Monday, June 29, 2015

#Cambodiaries: Phnom Penh

Crossing the Vietnam-Cambodia border was easy breezy. Our bus conductor collected our passports prior to disembarkation to the immigration. We waited for our names called, got our passports, drove forward towards the Cambodian immigration, handed our passports for stamping and fingerprint, and hello Cambodia, here we come!

Phnom Penh is 6 hours away from Ho Chi Minh- we stayed a night to half our bus trip (and do a little side trip) to Siem Reap which takes another 6 hours. We stayed at Royal Mekong Botique Hotel- I had the hardest time choosing a hotel to stay at Phnom Penh, I felt that the hotels were too expensive for how they looked like. Among everything that I saw, this place looked the most promising. But it looks better than it really is. The paint on the walls were peeling off, dirty towels, and slightly smelly rooms. Nothing unbearable though.
*Photo from

Tripadvisor is a God's gift. I love it how it finds the nearest establishment near your hotel. And that's how we found The Sugar Palm. 
We wanted to try the famous Amok but we were too hungry to wait for 40 minutes so we ordered whatsoever was fast. Curry was good enough for our hungry stomachs, I like the idea that it added sweet potatoes but the chicken meat was too few.

We started early for our city trip to Phnom Penh, i would say that it was short but it was worth remembering, our eyes were opened on how big the societal gap in the country was. At one you'll see a very dirty unpavemented busy road and on the other, a very rich neighborhood housing HUGEEEEEEE homes that can probably house 50 families. We couldn't complain further after our trip to The Killing Fields. 
Take the audio tour to appreciate the Killing Fields, its worth listening to.
The bones excavated are undergoing studies to determine the cause of death. Its so sad that most were beat to death using unimaginable weapons. 
There are several Killing Fields scattered all over the country where Cheung Ek in Phnom Penh is one of them. 
Spirit houses are scattered all over Cambodia to remember all those who have suffered during the Polpot's Regime that killed three million of eight million population of Cambodia in the 1970's.
Children were also killed for the purpose of eliminating the threat of revenge in the future

During that time, all were ceased. Businesses and schools were closed down. 
Cambodia has just been out of the regime for 35 years, no wonder its still recuperating.
The brunch that caused us to miss the opening of The Royal Palace (it closes at 11am and reopens at 2pm). I blame the kuya who said 'Free wifi here.' He definitely got our attention there.

Peeking into the gates made us even more sad because The Royal Palace was so grand and so vibrant, it could have been good in Photos.

To cap our Phnom Penh tour, we went to Wat Phnom, a temple situated on top of a hill, where Phnom Penh derived its name. The temple was small, nothing really to see inside but I was amazed with this clock on the ground that actually works.

End this post I suggest to try reading the Cambodian history especially during the Polpot regime or simply watch the movie 'The Killing Fields' as it will make us be even more grateful with our lives.

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