We were having a good time in Bali, but not good enough. The whole motorbike situation in Seminyak is really annoying and in all honesty the beach is not that cool. So we decided to shorten our stay and go back to Cambodia, the best place to get pampered in Southeast Asia. It was E’s idea. He visited Cambodia for the first time in 2001, and he claims it was love at first sight. My first time was in the beginning of our 5 month trip to Southeast Asia with hand luggage and I fell for it too. It’s undeniable: the food is delicious, massages are fantastic, the place is beautiful and Cambodians are friendly, polite and very professional people.
Since we had already been to the most popular places, we decided to do nothing (a passion of mine) and visit unusual places, such as Oudong. There are of course private day trips to Oudong, but just as everywhere else in Southeast Asia we decided to do it on our own. We took the tuc-tucs in front of our Billabong Hotel all the time to move around the city. Our tuc tuc drivers were not only inexpensive but always safe, knew their way around and fantastic company. The trip to Oudong was fun in its own. We saw traditional Cambodian houses on pillars and plenty of temples and mosques. It seems Cambodia’s Muslim minority lives north of Phnom Penh.
Oudong is located just 40 km north of Phnom Penh, so it took us 45 minutes to get there. To our surprise, we had the place mostly to our own, with just a few tourists around. It was Cambodia’s capital for more than 250 years until it was abandoned in the middle of the 19th century. The main site consists of three main stupas perched on top of a hill. Damrei Sam Poan stupa was built by King Chey Chetha II (1618–26). The ashes of his predecessor King Soriyopor, the founder Oudong, are there. The Ang Doung stupa, in the middle, was named after the father of King Norodom. Built in 1891 by King Norodom it houses King Ang Duong’s (1845–59) ashes. The last stupa is Mak Proum, the funeral stupa of King Monivong (1927–41). It is the one that contains four faces looking into four directions
Be sure to bring some socks with you. Taking your shoes off is mandatory so you don’t want to burn your feet going all the way up! The views from the top are sure worth the effort. The place is beautiful and so peaceful. Staring at the huge plateau you can’t help but marvel at the great civilization that lived, and still lives, in Cambodia. On our way back, we had to wrap our tuc-tuc in plastic, to protect us from a heavy summer rain shower. Directly we went to have massages, followed by delicious dinner, and a dip in the pool. Trust me: Cambodia is the place to be if you like comfort, culture, beauty and pleasure. What a treat!