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“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” Saint Augustine

My parents moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia in the middle of last year. They went as missionaries – my father teaching children at an international school and my mother helping out with admin at a medical clinic. For the month of January this year, they hosted myself, my husband, his brother and sister and a friend of ours…this is an blurb of that story ­čÖé

There is much to see and do in Cambodia, and not just in Phnom Penh! Siem Reap (made more famous than it already was by playing a setting role in a ‘Tomb Raider’ movie) is a must-visit place for tourists too.

Cambodia has great shopping, great eating, great photo ops and some great people. But if you’re looking for the huge malls of the Philippines, the luscious beaches of Thailand or the infrastructure of China then you’ll be surprised in Cambodia. It has a couple of malls, small and used by the rich Khmer people or foreigners. There are a couple of beaches, but you need to travel to get to them. And due to the devastation that the Khmer Rouge brought down on the country in the ’70s,┬áinfrastructure┬áis only now starting to kick back into gear. The country is still trying to find its footing and rebuild a nation of hurt people.

Cambodia was aptly described in a prayer at church in the week before we left as a land of contradictions. The speaker described a place that’s pure and natural beauty is surrounded by disgusting reminders of the ‘modern’ lifestyle. Cambodia boasts some of the most amazing natural scenery, timeless ancient architecture and smiling, friendly faces. It also offers a terrible disregard for God’s creation – both in nature and people. The poor are forgotten and left to fend for themselves while the rich continue to take more than their fair share. This week, we farewelled this country. It was both a pleasure and a hardship, but mostly it was a great opportunity to be with family and be immersed in a new culture!

Here are some things we did in Cambodia:
~Visited several NGOs to discover what people are passionate about and what they can achieve for those who need it most
~Traveled to Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat – the world famous ancient temples as well as the bustling night markets
~Checked out the PP markets and malls and experienced shopping in new and different ways, especially when it came to haggling for better prices!
~Experiencing new and exotic foods and drinks
~National Museum
~Unfortunately, the Palace was closed but this was recommended to us so if you’re going – make sure it’s on your list!
~S-21 Genocide Museum
~Killing Fields…this and S-21 were eye-opening experiences for us all as we learnt more about the terrible reign of the Khmer Rouge and the sufferings that the Khmer people endured
~Australia Day celebrations with Australian expats ­čÖé

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A highly recommended place to visit if you’re looking for something a little more off the beaten track…!

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