Jul 19, 2014

My Phnom Penh Trip in a Nutshell

How do I summarize Cambodia, more particularly Phnom Penh, in a single blog post? It's a lot harder when I have to write about the Choeung Ek Memorial (The Killing Fields). I'm still not sure what to say but be sure to read about my thoughts and experience at Choeung Ek. I feel this particular location deserves a post of it's own. Please check back soon to read about it...

Landing at Phnom Penh International Airport

I did not know what to expect when I arrived at Phnom Penh International Airport. Travel websites and shows will only tell you so much. Most of the time, these publications will showcase the best of a country and for good reason too. For example, a television show would likely need to work closely with the country's tourism board. Which tourism board in their right mind would allow the production crew to film something negative about their country?

So do forgive me for landing in Phnom Penh with an open mind. It's better to have an open mind right? Well I must say the international airport is decent. I was thankful they had aerobridges! I have been to countries in Southeast Asia which do not have aerobridges and the heat that greets you as you disembark from the plane is comparable to being slapped by a furnace. Anyway, I cleared custom and immigration in under 15 minutes. That's awesome in my books! They have an impressive duty free store located in departure too.

What to do in Phnom Penh?

Visit an orphanage

This is one of the most rewarding things you could do in Cambodia! There are many spread out over the country so I guess you can say you are spoilt for choice? These orphanages are home to children that have either lost their parents through diseases such as H.I.V or their parents simply cannot afford to care for them. Proverty is amazingly high in this beautiful country! If you are visiting an orphanage, please consider purchasing items such as rice, art supplies, clothes and hygiene products such as toothpaste and soap. If you do not have time to shop or want to avoid the insane baggage fee airlines charge, you may donate money. Every cent goes a long way in ensuring these innocent children are fed and well looked after.

The orphanage

A classroom in the orphanage

The children are lining up for lunch. A simple headcount is done before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This is KaoLee. He is 21 years old and he calls the orphanage home. He dreams of being a diplomat someday. I know he will achieve his dreams because this young man studies very hard and he is determined to succeed.

These boys are absolutely adorable!!!



Eat street food!

CAUTION! Eat at your own risk! I always eat at street stalls wherever I go. Not even food posioning, which I got in India and Indonesia, can and will stop me. I think of myself as a somewhat daredevil when it comes to food. In Phnom Penh, I ate Kuy Teav - a steaming bowl of Cambodia’s noodle soup, Num Kachay - small chive cakes and Nom Pang - a delicious baguette stuffed with minced pork, pickles, fresh salad and slices of ham. I wish I had pictures to show you but my GoPro camera was stolen by hooligans. Yup!

Visit the market

The narrow pathways in this market near Angkor International Hotel is always bustling. I have never seen a busier market! Not only will you find lots of people on the pathways, motorcyles are on it too. Welcome to market mayhem v.1.0! The slow moving human traffic allows you to take in the sights of  barbecued meat (mostly pork) on sale along with fresh fruits and vegetables, live seafood, poultry, etc.

See what I mean? It's people and machines on the pathway.

It's vegetables and seafood side by side...


The darker colored fish were wriggling...


Fresh fruits anyone?

Notes: 1) I don't see the need to recommend a hotel in Cambodia. There are plenty of hotels to choose from and you can great deals at Agoda.com. But if I had to recommend one, it's Angkor International Hotel. It's near the market where you can get awesome street food and the Royal Palace is within walking distance.

The Royal Palace

2) Theft is a serious problem in Cambodia. Your tuk tuk driver and hotel will remind you not to use your phone when you are out because hooligan on motorcycles would ride by and grab whatever you are holding. Like I mentioned above, my camera bag was snatched right off me while I was on a much slower motorcycle. I lost my camera and cash! Booohooooo!

3) It's best to have US currency on you while in Phnom Penh. While the Cambodian riel is still in use, you'll find prices displayed in US dollar. Even the ATM's dispense US currency.

1 comment:

  1. ur camera & cash? sheesh! coincidentally, I'm planning to post the pics of Cambodia trip back in yr 2009 cause a friend ask me to. and I will nvr forget how depress I came back after the killing field visit in Phnom Penh.

    ReplyDelete

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