Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thy Kingdom of Cambodia

Day 3

Crossing the borders of Vietnam and Cambodia was a breeze. Hassle-free for Asians like me compared than those other foreign nationalities because they have to secure visa before entering the Kingdom of Cambodia.

crossing the borders

I met two Pinays while crossing the borders, little did I realized, we were sharing the same bus, only they were seated at the far end, while I'm almost next  to the front seat. They were just as amazed as others when they realized I’m travelling all by myself.

Few minutes after we crossed the border, we had a stop over for a quick breakfast. I joined our kababayan for  breakfast. They ordered some omelette, while I had some hot coffee (15,000 vnd) and paired it with some cookies.

breakfast: tipid mode haha

My  new found friends were in Vietnam for almost a month already. They were actually trying their luck to find a job, but so far, they weren't able to find one yet.

I was really hoping to reach Phnom Penh before noontime, so I can have at least few hours to explore the city before proceeding to Siem Reap, maybe around 3-4pm.

Apparently, the supposed  six-hour drive from Saigon to Phnom Penh made it to almost 8-9hrs. We reached the ferry terminal (more like a ro-ro terminal) at around 10am, plus an hour and half land travel after that.  Whew!

Around 12noontime, I had my first glimpse to Phnom Penh, the city capital of Cambodia. I didn’t know what to expect as most articles I've read were suggesting to skip this part, and just go directly to SiemReap. 

I bade goodbye to my new found friends (I forgot their names, sorry). They’re heading to SR, like me, but they’re taking the next bus, which is around 1245pm. While I still need to explore the city for at least six hours, because I settled for the bus that’s leaving at 6pm – and will arrive SR by midnight. (And will have to wake up the next day at 4am to watch the sunrise in Angkor Wat.. Kumusta  naman..)

I actually have a contact person for my PP city tour, he was charging me for 15usd, Killing fields and Genocide museum is not included. They say it’s far from the city. But that’s where I wanna go. So I started to talked to some tuk tuk drivers. Again, language barriers was a bit of a problem. Good thing there’s this one person who knows how to speak English a little and was able to help me arranged with my tuktuk driver for a four-hour-tour.

I’m not really interested exploring the city. I just want to go to the two memorable and important sites in PP - the killing fields and S21.

So off we go. Here’s to my first tuk tuk ride! (I accidentally deleted my pix for this)

'Twas an awful ride. Imagine your driver had this smell – a very distinct smell of people who has BO… yes.. a very bad BO…and he’s in front of you… and all the air brushing his scent right into your nose… arrghhh…

Finally reaching the Genocide Museum. It was quite a long ride, no wonder, it has a different rate than of the city tour being charged by common tuk tuk guide.


entrance fee: 2usd

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, also commonly known as S21. It used to be an abandoned high school which was used by the Polpot regime as the interrogation camp and was known as ‘the place where people go and never come out.’ *creepiness* According to history, around 20, 000 people entered into S21 and only 7 were able to walked out, alive.

Upon entrance, you will be greeted by a large epitah where it was written the Rules of the Prisoners. Yes, they have rules on how to answer the interrogation or else, they would regret the day they were born.

I never bothered hiring a tour guide inside the museum. My plan was just to do sightseeing and picture taking. I tried entering two to three rooms all by myself, thinking I needed not to be afraid of all these stories or photos on the wall… but each time I set foot on those super scary spooky rooms… goose bumps were in every part of my body.

Imagine yourself, entering a very silent building, in a very quiet room…while watching all this dreadful photos.. nakakapangilabot talaga

Each room depict a very tragic past.

So to lessen my scary paranoid moments, I decided to join this group of some Caucasians, pretending I’m one of them –  listening to their tour guide.


Just before I exited the site, I saw these graves. Fourteen graves. They said these were bodies left behind the old school building and were beyond identification because of the bruises and wounds all over their body.

More tragic and horrible stories were explained by the tour guide, pero nakakaumay rin. But as much as ‘nakakaumay’ rin all the stories about Ninoy, on how he suffered on the hands of Marcos – it all meant something to us, as it is to them – to their culture, to their history and to their freedom. 

I think we just have to be thankful, we never have to suffer like this today.

**Nexy stop: Killing Fields

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