Cambodia–Kingdom of Treasures

 

Cambodia–Kingdom of Treasures
The Temples of Angkor Wat
We were so lucky to view over 20 temples in Cambodia. My favorite is Bayon in Angkor Thom with the faces. George’s favorite is the detailed carvings of Bantay Srei. My mom liked Ta Prom with the tall trees growing out and in and around them. I think Dad remembers the stair climb up Ta Keo right after lunch in the HEAT of the day BEST! It was over 100 F and at high noon up the steep uneven small steep steps…but we made it and Dad and George did Tai Chi at the top. George and I were in Siem Reap for 7 days, and were able to see several temples many times. We saw Angkor Wat at sunrise, in the afternoon and evening….we walked through the temple BY OURSELVES. It was INCREDIBLE!

Khmer Rouge
The evidence of the Khmer Rouge is in every city, town and village of Cambodia. We spoke to many Tuk Tuk drivers who told us about being separated from their families and how most of them died in the genocide that killed 3 million people (HALF of the Cambodians from 1975-1979). We saw the detention and torture center of S-21 and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh. In Battambang, we saw the Well of Shadows, a new and very moving monument to the many people killed in that area. We saw many temples that were used as jails and torture centers.

The People and Places
In Phnom Penh, we visited the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda which are very beautiful. We also went for a sunset boat ride on Tonle Sap River.
In Battambang, we saw (and heard) rice paper being made–two people have to work together to make the circle paper for spring rolls. We also saw mushrooms grown on rice straw and rubber–it was pretty incredible. We also saw the Bamboo Train, they travel both ways on a single track and take one train off the track when they meet up.
In Kompong Cham, we saw amazing fields of Lotus Blossoms, and went to the AMICA village where we saw a ceremony with 5 monks chanting for prosperity for the village. 10% of Cambodians live in this province.
In Kratie, we went for a sunset cruise to see the river dolpins. They were very cooperative and we saw over a dozen of them but they are a challenge to get on camera.

Feb 26-March 13
To learn more about CAMBODIAN HISTORY read Elizabeth Becker’s book, “When the War was over.” She was one of 3 journalists to enter Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge.
Most Cambodians live in the countryside (80% work in the rice fields). 96% are ethnic Khmers.
In Cambodia, we have often had dinner for $4.50 and stayed at a nice place for $12. It has been odd that we get United States Dollars out of the ATM!!
We loved the Angkor area temple East Mebon with 8 elephant sculptures and Phnom Bakeng with REAL elephants!!
Our Phnom Penh guide, Dara, told us that “his 6 year old is learning Mandarin in school. The Japanese government is paying school fees for all elementary school children in Cambodia. College costs $200/year. There are no pensions and there is a 10% salary tax. The 4000 pagadas all have schools. Government cars get FREE gas. “

It is amazing with the 10 or more countries in multi million dollar projects in Angkor area for restoration that there is no money. There is much corruption in Cambodia. Including that Hun Sen, the Cambodian premier, was a high level member of the Khmer Rouge but switched sides and came back with Viet Nam to oust the Khmer Rouge…

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed on cruise ships for seven years on the high seas and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blog and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one million views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 150,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. She has been a finalist for six Southern California Journalism Awards in the past three years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip. http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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