Phnom Penh

Here you’ll find travel reports about Phnom Penh. Discover travel destinations in Cambodia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

221 travelers at this place:

  • Day68

    Relaxing by the pool

    August 10 in Cambodia

    Yesterday was a great day doing pretty much all of the major tourist traps. I even snuck away from my tuktuk driver at one stop to hit the Hard Rock, which was just past the US Embassy (pic of nothing below).

    I've booked a bus to Siem Reap in the morning, the location of the infamous Angkor Wat. Today, I'm just hanging out at the hostel. Pool, food, drinks, wifi...why not. There's a Seeing Hands (blind masseuses) massage parlor about five house down, so I'll hit that later if I can drag myself off the couch.

    I'm loving this very flexible schedule. I feel like a teenager who doesn't have to go to school. Sleep when I want, eat when I want, walk around or not, couch potato or not. Awesome! I can't believe I've been traveling for more than two months already, and I'm not tired of it!

    Out for now. 🥔
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  • Day67

    The Killing Fields and more

    August 9 in Cambodia

    I've just arrived at the National Museum, my third stop of the morning. It's small, but has some amazing artifacts, including a moon rock gifted from the US.

    I'm on an all-day tour, which began at the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center. It is one of the 300 killing fields Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge used to murder 3 million Cambodians in 4 years. This one is dedicated to remembrance and is supposedly the only one you can visit. Many others are either too remote or too dangerous (unexploded ordnance). It was heartbreaking, as was the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

    Having assumed control of a high school for use as a prison and interrogation center, the Khmer Rouge renamed it S21 (Security Office 21). Again, it stands as a terrible reminder of the atrocities man is able and willing to commit against his fellow man.

    On a happier note, my tuktuk driver has dropped me off at a local restaurant before we continue the tour. Shrimp cakes. Yummy!

    Out for now. ✌️
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  • Day9

    Love it and Hate it

    June 5 in Cambodia

    Phnom muss es lieben, weil es vielfältig, facettenreich, im Aufbruch und auch geschichtlich ansprechend ist. Man muss es hassen, weil die Hitze und Schwüle jeden Schritt (was heißt schritt...normales draussensitzen) zu einer schweißtreibenden Angelegenheit macht...gut, meine mosquitofreunde lieben mich auch, aber da gibt es ja Mittel ;)
    Natü ist traurig 😔 die Zeit der Roten Khmer und ihren abscheulichen Taten darf man nicht einfach wegstecken, S21 und die Killing Fields nahmen mich ganz schön mit (keine Bilder). Was aber seitdem und sicher in Zukunft hier entsteht, wird spannend. Das Olympiastadion (???) plus OlympicPark Wohngebäude, immer mehr Wohntürme und herausragende Gebäude mit naechtlicher LED Berauschung verändern das historisch-kulturelle Stadtbild. Nichtsdestotrotz ist es ein wuselige Stadt, die Straßen klar zu orientieren, der Verkehr mit Auto, Moto, TukTuk, Bussen, Fahrrädern und was sonst noch ist ein WirrWarr, kreuzen von Straßen ein wahrhaftiges Erlebnis! Erinnert Ihr euch noch an das Nintendo Spiel „Frogger“? So laeuft es hier...ohne Blessur auf die andere Straßenseite...Naechstes Level erreicht!Read more

  • Day179

    Phnom Penh

    March 4, 2017 in Cambodia

    We spent the day exploring Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. This morning we went to the Royal Palace, the official residence of the King. It is still the Royal residence, so many parts are off-limits and the parts that we could see were not well signed - but the buildings included palace, temples and stupas and all were very ornate. It even got a "wow" out of Solana when we first arrived! It was very busy there today, being a weekend it was busy with both Cambodian and international tourists. After the palace we found a kids play park - the first decent one we've found since Playa Hermosa in Cost Rica, over 6 weeks ago, so Solana was ecstatic! She somehow forgot that she doesn't like being out in the hot midday sun and happily played there until we dragged her away for lunch.

    This afternoon was a lot more sombre. We went to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (aka "S-21"), to learn more about the history of Cambodia. We weren't sure whether or not to go with Solana but, after reading up about the place, we decided to go and we took turns staying with her in the gardens, whilst the other went around the museum (but we decided against going out to the Killing Fields). This was a prison in which thousands of innocent people were detained, tortured and killed during the dark days of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime during 1975-79 (i.e. in the lifetime of most of you who will read this blog....). As you might expect, it was a harrowing visit, with tissues required, but it is appropriate that it stands as a monument to those who lost their lives and to educate future generations in the hope of preventing such atrocity from occurring again.

    This evening we were hoping to take James & Lou's advice and head to the FCC for a sundowner but time ran away with us and, after a quick and refreshing dip in the hotel pool, we ended up in an odd local restaurant - where no English was spoken but managed to enlist the help of a 10-year-old boy to translate (son of one of the staff members!), our portions were small and served with no rice, yet there was a small kids play area. Tomorrow, we have a 7-hour bus journey to Siem Reap - not looking forward to the long journey on a bus but needs must....
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  • Day68

    Street Food in Phnom Penh

    April 12 in Cambodia

    We checked into a really nice place called the House Boutique Hotel. Bring your Visa card cause its $16 if you want breakfast included. Pool, Air con, beer, western toilets, pretty swanky for this crew. A little ways to downtown and the banks of the Mekong River but still in the heart of this fascinating city. We went for a walk last night and ate some very questionable street food, probably the limit for the adventurous two in the group. Tell you what we think it was later,
    We were treated to a blessing by some monks this morning, right out front of the place, we got to participate in the whole thing. It was really interesting and the locals were so excited that we wanted to be a part of it. Its the Khmer New Year starting tomorrow. We get the distinct feeling the country, or least major parts of it shut down completely for three days. Off to the mini mart we go for some Angkor beer...dont wanna run out you know.
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  • Day178

    By boat to Cambodia

    March 3, 2017 in Cambodia

    Well - my previous post turned out NOT to be our last day in Vietnam...yesterday morning I woke up with D+V, so we postponed the boat until today. Laura and Solana had a lovely day yesterday, spending $5 to use the pool of the posh hotel in Chau Doc. I spent most of the day in bed but I'm happy to report that I'm feeling much better now.

    This morning we got up early and got cyclo taxis to the riverside dock. These cyclos were different in style from the ones we've seen elsewhere in Vietnam - and more precarious - but good fun nonetheless. We then made the 6 hour journey by speedboat up the Mekong River to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Along the way we saw more of life by the river, although not as much as on some of the shorter boat trips we've done, as the Mekong river is so wide - rivalling the Amazon or, closer to home, the Humber at its estuary! We did get to see some of the large floating houses that have fish farms underneath them though (see 2nd photo here) - interesting to see. We stopped about an hour into the journey and disembarked to do the border formalities leaving Vietnam (1st photo with green sign), which consisted of sitting around on plastic chairs in a floating café for 15 minutes (whilst the boat staff got exit stamps in our passports), then putting our hand luggage through a scanner (a token gesture, as everyone's main luggage remained on the boat!), then getting back onto the boat. A few minutes further on we stopped again at the Cambodian border - 2nd photo with green sign (having seen quite a few houses in between - are those people Vietnamese or Cambodian? Who knows!). We all got our Cambodian visas and were back on our way again in half an hour or so - a pretty straightforward and painless border crossing.

    As we approached Phnom Penh, lots of large and tall building appeared across the horizon (see last photo here). From what we have seen of the city this afternoon, it definitely has a "big international city" feel about it - much more so than the other cities we've visited so far (even Hanoi). There also appears to be a more noticeable Thai influence here - particularly in some of the temples/pagodas. I guess that makes sense, as we edge our way ever closer to our final SE Asia destination of Thailand...
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  • Day67

    Welcome to Phnom Penh

    April 11 in Cambodia

    It’s hot here too. And its nothing like KL. And certainly nothing like Singapore. And that’s obvious from the time you step out into the street and see all the tuktuks lined up ready to take you wherever you want to go. For very cheap. We found Vanton, er he found us, not sure really. He’s got his own ride, and he is learning English between fares. Very nice guy that took us the 10km into town, which was an experience in itself. The streets of Phnom Penh, like lots of Asian cities and towns, are lined with garbage and junk that has accumulated over a long time. And you don’t have to drive on the road, which aren’t great either, hell you don’t even need to go the same direction as the rest of the traffic. Nor do you need to wear a helmet, just hold onto to your cell phone with one hand, your infant child in the other and keep your smoke goin, you’ll fit right in.Read more

  • Day1

    Phnom Penh

    March 6, 2017 in Cambodia

    After a 24 hour journey, 3 hours sleep and in need of a shower I arrived in Phnom Penh. In South East Asia anyone who has visited mentions the culture shock, only once you are there, seeing it and living it with your own senses can you understand what this means. I spent the 30 minutes from the airport glued to my window, unable to take my eyes off what was going on around me. Thanks to my lovely taxi driver, Jun Yort, I arrived at the hotel safe and sound. Dinner was at a lovely restaurant called Touk followed by a walk along the Mekong River.

    Today was a very full on day, starting with a walk around the Kings Palace, which was breathtaking and rumour has it he's still not married, so hoping for an introduction soon. However, the activities that followed were shocking to say the least. Visiting both the killing fields and the genocide museum there's very little I can say to justify the atrocity of the events of Pol Pot. Meeting a survivor of these events put into perspective how terrible this genocide really was.

    But to end on a positive note, the beer is $0.50 and I can eat a meal fit for 3 under $5.
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  • Day59

    Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    February 20, 2017 in Cambodia

    To get to Cambodia's capital from Vietnam, we took a bus across the border. The border crossing was quite the experience as we waited in a large open warehouse building that looked like it was decorated for Halloween with the amount of spider webs hanging from the ceiling. The only system that existed was to push your way past the cluster of people and hand your documents with some money inside to the immigration official in order to quickly get a stamp to cross the border. We paid our bus representative $2 each for this "expedite" service as did all the other passengers on the bus however I think he pocketed all the money or didn't pay enough since our group was the last through but not the last to arrive. Once that experience was done, we got back on the bus for a few more hours of driving. It was evident that the countryside of Cambodia was quite a bit different from anything we saw in Vietnam, almost reminding us a bit of India. The poverty was visible where as in Vietnam it wasn't noticeable even in the rural parts; maybe a clear difference between a socialist community and a democratic one.

    Once we arrived to the city, we were aggressively harassed by every tuk tuk driver for a ride, more so than any other country we've been to, so we refused out of principle and sat down at happy hour for a few beers at 75 cents each and then walked off the beer on our way to our hotel.

    The following day we visited S-21 and the killing fields which are now educational sites capturing the genocide of the Khmer Rouge. In less than 5 years during the late 1970's, this political party led by Pol Pot was responsible for around 2 million deaths in a country with only 8 million people. The Khmer Rouge wanted to reset their society to what they called "year 0", free of modern influences and back to the old ways of farming instead of city life, so entire cities were relocated to rural areas where high production rates were demanded with harsh living conditions. A monetary system was no longer used and any intellectuals were considered threats to their vision, so anyone with glasses or a doctor or lawyer or other threat was detained, interrogated, and tortured in places like S-21 which was an old school turned into a prison. Once the prisoners admitted to usually a false accusation, they would be sent to the killing fields to be killed.

    The killing fields captured the reality of the crimes since they have built a mausoleum that houses the piles of bones and skulls collected on site. Nearly every skull in the monument had a missing chunk of bone since the victims were generally killed by blunt force to the head. Bullets or other means were not used since that would be too expensive and loud.

    All around the site there were craters in the ground which were the mass graves found that still unearth remains from the victims today. The Khmer Rouge would kill an entire family that was a threat, with one of their slogans being "to dig up the grass you must remove even the roots", which led to probably the saddest part of the tour, the killing tree. This was a tree where babies would be killed by being struck against the trunk of the tree, which is now dedicated in memory to the youngest victims.

    Both sites were disturbing but preserved with pictures and artifacts to allow us to learn about this horrific time in Cambodia's history. The most shocking part to us was how little this is talked about in the US and how recent this atrocity occurred. The fact that a quarter of a nation's population was killed less than a decade before we were born in an era with modern communication is still a bit unreal. We're glad we were able to learn more about this and hopefully pass on the awareness to those reading our posts!
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  • Day70

    The Killing Fields

    April 14 in Cambodia

    You will want to make a decision before you get to Cambodia if you want to see the Killing Fields. You should probably read a little about it, or watch a movie. It’s not for everyone, and even once we decided to go and see it, it wasn’t easy to be there. We started at the Genocide Museum, in the heart of Phnom Penh. Also known as S21, it was a high school until April of 1975 when the Khmer Rouge rolled into the city and began with their atrocities. The Cambodian people are honoured when foreigners come to visit the site. They want the world to remember what happened and they take great care to host celebrations here and at the Killing Fields to keep it on peoples minds. The place is silent when you walk through in spite of the hundreds of people touring through. You can visit one of the survivors, of which there were only a few out of millions, when you leave the site. We didn’t.
    The people that were housed at S21, were brought to the Killing Fields, 15km away, in Cheoug Ek. This area is particularly difficult to see, its very real, and right in front of you.
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Phnom Penh

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