If I had to choose one favourite country from my six month trip through Southeast Asia, it would have to be Cambodia. It is such an interesting country to visit. The historical and cultural sites of places such as the Temples of Angkor and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh are amazing, while the natural beauty of the countryside along with the sense of adventure that comes with exploring it makes for some very personal travel experiences. But when I really think about what I love so much about Cambodia, I realise that it is the people that make the country so great. Cambodians are some of the kindest, friendliest and most resilient people that I have ever met.
Cambodia is a poor country that has been through a lot, battling to recover from the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970’s where millions of people died. The survivors of the genocide along with the next generations have had to deal with the aftermath of this terrible time, which has been a huge wound to mend. Given the poverty and unstable economy and government in Cambodia, it is so surprising that the people are how they are. They are just lovely, always greeting you with a smile and doing what they can for their families. I found this most true in the country away from the cities, where the poorest people live. They have very little, and yet they seem happy. They look serious when in conversation, but also laugh a lot. There is a lot to be learned there.
In today’s photo essay I would like to focus on the people of Cambodia just going about their daily lives. These photos are from many different places in the country, from the cities of Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham to little rural villages in the countryside.