I loved Cambodia both times I visited. It’s a beautiful country, with lush tropical jungles, pure sandy beaches and mesmerizing, intricate temples. If you’re looking for a tropical hideaway with fresh fruit shakes and sizzling woks full of seafood, this place will not leave you wanting. Last week I posted my first set of photos from this triumphant return, and now I bring you the second!
Cambodia has something to offer year-round, even during the sweltering buildup to the rainy season, when daytime highs top 40 degrees. However, this trip took place over Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when the days were pleasantly warm and sunny.
As it turned out, the Solar New Year was a fine time to hang out on the coast. Surprisingly, locals do celebrate both the solar and lunar new year. In honour of the occasion, a mini-carnival was set up near the beach.
Along the entire length of the beach, Cambodian friends and families were busily creating illuminated sand art, with messages of love and good wishes for the new year. (The ‘2014’ is written out with Angkor beer bottles 😀 ) Many foreigners were following suit!
Lanterns were set aloft by travelers and locals alike, carrying their hopes and wishes into the new year. Watching these lights slowly rise higher and higher, disappearing into the darkening sky, was a beautiful sight.
Of course, what would a New Year’s celebration be without the fireworks? They were incredibly cheap and available, ignited left, right and centre at a frenetic pace.
The beach was a tumultous mix of light, sound and mini-explosions. The city’s fireworks display mingled with an unorganized mix of Roman candles, lanterns and noisemakers exploding absolutely everywhere. With such an energy-filled environment, how could we not end up staying out til 6 a.m.?
The rest of our time was spent simply soaking up the sunshine, making friendly conversation with locals to the best of our ability, and playing Uno on the beach. Typical beach vacation activities, sure, but I had completed my B.Sc. two months earlier. This was a much-needed and highly-appreciated chance to kick back and do nothing, yet enjoy everything.