The trip to Phnom Penh went as scheduled. All of the flights were on time, and there were no difficulties. Korean Air has an award-winning menu which includes traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap and bibim noodles. I typically eat these dishes and thoroughly enjoy them! The biggest downside to flying Korean Air is that all the announcements are made in Korean first and then in English.
For all the stories I’ve heard about Cambodia’s primitiveness, I noticed nothing out of the ordinary for a Southeast Asian country. The airport is only a few years old, very clean, and modern, though small. Though I must admit, in typical third-world fashion, it was notably inefficient. (They have a new airport because the last one was blown up in a coup!)
I arrived in the evening, which is always interesting in a third-world country. But Phnom Penh was every bit as advanced, civil, and organized as any other place I’ve been in the third-world, and especially in Asia. Although still darker than a city in the United States, the streets were lit better than in other places I have been, and the traffic was less chaotic than in many places. As usual, the streets were lined with vendors of all sorts, mostly selling food. The streets are very dusty, and groups of people huddle in the dark talking or eating at the food vendors.
After a good night’s sleep, we traveled to Siem Reap today to visit the ancient temple Angkor Wat. The flight was only thirty minutes, but we still were served a sandwich. As I mentioned before, the service on foreign airlines is superior to U.S. airlines. Siem Reap, like Phnom Penh, is bustling with new construction and Western tourists. Cambodia is on the rise, and things are looking good for their economy. There is a lot to look forward to here.
Angkor was the seat of the Khmer empire, and there are more than 1,000 temples in this area. Angkor is believed to have been the largest preindustrial city in the world. Angkor Wat is the foremost temple in the area and believed to be the world’s largest religious monument.
Angkor was the Angkor Wat was built between 1113 and 1150 by King Suryavarman II. Originally built as a Hindu temple, its dimensions and architecture reflect Hindu cosmology and other aspects of Hinduism. The temple has since served as a Buddhist temple. You can read more about Angkor Wat at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor.