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A lesson in customer service: The Cambodian laundry

I don’t know what it is about travelling, but we seem to be particularly aware of the extreme levels of service when we are away from home. We all have stories of the appallingly bad; whether it is imcompetence, incomprehension or service given with added undiluted hostility. Occasionally though we also experience the very highest […]

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Phnom Penh: A Cambodian Christmas

Phnom Penh was one of my favourite stops on our SE Asia trip. Considering I spent a large part of one day there (Christmas Day to be precise) in close proximity to our hotel bathroom, that is quite a compliment. It’s not a pretty city, with only a few buildings of note. The Royal Palace […]

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Northern Cambodia: River dolphins, pyjama people and the karaoke bus

I wish we’d had more time to spend in Cambodia. The little we saw of it was captivating, and the warmth of the people along with the delicious Khmer cuisine meant that we were sorry to leave when we did. I am grateful at least that we did get to see a little of the […]

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Siem Reap: a tacky, soulless gateway to Angkor Wat?

We had arrived in Siem Reap in the early afternoon and made plans to visit the Angkor Wat temples for the next three days. So after a painfully slow check-in we set about exploring a little of the city. I took a strong dislike to Siem Reap at first glance, and while I did learn […]

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Angkor Wat, Cambodia: robbed of its rightful place as one of the 7 wonders?

Angkor Wat was without doubt the most famous and most visited stop on our SE Asian journey. I don’t think I met anyone who was travelling in Cambodia for whom this wasn’t the main purpose of visiting the country. Yet I have to confess that by leaving Angkor Wat to the end of our itinerary […]

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Phnom Penh; the legacy of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge

Between 1975 and 1979, an estimated three million people lost their lives under the barbaric rule of the Khmer Rouge and their murderer-in-chief, Pol Pot. Initially welcomed as a revolution of the proleteriat over the previous corrupt system, the killing and torture of the Cambodian population started within days. The infrastructure to conduct genocide on […]

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Daylight robbery at Laos/Cambodian border: not worth the fighting

I have crossed several borders overland in recent years, and even now there is a strange sense of excitement and apprehension as I approach the border guards. They have it in their power to make life very difficult for someone, and it is always my hope that that someone will not be me that day. […]

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“Mister only one dollar”: facing up to the other side of Angkor Wat (and other tourist sites)

“Please Mister, buy something from me” “You buy from anyone you buy from me, ok?” “Maybe when you come back. I remember you” “Is special good morning price!” “Lucky for you, lucky for me” Anyone who has visited Angkor Wat will be familiar with these lines and many others in constant use by the kids […]

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