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In the middle of 2005, Marg and I were looking at taking a small break away from Chennai, and we finally came up with the solution that I went to Cambodia and saw Angkor Wat, while Marg took a trip across to Britain to see her Mum. That is what happened, well - the Angkor Wat part anyway! Angkor Wat is one of the most beautiful and mysterious historical sites in the world and is located over 192 miles to the North-West of Cambodias capital Phnom Penh. It has been "protected" from tourism, and the customs and the cultures of the people living there have not changed much with their arrival so far, although Siem Reap is filling up with hundreds of hotel room more. It was always my dream to visit Angkor, this being an opportunity I was not going to miss, while Phnom Penh has a lot of history around it as well, and both places tickled my sense of adventure! I ended up taking over 900 photos taken around Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the Angkor town and a lot of them came out very well. Anyway, overall, a very impressive the tourist setup. Easy traveling and viewing the sites, hassle free and with plenty of quality accommodation and food at very reasonable prices. A dual currency situation with US dollars being widely accepted, and you can imagine how lucky the first two persons who needed a payment of US 1 for entrance fees, in getting riels (Cambodian currency) to the equivalent of US 10 each! Mind you, thought my additions were a little off, so quickly sat a few minutes and worked out the exchange rate better, in fact, divided by 10 and now realized why the entrance guard disappeared so quickly after receiving his inflated fee! It is easy not to convert any money over there and to just use US dollars.

So, a good nine-day trip and I can certainly recommend the trip to any thinking of going. Off the beaten track a bit and Cambodia is still very underdeveloped, with even the side roads in Phnom Penh not being fully tarsealed and a lot of poverty around. The amenities and infrastructure for the tourist in the Phnom Penh/Siem Reap corridor are very good though, with things like toilet facilities (clean) readily available along with a good cup of coffee. There was only once I was accosted by a small young policeman for a handout in a quiet corner of a complex (he got 1,000 riels by the way) and even then, you felt that he could have been reported easily enough to the other guards outside the complex. You have all the children outside selling things like water bottles (well needed in the heat) and souvenirs, postcards and books etc, but even they had a line they did not cross and were actually quite pleasant in interacting with. Only trouble Is they are all selling the same items, so once bought, no more are needed! A few things India can learn there in dealing with tourists I feel, as more and more comments are passed about the difficulties encountered in trying to have a pleasant trip through some of the major tourist attractions here. Most of the pictures below are of the Mekong where it branches and flows through Phnom Penh where it converges with the Tonle Sap river flowing out of Siem Reap. The river is quite avigatable in this area and day trips and trips up to Siem Reap or down to Vietnam can be easily taken.It is the twelfth longest river in the world and the 10th largest by column. The Mekong is called by different names as it flows through many countries and forms most of the borders between Burma and Laos and Laos and Thailand. The rest of the photos are one of a kind that were taken around the place and I think they show a little of the identity of Cambodia.
 
he 506 steps up the hill at Udong in the heat of the day as a struggle, but well worth the climb for the views and the temples
Looking down across the stupa and ridges of Udong onto the plains around Phnom Penh. Quite parched when I was there in June
The five headed Nagar and there is also the seven headed nagar protector on various bridges and crossing in the country. They are meant to protect Vishnu, one of the Hindu gods
The only photograph of myself on the trip to Cambodia in June 2005. If you are always behind the lens, then it is difficult to come in front of it, as in here in front of the "Kodak" or golden moment tree in Angkor
How to get around the temples at Angkor Wat - by motorcycle tuk tuk of course, unless you want comfort like me and hire a car!
Always saw a few of the trucks plying around in various condition and thought they were great. This one I spotted outside siem Reap so couldnot resist the photograph
These petrol sellers are found all over the country and are used extensively by bike drivers and even some cars caught short
A group of children who were around the killing fields pose happily for their photograph, in exchange for a "school" fee of course!
On the Esplanade in Phnom Penh and the local populous comes out in the evening for stalls, games and company in the evening, a far cry from when Pol Pot ruled and everyone as afraid
The mini circus and stalls set up along the Mekong River for the evenings entertainment. On a day like this one was, it was very pleasant to have a wander around and just watch the people
One of the wats on view from the river as you take a cruise on the Mekong and take is the sights, sounds and smells of this quaint city. With a good amount of French influence still showing the city is a nice mixture of cultures
Just a rest house on the banks of the Mekong, but the Palace is right behind it and it was made in the same styling so not to spoil the visuals
The mighty Mekong where it flow on down into Vietnam. It joins with the Tonle Sap river at Phnom Penh and the city is actually on a loop in the river.
The river flowing south towards Vietnam and northwards it heads into Seam Reap, or close to it, where the river exits from the Tonle Sap lake on its way south
A fishing village on the banks of the river just down from the glitz glamour of Phnom Penh itself
Some islands in the middle of the river, and as they become flooded and submerged each year, they are very fertile and are farmed
The tour boats along the banks of the Mekong below the city center. For a few dollars, you can hire a boat and cruise the river with just you, the captain and one crewman!
Fishing boats group together on the river, which joins here with the Tonle Sap, helping to create a couple of fertile islands 
The city of Phnom Penh along the banks of the mightily Mekong with a derelict tour cruiser beached in the foreground
Fishermen making their living upon the waters of the river with the multistoried buildings of Phnom Penh lined up behind them
The buildings of Phnom Penh lined up above the river with one of the cruise boats ready for it customers. I visited in June and it was great not being inundated with tourists as it is not peak season then, being monsoon time
Some of the craft and houses that makes the river their home. There is quite a lot of poverty on show here, but the river will always feed its own, even with nom money in the bank
Daily life on the river and a hard one at that with small single or double person canoes being the mode of transport and the means to make a living from the river
The Moslem village on the river with their floating houses, shops and boats. On the other side was mainly Vietnamese families
Even the shops are floating as this general provision store shows. It had drums of fuel, fishing gear, dry stores and a couple of pots bubbling away for that late snack
Try your luck anywhere and where there are scraps of the table the fish are sure to congregate and the fishermen will be there trying to catch them!