Not so Great Suvannaphum Airport & Arrival in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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Phnom Penh from the plane
The flight from Australia to Bangkok was a very uncomfortable flight, with the lack of sleep and constant turbulence, my mind when into a whizz, I had a feeling that something would go wrong upon my arrival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

At Suvannaphum Airport, Thailand’s brand spanking new International Airport was a so and so pile of metal and cement. The interior and exterior looked very industrial. The toilets were hard to locate, and when you did locate one it would all be busy because most of them only had 2-3 cubicles, such great design and thought into catering for 40 million tourists annually. Inside the toilets there were unfinished work to be seen everywhere!

Taking this into consideration, the airport has now begun building new toilets to cater for the many passengers that go through.
Local Wat in Phnom Penh
So these toilets are like through long corridors and are very out of place.

As I walked through Customs at the Phnom Penh International Airport, I was pestered for some bribe money, and even after continually saying sorry I do not have any lose change, the customs official kept on begging and pleading and asking whether I had any US dollars or AUS dollars at all. I just shook my head and politely said no, claimed my passport and entry stamp and walked off. I was one of the first to go claim my luggage, but somehow I ended up being the last to leave.

One hour went by and still no sign of my luggage. I was later informed that since Thailand built their new Suvarnaphumi Airport, there has been delays in luggage and that the luggage would usually arrive the same evening or the following morning.
Monks outside the Royal Palace
What do you know my luggage arrived that evening so all was well.

My first few days in Phnom Penh, I did a walking tour of the city visiting many of the city Wats (temples) and doing a bit of shopping at Psar Toul Tompoung (The Russian Market - The market got its name from the many Russians shopping there before the Khmer Rouge).

I tried to do a city tour of the Sangkum era (pre-Khmer rouge) architecture, but that failed as the map I downloaded off the net was very inaccurate and very hard to follow. So instead I just wandered around the city.

I popped into the Toul Sleng Prison (former High School), even though i've previously visited it back in 2001, I wanted to see it again. It was the exact same as the last time I went and some even say its exactly the way it was found after the Khmer Rouge were overthrown.
Photographs of victims of genocide
As I walked through the rooms of empty beds where prisoners were tied up and tortured I could picture everything as if it was happening just now. Further on, there were room after room of prisoners portraits. Every prisoner upon arrival were photographed for documentation and then tortured and killed. After wandering around the museum for a good house I decided I had enough and payed my respects and left quietly.

I continued my tour of Phnom Penh along the riverbank and admired the architecture and the people. One of the most interesting aspects of Phnom Penh is that old meets new, traditional meets western and of course poverty meets glamour and wealth. Everything about Phnom Penh, there were contradictions however the people were still very friendly going on their everyday jobs and daily life.

Anyhow I finished my first few days in Phnom Penh, with a nice dinner of fried frog legs... YUM... hehehe.

Well I'm off to Kampong Cham...
reyang says:
hey! im heading to cambodia soon- got any accommodation tips? im starting in phnom pehn and then... well not quite sure- going to see how i go and who i meet and find out where that takes me!
Posted on: Nov 21, 2007
tristalee says:
Hello, a very nice and interesting blog. I'm interested travel to Cambodia soon. So, I would like to know more about the information of Cambodia. Do you have anymore interesting places introduce to me, so that i can visit when i going there. Have you any suggestion about how to apply visa online? I got heard people said about the Cambodia e-visa?Is it a good choice to apply visa online?Thanks. :)
Posted on: Oct 31, 2007
brneyedgrl282 says:
great blog...beautiful pictures
Posted on: Jul 31, 2007
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Phnom Penh from the plane
Phnom Penh from the plane
Local Wat in Phnom Penh
Local Wat in Phnom Penh
Monks outside the Royal Palace
Monks outside the Royal Palace
Photographs of victims of genocide
Photographs of victims of genocide
Rooftops
Rooftops
Monks out for a stroll
Monks out for a stroll
Portraits of Tortured Prisoners be…
Portraits of Tortured Prisoners b…
Statue of the Cambodian King at Wa…
Statue of the Cambodian King at W…
Vietnamese era monument in Phnom P…
Vietnamese era monument in Phnom …
Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom
Clock at Psar Thmei *New market
Clock at Psar Thmei *New market
at the Local Markets
at the Local Markets
Prisoner at Tuol Sleng Prison
Prisoner at Tuol Sleng Prison
Busy streets of Phnom Penh
Busy streets of Phnom Penh
Monkey at Wat Phnom
Monkey at Wat Phnom
Hundreds of Thousands of bats near…
Hundreds of Thousands of bats nea…
Cat at Wat Phnom
Cat at Wat Phnom
Independence Monument
Independence Monument
Garuda motifs on the rooftops of t…
Garuda motifs on the rooftops of …
Rooftops
Rooftops
Theatre near the riverfront
Theatre near the riverfront
Repetitious roofs at the Royal Pal…
Repetitious roofs at the Royal Pa…
Motifs on a Buddhist stupa
Motifs on a Buddhist stupa
Tuol Sleng Museum
Tuol Sleng Museum
Naga Casino
Naga Casino
Tuol Sleng Prison
Tuol Sleng Prison
Phnom Penh General Tips & Advice review
Phnom Penh is rather a small city compared to it's neighbours and other Asian countries. However Phnom Penh is still unique and charming. It lacks the… read entire review
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk