Whenever we wanted to take a vacation in Thailand over the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, we had to reserve flights almost a year in advance to get tickets we could afford. And we usually did not have that much time due to our daughter’s limited school vacation days.
Our friend Colin in Bangkok arranged for train tickets south, so we were able to leave the day after arriving on one of the comfortable sleeper cars.
We had a nice bungalow on Mae Nam Beach, which was still rather quiet and without the package tourists inundating Chaweng and Lamai beaches.
A German woman was there with her daughter, and we convinced her to stay in the same place, since our daughter then had someone to play with. Later, there were other German children, and our daughter acted as their translator when they wanted to order a milkshake, which made her quite popular.
We took a boat trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park, which encompasses approx. 18 sq.km of 40 islands.
Braiding her mother’s hair
Girls like to party!
And the party buffet
At the beach
The stay was all too short, and then back to Bangkok for our flight to Phnom Penh.
Goodbye Ellen and her daughter (I unfortunately forgot her name). We had a very nice time together, and it was sad to part. They would have loved to go with us to Cambodia, but Ellen just did not have the money as a single mother.
Phnom Penh was still a sleepy backwater capital, nothing like the bustling city I encountered years later.
The Royal Palace
Since we did not have a lot of time, we flew to Angkor Wat, our main destination in the country.
At that time, there was no entrance fee and few tourists. We rented motorbike taxis to take us around.
It is really an amazing place. A small selection of our photos follows (there were so many picturesque scenes that it very difficult to choose just a few!).
The entrance bridge
We stayed in a simple guesthouse with a friendly family.
I printed some photos of the family and gave them to them years later when I visited when they had a much larger, modern hotel. However, they were not interested in them, just said, oh, the grandmother died and yes, that was their place in the past.
Downtown was still a simple affair without the sundry restaurants, bars and loud rock bands there now.
And all too soon is was back to Bangkok and our flight home
2 thoughts on “Thailand Again – 1997 – and Cambodia”
Interesting to see these places from you trip in 97. So many changes, I hope their quality of life is better, not worse.
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Well, they are no longer poor and some earned quite a bit of money, although probably not in these Covid times. Happier? Probably. And they can probably afford education and healthcare now, but the toll on their environment is certainly also high.