There is something amazing about Asia – certainly one of the most mystical destinations on earth. Discover the many exotic allures of this fascinating part of the world on an Asia cruise. You’ll visit diverse history-rich cities and towns — from bustling metropolises to ancient capitals. Immerse yourself in unique cultures, centuries old traditions, remarkable architecture and delicious cuisine. Modern skyscrapers, grand palaces, amazing temples and centuries-old Buddhas will astound you.
Another early start to the day began with breakfast and a tender ride to Sa Dec. Sa Dec is a small river port and an agricultural trading center. We walked through the market which was filled with a variety of fresh vegetables and numerous types of fish. The fish were still swimming and very much alive. We then walked to a house known as The Lover’s House.
On our arrival into Vietnam we were met by individual rickshaws in the village of Tan Chau. Rickshaws are two wheeled vehicles pulled by an rickshaw driver pedaling an attached bicycle. We each had individual rickshaws and our rickshaw drivers took us through the village where we could get a glimpse of the local life. Tan Chau is well known for its silk production and particularly for its high quality black silk. We stopped at a traditional silk factory and got to see how they weave the silk.
After so many days traveling we were able to relax and enjoy the AMA Lotus as we sailed down the Mekong River en route to Vietnam. The AMA Lotus carries about 124 guests with a total of 62 staterooms. We had the opportunity to upgrade from a standard cabin to a junior suite. While the standard cabins (226 square feet) are quite nice, the junior suites (290 square feet) are much roomier.
We arrived in Phnom Penh in the early afternoon and took a short walking tour through a local market and continued on to the Wat Phnom Temple. Some of us headed back early as the temperatures reached in the high nineties – it felt at least a hundred degrees! Time to cool off a little in the pool on board the ship as we had the entire next day in the countries capital. Continue reading →
The history of the Khmer Rouge and the Killing Fields is forever tied into the history of Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge consisted of followers of the Communist Party of Kampuchea in Cambodia and was linked to North Vietnam, the Viet Cong and Pathet Lao. From 1975 through 1979, the Khmer Rouge was the driving force behind the Cambodian Genocide, a period of time characterized by famine, arbitrary deaths and torture and the death of thousands of innocents from treatable diseases such as malaria. This period of time is considered to be one of the darkest and saddest periods of time in the 20th century.
The afternoon was a sad and sobering experience as we visited the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek followed by a tour of the S21 Detention Center. The S21 Detention Center is located just a mile from the center of Phnom Penh and was the largest facility used to torture prisoners. An estimated 17,000 people were imprisoned here. Prisoners were repeatedly tortured and coerced into naming family members and close associates, who were in turn arrested, tortured and killed.
There are a number of Killing Fields in Cambodia where large numbers of people were also killed and left in mass graves. During the Khmer Regime from 1975 to 1979 about 2 million people out a population of 7 million were killed by torture, starvation and disease. During this time the genocide within Cambodia was one of the worst human tragedies of the last century. In 1979 Vietnam invaded and toppled the Khmer Rouge. Most of the Khmer Rouge were finally arrested. Pol Pot died in prison and one of the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders is still on trial for his role in the atrocities.
Our tour started this morning as we boarded Tuk-Tuks to visit a silk weaving village. A tuk-tuk is basically a four wheeled carriage that is pulled by a small motorcycle. It holds up to four people and is a great way to get around. Ouknhatey Village is located on a small island in the middle of the river and is made up of about 200 families.
We travel to learn about other customs and cultures, so that we come back changed by the places we have seen and the people we have met. But to truly understand another country, we have to be willing to share not just that country’s joyous past, but also the tragedies that have changed lives and changed history. Cambodia is such a place, and this is such a story.