The main “attractions” in Phnom Penh are the killing field and S-21. During the Khmer rouge period (from 1975 to 1979), Pol Pot and the main leaders killed millions of Cambodians, first referenced genocide against its own people. S-21 was a French high school transformed into a prison/questioning center. The visit is full a pictures and stories of captives. Everyone could be a traitor, from babies to elders.

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The interrogation room/cell

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Barbed wires on the balconies to prevent people from comiting suicide

The killing field was the next step: once they had confessed for pretty much anything while tortured, they were dragged to this site, outside the city, to be killed and buried in mass graves. To save ammunition, people were killed with riffle butts or knives/hammers/harvesting tools. Baby were smashed on trees. Very loud Khmer songs were broadcast around the camp to cover the screams…

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Paintings by one of the S-21 survivors (only 12 survived)

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Memorial stupa filled with more than 5,000 human skulls

It was a very intense day…

To cheer up a little bit that day, we met Ariane (Josetta?) for dinner and Lea joined us for some drinks and a night out in Phnom Penh! Going to the Pacha, probably te most famous club of Phnom Pen in boardshorts and flip-flops made our night!

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On the next day, our last day in Cambodia, we visited the Silver Pagoda and the Royal Palace, residence of the king of Cambodia. The visit was fast since most of it was closed to the public.

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The Royal Palace

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The Silver Pagoda

We left the next day by bus, off to Vietnam!

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