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Sliding Through… Cambodia

Cambodia - let’s go! Kristján Gíslason

Sliding Through… Cambodia Ásdís Rósa and Kristján Gíslason in Cambodia, January 2014

Sliding Through… Cambodia On January 8, 2014, my wife Ásdís Rósa and I flew from Iceland to London England, then on to Bangkok, Thailand and finally on to Luang Prabang, Laos. We spent five weeks exploring the beautiful Indochina countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This book is the second in my “Sliding Through” series, which I created after returning from our trip. The others are, “Sliding Through...Laos!” and “Sliding Through...Vietnam.” Cambodia’s history speaks volumes about the critical role in played among the Indochina countries and the influence it had on the region in their early years of existence. France ruled the country for nearly 100 years before the Japanese occupied it during World War II. In 1953, the Cambodians gained their independence. The country became entangled in the Vietnam War as the United States attempted to stop the North Vietnamese from shipping supplies through the territory. In 1978, Vietnam invaded Cambodia to stop the massacre of Cambodians by the Khmer Rouge. Since the population of 14.9 million people has enjoyed relative peace. Throughout the book you will see numbers in brackets - these correspond to QR Codes which are located in the back of the book. Scanning a QR Code will take you to a short video. In the online version of this book, viewers can click the small stars that appear on select pages and watch the videos directly in their web browser. 1

Angkor Wat (The City of Temples) is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its special cultural significance (above).



Everyone who comes to Cambodia must visit Angkor Wat.

This Hindu statue at Angkor Wat symbolizes how much influence India had in Cambodia in it’s earliest days. Today, 95% of Cambodians identify as Buddhist.



In front of Angkor Wat, built at the same time as Notre Dame in Paris (above). An Asian girl rests on the sandstone wall as she inhales the history and views different architecture of the Angkor Wat structure (right).

Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century and took nearly 30 years to complete. Over 3,000 tons of stone was used to craft the magnificent structure. The temple’s stones, as well as those one can find strewn about the riverbanks surrounding the temple, are intricately engraved with absolute perfection. 8

The main temple is a must visit destination, despite the steep climb to see it.


It takes time to understand a structure that represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.


Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and the most important archaeological site in southeast Asia.


Workers taking a nap under a crawling tree during lunchtime (right).




Leaves floating in the Angkor Thom. A unique type of moss in the river makes the appearance look like marble.


People never take pictures of things they want to forget (right).

The roots of the trees are a big threat to the man made structures as time passes (above). The trees’ formation sometimes has significance. 18

The wall of the old city.



Even the gates are enormous.



( 15 ) & ( 20 )

ABC & Rice is an English school for Cambodian children who come from poor families. Every month, the parents who send their children to the school instead of working or begging receive a bag of rice (above).


Going home from school in their uniforms.

( 25 )

This young girl is taking care of the little ones on the way home from school, while a mother brings her children home on a motorcycle.



Downtown Siem Reap hosts many tourists, mostly because of Angkor Wat.




The captain of our boat - a nice young man - couldn’t have been more than 15 years old (above). Families racing to the tourist boats to oer something for sale or to beg (right).

When the tourist boat approached, the beggars began to arrive with their adorable children - this proved an easy wallet-opener for many (left). Some things don’t change (above). 31

( 30 )

It can be diďŹƒcult for tourists to face the reality of the situation in Cambodia if not prepared (left). A mother arrive in a small dingy, using her children to create sympathy before begging (above).

Life in the fisherman’s village (above). The fisherman is checking the catch of the day (right).


The volleyball court.

The floating houses are never aected by the everchanging water levels. When there is a storm or heavy rain, however, the people may have to escape their houses and find high ground. 37


In front of the trash platform.

The iceman brings a large block of ice on his motorcycle and makes it into suitable sizes for customers.



The very busy locksmith put some door handle locks on display (above).

Fine art, mainly made of silk, can be found everywhere in Cambodia. Here, the seamstress melts the ends of a garment over a flame.



Food is displayed in the market in Siem Reap (above, left). A charming middle age European woman admires something in the distance (right).


“Gas stations” are everywhere and ensure that motorists can effortlessly continue their journeys.

( 35 )

Ólafur Gunnarsson and Kristín Baldvinsdóttir, from Iceland, work at the ABC & Rice school (above). A brave passenger sits on the roof of a car on the highway from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh (above, left).


The stupa monument at the Killing Field is filled with 9,000 skulls of the Khmer Rouge’s victims. During their reign of terror from 1975-79, they slaughtered nearly 3 million people in Cambodia.

( 40 )

Mr. Vann from Phnom Penh - an outstanding guide and certainly one of the best we have had since we began traveling.


The Khmer Rouge turned this high school in Phnom Penh into a torture camp, named S21. Before prisoners were executed, they were extensively tortured (above). In 1979, the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and the world became aware of the Khmer Rouge massacre. Only seven people managed to escape from this torture site, one of whom was Mr. Chum Maym (right). 48


The beautiful king’s palace and temples in Phnom Penh.



Many of the Cambodian men had one or all of their fingernails grown long. The only explanation we received is that they were seeking some identity; the trend was new for the two European visitors.


An Icelandic girl, Erna Eir铆ksd贸ttir, met us in Phnom Penh and had a dinner with us (above). It was strange to see a flock of women preparing meals and selling them to passers by in these health care boxes (right).


From Phnom Penh, we went by boat down the Mekong River to Vietnam (right).

A farm on the banks of the Mekong river (above)


Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Watch the Video To watch the video segments, simply point your smartphone or tablet camera at the QR code - a browser or video player (depending on your device) will open the video. ( 10 ) – The Angkor Thom Temple Tuc Tuc - ( 15 )

( 20 ) – ABC’s and Rice The Icecream Maker - ( 25 )

( 30 ) – The Beggers Highway in Cambodia - ( 35 )

A QR Code Reader can be downloaded, free of charge, from the AppStore, GooglePlay or the Windows Store. The usage of the content of this book is not allowed without a written permission.

Watch the Video To watch the video segments, simply point your smartphone or tablet camera at the QR code - a browser or video player (depending on your device) will open the video. ( 40 ) – The Killing fields - Phnom Penh

A QR Code Reader can be downloaded, free of charge, from the AppStore, GooglePlay or the Windows Store. The usage of the content of this book is not allowed without a written permission.

Sliding Through... Cambodia  

We spent five weeks exploring the beautiful and facinating Indochina countries of Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. After our trip, I made three s...

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