Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cambodia (Country #27)

National Highway 13/7
As usual I have no clue what to expect when entering a new country for the first time. But I definitely did not expect the horrid road conditions I encountered when I entered Cambodia. If you remember from my blog on entering Laos the road was off road, but that was to be expected because it was a short cut (thats a laugh) through the jungle  to Luang Prabang. 

The road you are seeing in these pictures is Cambodia's main National Highway! The border crossing I entered is a very high traffic border and the only route south from Laos. There were all kinds of tourists waiting for buses and vans to pick them up and take them to either Phnom Phen or Siem Reap.

This went on in the various conditions for 400 plus km. Ironically I met a Polish couple at the border who want to travel by motorcycle in the future. He was stumped though why I would need off road tires.  I can guarantee that he found the answer to his question within the first kilometre of his bus ride. Street tires in developing countries NOT A CHANCE.

The second biggest surprise for Cambodia was the complete lack of beautiful scenery. It seems Cambodians have completely deforested their country. Coming from Laos which is probably one of the prettiest countries I have visited. This lack of natural beauty really bothered me knowing that they have destroyed their country.

A truck loaded with very small logs. I do not believe there are any large trees left in the country.

The other sad fact is that they have zero replanting going on. The land is just left bare or rice fields are planted.

I did not understand until I entered the city why they would need so much wood. It seems though that they still cook with wood as there main fuel source. They actually take all the wood and turn it into charcoal then sell it. Every night the streets are loaded with vendors cooking with charred wood as fuel.

After the attrocious road to Phnom Phen Fred was in dire need of some  TLC. 
So for $2 he was treated to a hand wash. 

 Even though they have their own currency the Riel. 99% of the currency used is US dollars. All prices are in US dollars and the ATMs give out US dollars. The only challenge is sometimes you will receive small change back in Riel currency. This leaves you carrying around two forms of bank notes. $1 US = 4000

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