travel postcards, practical advice, images and snippets of randomness

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.

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