Day 008 – Cambodia to Vietnam

2008/09/12 § 2 Comments

Day 009 – Cambodia to Vietnam

Leaving Cambodia I took the bus from Siem Riep to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) which is a 12 hour bus ride. Or so I hope, since I am writing this still sitting on the bus hoping to arrive soon. I had enough time to contemplate my impressions and the major flavor must be poverty. I am amazed that I have either not realized poverty to this extend before in south east asia or that Cambodia is poorer than e.g. Indonesia, which must be the poorest country in the region I have been to so far. But thinking about it I believe I have seen people in similarly dire situations before.

I suppose I have not really given it as much thought previously in the way that I was more willing to simply accept the fact and take it as it is with much less reflection than now. It is bewildering how frail and fragile life really is if you are not one of the privileged and lucky of this planet. Surely there are a reasons for the differences in wealth and mostly they are of political nature. But besides that it still remains a feeling of total randomness. Certainly on a personal level, along the lines of “why are they born into poverty and we into wealth?”.

Abusing our resources as we do we are on the way of destroying the very source of our wealth and I believe I have seen the future of the planet as a whole. When this future will arrive, I have no clue. Will I see the beginnings of it in our western nations? I have no doubt, in fact I am convinced that we are seeing the beginning of it right now. With the current oil price rises and the concomitant increases in food prices and many other goods many people, even in the west, have experienced financial difficulties. I believe these to be a force of the future.

However, I am now looking forward to meet my friend Björn in Saigon and see what Vietnam has to tell me.

Some notes for you in case you are planning a trip to Cambodia. I managed easily to survive on 28€ per day including food, accommodation, transportation and entrance fees. As European you can easily get a visa at the airport, I got mine as e-visa online though. Food in Cambodia is great and personally I have not taken any special precautions, I.e. I have been eating on street stalls, moving food vendors and been drinking anything that would quench my thirst. I believe there is still reason for caution but certainly none for paranoia.

These days mosquitoes were almost none existent in the places where I was at least. Happy news from the malaria and dengue fever front I hope (I have been bitten a few times though). Generally the rainy season in Cambodia has its pros and cons I guess. Yesterday it rained all day (which fitted me well, since I had planned a reading day anyhow) which led to heavily flooded streets, electricity cut in my guesthouse and to my laundry still being wet today, even though it was washed two days ago. Nothing I could not live with.

On the positive side there are less tourists I was told and can imagine from the readily available rooms in hotels and hence the lower prices (after haggling that is). Otherwise Angkor Wat is said to look better in the rainy season. Personally I like a heavy rain with flash and thunder very much anyhow…

Happy travels 🙂


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