“Why do you keep going back Cambodia?” I have been asked this question many times from fellow travellers and friends. This is a good question for me to ponder. It gets me thinking about my reasons for putting it on my list five times since I began travelling to Thailand in 2008. Having a dear friend whom I met in Bangkok on my second or third visit to Thailand is one of the main reasons I have put Cambodia on my travel itinerary. Michelle has lived in Phnom Penh since the late ’90’s when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were defeated by the Republic or the people of Cambodia after five years of horror and near genocide.
Before I attempt to portray some of Cambodia’s long and complicated history, I must tell you that I wrote this post on one of my visits several years ago and only just discovered that I never published it. On this trip to Phnom Penh in February, 2023, Michelle introduced me to the newly constructed Sosoro Museum which attempts to explain Cambodia’s history by studying the country’s use of money or currency through the ages. While she worked on her editing for an online newspaper she works for, I with notebook in hand covered the whole history as presented in this museum in one day. Although I had done some reading before writing this post, my visit to Sosoro presented many of the historian’s and archeologist’s latest findings which in a sense is like a re-telling of their history.