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Cambodia by the Numbers

July 1, 2013

This wraps up my coverage of our adventures in Cambodia!  Here are some final thoughts and a run-down of the trip by the numbers.

# nights stayed: 9 (4 in Phnom Penh and 5 in Siem Reap)

# flights: 4 including connections

# of meals including fish amok: almost all

Fish amok made in Petit Villa cooking class.

Fish amok made in Petit Villa cooking class.

# markets visited: 6

# of bags of cheese straws fed to Lucky the elephant: 5+

# of gibbons petted: 2

One of the gibbons at Phnom Tamao.

One of the gibbons at Phnom Tamao.

# of Femme Fatale cocktails consumed: 1

# cases of salmonella poisoning: 1 (blerg!)

# temples visited: 9

Banteay Srei Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Banteay Srei Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

# different kinds of transportation taken: 7 (plane, taxi, sedan, jeep, tuk tuk, bus, boat)

# photos taken: 1,798 (mostly of temples)

Favorite things: Seeing Angkor Wat on Christmas Day was certainly a highlight for me!  WWW enjoyed exploring the streets of Phnom Penh and the supermarkets in Siem Reap which gave nice insights into contemporary life in Cambodia.  Finally, playing with gibbons and Lucky the elephant at Phnom Tamao Zoo was another favorite part of the trip.

Least favorite things: Neither of us really fell in love with Cambodian food.  We found fish amok (the national dish) to be rather bland, and most of our favorite meals were of the non-Khmer variety.  Getting salmonella poisoning that hit full force on the return journey was definitely the worst part of the trip.  After throwing up in front of everyone at the Phnom Penh airport for the third or fourth time, I was petrified security wouldn’t allow me on the flight and I’d be quarantined.  Finally, our hotel in Phnom Penh turned out to be a big disappointment, but I guess that’s what we get for booking rather last minute during peak season.

Most surprising: Though we knew we wanted to learn more about Cambodia’s past and the Khmer Rouge before visiting the country, we were impressed with the quality of the museums and information provided on the topic.  While visiting S-21 and the Killing Fields was an emotionally trying experience, these were perhaps the most rewarding stops on our itinerary.  Also, while not entirely unexpected, Cambodia is the least developed country in terms of infrastructure either WWW or I have visited.  This was particularly apparent on our perilous six-hour journeys between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap via bus.  However, the number of foreign and Cambodian NGOs and caused-based organizations we found and were able to patronize was a happy and heartwarming surprise.

Have you ever been to Cambodia?  What were some of the things that you liked, disliked, or found surprising?  Share in the comments!

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