You’ve probably turned deaf from hearing me rave non-stop about Siem Reap. Now I must confess that there is something I didn’t enjoy in Cambodia’s northwest.
Et voila, the Cambodian Cultural Village.
Don’t be fooled by the photo. It’s not as quaint and picturesque as it looks.
It was my first “official” day in Cambodia. I wanted to take it light having woken up way too early and flown in from Malaysia. After a couple of hours in the Angkor National Museum, I didn’t know where else to go. Surely the Angkor Archeological Park was out of the question because I planned on catching the sunrise the next day. And though it was 1:00PM, I wasn’t really aching for a meal in Pub Street (full brekkie at the hotel).
Thus, I ended up at the Cambodian Cultural Village. Having never heard of it from travel guides I read online, clearly, should have served as fair warning. But I wanted to kill my curiosity since I saw the place on the way to the hotel from the airport.
It is too Nayong Pilipino for my taste. 🙂
I know that at some point, Filipino kids have been forced to join field trips to Nayong Pilipino by their schools but back then, I already remember thinking that the visit is an exercise in futility. Hello, why not just cart us off to the real historical sites! As you can tell, I don’t exactly possess “Pinoy Pride”. Tee-hee. 🙂
Just like its Pinoy counterpart, the Village had miniatures though even I have to admit that our “dioramas” are way better. 🙂 Note: I haven’t been to the actual places yet so please forgive me if I got the names wrong. 🙂
Tuol Sleng also known as S-21 or Pol Pot’s Secret Prison, Phnom Penh
(now a Genocide Museum)
The Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
And other significant landmarks that don’t ring a bell (to me) at all. Feel free to leave a comment if you know what these are— unfortunately, I couldn’t read the descriptions as they have long been worn and faded. 😦
The Village also boasts of “authentic displays of Khmer culture” in various theaters styled as native huts like this.
I was looking forward to witnessing a traditional Khmer wedding (sappy, haha!) but decided to skip it because there was still an hour’s worth of wait (the performances are spaced and scheduled as there are quite a number of “theaters”/ shows around the Village).
I felt robbed. The entrance fee is USD15.00— steep and unreasonable for an attraction which has very little to offer. 😦 A day trip to the Angkor Archeological Park costs USD20.00 and you get to see the Angkor Wat and its surrounding and “covered” temples!
The only highlight of my miserable afternoon is when I stopped for a Fanta at one of the concessionaires. The sellers were two teen Khmer girls still in what I assume their school uniforms (because other sellers are in regular day wear). They helped me navigate through my map of the Siem Reap province. Had it not been for them, I would’ve stormed out of the Village fuming mad of the dollars I lost. 🙂