As I currently reside in Cambodia, I enjoy writing about the country to raise awareness of this much-misunderstood and often mislabeled country.
I mainly highlight the wonderful cities, towns, villages, beaches, mountains, and magnificent temples I’ve discovered during my travels to inform as many folks as possible about the “Kingdom of Wonders.”
I hope my travel experiences and writings inspire people to put Cambodia on their must-visit travel bucket list.
I’ve traveled and lived all over South East Asia during the last 5 years. I can honestly say that Cambodia is the best place to live, visit, and work in South East Asia.
Please read my sorry about my first year of travels and life in Cambodia:
Note: I’ve lived in 7 countries and 3 continents during the last 40 years, which has provided me with scope, an open mind, and a lot of experience.
The primary reasons why Cambodia is my #1 choice and favorite place to live:
- The 1-year residency visa costs $280, compared to around $2000 in other SEA countries
- Foreigners can work for any company and open businesses in their name
- The work permit costs $180 per year, compared to approximately $1500 in other SEA countries
- The Khmer people are amongst the most friendly and helpful I’ve ever come across
- Crime rates are low
- Cambodia is a safe and peaceful country
- Tourists and ex-pats are welcomed with open arms and treated as locals
- The main cities are bustling and fun to hang out in
- The mountainous regions, such as Kulen Moutain and Mondulkiri, are stunning
- There are beautiful beaches and fishing villages in the south
- The white sand Koh Rong islands are heaven on Earth, gorgeous and laid back
My previous story about Cambodia received many comments and questions.
Some readers left negative comments, citing the long-gone past of the Khmer Rouge regime and Pol Pot, saying they wouldn’t set foot in the country.
I replied to each and every one of the 123 comments, whether negative or positive.
I always do my best to explain to those who still believe Cambodia and its people can’t be trusted that:
a) The Khmer Rouge regime and Pol Pot are long since gone (for over 30 years).
b) Cambodians did not have a say or choose the Khmer Rouge regime.
The extreme dictator took advantage of the U.S. – Vietnam war, toppled the government, forcing the people to retire their possessions, give up their names, work in the fields, and dress in grey pajamas.
The Khmer Rouge wanted to create an everyone-is-equal society that did not think or talk. Then they went on to kill everyone with an education, a profession, or a business.
Pol Pot’s inner circle eventually declared him insane, after which he executed them in the Killing Fields.
The population used to be 7 million in 1970 and was cut in half to 3.5 million survivors by 1975.
Once again, the Cambodians had no say, and they most definitely did not want the regime ruining lives and killing their people.
America supported the Khmer Rouge financially to further their interests in Vietnam. America also launched a “secret” 4-year heavy-bombing campaign on the neutral and innocent country to attack the Vietnamese traveling through.
Soon China joined in supporting the Khmer Rouge by supplying arms.
Please read this chilling excerpt from:
The U.S. Is Even More Guilty Than Pol Pot – from the late 1990s
“To the Editor:
“In all the hubbub about the death of Pol Pot, neither the U.S. government nor the American news media have seen fit to mention that
- this mass murderer was supported for fifteen years by the United States
- the U.S. bombing of Cambodia during 1970-75 killed as many or more Cambodians as Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge ever did
- Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were not Communists
As for how many were killed by American bombing, Zasloff and Brown, in Problems of Communism, Jan.-Feb. 1979, write of the “heavy toll in lives” which “the enormous U.S. bombing and the intensity of the fighting” caused before 1975, and imply the Khmer Rouge claims of 600,000 to “more than 1 million” dead are credible.”
“The U.S. not only helped to create conditions that brought Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge to power in 1975 but actively supported the genocidal force, politically and financially. By January 1980, the U.S. was secretly funding Pol Pot’s exiled forces on the Thai border.”
“The extent of this support — $85 million from 1980-86 — was revealed 6 years later in correspondence between congressional lawyer Jonathan Winer, then counsel to Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.”
“In 1981, Pres. Carter’s national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, said, “I encouraged the Chinese to support Pol Pot. The U.S.”, he added, “winked publicly” as China sent arms to the Khmer Rouge(K.R.) through Thailand.”
“In 1980, under U.S. pressure, the World Food Program handed over food worth $12 million to the Thai Army to pass on to the K.R. According to former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, 20,000 to 40,000 Pol Pot guerrillas benefited. This aid helped restore the K.R. to a fighting force, based in Thailand, from which it destabilized Cambodia for more than a decade.'”
“In 1982, the U.S. and China, supported by Singapore, invented the Coalition of the Democratic Government of Kampuchea, which was, as Ben Kiernan pointed out, neither a coalition, nor democratic, nor a government, not in Kampuchea.”
“Rather, it was what the CIA calls a “master illusion.” Cambodia’s former ruler, Prince Norodom Sihanouk, was appointed its head; otherwise, little changed.”
“The K.R. dominated the two “non-communist” members, the Sihanoukists and the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front (KPNLF). From his office at the UN, Pol Pot’s ambassador, the urbane Thereon Parish, continued to speak for Cambodia. A close associate of Pol Pot, he had in 1975 called on Khmer expatriates to return home, whereupon many of them disappeared.” Msuweb.Montclair.eu
And please read the excerpt from:
Caught in The Crossfire 1969 – 1973
“On March 18, 1969, American B-52s began carpet-bombing eastern Cambodia. “Operation Breakfast” was the first course in a four-year bombing campaign that drew Cambodia headlong into the Vietnam War.
The Nixon Administration kept the bombings secret from Congress for several months, insisting they were directed against legitimate Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge targets. However, the raids exacted an enormous cost from the Cambodian people: the U.S. dropped 540,000 tons of bombs, killing anywhere from 150,000 to 500,000 civilians.” Pbs.org
As you have read, these bombings resulted in hundreds of thousands more deaths, dismemberments, and horrific injuries.
Miraculously Cambodia has healed and recovered from this horrific nightmare inflicted on them by outside enemies and other countries.
The population has since grown to 17 million – hundreds of thousands completing higher education, business, and investment is blooming, and the infrastructure improving by the day.
Cambodia is a beautiful country with multiple stunning sites to see. Its people are peaceful, content, and happy.
Despite what happened to them, aided by America, Cambodians welcome all foreigners with open arms and genuine smiles.
I hope you visit Cambodia soon to see for yourself.