Ok, only 3 more countries to go and I would have covered the South East Asia continent! Woo-pee-doo! All thanks to this amazing airline who would make it a possible achievement. A few months back, my friend & I decided to go to Phnom Penh after much debate over Phnom Penh vs. Siem Reap. In the end we decided that whichever place we go, we would still be able to go the other one within our budget (thanks to you AirAsia of course).
It was a good flight (yeay!) and as soon as we landed in Phnom Penh, we took a tuk tuk to our hotel called ‘Blue Lime’ and along the way discovered many vehicles zig zagging the roads without fear. Buses, lorries, cars & many motorcycles would somehow manage to avoid collision through mutual & silent understanding of how the road works. There is no stopping midway in Phnom Penh.. you just go!
This is our awesome hotel…
…and this is the list of Top 5 things we loved about Phnom Penh.
Number 1: Killing Fields @ Choeung Ek
We were lucky to have met Mr Tee whou would be our tuk tuk driver for the whole time we were in Phnom Penh. He was very nice & always smiling. He took us 45 out of Phnom Penh to the killing fields where we had a minor accident but we’re fine and we made it. Admission is $2 per person and we are allowed to go around the area on our silently, careful not to tread on any graves as we stopped from one place to the other. It is a chilling reminder of how more than 17,000 civilans were killed & buried in mass graves and houses a 17 storey stupa with 8,000 skulls which bears testimony to what had happened. I felt kind of sad for all those lost souls and pray that they are in a better place now.
Number 2: Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-21)
This was also a visit I could never forget as I entered the school compound. What was once filled with children learning & running around the area is now a Genocide Museum where prisoners were once held. As I entered the classrooms, I felt a bit overwhelmed especially when I saw the displays, the beds and the torture equipments used during that time. I had to stay outside after that while my friend continued the tour. Admission to the Museum is $2 per person but donations are also welcomed.
Number 3: Psar Thmei (Central Market)
Ok no more sad stories, I promise. I’m sure all the ladies would like this one too. I found out that there weren’t that if you couldn’t find anything in the Russian Market, you can head to Psar Thmei to try your luck. From far it looks pretty modern & artistic with it’s dome-like roof but the inside.. oh my.. the inside of the market was quite large and the first thing that greets you is the jewelry concourse area with every type of stones you can think off. It’s like *bling bling* haven. Also since it’s indoors, it’s much cooler than Russian Market and you can take your time to look around and find the things you seek as they have items from clothing to flowers, fish, souveniers, food, dessert, luggage & many others. Just make sure to beef up your bargaining skills.
Number 4: Wat Phnom
Next on our list is Wat Phnom which is located on a hill near Sisowath Quay & founded by a woman called Daun Chi Penh. What I loved about it is the grand staircase at the entrance where are guarded by lions & snakes statues. From the top of the hill you can see the view of the busy streets and the greens surrounding this precious temple. Many people come here to pray for good business or good luck and when it comes true, they would return and give offerings as promised. There’s also quite a few monkeys along with people selling birds in cage, food and such.
Number 5: Friends Cafe
I heard about this place from my sister and thought it would be great to do some charity while visiting Phnom Penh. Friends is an NGO that trains & educates street children. They have a cafe run by teachers & students and a shop called Friends n’ Stuff selling items made by the parents of the children. While the children are in school learning, Friends would help the parents income by teaching them arts & crafts which is then sold to the public. At the cafe, you can find a selection of local & french food. Oh and the coffee is really good! We had a great lunch that day, while listening to the children singing songs and playing at the school next door. I also did the 30-min feet massage for $3 and got a few stuff made of recycling goods.
And there you have it, our top 5 things we loved while we there in Phnom Penh although there were other places which we enjoyed too but I guess you would have to actually go there to discover them. *grin*