Kingdom of Cambodia

Kingdom of Cambodia

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Over the past month I have been on vacation traveling across Asia (Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam) and as usual, when I return from any major trip I share some of the stories & photos with you.

Below you will find a select few photos from about 400 taken while in the Kingdom of Cambodia (Siem Riep & Phnom Penh). I will upload the Japan and Vietnam photos when I get a chance to go through them – I still have 1500 more photos to go through.


This is how the vast majority of the population get to work in Cambodia, crammed on the back of a truck. There were at least 25 trucks in a row like this… something that has to be seen, to be believed.


This is inside the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museuem / S-21 Prision in Phnom Penh. This was probably the most confronting place / experience I have ever come across (even after visiting Vietnam War Museum + Hitler’s Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria). The pictures, history and realism of the whole museum really blew me away. You could actually still see the blood on the cells and the walls.


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This is a commemorative stupa at the Killing Fields of Cambodia. It is filled with the skulls of the victims, on display for all to see (inside is made of glass). At this site you could walk around and see the mass graves of nearly 200,000 Cambodians who were killed by the Khmer Rouge.


These were some children who were “playing” nearby the fence of the Killing Fields. You soon come to realise they are not actually playing, but working. They beg for money when tourists come over for a closer look. A saddening experience, but one that you eventually “got used to” – poverty & begging is literally everywhere in Cambodia.


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The beautiful Royal Palace of Phnom Penh. This was probably the only place that you didn’t encounter begging (until you got outside the gates). It was quite fascinating inside as well, especially inside the Silver Pagoda (a temple which has over 5,000 silver tiles as the floor). It also featured an “Emerald Buddha” inside which had about 9000+ diamonds on it.


Just part of the fun of Cambodia, the cuisine. In the picture above you see two forms of cooked crickets (at the front) and then cooked Tarantulas at the back… and yes I did eat them. The crickets tasted like crunchy chicken and the Tarantula tasted like marinated beef jerky.


Yup, that’s a live Tarantuala crawling on my shirt.


This is probably the only place in the world where you will be able to freely walk around with a live, loaded gun as a tourist attraction. Above you see me shooting an M16 rifle.

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I also got to shoot a PPSh Sub Machine Gun (I was originally told it was a Tommy Gun) which was pretty awesome. Very loud and quite a kick. What you think? Next Rambo? Far from.


This is the group I travelled around Cambodia with, outside Angkor Wat – a 12th century temple which is the main tourist attraction for Cambodia (it even appears on their national flag).


One of those cheesy jump shots on top of Bankheng Hill, Angkor Wat.


Posing on the top of Bankheng Hill while waiting for the sunset.


The sunset I was waiting for.


Where we had a fish foot massage (not my feet shown above). The tiny fish eat away at your dead skin cells and leave your feet nice and exfoliated. Quite an experience!


Feeding an elephant bananas… not as exhilarating as when I was “sucked off” + given a massage by an elephant in Thailand back in February.


The bridge leading to the entrance of a temple in Angkor Wat. The one at the front is a refurbished one (the original was destroyed during war).


Me exhausted after the steep climb (there were much more stairs than what is shown in the picture).


A some what zombie-like pose in front of this ancient tree. You may actually find this setting / tree familiar… it’s where they filmed Tomb Raider a few years back.


Don’t know why I did this, but I thought it was a good idea at the time.


This is me chilling on the outer wall of the massive temple. A few minutes later, it poured down (very refreshing) rain.


The floating village. All of the boats / houses you see on the sides of the river move about 3 times a year depending on the weather and tides. It is literally a floating village – they have a floating school, floating church, floating shops, etc.


This was a kid floating in a wash basin down the river. Cute… until he started begging for money. “One dollaaar, one dolllaaar”.


This was a lady drying out water snakes on the river. I also tried this (cooked of course). Tasted pretty nice actually, though I couldn’t stomach it for more than 2 bites. Something about the water it swims in got to me.


This is a tank full of farmed cat fish. This is what they look like when you throw a chunk of fish food into the tank – they go nuts!


This is me feeding cat fish to a bunch of hungry crocodiles. Quite an experience – very exhilarating.


An action close up shot of me feeding the crocs.


These were the kids of our tour leader – very cute and friendly. I just wish the photo came out clearer.


Simply amazing eh? 3 huge cupboards on a motorcycle!


Thought you had seen it all? Nope, those are live chickens tied to the roof of a van.

Hope this has gaven you a short glimpse into what Cambodia is all about.

Some have also asked where I am going next… at this stage I am aiming for a trip to South America in November though nothing is confirmed yet and then in January I will be moving to NYC to begin work at Carrot Creative.

Stay tuned for the Japan, Vietnam & New Zealand photos over the next few weeks. Also be sure to check out this post: Top 10 Tips To Streamline Your Vacation Planning.

34 thoughts on “Kingdom of Cambodia”

  1. Amazing Pictures Jacob! Looks like you had a blast! OMG the fish foot massage .. ticklish much? The floating village looks fascinating .. I visited the floating markets in Bangkok, total fun! Aren’t tarantulas deadly? or do they have their venom taken out?

  2. Hey Jacob, Awesome photos… you’ve gotten me very psyched now… I fly to Vietnam and Cambodia in October and simply can’t wait. Now it’s going to be even harder to not get excited.


  3. Jacob, great pics.

    Also, out of curiosity, where are you planning on stopping in South America? It is a personal favorite…

  4. Sneh,
    Yup, Cambodia is an adventurous place. The fish massage was ticklish for the first minute or two (when the most fish are on you) but then you get used to it. It is a very weird feeling.

    I’ve also visited the floating markets in Bangkok but it was so touristy (as you would know)… when I was there, there was so many tourists that we literally couldn’t move – our boat was jammed between about 8 other boats in the narrow water ways. In contrast, this particular floating village has been around for decades and is actually their way of life but more and more tourists are coming there too.

    And re the tarantulas, yeah they are venomous however I guess the cooking kills the venom? Not really sure but our tour leader had it so I figured it was safe.

    Was in Bangkok back in February, a very busy place!

    Mike E,
    Defineitely worth a visit.

    Mike B.,
    You will love it! The “shooting range” is not in tourist books but all of the cab drivers know where it is. You can also hire cab drivers for the day ($45) – it’s worth it if you are visiting the outer areas of Cambodia.

    At this stage nothing has been planned but hoping to do Mexico, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil. Just waiting on a friend before we begin planning – all depends on her getting out of work.

  5. First time commenting, but I’ve been reading for a few months now. I went to Cambodia 2 years ago so this brings back memories. I didn’t see everything you have pictured here, but it was still an inspiration, thrilling experience!

    Kudos for having the guts to climb up those temple steps. I only managed a quarter of them before coming back down since it was so steep, you could barely make out the steps below!

    Awesome pictures, and thanks for being an inspiration to me. =)

  6. Wow, very impressive! lucky you… loved the temple ones. The Chicken one is quite sad… I’m a bit of an animal-welfare preacher. Thanks for sharing such wonderful experience in images. Cheers!

  7. “Those are live chickens tied to the roof of a van.” Don’t they have seatbelt laws?

    “This is probably the only place in the world where you will be able to freely walk around with a live, loaded gun as a tourist attraction.” Haven’t visited Atlanta yet, have you?

  8. That’s really cool – It looks like you had a great time!

    I’m really looking forward to seeing the other photos and have fun snowboarding in NZ!

  9. What’s amazing is most people have never heard of the Khmer Rouge… well, here in America at least. Cool photos, for some reason I recall seeing the rooted tree… somewhere.

  10. Looks awesome, it’s great to see that you can do this work and it gives you the freedom to explore the world. Very cool indeed.

  11. This pictures are awesome man, all the culture and traditions of those countries is impressive for an occident culture like me, and the cat fish photo is excellent, and the temples are really impressive work.
    And for South America you should go to Colombia, don’t be scary, is not like the news and films show all the time, is really beautiful and not more dangerous then Mexico!!!!

  12. Great photos and I am looking forward for the photos from other countries:)

    And in the future when you will be in Poland (I hope that you will visit my country too 😛 ) go and visit – Oswiecim – Auschwitz concentration camp. It is a quite specific feeling. (Just though about it when I was watching photos from the prison)

  13. Anna,
    It is worth it if get the chance!

    Thanks and will do!

    Not sure about the South American trip yet, still awaiting word from a friend if they can get work off. We will see.

    Yeah the steps were quite difficult but I woulda kicked myself if I didn’t go up!

    I think the motorcycle ones are worse… They tie the same amount on the back of a motorcycle – quite a site actually but probably not one for a animal activist.

    Unit B,
    Haha, that one made me laugh. No seat belt laws there… hardly any laws for that matter.

    What’s in Atlanta? I also hear you can shoot a rocket launcher in Cambodia!? Not so sure how true that is though but I wouldn’t be surprised – it is Cambodia after all.

    Poland – really don’t know much about it but when I visit eastern Europe (which I am still yet to do) I will most probably drop by there.

    Very much so, the freedom of having a “web” life is great.

  14. Beautiful shots man, you’re brave to try insects and snakes! I think I could eat them if no one told me what it was beforehand :D.

  15. Great photos – I am so jealous! I have traveled around quite a bit of South East Asia but never got time to go Cambodia – looks like an interesting place. I would defiantly recommend spending a night or two in Halong Bay in Vietnam you have the chance. Looking forward to your next update.

  16. Hello again,

    Was Cambodia as dry and hot for you as it was for me?

    Angkor Wat was pretty awesome huh? I was in awe the entire time by such structures built hundreds of years ago.

  17. Wow, I am always on your website reading articles, Looks like you had an awesome time. I am going to Cambodia in Feb next yr. Can I ask you what tour you did?

    Cheers Kayleen

  18. I visited Cambodia a few years ago. I believe we visited the same killing fields memorial. That is from Choeung Ek, is it not? Walking on the path and seeing the occasional bit of clothing, bone or tooth embedded in the path…I have never been more disturbed.

  19. Hi Jacob…. I really like your attitude, your personality and your free spirit. All of these cool picts you have showed me that you’re willing to go extreme and beyond and the resolved is once in a life time experience. Thank you for helping open up the door of Cambodia Kingdom of the Wonder to the World.

    Paris Lim

  20. Wow! Cambodia is quite the same to Vietnam. I wish you would post Vietnam and Japan soon

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