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Traveling in Cambodia

Aired September 11, 2013 - 05:30   ET



BELLE SODHACHIVY, DANCER: Right now, we are in Wat Phnom. It's like the big (INAUDIBLE) bank. So it's very important (INAUDIBLE) bank. Up there, it's like the big temple that we always come and then pray. We want to wish something for ourselves, have a good -- the successful in the future.

So maybe you want to see up there?

We can go up there.


At 27 meters, Wat Phnom is the tallest temple in the city.

SODHACHIVY: This one we call aspara. Aspara is very famous in Cambodia. It's our traditional dance. And then every temple, especially at the Angkor Wat Temple, we have a lot of (INAUDIBLE), especially on the (INAUDIBLE). And, yes, it's really beautiful and it's really the spirit of Cambodian every man (ph).

Those are so cute.

In here, we believe that when we want to be something, we're going to be by all (INAUDIBLE) like a couple. And then we hold them. And then we hold them. And then we we wish, we pray and then we do then the free dance.

After that, the good things are going to be back to us.

OK, please go, freedom. And then give me back the (INAUDIBLE) and freedom (INAUDIBLE).

Yes, so normally we go to the temple, we have to buy some flowers, incense and candles to pray and then to (INAUDIBLE), also, the spirit and also our (INAUDIBLE) and then a happy warmness in the country and also ourselves.



Welcome to Mike's Burger House, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

And this is the best place to have a good burger.


IM: You don't see Mike's Burger, you don't see (INAUDIBLE).


IM: But these burgers start with -- to please my wife. But I love burgers, actually. She loves the burgers so much in Southern California. So when I came back to Cambodia and I couldn't get what I -- she wanted. So I had to create the burger with what I know. And that's how it started.

You can come to my kitchen, so I've got to wear my apron first. And you've got to wear your the head. This is my head chef. So this is it.

The burger, it's a good burger. You've got to have everything fresh.

The bread, they come out from the oven twice a day. The meat, I grind my own meat. I'm preparing my own patties. And the fries, every order, we have to make the fries when we've got an order, every time. I'd rather have the customers wait for the food, not food waiting for the customers.

I make sure everybody comes from all over the world. They come here and enjoy every bite.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this market we call Boeung Keng Kang Market. It's like a (INAUDIBLE) market (INAUDIBLE). It's a little bit different from a central market, because a central market more (INAUDIBLE). It's really popular in some places for Cambodian people and also me, because I love food shopping in here.

This one we call the curry, Nomangun. Nomangun mean (INAUDIBLE). So this, we get the bowl. We mix together and that's with a chicken curry.

The curry has a little bit sweet, a little bit salty inside. And the smell of the curry and then some like (INAUDIBLE), some -- I don't know, it's like a really good smell. And it tastes really well. I love it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Central Market. Of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in the heart of here. This is like a -- based on 100 percent cotton that you can put like a scarf. You put around your -- your neck like this and you wipe the sweat, because Cambodia is a tropical.

How much is this one?

I need some like that.


IM: You like this color?

This color or this color?

I like -- I like the red, right?

Well, here, they usually like, say, they ask for $3 each. So now I come down to $1. So if you come to the bargain place, that they -- at least you drop down more than half.

And this is right in the middle of the Central Market. Here's the building here. That's the French engineered, built in 19 something, before I was born. Every corner looks the same, even though I come here almost every day, I'm still confused.

A classic Cambodian cake. Like Americans, they have pancakes, right?

Here they call a Cambodian name called Jatjal (ph). So this is sweet like a pancake, similar like the pancake stuff.




SREY CHANNTHY, THE CAMBODIAN SPACE PROJECT: (through translator): In the morning and the evening people come here to exercise. If tourists come to Cambodia and don't visit the palace, then it is like they didn't come to Cambodia at all. This place is very important to Cambodians. It is the center of Phnom Penh.



Admission into the Royal Palace is $3.

CHANNTHY: Now we are by the river, just a short walk from the Royal Palace. This is called the Chak Tomuk River. In the morning, Cambodian people come to do their exercise during the summer, enjoy the fresh air and smell the fresh river water.


CHANNTHY: This is Keo Kjay shop and all the clothes are designed by the store. This stores helps to educate Cambodian women on how to design clothes. For those with problems in their lives, it helps them get a job and learn to design clothes.


All materials are naturally made in Cambodia or are recycled.


CHANNTHY: Hello, sister.


CHANNTHY: I would like to copy some cassettes. This is the place I come to copy cassettes. This place is famous for having old songs and they can make a copy on cassette but not CD. I want to make a copy of this cassette and it has 25 songs. This place is famous for having all songs. Even people like movie stars, singers in Cambodia, who want old songs will come here to find them.



Siem Reap is about a five hour drive from Phnom Penh.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are in a Khmer restaurant where we serve like traditional breakfasts.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can arrive and see what they -- they cook and you can choose that also.

It's like a fish stew (INAUDIBLE) a soup with a lot of garlic and herbs. It looks like French dishes, like a French stew.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It's very good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's poached with many (INAUDIBLE) balls -- meatballs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So here we are in our workshop, Mitsou workshop. We created our own (INAUDIBLE).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we study fashion design in France.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two years ago, we decided to -- to create new clothes and first it was for expense...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we work for friends. And it grew a little bit like that. And now we -- we're making more clothes, collections.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We follow like -- we try to follow the trends.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In this (INAUDIBLE) where there are a lot of big ovens (ph). So many people go there, also, for meeting friends, a good time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's cool now. (INAUDIBLE) the idea is not to drink beer (INAUDIBLE) to eat something.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The common (INAUDIBLE) here is very -- how to put it -- very good, because it's refreshing, you know, after a hot day.




KHIN-PO THAI, ANGKOR CULTURAL EXPERT: This is a floating village. And people live on the water. I grew up in a floating village like this, you know, at a time after war. You don't really know that it's beautiful until you grew up later and see all of this great natural wonders of this lake. And I started to appreciate more, it's really a pride for Cambodia to have this great lake and the natures, forests, everything here.

It's important for the tourists, for the people from the outside world, to come and see this, because this is kind of a unique way of life. And that's probably been involved for over 1,000 years -- family, community, they're all together. And they don't have to worry that they have to be stuck in one place and they just -- if they're ready to move, they move. I mean first come, first served. And if you happen to not like your neighbors, then you just move your boat.


THAI: I'm standing here, right in front of Angkor Wat. This is the great Khmer masterpiece, great architecture, built by the Khmer king, the largest temple complex of the whole temple of Angkor. It's Angkor Wat.

This is probably the most scared shrine in Angkor Wat today. Because of this statue, it's thought to believe that it was the original statue of Vhrisnu (ph) from the central towers that had been removed when the Buddhists came, probably, 16th, 17th century. Then the statue is being here.

The people believe that this was the spirit of protectors of the temples and also for their village and everything.


THAI: This is one of my most favorite spots of the Angkor Wat, because you could view the central top of Angkor Wat, where you could see this four towers, basically. The one in the middle and then another one on the back.

You know, there's no other place in the world that has this kind of great monument.


THAI: This monument, it's standing as a great foundation of the nation. It's throughout all the history of Cambodia, Angkor Wat is still standing as a place now for tourists to come and see this heritage site.


THAI: So Bayon, it's also one of my favorite temples so far. And it has the distinctive architectural design to represent God and Earth and all the elements. The towers say the face of the Buddha, the likeness of the king, and the lotus blossom on the top represents the heavens. So the heavens, the Buddha, all the elements. And this is good, you know, a beautiful place. No one would imagine that this whole tower would have been painted in gold in the heyday. And they must have been so spectacular, so beautiful.

This is the Temple of Ta Prohm, which is a contemporary name. The old name is called Rajavihara, which means the royal monastery. It was built by the most famous king of Angkor, Jevarman VII. And that's the place he dedicated to his mother. It's known as the mother temple.

Today, for most tourists and most people who come here refer to it as the jungle temple, because the evidence of the jungle here -- giant trees that were grown on top of the building.


THAI: So this is one of the great examples of the tree -- the spoon tree or the (INAUDIBLE) flora. These kind of giant trees that started from the top and the roots coming all the way down to the ground and the whole thing goes boom for like 600 years. And a tree probably about 300 or something years old. But this is under the jungle for almost 600 years.

And this is how many people recognize that this was a jungle temple, because they saw these giant trees here, you know, growing on the top of the roof of the building like that. So it's part of the French idea to preserve this as the -- as a temple of the ruin, the way they found it.

So it's kind of romantic of the French. You know, they even named the tree. It's a fromage, which means cheese. It's like a cheese melting down from the buildings, so the fromage. It's like a ripened brie or something, the emotion of the French (INAUDIBLE). So it's really something.