From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap • Cambodia

Experience the journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap along National Highway 6, Cambodia. In just over 6 minutes, witness the Mekong valley's spellbinding landscapes, the architectural marvel of houses on stilts, and vibrant local markets. The surprise element? An intriguing insect market showcasing Cambodia's adaptability and resilience. From the beauty of rice fields dotted with trees to the essentiality of monsoon floods, this video captures the essence of Cambodia in a nutshell. A visual treat not just for travelers, but for anyone keen on understanding the intricate fabric of Cambodian life. Don't miss it!

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Vietnam & Cambodia • 2014

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.

00:41 • on the road

03:53 • a fish market

04:45 • an insect market


From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by national road 6. 


The road between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap crosses plains which are regularly flooded during the monsoon season. Located between the Mekong and the Tonlé Sap river which flows into the Mekong at Phnom Penh, this region is very fertile but the hydrological conditions have forced the inhabitants to adapt to these sometimes difficult conditions. One of these adaptations is visible in their habitat. All the houses are built on stilts. The men live on the first floor while the ground floor is reserved for cattle, at least in families with a few cattle. Otherwise, this part, underwater for part of the year, is used to store tools or to sit in the shade to chat or do odd jobs.


The landscapes are typical there, with these houses on stilts, these landscapes of rice fields with a few trees here and there, and its markets in the villages. After a fish market, do not miss this insect market. 

Cambodia went through very difficult times under the Khmer Rouge regime, and food was far from plentiful. So people started eating whatever they found, especially insects. At the time, it seemed absurd, but it was before the ecological awareness that pushed more and more people to turn to insects to supplement their diet. 

Tarantulas are particularly popular. They are hunted down in their lair, and after removing their venom, they pass into the oil. It seems to be delicious, but I haven't checked.


Spoken comments in the film: 

In Cambodia, and in particular in the region between the Mekong and the Tonle Sap River, houses are built on stilts. Because in these countries, they do not ignore the force of the floods caused by the monsoon rains. So, rather than having their feet in the water and spending long hours scooping and cleaning, they prefer to raise the houses.


But it's not just houses along the road. There are also temples in each village and these intriguing gates at the entrance to them. 


And there are of course also animals, especially cows near the houses or on the road.


But what is perhaps most striking are these amazing landscapes,  very flat with rice fields embellished with a few scattered trees. 


The road also crosses some localities and in these villages there is often a market. Even if some of the local specialties are sometimes surprising.


After this fish market, a stop at the insect market is a must. These fried and spicy insects are now part of Cambodian gastronomy, since their discovery by the inhabitants under the Khmer Rouge regime, forced at the time to show imagination in order not to starve.

Gate of a village on the road, National Highway 6 • Cambodia

What's the weather like along the National Highway 6?

about the place, Route nationale 6:


National Road 6 verbindt Phnom Penh met Siem Reap en lijkt veranderd te zijn in iets dat op een snelweg begint te lijken. Dat was nog niet het geval toen we in 2014 Cambodja bezochten. En misschien des te beter. We hadden waarschijnlijk minder gezien. 

We hadden het gevoel dat we op een bouwweg reden, en in werkelijkheid was het niet alleen een indruk. Het werk, grotendeels gefinancierd en uitgevoerd door China, is faraonisch. Het is natuurlijk een kwestie van een weg aanleggen, maar ook en misschien vooral moet deze weg de tand des tijds doorstaan. In een regio waar de moesson regelmatig voor grote overstromingen zorgt, is dit laatste punt essentieel. 

In de hoop dat deze weg op een toekomstige reis nog steeds bestaat...



 - YouTube video library - Automn Day, (© Autumn Day by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.



 - YouTube video library - BTS Prologue, (© BTS Prolog by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.




Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of cambodian traditional music in "From Phnom Penh to SIem Reap • Cambodia", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

typical landscape between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, National Highway 6 • Cambodia

typical landscape between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

local treats, National Highway 6 • Cambodia

local treats

typical house of the region, on stilts, National Highway 6 • Cambodia

typical house of the region, on stilts

children's game on the farm, National Highway 6 • Cambodia

children's game on the farm

National Highway 6, Cambodia

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