Friday, June 01, 2007

Be careful out there!

I love scouring the Cambodian countryside looking for ancient temple sites and other places of interest but always make sure I take advice from the local villagers wherever I find myself, especially if I have to go into the bush or forest off the main track to visit a site. Its absolutely imperative you don't go trekking alone and always take a local with you who knows the area or else you could encounter some of the six million or so landmines that still litter the countryside. Whilst a great number of Cambodia's landmine fields have been mapped, there's lots that haven't, so don't take that risk. The mined area in the photo above is next to the temple of Prasat Kraham Chhouk, on the main highway north towards Preah Vihear temple. This photo was taken in January 2006. As Cambodia's popularity increases every year, more travellers will make their way 'off the beaten track' so please take sensible precautions and always get advice from the locals.


rjhintz said...

Is it your impression that the immediate road sides of the roads between Siem Reap and the northern border crossing points are now reasonably free of mines? Enough, at least, for the classic roadside toilet stop? (Of course I understand that you can make no guarantees.)

Andy said...

Always ask a'd like to think that the mines will have been cleared from the roadsides BUT there's no guarantees. Mines are generally cleared from areas where the people are living and less likely to be cleared in remote areas, but that yardstick doesn't always work. I've seen demining going on in villager's back-gardens, inches from their homes and actually on the road itself on the way to Choam Khsan (not on the sides, but THE road itself). And it was a road I'd travelled before too.
No guarantees as I said, so its always best to ask before you squat.

Wanna said...

In 1997, as I took train from Phnom Penh to Pursat, I could see rocket shells, grenades, mines,.. on the way along the railway.