Local Motorcycle Bus, N. Cambodia

It was still dangerous to travel in most parts of the country during my first visit to Cambodia in 1996. Some Western journalists had recently been killed. There were bandits on nearly all roads, and ‘Pol Pot’ guerrillas in the north – sometimes the real Pol Pol group but usually bandits calling themselves Pol Pot.

Siem Reap was one of the three designated ‘safe’ destinations for tourists, though getting to it from Pnomh Penh could be dangerous too – the fast speedboats up the river were often shot at by locals who were annoyed that they disturbed local fishing. So speedboats had machine-guns mounted on them.

When I travelled to outlying areas of the Angkor Wat temple complex, I had to pay an extra £2 for a young lad carrying a wooden pretend rifle to sit on the back of the pick-up truck (with blacked-out windows); I felt much safer.

I’m not sure what it’s like now, but Cambodians were very trigger-happy when I visited Cambodia in the 1990’s. I was once in Pnomh Penh during a local festival and I found that, whereas in other countries locals throw firecrackers, Cambodians simply fire their guns in the air. Bullets often kill someone on their way down.

This motorcycle pulling a trailer is a typical ‘bus’ for locals.

ancambodiabike.jpg

Siem Reap, N. Cambodia, March, 1996

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~ by lovedubs on March 20, 2007.

 
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