Cambodia. Home of the killing fields and Angkor Wat. But what else ? In 2010 we went to find out and were both amazed and humbled by a truly awe inspiring country and its people.
Cambodia has been empire and slave in its history. Its vast cities (only now being found far beyond Angkor Wat) and ancient culture sits weirdly comfortably beside its cosmopolitan resurgence and its groeing popularity as a playground to backpackers and the wealthy alike (not to mention a lot of very dubious characters).
Siam Reap has French haute Cuisine, a Victorian era Raffles Hotel and late night BBQ grasshoppers all within streets of each other. Phnom Penh has nightlife like any modern city but also a very uncomfortable vibe , a residue of the horrors it suffered under the Khmer Rouge in the 70’s.(their children and grandchildren are still the “rich kids”.
This photo is of a small number of the over 500 soldiers and their families stationed at the Preah Vihear Temple on the Thai- Cambodia border. Technically they are still at war but some cigarettes, sweets for the kids and friendly smiles got us a ride in an open pickup up a mountain and a tour of one of the worlds largest , but least known Hindu (latterly Bhuddist) temples.
No other tourists and lots of ammunition on show. Tourist Trap? Luckily not!