Some memories from an unforgettable trip from July 2012 when I was backpacking by myself for a month in Cambodia, Vietnam (and Thailand). I took my AOWD in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and stayed at an almost desert island for a couple of days.
Would love to travel back to Cambodia again, although it was a journey that changed my perspective on life for good. Seeing the suffering of the people in Cambodia broke my heart. That is how much war causes destruction to both the economy and the well-being of the population in a country. The country has plenty of war cripples, many of whom miss arms, legs, or both, due to landmines that have still not been cleaned up from the country´s environment although it has been more than 40 years now since the civil war officially ended.
Widespread corruption is one of the reasons why the country has still not recovered well from the genocide. There is still a lack of doctors and hospitals: those Cambodians who can afford it, travel to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam to see a doctor. The bus ride on the poor roads in Cambodia takes too many hours to Saigon, and the country has still no railroads.
I used to think that Thailand is a developing country, but after visiting Cambodia my perspective changed. When you enter Thailand after a visit to Cambodia, it is like returning back to civilization. Bangkok, as far as I know, has some of the best hospitals in the world.
I would not necessarily travel just anywhere in the world alone as a woman, but South East Asia is 100% safe to travel even as a woman alone. Cambodia and Vietnam are backpacker´s paradises and destinations where you see many women travel alone.
I was just almost killed by a green viper that fell down from a tree in the jungle of Angkor Wat when I was resting in the shadow from the burning sun. To my luck, the snake decided not to bite me, perhaps since I stayed still and did not move an inch.
That was my second near-death experience. The first one had been in Finland a couple of years earlier, when I was traveling by train from Eastern Finland to Helsinki.
There was a heavy storm, and suddenly trees fell on the train and its windows, including where I was sitting. If the train windows were not bulletproof, I’d be dead by now since a number of trees were slapping the window exactly where I was sitting. The train had to stop, and we waited for a couple of hours before we were evacuated and brought by bus transportations from the middle of the forest railroad back to our homes.
When I think back on these memories, I am grateful for being alive every day.
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