Cambodia has really been a pleasant surprise. The lovely, surprisingly optimistic people, the wonderful cultural heritage (the Phnom Penh Museum was probably the best one I've seen in the South East Asia region so far) and the beautiful countryside (which we didn't really get to explore for fear of landmines) made it actually a much more rewarding destination than Thailand. We only had a week in Cambodia, so we tried to make it quite sight-seeing intensive. We first landed in Phnom Penh, which has an interesting mixture of the horrors-of-war memorabilia, and the remnants of the ancient Khmer empire. We first paid respect to those killed by the Khmer Rouge at the Tuol Sleng Prison, a seriously grueling experience, which I found to be a bit too much for me. Imagine Auschwitz, with the 'before' and 'after' pictures of men, women and children killed there. As I said: too much. But thank God Cambodia has much more to offer than the wrist-slashing-sad remnants of war.
In Phnom Penh we visited the already mentioned museum, which had an enormous collection of Angkor-era sculptures. We really enjoyed it, but we were detained for two additional hours by a flash flood! My first experience of the kind, really. While we were inside the skies opened. I have never seen the streets being flooded this quickly (I'll try to get pictures uploaded soon).
Another impressive thing we saw in Phnom Penh was the Royal Palace with the Silver Pagoda, which housed several solid gold statues, which somehow managed to survive the war, the solid-silver tiled floor and the guide with a seriously funny accent (something between Sean Connery and American movie trailers). We also managed to squeeze in a lovely dinner with the hippie friend we'd met in Thailand, which was great.
Now- moving on swifltly to Siem Reap. The Angkor temples were many, tall and interesting: basically everything they are said to be. The Baynon one was a little creepy with the gargantuan statues depicting the face of the most egotistical king in the history of egotistical kings staring at you from every corner. The ones that I will really remember though are the ones that are in the jungle, covered by the roots of huge trees. Those temples are carefully preserved the way they were first 'discovered' by the French in the late 19th century, overgrown, but not too much so, just enough to guarantee a spectacular picture. Once all the Japanese tourists disappeared we walked around the ruins, which was just beautiful.
We didn't get to spend as much time in Cambodia as we would have liked but this is definitely one I will come back to.