Hello world! I just came back from a two week trip to Cambodia!

  • 15 January, 2024

  I just got back from a two-week trip to Cambodia! The motherland. Although I am an American Citizen by naturalization, I was born in a refugee camp along the border of Cambodia and Thailand, in a makeshift camp called Kawadang. Growing up in the camp was a challenging experience. I had to move from several camps in different countries. I moved from Thailand to Indonesia and traveled by boat as a toddler. It was four days on the rough sea, and many people got sick and died. My family and I were fortunate we survived when we landed in Indonesia. My Dad was very ill when we arrived in Indonesia, but through the grace of God, Buddha, and the Universe, he survived and a few years passed, and our family got sponsored to live in the United States.  

When I visited the island of Koh Rong, Cambodia, I got a quick flashback of the arduous journey from Thailand to Indonesia on the boat. I could have sworn I had traveled through the Gulf of Thailand when I looked at the waters. 

Visiting Cambodia, I learned a lot about my family history and country of origin.  It was an emotional, spiritual, and physical experience.  When I visited Toul Slaeng, now a museum that was once a high school turned into a prison in Phnom Penh, used to torture and kill many Cambodian men and women from the Khmer Rouge Era between 1974 and 79. I met three of the five survivors when I visited this cruel, eery place. It was a dark experience, but it needed to help me discover what atrocities my family and relatives went through. 

On a positive note, I traveled with friends and made more friends along the trip. We celebrated New Year 2024 in Siem Reap, among the most fantastic sky bars, and walked through crowds on Pub Street, where thousands of people worldwide came to celebrate the new year. The following day, we woke to discover the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, a city temple built for the Hindu gods.  It was a magical place. I learned that my ancestors were once part of the mighty Kingdom of the Khmer Empire. 

My life-changing journey in Cambodia included all the islands, countries, and cities. Although Cambodia is a small country, it is mighty in culture and history. I recommend anyone to visit if they still need to. 

Ankgor Wat