Journey to Cambodia – What to Do, See and Eat (podcast)

Travel to Cambodia - the highlights, surprises and difficulties. What to see, do and eat.

This episode of the Newbie Traveler talks concerning the latest Newbie Traveler journey to Cambodia. 7 of the 9 individuals who joined me on this journey additionally be part of me for the podcast to share the highlights, surprises, and challenges of the journey.


We did an overland tour of Cambodia beginning in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis in Vietnam, touring to Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang in Cambodia after which ending in Thailand. This was a visit performed with Intrepid Journey, their “Cambodian Traveller” tour.

Angkor Wat and the opposite temples and historic ruins from the 800s to the 1400s have been the principle focus of this journey however there have been numerous different experiences from a Cyclo tour of Phnom Penh to a go to to a Floating Village. We street in tuk-tuks and on a rickety bamboo prepare. We sampled amok and contemporary mango smoothies but additionally nibbled (a few of us) on tarantulas and rats.

We visited the killing fields of Cambodia and the Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh as we tried to know Cambodia’s latest tragic historical past.

A number of the members of the group had an opportunity to go to and take part in a water undertaking drilling wells in villages to offer entry to contemporary ingesting water.

We trekked, sweated, and ate our manner by way of this generally stunning and generally difficult nation.

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Present Notes

Newbie Traveler Cambodia Journey
Chris’s Photographs of Cambodia
Two-wheel tractor (Iron Buffalo)
Khmer Rouge
Killing Fields
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Visiting The Killing Fields of Cambodia
Angkor Wat
Angkor Thom
Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider Temple)
Amok (dish)
Battambang Bamboo Practice (tripadvisor)
Intrepid Journey Cambodia – Assessment: Cambodian Traveler

Travel to Cambodia - the highlights, surprises and difficulties. What to see, do and eat.


Chris: Newbie Traveler episode 512. At the moment the Newbie Traveler talks about majestic temples, floating villages, rickshaw excursions and consuming all types of unusual issues as we speak concerning the latest Newbie Traveler journey to Cambodia.

Welcome to the Newbie Traveler. I hope you get pleasure from this totally different episode of the Newbie Traveler with a number of characters. Let’s speak about Cambodia.

At the moment’s episode of Newbie Traveler goes to be just a little totally different as a result of we’re going to be speaking concerning the latest Newbie Traveler journey that we went to Cambodia. And just like the episode we did final 12 months once we did the Newbie Traveler journey to southern Morocco, I’m going to be utilizing some clips from speaking to a few of the individuals, the general public really who went with me on that journey.

This was a tour performed with listeners of the Newbie Traveler by Intrepid Journey, on their “Cambodian Traveller” tour.

Learn extra at Intrepid Journey Cambodia – Assessment: Cambodian Traveler

And mainly I ask them three questions, what was the spotlight of the journey? What was the most important shock? And how much warning would you give? We’re going to chop their solutions in and amongst another clarification by way of the place we went.

And simply to present you a broad overview, it was a visit to Cambodia however we began in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis or Saigon, after which went overland to Cambodia to Phnom Penh as much as Siem Reap and Angkor Wat after which right down to Battambang, additionally in Cambodia, after which completed the journey in Bangkok in Thailand.

Earlier than I speak concerning the journey, I ought to say that my spouse didn’t go along with me on the journey. And she or he didn’t go as a result of she doesn’t have an actual need to go to Southeast Asia as a result of she photos it as being sizzling, humid and chaotic. And it seems that she is correct. Now, we occurred to benefit from the journey. However that is what Rob and Erin have been saying concerning the visitors simply beginning even in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis.

Rob: Crossing the streets, notably in Vietnam and Cambodia will not be for the faint of coronary heart. That’s a particular warning. Once we first received there for the primary of couple days we have been there, there with our son who usually is most 12-year-olds, he simply walks round along with his head within the clouds. I used to be tremendous nervous for the primary couple of days since you’ve actually received to be vigilant to not have an issue.

Erin: You simply step out on the street and begin…you simply go.

Rob: You go. You concentrate. And when you might have a cut up second, you higher take it.

Chris: I had been warned a lot about that particularly in Vietnam that it was really simpler than I used to be anticipating.

Erin: Yeah. Watching individuals do it appeared actually scary, however doing it myself, you simply must step out within the visitors and simply do it. And it’s not as scary because it appears.

Rob: It was actually increase the nerve. And as soon as you probably did it, you’re like, “Okay, not so dangerous.” However initially, it appears insane to attempt to try that.

Chris: And only for sake of time, I’m going to skip over the story how whereas we have been nonetheless in Vietnam, Rob captured a handbag snatcher whereas he was out on his run. However we wish to speak about we did this as a land journey, and it was attention-grabbing to see how totally different the three international locations are. And right here’s Sarah speaking about that.

Sarah: I believe the most important shock for me was how distinct the three international locations have been from one another, how a lot of a distinction there was between Vietnam. You undoubtedly had the leftover communist really feel the place the buildings had that structure and simply the best way everyone received round.

After which we go over the border to Cambodia and it’s virtually instantly totally different. All the pieces is way extra agricultural, however on the identical time, there are all of those huge temples in all places with simply extremely ornate structure on them simply scattered all through the fields. After which crossing once more into Thailand, it was a way more trendy, bustling metropolis.

Chris: Properly, even earlier than we get to town, now you’re in a four-lane freeway with vehicles and quite a lot of crops as a substitute of simply going previous rice discipline, after rice discipline, after rice discipline, after rice discipline.

Sarah: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah, it was attention-grabbing, particularly doing that half by land you observed it much more than I believed you’d. Cool.

Sarah: Yeah, particularly simply how sudden the change was. You cross the border and just about instantly all the pieces was totally different.

Chris: The opposite factor we must always say is we got here on the finish of the dry season. If we had gone within the wet season once we crossed over the border into Thailand, we might’ve seen very inexperienced rice fields, however as a substitute we noticed very brown rice fields and really dusty. And we observed much more trash as quickly as we received on that aspect.

After which the opposite factor we didn’t speak about we’ll hear, as talked about, extra individuals on bikes and issues like that, or extra individuals on bikes, complete households. However the different factor we noticed was the iron buffalo. And the iron buffalo is a very Cambodian factor, no less than in these three international locations.

It’s the starting of mechanization so now you can afford a tractor, nevertheless it appears extra like a giant rototiller, however you possibly can’t afford a truck nonetheless. So not solely are you utilizing this contraption to plow your fields, however you’re additionally utilizing it to tug your wagon. And it’s received these nice 10-foot lengthy wood handles. It’s the strangest image. Go Google “iron buffalo” in the event you’re not an image of it right here. It’s an interesting factor.

Brian was struck by one thing totally different that we noticed alongside the roadside in Cambodia. What was the most important shock with Cambodia?

Brian: Cambodian Individuals’s Celebration indicators no less than one each mile.

Chris: Oh, it wasn’t one each mile. It was one like each thousand ft on the freeway. I used to be timing it for some time it to see how usually they have been. Yeah, this freeway dropped at you by the Cambodian Individuals’s Celebration.

Brian: I don’t assume I’ll ever neglect that.

Chris: Our first cease in Cambodia was the capital of Phnom Penh. And if I used to be struck by how a lot trash there was within the countryside, I used to be struck by what a reasonably metropolis Phnom Penh is, with its stunning French-styled boulevards and such. And we toured it on a cyclo. And a cyclo is sort of a bicycle rickshaw the place you sit in entrance, and somebody sits behind you on a bicycle. And right here’s what Rob and Erin needed to say about the entire expertise of expertise Phnom Penh visitors from a cyclo.

Rob: So shock. The larger shock, how courteous individuals have been regardless of the loopy visitors. They have been chopping one another off, there was numerous chaos happening. Individuals have been very courteous usually, however in driving it was actually refreshing to see individuals not getting uptight over how loopy it was, the driving state of affairs.

Chris: I’ve a video that’s going up of our cyclo tour and it’s simply attention-grabbing to see the chaos that’s weaving round us as numerous tuk-tuks, and motorbikes, and vehicles and pedestrians and such are all going by as we’re. However yeah, with no incident and no horns. Properly, I say no horns honking. The horn is at all times honking.

Rob: Right. However not in a impolite manner. It’s like, “I’m behind you, heads up.”

Erin: And really once we did the cyclo tour, I favored being in the midst of all that visitors. I believed it was a enjoyable strategy to expertise what was happening round us.

Chris: I had a giant, goofy grin on my face the entire time we did that, I’m positive.

Rob: And I used to be simply smiling at individuals. So there can be women going by, and I’m smiling like a dumb foreigner, and I’m getting winks and kissy faces as a result of I’m some dumb foreigner smiling at individuals going by. And it was additionally actually enjoyable that there can be children going by driving on the motorbikes with their mother and father, and I’d stick my hand up they usually’d give me a excessive 5. It was actually enjoyable since you’re inside touching distance of all these mass of individuals simply swarming round you as we have been driving round. It was enjoyable.

Erin: Yeah. I believed it was a extremely enjoyable strategy to see town.

Chris: We haven’t gotten to Sarah’s spotlight of the journey but. However I used to be amused by the truth that on the second day, we had solely pushed to Phnom Penh from Vietnam, only a bus journey mainly. After which we had performed a bicycle tour, and also you declared that night time you have been coming again on the following Newbie Traveler journey.

Sarah: Yeah, it didn’t take a complete lot.

Chris: And granted, that cyclo rickshaw tour was numerous enjoyable.

Sarah: It was.

Chris: Yeah. However I believe you weren’t a tricky buyer, let’s simply say that.

Sarah: No. I believe I’ve at all times wished to journey greater than I really do, and so getting the possibility to actually get some actual journey, not identical to to the following state over, however like far internationally journey is certainly a fantastic expertise.

Chris: And it’s in all probability good that we began on such a excessive observe as a result of the following morning was once we went out to The Killing Fields, which was a mass grave for a few of the those that have been killed by the Khmer Rouge again within the Seventies, after which additionally to the genocide museum to be taught extra about that individual very tragic time in Cambodia’s historical past.

And whereas the general public who got here on the journey, I believe, got here to see Angkor Wat, that iconic sequence of temples up in northern Cambodia, Brian really got here to Cambodia extra to see this.

Why did you go to Cambodia? Why was Cambodia interesting?

Brian: I’m fascinated with historical past. I’m fascinated with going there and speaking to the individuals, seeing how what occurred within the ’70s affected them. And in addition eager to see the way it’s developed, the way it’s coming alongside, how they’re recovering. And in addition it’s a rustic, and I prefer to see as many international locations as potential. And I’ve been to Thailand thrice earlier than this journey, and Cambodia has been on my thoughts. It’s simply it by no means labored out. So it’s been within the works for years.

Chris: And we’ll really get again to Brian’s response to The Killing Fields. However I wish to hear from Dalia. What’s one warning you’d give?

Dalia: The primary warning is being that Cambodia and particularly Phnom Penh was the seat of the ruling energy of the Khmer Rouge, you’ll get numerous historical past concerning the Khmer Rouge whenever you go there. So the one warning that I’d give is simply put together your self to really feel just a little somber, perhaps just a little unhappy, despite the fact that objectively you recognize you’re going to go in right here and listen to tales about struggling and dying and persecution. It has a really darkish historical past.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

However whenever you went to the genocide museum, the Tuol Sleng, I really felt a really visceral discomfort once I was there. I imply it sort of took over. It’s not due to the tales that you simply hear essentially, nevertheless it was very a lot the best way that museum was preserved, it was like an immersion expertise. I felt like I used to be immersed, and if I let my creativeness go on me…there was undoubtedly a visceral discomfort. So simply be ready for the tales.

However that is actually one strategy to get a window into the psyche, I believe, of the individuals there. And you actually respect the resilience, what they needed to overcome. And it defined quite a bit by way of why individuals eat bugs and why…it truly is a window into the place the nation is now and the place they’re going, and the way the individuals have actually been resilient in overcoming this. So it’s undoubtedly an essential historical past to know, however simply be ready that you simply would possibly really feel just a little somber after it.

Chris: Positive. And to place this in context, whenever you’re at The Killing Fields, you’re seeing a memorial stupa that’s mainly stuffed with skulls and different bones from the victims, tons of of victims. They have been killing about 300 individuals a day, simply on this 1 killing discipline, and there have been about 300 within the nation, killed a couple of quarter of the inhabitants between the Khmer Rouge and the civil warfare. And also you hear about infants being killed and girls.

After which on the genocide museum, you see the cells the place the individuals have been saved. You see artwork that was painted by two of the seven grownup survivors, and photos of the 4 kids that survived this specific jail that was certainly one of many prisons within the metropolis. And Roger put it just a little extra bluntly. He put it this manner:

Roger: I don’t assume I used to be prepared for a way miserable it was. I wasn’t prepared first how somber the primary few days have been, going by way of The Killing Fields. And yeah, it was sort of somber.

Chris: And Rob, Erin and I had this dialog:

Properly, the one factor, so that you had Ashton with you, and we went to that first day in Cambodia to a website that a number of of us thought was fairly somber, fairly severe. So that you have been attempting to guage what he ought to see, what he shouldn’t see, when to choose him out and such. Did you wish to touch upon that in any respect? I do know he was in all probability the one one who opted out of the museum of genocide earlier than I did. I believe I used to be the following one who went, “Okay, I get the thought.”

Rob: We performed it by ear with him. If he felt like he was doing okay, then…it’s essential for him to see that and to be taught and be delicate to that and have some perspective. However you additionally must keep in mind that he’s a toddler and there’s some sensitivities there.

Erin: Yeah. Once we’re on the museum, we simply saved moving into room after room. Properly, we have been there for the primary half. However in each room, there was an image of like a physique. And the images have been sort of grainy, however you may nonetheless see what was going. And after just a few of these, I simply thought, you recognize, he actually doesn’t must see anymore of these.

And he was sort of upset at that time as a result of once we have been at The Killing Fields, there have been some element there that was upsetting to him. It was upsetting to everyone. However simply after just a few of the rooms, we simply determined to sit down and wait. We discover these sufficient. Like Rob mentioned, it’s essential for him to know what occurred. However whenever you’re 12, you don’t must know each element.

Rob: And we went and sat by Chanta on the bench, and he instructed us the story about his grandfather getting killed by the Khmer Rouge. And he instructed us how his dad was a soldier and he would come residence like as soon as a month to see the household, after which one month he simply didn’t come again. So he was telling us the story of his household and the way he was affected by what we have been there studying about.

And so to get that non-public perspective…what’s actually scary is that this occurred all throughout our lifetime. This wasn’t like 70 or 80 years in the past. This was like 30 years in the past, which is especially scary.

Erin: Yeah. Which was notably one of many largest surprises to me as a result of I had heard all about it vaguely. I had a way of what had occurred, however to go there and to listen to individuals’s private experiences and simply to see the way it had affected everyone, that was a shock to me.

Chris: I wrote about my expertise at The Killing Fields and the takeaway for me was I knew that it was going to be grotesque. I knew that that will be arduous. However then I believed we’d be performed with it. We’d go to this within the morning, after which we wouldn’t have to fret about it for the remainder of our keep there. And simply how naive that’s, after all. If you lose 1 / 4 of the inhabitants between the 4 years the Khmer Rouge after which the civil warfare after that, everyone was affected, each household.

Erin: Yeah. It’s unhappy.

Chris: After which to wrap up this a part of the dialogue, I wish to get again to Brian as a result of keep in mind, that is the explanation that he got here.

I’m considering the one factor that affected you greater than the trash was the entire Khmer Rouge story. And I consider all of the individuals within the journey, you have been in all probability extra pissed off by how incomprehensible it was.

Brian: It’s as a result of it’s nearer to…like World Struggle II was my grandparents and even perhaps my nice grandparents. The Cambodia factor, that occurred just a few years earlier than I used to be born, and it’s a lot nearer. Like you possibly can meet individuals, like Philadelphia has a Little Cambodian now, I don’t know if it’s been named but.

However even in Pennsylvania, for instance, you meet Cambodians and each certainly one of them was affected by it. There isn’t any those that weren’t affected by it. I nonetheless can’t wrap my head round what they have been attempting to perform and if they really thought it could work. And also you have been the one who mentioned to me, “Give it up, Brian. No person is aware of the reply.”

Chris: Properly, I did. Properly, whenever you speak about it, the story for everyone else, I believe notably the entire a part of…so the Khmer Rouge communists, they take over. And the primary day they take over Phnom Penh, they seize the capital, they inform everyone they’ve to go away. Principally they kick everyone out of the cities, they usually’re attempting to return to an agrarian society, they usually’re feeding everyone on mainly a ration that’s inflicting individuals to starve to dying, these individuals who even received the ration.

And so your complete factor was how do they assume that this is able to work? “Have been they insane?” I believe is admittedly a part of the query that you simply’re left with, not even simply the evil of, after which they killed off deliberately a bunch of individuals however simply, “Why was this a plan?” It was very irritating.

Loads of us went to see Angkor Wat.

Brian: I used to be extra within the historical past. Eight years in the past, I went to Chile as a result of I used to be fascinated with what occurred within the ’70s and the ’80s there. I used to be undoubtedly extra fascinated with attending to know the individuals and listening to their tales than see an Angkor Wat.

Chris: I don’t wish to say it bugged you extra, nevertheless it was tougher so that you can come to grips with, “I simply don’t get it.” And I’m on the identical manner as you. I don’t get it. I don’t perceive how anybody might assume that manner.

Brian: Proper. As a result of different dictatorships, perhaps you knew what they have been attempting to do. It’s possible you’ll not have agreed with it, however on some stage, it made sense. However this one didn’t.

Chris: And once more, that’s simply the morning of the second day. However it did take numerous the emphasis there in the beginning of the journey. However we’re going to maneuver on as a result of we did transfer on. We had an exquisite cruise on the river in Phnom Penh, a dinner cruise, wanting on the sundown. After which we drove up in direction of Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat. On the best way, we stopped at an attention-grabbing spot known as “the spider market,” which got here up within the dialog once I requested Dalia her highlights.

Properly, what was the spotlight of the journey for you?

Dalia: That’s an excellent query as a result of the entire journey felt like one spotlight after the opposite for me. All the pieces was new. I imply all the pieces that we noticed and skilled was nothing I had skilled earlier than. So I used to be like going…

Chris: And I used to be positive you’d say operating into me within the airport earlier than we even received to the Customs, however…

Dalia: That was, I’ve to say, the primary spotlight. So I knew it was off to an excellent begin. Yeah. You recognize, I’m like operating by way of my thoughts. I’m like…after all Angkor Wat and that the Hindu temples, I believe that was a major function of all the journey. And you may inform that all the pieces was sort of constructing in as much as that, and the actions that have been surrounding it. In order that’s undoubtedly up there, however in the event you’re…we wish to speak concerning the spider market and see the buffet.

Chris: The spider market the place we have now an image of Dalia with a tarantula on her and never wanting comfy, I’ve to say.

Dalia: No. No. And the quantity of feelings that I skilled in that first preliminary minute, simply between being just a little grossed out and intrigued by the best way the presentation of the buffet, as I prefer to name it, and simply attempting to make sense out of it. So that can by no means depart me, I believe, till the day that I die.

Chris: And we additionally stopped to see a silk-making manufacturing on the best way up. I had seen that earlier than in order that doesn’t make my spotlight actual, it doesn’t make anyone else’s. After which we did cease, and this didn’t make anyone else’s checklist, at a floating village out on the massive lake that’s in Cambodia lake that adjustments to be 5 occasions bigger within the wet season. So you might have homes up on stilts.

And we took these boats out to an space that’s not the same old vacationer floating village, and so we have been going by way of the poorer a part of the villages. And I believed it was an interesting place. There’s a video that can come up this week on that have so you possibly can see what that seemed like.

After which we lastly received to Angkor Wat. And Angkor Wat is wonderful simply due to its scale. Principally inside a 20×20 kilometer area, there’s over 300 temples from the 800s to the 1400s.

And certainly one of these areas, Angkor Thom, which is an historic metropolis, was in all probability one of many largest cities on this planet within the 1400s earlier than it was deserted. It’s three kilometers by three kilometers and it contains inside it the Bayon temple, which is a famous-looking temple with all of the faces on it. However that was a spotlight of the journey, and it was the explanation why numerous us went.

Erin had an attention-grabbing expertise once we went again to Angkor Wat the second day. And we went again at a really early time within the morning to see the dawn over the temple with numerous different vacationers.

Erin: Once we went to see Angkor Wat within the morning, we received there tremendous early to look at the dawn. Ashton, my son, he actually wished to go inside as a result of he was uninterested in standing round, ready.

Chris: There was numerous standing round, ready for that dawn.

Erin: There have been lots of people outdoors. And so we ran in and whereas everybody was nonetheless outdoors. And there have been just a few individuals in there, largely monks. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Chris: And didn’t even comprehend it was open to go in, actually.

Rob: It opened at 5:00, I believe.

Erin: No, it opened at 6:00. And so the solar wasn’t totally up but. So we we’re simply operating round in all places inside, and we received to look at the solar stand up over the constructing from inside. And it was actually cool. It’s magical, with monks in there, and the incense, and the solar developing, and hardly some other vacationers round. So it was actually a neat expertise.

Chris: Fascinating. I believe I used to be just a little shocked, Angkor Wat, particularly once we got here within the first time and we got here in sort of the again manner and didn’t go all of the distributors and such. There have been only a few distributors there. I used to be anticipating larger crowds than we noticed. However it’s so massive. And there’s so many temples. And despite the fact that they get numerous tourism, you unfold that out over Angkor Thom, and Angkor Wat and all the opposite issues, it was extra pastoral and park-like than I anticipated.

Erin: Yeah. I believed so, too.

Chris: Afterward, once we have been in Bangkok, we had an opportunity to go on our final day, we had a free day to Ayutthaya, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Website. Some outdated deserted temples within the outdated capital metropolis of Thailand.

And I don’t keep in mind who made the remark, I believe it might have been Dalia, when she checked out what it was that we might see there, and she or he went, “Oh, it’s like Angkor Wat, however smaller.” And I really feel that’s sort of the expertise after you’ve been to Angkor Wat is that so most of the different ruins of different issues on this planet are going to be, “Oh, it’s like Angkor Wat, however smaller.” That is going to be what all the pieces else is measured in opposition to.

We had two days to go to the temples at Angkor Wat. And the fourth temple we visited was Sarah’s favourite. What was the spotlight of the journey for you?

Sarah: For me personally I believe Ta Prohm, the jungle temple. It was my favourite as a result of it was that one which I grew up seeing photos of, and it was simply that nature and mankind factor. As a result of I simply spent a lot time photos of it, and I believed, “Wow, what an incredible place to go to,” after which lastly being there. That was probably the most surreal expertise for me.

Chris: And for individuals who don’t know, we’re speaking about one thing they name the Tomb Raider temple for causes that it was within the film, Tomb Raider. Yeah, that was fairly attention-grabbing that they determined to not end excavating that temple, however left it with these nice massive timber rising by way of it within the partitions damaged down and such. It was very attention-grabbing.

Sarah: Sure.

Chris: I believed it was good that we noticed that one final, too, as a result of it made it stand out extra. The place if we’d seen one of many different ones final, it could have been like, “Yeah, one other temple.”

Sarah: That’s true. Yeah, it was undoubtedly an attention-grabbing tackle it. It was an attention-grabbing strategy to see the temple because it was or nearer to because it was after they first rediscovered town they usually began visiting it once more.

Chris: The opposite factor that plenty of the individuals within the group had an opportunity to do, not me as a result of I slept by way of it partly, was exit to a village with our information, Chanta, who has a charity the place they’re digging wells and villages as a result of he grew up out on these rural villages, they usually seldom have clear water.

It was uncommon that we didn’t have an precise charity undertaking that we visited for Intrepid on this journey. It’s the primary time I’ve been on an Intrepid journey the place we didn’t, however we did due to our information who was concerned on this. And that is what Dalia needed to say about that have.

Dalia: I must say that I actually, actually loved an outing that we did once we went out to the village and met a few of the farmers there and their households, simply assembly the individuals head to head and actually, actually attending to know them on a private stage. And that was actually, very nice. That was actually, actually touching for me as a result of they’ve lived a tough life they usually continued to dwell a tough life. However simply to see they’re such stunning individuals and so candy. Any small factor actually made them glad. I’ll always remember that. I believe that made a mark on me.

So if I ever take into consideration Cambodia, one of many first issues that pop into my thoughts is that scene of me being with the youngsters, and with our buddies that have been with us on the tour, and simply assembly them, and bringing them treats and them being thrilled to be round us and with us. That was actually enjoyable.

Chris: And right here’s what Rob and Erin mentioned about it.

Rob: The household highlights since we have been there with Ashton, our son, who’s 12, going to the village and taking part within the water undertaking that Chanta is concerned with, and having the ability to be there and see the water fountain they’d put in to have contemporary water for that village, which actually affected tons of of individuals. After which to satisfy numerous these children and to work together with them, it was actually a cool expertise simply to see how…

These individuals are on the verge of hunger, they usually don’t even have entry to wash water. And what blew me away is that they’re nonetheless doing virtually all the pieces on an open fireplace. Neglect electrical energy. They’re on an open fireplace for nearly all of their power and cooking wants.

And so it was actually cool to have the ability to see the place they have been getting their water prior, which was from these holes within the floor that animals have been ingesting out of and all types of waste was washing into. And they’d simply dump a bucket in there, and pull the bucket out and drink straight out of the bucket.

Erin: And the holes are actually deep and slim, which is so harmful as a result of they’ve all these children strolling round.

Rob: Operating round.

Erin: Yeah, on the uneven floor. And the youngsters would go up they usually’d put the bucket and I’d simply…yeah.

Chris: As a mom, you’re cringing.

Erin: I used to be cringing. I used to be considering, what number of children have fallen on this gap and the way do you get the youngsters out?

Rob: One expertise we had there that was actually enjoyable was our son Ashton who’s 12 is awfully tall for a 12-year-old within the U.S., which put him taller than the typical particular person in these international locations the place we visited. So he’s a blonde-haired child that’s 12 and tremendous skinny and tall, and folks stared at him anyhow.

However once we went to this village, there have been children that have been his personal age that he was fairly a bit larger than, however they have been attempting to interact him. And despite the fact that there was a language barrier, they wished to have a race with him, a operating race. And they also all lined up, and Chanta organized it, after which they mentioned go, and there was like this little course that they ran. And they also wished to race our son on this operating race. It was enjoyable to look at them, him work together with these children and…

Erin: Yeah. It was cute too as a result of all of the mother and father within the village have been cheering on the youngsters, they usually’re all laughing, and everybody was having enjoyable.

Rob: That was actually cool.

Erin: It was enjoyable, yeah. That was a fantastic expertise. One other expertise with the youngsters within the village is we took them little baguettes and cans of sweetened condensed milk, which likelihood is that their favourite deal with is that they’d tear off just a little piece of the bread they usually dip it in sweetened condensed milk.

So the mother and father had all the youngsters line up and we handed out their little baguette, they usually have been all so cute. They have been all so enthusiastic about it, they put their arms collectively, they usually say thanks earlier than they might even take the bread. It was simply actually candy how glad they have been.

Rob: You recognize, children on the verge of hunger which might be ready for everyone to get their baguette and ready for the milk to be poured to dip, they have been well mannered, they usually have been simply these candy little children. So it was actually superior to be there.

Erin: Yeah. So we had an excellent expertise. Yeah, that was actually enjoyable.

Chris: I used to be sorry I missed that outing as a result of one of many issues we try to emphasize on Newbie Traveler is connecting with the cultures, and that that may be generally a way more rewarding expertise, even then seeing one thing wonderful like and Angkor Wat.

We additionally had numerous simply littler experiences, particularly as we’re up and Siem Reap. Siem Reap may be very used to tourism, 10 years in the past it had 5 inns, and now it has 185 inns. So fairly prepared for tourism. A enjoyable metropolis to only stroll round or to only people-watch, as Erin and Rob discovered.

Rob: One other factor that I actually favored was, and this was in Vietnam and Cambodia, and fewer so in Thailand, however you’d see so many individuals on one bike. So just a little, tiny motor scooter, and also you’ve received a grandma, a dad, a mother, a child, generally a child. You’ve received multi-generational transportation on just a little, tiny bike. And it was actually enjoyable since you would see them and smile at them they usually’d all wave again at you. And in order that was enjoyable to see, everyone buzz round on their little motorbikes.

Erin: Yeah, it was enjoyable.

Chris: One morning I received up and walked. Straight down from our resort, there was a market, and I’ve an image of a person who had purchased a washer who was getting residence on his bike. It’s simply considerably smaller, however…

Erin: Properly, once we rented probably the most motorbike, we tried to run with Rob and Ashton and me and we didn’t match as a result of we’re massive People.

Rob: Yeah. I imply the three of us didn’t match on a motorcycle that they have been getting individuals on.

Erin: Yeah. Too massive.

Chris: Brian did one of many elective excursions, and he was the one one who did, which was a cooking class, and occurred to be certainly one of his highlights from all the expertise.

Brian: The cooking class I took once I went off by myself in Siem Reap, and the amok I made, which I had already tried the primary night time we received there. However discovering one thing new to eat was in all probability the spotlight.

Chris: Properly, and also you’re all concerning the meals, so I’m not too shocked that it was an amok, though I’m going to ask you to clarify what an amok is.

Brian: Okay. I really, in my kitchen right here, I’ve the substances to it which have been a part of the cooking class. So it’s coconut-based, and it’s normally fish, hen, normally individuals put rice in it. And it’s in coconut leaves.

Chris: Okay. And whenever you say coconut-based, historically in Cambodia we noticed it usually served in a coconut even.

Brian: That occurs, too. After I had it, it was served in leaves so I ate it that manner. And it was additionally served in coconut. However that’s in all probability the one factor that I ate greater than as soon as in Cambodia.

Chris: And usually, I’d say we ate properly on this journey for little or no cash. Typically meals would solely be three to 5 {dollars}. And we additionally drank properly.

Rob: One other factor that we actually beloved and different individuals could have talked about that is mangoes have been in season, and the mango smoothies have been superior. And at roughly, what, 75 cents, a buck a bit, no matter they have been, these have been unbelievable.

Erin: Yeah, we had a number of…

Rob: We’d have a number of smoothies on a regular basis.

Erin: On a regular basis, yeah.

Chris: It is perhaps a buck-and-a-half or two bucks within the restaurant, or a buck on the roadside cart.

Erin: Yeah. Which is ideal. They have been so good.

Brian: And in comparison with my sugarcane expertise, I didn’t get sick from, I didn’t get sick from road distributors right here.

Chris: However I don’t assume anyone received sick apart from some warmth aftereffects, and Ashton operating with the youngsters within the village, as an example, was one of many occasions. However we didn’t get anyone with abdomen results that I heard of.

Brian: Yeah. This was a fantastic journey.

Chris: Which was shocking as a result of we have been consuming numerous native fruit and numerous native issues. And actually, earlier than we speak about a few of the weirder issues we ate on this journey, Dalia really had an attention-grabbing interplay with our smoothie woman, with any individual who ran one of many smoothie carts in Siem Reap that we’ve been again to a number of occasions.

Dalia: What shocked me, I’ve by no means been to Asia earlier than so numerous it was eye-opening on many fronts, as I mentioned earlier than. However I believe one of many issues that at all times intrigued me or that caught my consideration was seeing what individuals have been sporting within the warmth that we have been experiencing.

So if it’s prefer it was 105 levels virtually on a regular basis, excessive humidity, and the very first thing that I keep in mind seeing was individuals of their masks, sporting masks over their face. They have been sporting scarves, they have been sporting sweaters and sweat shirts, heavy clothes that you’d put on within the fall or one thing. It was loopy for me. I didn’t know what to make of it. So lastly we had the chance to ask one of many distributors, she made fruit shakes. And we requested one of many distributors…

Chris: Oh, our favourite fruit shake vendor in Siem Reap, okay.

Dalia: Sure, precisely. So we requested her and mentioned, “Why all this cowl up?” as a result of perhaps you put on cotton lengthy sleeves, there’s million methods to cowl your pores and skin, however not have all that heavy clothes on. And she or he mentioned, “Properly, one, we don’t wish to essentially get brown.” So that they’re defending themselves from getting coloured by the solar.”And two, it retains our physique cool.”

So after all, we checked out her as if she had two heads. How might you be cool in such heat clothes? And she or he was like, “Properly, really feel my pores and skin.” So she rolled up her sleeves, and certainly we touched her pores and skin, it’s quite a bit cooler than our pores and skin. “And in order that’s how we take care of the warmth.” And so it’s an oxymoron, the hotter it’s, gown heavier. Between the gloves and the socks and the masks and the hats, imply they actually fought the solar actually arduous.

Chris: It’s not such as you’re a stranger to heat climate, having spent a while in Egypt.

Dalia: Sure.

Chris: However theirs is a special method.

Dalia: Fully totally different. Again in Egypt, individuals would put on cotton, brilliant clothes for probably the most half, and normally gentle, something ethereal. However I noticed in New York, I dwell in New York, so I noticed in New York in mid-December by way of clothes and what individuals have been sporting. So it was actually, actually attention-grabbing. In order that was a giant shock for me.

Chris: Not all the pieces we have been served was fairly as appetizing as smoothies.

Rob: One other shock was our final night time collectively once we have been having dinner in Bangkok. And we had simply skilled the day or two earlier than, individuals consuming roadside barbecued rat, which I believe sort of lowered our inhibitions as a result of once I noticed the rats consuming off the desk within the restaurant subsequent to us as sort of eating mates, it didn’t actually flip me off or freak me out that a lot.

Erin: Yeah, it didn’t faze us. It’s was identical to, “Oh, huh, rats.”

Rob: Yeah, rats consuming on the restaurant proper subsequent to us, a type of final nights. However to look at our son sit there and nosh on a rat was actually fairly disgusting.

Chris: And tarantulas and water bugs.

Rob: And he thought that they have been unbelievable. He thought they have been tasty. And he thought it was simply such an superior expertise.

Erin: Yeah, he ate numerous gross issues. He ate crickets and…

Chris: He was fearless. No inhibitions in any respect.

Erin: …tarantulas…yeah, he simply went for it.

Rob: That was numerous enjoyable.

Erin: That was a shock.

Rob: It was additionally enjoyable at that market. The little children that peddled their wares to foreigners, they might converse English really fairly properly for youths, they usually have been actually fascinated with Ashton. And they also have been interacting, they have been speaking. And there was one of many little women that was advising him on what tasted the most effective, what sort of bug he needs to be consuming. And it was actually cute, the interactions the youngsters had there whereas Ashton’s consuming bugs.

Chris: Talking of consuming bugs, what sort of warning would you give?

Rob: Right here’s the deal. In the event you go along with the cricket or in the event you go along with one thing with an exoskeleton, there’s much less meat, and there’s much less substance it’s important to swallow, however the texture is admittedly horrible. And so that you’re not consuming very a lot, however the texture is admittedly dangerous. After they have been consuming extra of like a mammal like a rat, or a snake, they have been chewier and there was extra meat, they usually mentioned it tasted significantly better. However mentally I couldn’t recover from that. I wasn’t going to do this. I simply ate a cricket and that was the extent of my meals journey.

Chris: I meant warnings usually, however that was an excellent one.

Rob: Excuse me.

Erin: Sorry.

Rob: I’d say everytime you’re someplace…Chanta mentioned it very properly. he mentioned, “In Cambodia, all the pieces is on the menu.” Which suggests whenever you’re consuming one thing and also you’re unaware what it’s, you both wish to make clear what it’s so you recognize what you’re consuming…

Chris: Or don’t make clear.

Rob: …with ignorant bliss. If it tastes okay, go along with it.

Chris: Properly, he did inform us that VIP meat, as an example, was one thing that we’d wish to know that that meant canine.

Erin: Oh, yeah. I heard that.

Rob: Properly, yeah, I’m glad that I went gentle on meat throughout this journey as a result of I in all probability saved myself a few of that.

Chris: After I received residence and I instructed my spouse these tales, she didn’t really feel neglected that she had not been there, despite the fact that we have been having an excellent time. Another individuals reacted equally to those kind of eating experiences.

Now, there was a second whilst you have been consuming rat, I consider, once I seemed over at your spouse, and she or he had a glance on her face, she had a glance on her face, and I mentioned, “Roger, she has that look on her face that claims, ‘We might’ve going to Hawaii.’” And she or he turned to me and she or he mentioned one phrase, she mentioned, “Europe.”

Roger: Yeah. Man, I instructed you, she’s a Russian historical past main, and I’ve by no means taken her to Russia. In order that’s just a little embarrassing.

Chris: And there have been occasions on the journey you talked about the warmth. You got here down with heatstroke in the future.

Roger: Oh, it was sizzling.

Chris: It was fairly heat. There was even earlier than…I keep in mind once we have been in Bangkok and it was 102 going to 111, 2 days later. Yeah, I believe all of us knew that it was going to be sizzling, nevertheless it did zap your energy a bit, too.

Roger: Undoubtedly.

Chris: And you then have been proper. There have been occasions there that it was soiled and there have been occasions that it was dusty, and also you’re in Angkor and also you simply scent the smoke within the air and stuff like that. It wasn’t prefer it was a simple journey, though I believed it was an excellent journey.

Roger: It was an excellent journey. I solely packed 5 shirts, and I do know in the future I modified my shirt 4 occasions. I simply sweat a lot.

Chris: Yeah, I get the salt stripes on the shirts. However it’s attention-grabbing that it was in the midst of a type of in all probability the most popular day we had there, once we’re in Battambang and we’re on the market the place they promote barbecued rat. That Roger had hit certainly one of his spotlight moments.

Roger: I beloved Angkor Wat. I like the ruins. Undoubtedly the spotlight, there was a time we have been between Siem Reap and Battambang, I believe. It was once we had a blowout on the tire. We stopped on the place the place you may eat the rats or the snakes. That wasn’t the spotlight, That wasn’t the spotlight .

However I laid down in a type of hammocks, and it wasn’t notably stunning there. It was sizzling, and I wasn’t that comfy. However as I laid within the hammock down there and watched the individuals in the identical space, I simply sort of felt like I used to be getting a really feel for what the standard Cambodian lived like. In order that was in all probability one of many extra attention-grabbing elements of the journey, I believed.

Chris: After which later in Battambang, we did go to a bat cave at sundown and we rode on the bamboo prepare. And it’s arduous to clarify what that’s with out seeing it, nevertheless it’s a small, I wish to say improvised railroad system that runs on the outdated tracks, these actually gentle vehicles that nearly appear to be they’ve go-kart motors. There will likely be a video up quickly that will provide you with some thought what that’s like. It was enjoyable.

After which went on to Thailand the following day the place most of us did a few the times in Thailand. However as we’ve received to wrap this up, right here’s a few of the closing feedback from individuals. Dalia had this warning and sensible tip.

Dalia: I used to be one of many fortunate ones that introduced some money with me. And I do know numerous my buddies who have been with us on the tour have been relying on ATMs. Now, there are ATMs in each nook.

Chris: Yeah, I used to be that one. I used to be like, “They’ve by no means failed me earlier than.” 4 in a row gave me no money.

Dalia: So Chris would come again with tales about how he went to this ATM, and this ATM, and this ATM. So I’d say simply in the event you’re going to go go to Cambodia, I’d undoubtedly convey some money.

Chris: Properly, sadly the U.S. forex, as a result of they do take {dollars}, so it’s not prefer it’s that troublesome to get. Like I couldn’t have gotten U.S. {dollars} on the ATM right here, however yeah.

Dalia: Precisely. Precisely.

Chris: Yeah, I used to be betting about one quarter of the ATMs I went to gave me cash. It was sufficient, one quarter turned out to be sufficient, however…

Dalia: With out the stress although. It was just a little bit stressing.

Chris: Yeah, solely as a result of Roger loaned me $100 there for some time.

Dalia: Oh, there you go. And plus it was 100 levels outdoors. So like going from ATM to ATM, I’m positive that wasn’t enjoyable.

Chris: Proper. Precisely.

Dalia: However you lucked out on the finish, in order that was good.

Chris: And the trick there, I did ultimately determine, is search for a world financial institution. And in addition that it’s simpler in Siem Reap. We had a lot much less issues in Siem Reap than we did in Phnom Penh or Battambang as a result of, once more, they’re simply extra used to tourism.

Brian had this warning.

Brian: Don’t put on good footwear. Don’t put on gown footwear. And be ready to go to the laundromat.

Chris: Okay. Why is that?

Brian: Properly, each night time, I had to return to the resort and clear my footwear as a result of there’s numerous development happening there. The state of affairs with selecting up the trash is sort of iffy as a result of it was defined by our information that the federal government is barely permitting one firm to do the trash hauling, they usually get to it after they really feel prefer it. So there’s simply numerous filth and numerous trash within the streets, so don’t put on your good footwear.

Chris: And Roger added this warning.

Roger: It’s enjoyable. I assume one other warning can be keep in mind that you’re nonetheless in a communist nation or in a dictatorship there. Simply keep in mind the guides saying, “It wouldn’t be that sensible to reply your questions whereas we’re standing proper right here.”

Chris: Sarah added this warning.

Sarah: Warmth kills digital camera batteries.

Chris: That’s proper.

Sarah: Deliver a spare and preserve your digital camera well-insulated every time you possibly can as a result of it’ll die.

Chris: It did come again. However there was some time there you thought you weren’t going to have a digital camera for the remainder of the journey.

Sarah: It did come again after it had an opportunity to chill down just a little bit. For a pair hours there, it was just a little contact and go.

Chris: The rest that folks ought to know earlier than they go to Cambodia?

Sarah: I undoubtedly assume it’s value having a tour information or a gaggle tour as a result of I can’t think about actually doing that by myself and getting almost as a lot out of it. It was simply very nice having that complete group camaraderie, after which additionally having individuals to maintain the entire fiddly stuff, so we might simply have enjoyable.

Chris: Properly, and we have now to say we did have a pleasant information.

Sarah: We did. He was the most effective.

Chris: And I didn’t point out, and we’ve talked about our information just a little bit in passing, however we actually did have an exquisite information. And we did this journey with Intrepid, Intrepid Travels. Actually, you possibly can see that individual journey that we did by going to Actually, if you wish to e-book the journey from there, I’ll really get credit score for it, so that will be terrific.

However it was a fantastic journey. We might advocate it. However on each Intrepid journey I’ve performed to this point, we’ve had great guides, in order that for me was not shocking.

After which we’re going to present Brian the second final phrase. The rest that you’d inform individuals earlier than they go to Cambodia?

Brian: Go. Simply don’t anticipate it to be Thailand. Thailand is a bit more developed. Cambodia actually reveals you what warfare does to a rustic.

Chris: After which for the final phrases, I’m going to show it over to Erin and Rob.

Rob: One factor that I’d say is that going to Cambodia, it’s not a very enjoyable trip. You’re not going there for pleasure. You’re not going there for sort of a laid-back seaside trip. However it was significant to us on numerous ranges. Loads of the interactions we had with locals, the interactions we had with the tour information, and assembly actual individuals, simply as a substitute of being shuttled round, actually speaking to individuals.

Erin: And studying the historical past, I believe. There’s numerous historical past, the latest historical past, and like going to Angkor Wat and studying about that was actually attention-grabbing.

Rob: We actually loved it. And we’ve had two unbelievable experiences now on these Newbie Traveler journeys in Morocco and now right here. And I prefer it as a result of it’s extra genuine. A number of the touring that we do, it’s extra of like a pleasure journey, or it’s just a little nicer, are you aware what I imply?

Chris: Me too. Mm-hmm.

Rob: It’s nicer inns, it’s nicer lodging. I like getting sort of within the grit of the native scene, and we undoubtedly get that on these journeys. So we’ve had unbelievable experiences on each of the journeys we’ve taken by way of you, which in truth, been actually glad about.

Chris: I don’t assume there’s much more to say after that. All of my photos are on-line, and there will likely be a hyperlink to these within the present notes. So if you wish to take a look at all the images that have been within the enhanced model of this plus many, many extra, check out that. And in addition, I’ll put a hyperlink in there to the journey that we took in case you have been after doing this.

We presumably have simply utterly scared you away from the Newbie Traveler journeys, but when we haven’t, go to to hitch the non-public Fb neighborhood the place we, actually, will likely be voting quickly on the place to go subsequent.

I really feel like this complete episode has been an replace from the Newbie Traveler neighborhood, and so we’re simply going to finish this present right here. In case you have any questions. ship an e-mail to host at, or higher but depart a touch upon this episode at If you wish to assist individuals uncover the Newbie Traveler, you possibly can go to iTunes or your favourite podcatcher and provides us a score or a assessment. And as at all times, thanks a lot for listening.

Transcription sponsored by JayWay Journey, specialists in Central & Japanese Europe customized excursions.

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