Kamputschea – Mekong – Vietnam

Following and old tradition we tried to reduce our luggage by sending home some stuff. 15 kg, new record.


The total amount sent home is about 50 kg and we still have substantial luggage left. But it is now greatly reduced.

And now a challenge. What is the package that has the maximum Volume matching this criteria:

Astrid found a better solution then I did.

We then embarked on a ship to Vietnam down the mighty Mekong. Here the promise
and what we got

Mekong, bye bye Phnom Penh

Finally in Vietnam, Chau Doc

bye now, have to brush the kids teeth.


Khmer Rouge

It is not possible to visit Cambodia without a mental encounter with the Khmer Rouge.
We did not go to the killing fields near Phnom Penh, that is a touristy place and somehow did not sound just right.
Near Battambang is a killing field that is not even mentioned in tripadviser so we finally decided to go there.
It is set in a poor neighborhood with a Buddhist temple close by, in fact it was a Buddhist temple where the Khmer Rouge imprisoned many people. Not a tourist there and no one tries to sell something. Just the right place.
It is a small pagoda with the remains of people in it and concrete panels on two levels around it explaining the story of the region during the Khmer Rouge horror.
At first I was not sure if it is appropriate to take pictures but my heart tells me that the dead would not mind.
This is the horror of all parents and somehow I feel that is the right picture to post.

Reading about that strange and confusing time I am especially flabbergasted by the role some of the western governments played, supporting the Khmer Rough long after the Genocide was known to them. Shameful.

The inscription on the backside however ends with the words:
The remains of some of the victims of this genocide may never be recovered nor their murderers identified. But the gentle and forgiving Khmer, and energetic and optimistic people will not walk confidently through the will of shadows to reclaim their ancient culture and restore this beautiful land to become again the legendary paradise of celestial Apsaras.

Bambus Zug

Der Bambuszug ist eine kleine nette Touristenattraktion 3 km von Battambang entfernt.
Diese wird bald geschlossen, da nächstens mal wieder eine richtige Bahn fahren soll. Das Ding fährt ziemlich schnell und rattert fürchterlich, man hat zuerst Angst, es springt aus den Schienen.
Dann kommt auch noch ein Zug entgegen.


Was tun?
Auseinandernehmen und wieder zusammensetzen.




Take a seat


und weiter


An Ende kauft man ein paar Dinge und kann eine Ziegelei besichtigen. Befeuert wird mit Reisstreu.


Danach war eine Dusche in einer der Hütten fällig.


Danach ging es weiter zum letzten Khmer Tempel “Banan”. Ziemlich wakelig aber schön auf einem Berg gelegen. Danch hat uns der TucTuc Fahrer noch durchs Hinterland gefahren und das “wahre” Cambodia gezeigt und viel erklärt. Auch hier scheint die Entwicklungshilfe grösstenteils in schöne Villen zu fliessen.

Jetzt geht es auf allgemeinen Wunsch der Kinder in den Zirkus.

PS: ein sehe lebendiger Tanz/Theater/Artistik Zirkus, cool.
Es wird dunkel, die Artisten kommen rein, man sieht nur ihre Schemen. Lena : “Das isch ja dunkel, me gset gar nüt”


Angkor. We did a lot of additional Temples (9) and sites (3) in Angkor. Unfortunately I was too occupied to do more blogs. To do Angkor right every temple would be worth a blog. Two Temples we visited even twice (Bayon and Ankor Wat).

We also did a tour to the close by mountains to see 1000 Lingas and some Yoni. Uphill 1500 m through the jungle, neat. Lena hurt her knee there.

We now moved to Battambang, the name means “lost stick”.
The same day we arrived we drove to the bat-caves some 20 km away. There every evening around 18.00h millions (really millions) of bats emerge from a cave. The fly out for an hour.
Even some distance from the cave they still fly in formation:

Eine paar Chinesen stehen herum und machen ein Foto; Ada : “Lueged die kriminelli Gruppe deht”. Auf Nachfrage hin, Ada weiss gar nicht, was das heisst : “ich findä s’Wort kriminell eifach luschtig.”

Im Agkor Wat gefiert gibt es ein buddhistisches Kloster, davor 5 Pyramiden aus Sand, was zuerst nicht gut zu erkennen war. Sieht grob wie ein Abbild von Ankor Wat Level 3 aus (Berg Meruh). Ada : “die sind us Sand, damit si iri Röicherschtäbli chönd inästeckä”

Ada rührt Astrid den Kaffee um : “ich bi de rooomsörwis wo alles macht”

Astrid zu Lena : “dä Jonas isch din Cousin.
Lena : “dänn isch d’Julia mini Cousäni”

Ada :  “Warum händ d’Schlangä so lang zum äs tier verdaue?”
Papa : “Wais nöd”
Ada : “Da chönt mär dä Boris fröge”

Lena hält mir eine dieser kleinen Hotelseifen unter die Nase und fragt : “dörf mär die is Fluugzüg nä?”

Tonle Sap Lake or Traffic Jam of another kind

Tonle Sap Lake is the biggest Lake in this part of the world 30% the size of Switzerland. In the rainy season. Now probably not much left. Anyway, we took a boattour. There are virtually 100s of these boats driving up and down a narrow channel just knee deep. Worse than rush hour in Kuala Lupur. Some drivers are young boys. Bumping is normal procedure.

Not sure, if we ever gonna make it to the lake. Or back. Might be last post. At least one cannot drown.

Lenas Kommentar : “wieso mached si nöd meh wassär ine?” (why do they not pour more water in)

we made it to the lake (and back). The floating village was indeed a strange/puzzeling/??? view.

We docked unto one of the houses to see the “fish farm” -> some catfish 3×3 m pond and the “crocodile farm” even smaller. Ridiculous.
Should have read trip adviser.

There also a scam on the same tour is described. You can visit an orphenage but should bring a bag of rice that you can conveniently buy at a shop for a mere 60$. Even in Switzerland you can get one for 15$ I guess. The bag then makes it back to the store for resale and on and on (this was not tried on us, but the boat driver asked for 10$ “for study”).
Astrid yelled at the operators manager who took it like a (very small) man and only said “no refund”.

Angkor Hot

This posts beginning is some 40 years ago.
My parents had a book titled “Angkor Wat” and it had beautiful colored pictures in it. One of those books that you could get for a good price if you had collected some coupons and the pictures had to be added manually (Silva Buch). Kind of Ikea of books, just easier to assemble. Anyway, always wanted to go there and here we are.
Siem Reap is the Town close by. Ankor Wat is actually just one of the temples but by far the biggest and best preserved.
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angkor_wat “the largest religious monument in the world”. Do not ask me how this is measured.
So there we were, 7:30 in the morning, the small Tour (The big tour does different temples somewhat further away).
Tuc Tuc and English Guide ready. On Cambodia New Years Day. The opposite of Switzerland, where you have to ski slopes for yourself on New Years Day (other people have hang overs), here in Cambodia everybody is still celebrating. Actually New Year day is just the first of 3 days where everybody has vacation. So we had lots and lots of people. Thailand has the same New Year and they flock to Angkor on that occasion.
So first Temple was “Bayon” the center of Ankor Thom.


Baphuon, somewhat older:
This is a search picture again, unintentionally. Hint: kids below 12 were not allowed because of the steep stairs.
That temple also had a 70 m sleeping buddha.
Have you found the kids? Our guide had to baby-sit them. Easy job that day.

Next was Phimeanakas, some nice walk, ponds, walls etc. and lunch.

Afternoon Ta Prohm (Jungle) Temple. That temple was also well preserved until Disney decided to use the temple as a set for Mogli.

And then finally Angkor Wat. It was up to 36 Degrees that day, I do not know how me managed to do almost the entire program. We were back in Town 18:00. After dinner Kids wanted to go to the swimming pool and were still full of energy. Mom and Dad where completely exhausted.

On the way through new years celebration, Astrid was impressed.

Angkor Wat:
The true size is very difficult to show with pictures. What you see here is just the top level, there are 3 levels. And even that top level is huge. Indeed one of the wonders of the world. We have a 3 day pass and will go there again.

No Kids allowed in Kids Hospital

For the following non Swiss readers must know who Beat Richner (Beatocello) is.
So here a link in case you wanna know

We arranged so that we can be in Siam Reap at a Saturday where he makes a fundraising event 19:15 for about 1 1/4 hours.
That is not too late nor too long for the kids.
The event has some Cello playing and and movies about their work, as someone put it “More lecture than concert”. The event is free or as they say here “admission through donation” by giving blood or money or both.

So we arrived there full of anticipation and were blocked by a french speaking guy “kids are not allowed, desolé”
He informed us that they had had some problems with kids moving around and crying.
There was not possibility to sit the back or leaving in case of problems or something like that. Just no way.
Just because some other people completely unrelated to us did not have their kids under control.
Anyway: how many people with kids do show up in Cambodia?

We felt completely frustrated. Not being allowed because some other people of the same group made problems in the past? On a fund raising event for Kids? It is not a classical concert or something.
Somehow this is crossing the line where my sense of just and right is awakened. Lets say it is not kids but an ethnic group from which some members made troubles some when. You do not allow then anymore. What would that be.
Anyway, quite some people arrived late and still were allowed to enter. That does not seem to disturb. Not to mention people who forget to switch of their mobiles.

Please comment this entry. Do you think I am overreacting? It is obviously sensitive to criticize something that has done so much good for kids in need.

Needless to say that the “no kids policy” is not mentioned nowhere. It would simply sound strange:
Dr. Beat Richner plays Bach on the cello and speaks about the activities of his five children’s hospitals. No children allowed.

Sambour Prei Kuk (Kampong Thom)

On our way to Siem Reap we visited the pre Angkor Temple Area of Sembour Prei Kuk. Not much to see we were told at our Hotel in Phnom. It was just perfect. In the forest, shade, almost no tourists. The guide was good and the kids found tree-bones.


What is this thing?


Ah, the temples. Much older than Angkor, 700 AD.



While the traffic in Phnom Penh is somewhat Ok, in the countryside it is awful. And it is Friday and next Monday starts 3 days new year celebration. Still on our way to Siem Reap. Did I mention? Internet works well here.

Phnom Penh / Bim Coiffeur bin i gsässe vor em Spiegel, luege dry

We are about to leave Phnom Penh for Siem Reap.
Time to reflect.
We like Cambodia.
Hard to believe we are already here 6 days! We did not do much so it seems to me.

Kings Palace. Lost Adas hat and got it back the day after.
Vietnam Embassy to get visas, took only a day to do them but 240$ is expensive and that was the cheapest version available.
Organisation, how to get around the country and how to leave it for Vietnam afterwards (on the Mekong).
Difficult here and cumbersome, one has to know what the real price is and then haggle.
Example: How to get to Siem Reap possibly with overnight in Kampong Thom
– Bus: 4×12$ to Kampong and again 4×12 to Siem (direct also is only 12$ even though double the distance)
– Ask in Hotel, the “found” taxi for 90$ to Kampong. To Siem with 3 h stop in Kampong 120$
– Ask the internet, best offer 95$
– Back in the hotel, ah you found taxi for 95$ and without hesitation “what about 100$”. I guess the guy would have earned himself 25$ or so.

Wat Phnom, at temple in the middle of the city on a hill
With a playground at the bottom, carousel blackout fail-save:

National Museum, very neat (no pictures allowed).
By the way: if someone every visits the National Museum go to Kabbas Restaurant #166, St. 13 close by and eat AMOK.

We are preparing another package and I guess it is 10 kg again.

And finally upon request from many readers I faced my fear. Sorry only understandable for Swiss German Readers:

Zuerst mal hier schauen:


1.25$ später:

Man beachte den Spiegel im Spiegel! Man kann sich vom Stuhl aus vorne und hinten gleichzeitig betrachten!
Ebenfalls genial sind gewisse Steckdosen hier wo man direkt etwa 4 unterschiedliche Systeme einstecken kann:

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We flew AirAsia from the Kuala Lumpur LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal). An experience. Luggage gained only 1 kg in Kuala Lumpur.


Huge, very busy, somewhat complicated but eveything went smooth. The most special thing is that the gate T4 is basically just a door to the open airport. On has then to follow signs to the actual airplane, the BAY. Everyone was jostling.
People from different flights arriving/departing freely mixed.


Anyway, savely arrived in Phnom Penh (watch the H).
Immigration was not as described in wikivoyage.

It is 40 Degrees here and staying but we are not afraid anymore.

First impression, Cool traffic lights:


I remember that a few years ago such a system was discussed in Zürich but not installed.
Hotel is cool, welcome drink during check-in. I also already have 5 GB internet @ 5$.

Somehow this is the first land where we do not feel like “there is a flight we have to catch sometime”.

Looking forward…