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 Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

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