SE Asia: Cambodia

After exploring Europe (and Turkey and Morocco) for nearly eight months, Mac and I were ready for a different kind of adventure and a completely different culture. So we set off for SE Asia. Our plan was to spend a week in Cambodia and three weeks in Thailand.

Because we flew in to Bangkok, we had to cross most of Thailand to reach Cambodia. We could’ve flown but we decided to take a 7-hour train instead. The ride didn’t disappoint. There was lots to look at inside–and outside–of our 3rd class car. We spent most of the ride gazing around in awe at everything from the chickens and puppies riding next to us to the fields and lotus flowers we passed by. Mac said it was just like watching National Geographic.


Once we reached Cambodia, we set up a home base in Siem Reap, the town closest to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat–and the whole reason Cambodia was on our bucket list to begin with. It was a photographer’s paradise.


We enjoyed visiting the temples so much on our one-day educational tour that we returned the next day to ride bikes around the religious complex and take everything in at our own pace.

Everywhere we looked, we found something interesting, from kids farming lotus flowers to a migration of 50+ monkeys, including this cute little baby one. (This was when I still thought monkeys were cute. In Thailand, one attacked me and tried to steal my lunch out of my hands. It was terrifying. But I won.)


There was some foreshadowing that monkeys are mischievous creatures. We watched these guys attempt to unzip another biker’s purse. While they weren’t ultimately successful, they did manage to get away with the woman’s water bottle, which they punched a hole in and drank out of.

When we weren’t exploring Angkor Wat, we were exploring our little town. Siem Reap is a small, very poor village with a bustling tourist district. It was strange to see such poverty and affluence mixed all together but somehow it worked.


We made time to watch some traditional Cambodian dancing, which is meant to bring to life the exotic women depicted on the Angkor temples.

And thought about going to a happening lounge … until we got creeped out by the welcome sign and the possibility of being surrounded by people who needed to be reminded not to bring grenades to a club.

So we turned our sights to culinary adventures. We started small, with coconuts fresh off the tree and shark/alligator Cambodian BBQ.

We heard rumors of “mystery meat” but didn’t think much of them until we saw this very helpful sign.

Finally, we were ready for our biggest culinary adventure yet: crickets, snakes and spiders.


Mac led the charge on this one. We got chasers first, to help wash everything down.

And then debated the best way to eat everything. 

I had trouble working up to it.

But finally got on board.


Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was going to be. The spider legs tasted like pork puffies and the snake was tough and a little spicy like jerky (with vertebrae poking out). The cricket was actually the worst, because its legs and wings kept poking the inside of our mouths. And it didn’t taste very good. But we were quite proud of ourselves for being so brave.

Cambodia was everything we were hoping it would be–very, very different from Europe. We’d like to go back someday to see even more of the country beyond Angkor Wat. But we’ll skip the bugs next time.


  1. This is better than the National Geographic!!! M

  2. This is better than the National Geographic!!! I found I was holding my breath at the sheer beauty of the pictures. What an adventure!!! Thanks for taking us along!
    Take care, but keep having fun!

  3. I flat out stop at snakes…I’m still shuddering about the snake charmers in Marrakesch…you two are certifiably NUTS!!!!
    Love Aunt Shoon

  4. Okay, eating spiders would be enough to put Danny in his grave. You two are nuts! But will have enough camp fire stories for a life time. Nick

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