EXPLORING CAMBODIA WITH URBAN ADVENTURES
It took me a good long year to finally reach Cambodia. last year, I travelled to its neighbouring countries; Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. For some unidentified reason, I wasn't able to travel to Cambodia.
Three weeks ago, I convinced myself to get a flight ticket back to the Philippines. However, for some reasons, I found myself in a 9-hour bus ride from Bangkok to Siem Reap to find out what's attracting me to go to this country. Putting aside one of the worst hangovers I ever had from dancing in Khaosan Road and coming home with bruises and cuts, I couldn't wait to see what Cambodia has to offer.
Temples of Angkor
After I checked in myself, put away my bags, ordered myself a 2 dollar friend rice, I'm back on my bed staring at my computer screen. A few hours later, I've got myself a tour to the temples of Angkor with Urban Adventures. The world's biggest worship place; composed of so many temples, and is really massive, now that makes sense why it will take you some days to explore the whole area.
At first, I was hesitant to visit the Angkor since I felt like I have seen enough temples in the past year of my travels. My friends who have been there, wouldn't stop bugging me that I honestly have to see it, therefore I did. Angkor is famous as a sunrise and sunset location, however, during the rainy season, it's hard to spot it.
I was picked up at around 8.30 the next day, the ticket office is located only five kilometres from the city centre. Our tour guide, Vanny, spoke great English and was ready to answer all our questions. It was the rainy season when I visited Cambodia, so I didn't bother in trying to catch the sunrise. I did a full day 8-hour tour where we covered the famous Angkor Wat, Ta Phrom (Tomb Raider) and the Bayon Temple (Smiling Faces) plus with a delicious local lunch.
There are so many fun things to do in Siem Reap, exploring the floating village is one of them. I hung around for a few more days to explore the area, which is actually a very small city. Travelling here alone and trying to meet other travellers is very easy, everyone does the tourist attractions in the day then enjoy a fifty cents(US) beer at the Pubstreet. Across this street is the night market where you can buy all the souvenirs you need.
Genocide Museum (S21) & The Killing Fields
I took a 6-hour bus ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh overnight, it's probably one of the best sleeping buses I've ever taken plus not hangover this time! Get yourself a ticket online, I highly suggest you travel by the bus company Giant Ibis.
Heading to Phnom Penh, I know that I definitely want to see the S21 or also known as the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields which both covers the dark past of Cambodia. So, I checked out with the Urban Adventures if they have a tour for this, which is they do. They have two tours for this attraction, one that runs for 6-7 hours and the other that runs for 3-4 hours, I did the shorter one since I was planning to head down to Sihanoukville on the same day.
I was picked up from my hostel at 8.30, we then picked up the rest of the members of the tour. As we drive to S21, our tour guide, Da, gave us enough information about the tour of the day. Khmer Rouge has a very intense history, however, this happened only about 40 years ago, we are still not allowed to talk about it openly. We were advised to ask our personal questions when we are in our van for safety reasons.
Da speaks great English, the language barrier was not an issue. She generously shared all the information and facts we need to know about the two destinations we explored. Visiting the Killing fields and S21 was such a heavy day, it was emotionally exhausting.
I've never heard about Khmer Rouge until I started travelling which was only two years ago. The fact that I grew up in the Philippines and Cambodia is just my neighbour, it's shocking to discover about this genocide which happened not long time ago. I can't say I had a "great day" after the tour but Urban Adventures did an awesome job in presenting this dark past of Cambodia.
I chose Urban Adventures when I was exploring Cambodia not only because they are well-known for delivering top quality city tours but also because they only hire the locals who know exactly what the travellers need to know. #LocalsKnow.
I hope you find this article useful for your upcoming trip to Cambodia. If are planning to go to Vietnam after here, check out how to get from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City and where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
DISCLAIMER: Without the help of the amazing PR team of Urban Adventures, this collaboration wouldn't have happened. Even though, all reviews are my own. This article contains affiliate links which mean if you use these links, I will earn a very small commission to keep my blog running.