If like me your introduction to Cambodia was via the film ‘The Killing Fields’ you may have opinions about what Cambodia will be like – some truly horrible things happened here.
The Khmer Rouge years ended in 1979, leaving over 2 million dead (half through starvation the others executed for ‘crimes’) and a country destroyed; all money, records, deeds etc gone. The legacy of this remains today, for example: no one in Cambodia owns property or land, everything is rented, the population is very young – in 2013, 50% were under 25 years of age.
Whilst the key players in the Khmer Rouge were captured, died or pardoned, there are others who played a part and people know who they are… But time moves on and there are generations alive now who did not live through those years.
Some things still seem like a country building itself: often literally, such as roads that are in poor condition, sometimes in other ways such as the dependence on US dollars for currency. There is huge potential here too; a relatively untapped tourism industry, some fantastic assets like the Angkor site and a young population.
This place is going to change a lot, and very soon…
A note about currency: US Dollars are the de facto currency, ATMs dispense them. You will not need to arrive with any other kind of cash.
There is a Cambodian currency (Riels) and locals can convert with lightening speed! You can spend this money and may first encounter it when something smaller than a dollar is required as change. The money itself is often quite pretty and features Cambodian locations – Angkor Wat is on the 500 note.
Unfortunately this part of the world is plagued with corruption and scams; an interesting article here if you cross the border by land.
You can get to postcards via the menus or by the map below; red pins are locations with postcards, blue pins are unrecorded (so far) visits.
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Additional photo albums are viewable here