On to Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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Our courier
Our itinerary said we'd be taking a "local bus" to from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. For me, this conjured up images of a rickety and hot bus full of people and livestock. But our local bus turned out to be "Mekong Express" which was an airconditioned bus with comfortable reclining seats and a toilet. It comes with a courier, bottled water, a light snack and a moist towelette. It costs $10 and goes between Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanoukville. I think it also goes to Saigon from certain locations.

Our courier was extremely entertaining. Whenever she had an announcement or a fact about an area we were passing through, she said it first in Khmer and then in English. Over the five or six hour journey it became clear that she didn't speak English, she had just memorized her lines and perfected her hostess inflection. Her English was incomprehensible for the most part and if you talked to her, she just smiled and stared at you.

We stopped once to use the bathroom and get some food. Somehow my roommate and I were the last in the long line to use the bathroom. We barely had enough time to slurp down a bowl of soup before getting back on the bus. We were both pretty good with chopsticks but were having trouble with the slippery noodles. I think it was pretty amusing for the locals around us and they watched us as we unskillfully ate our lunch.

When we approached Phnom Penh, I wasn't very excited. I could tell it was a big chaotic city and I had really enjoyed the small city vibe and slow pace of Siem Reap. Things were close there and it was easy to walk around without potentially getting run over. Phnom Penh was much larger and the streets were crowded with SUVs, motorcycles, luxury cars and tuk tuks. Some parts of the city looked pretty nice and we drove by charming little parks with fountains. Phnom Penh is an interesting mix of French colonial and Khmer. When we got to the bus station, we were swarmed with moto and tuk-tuk drivers convinced that we needed a ride no matter how many times we told them we already had one. A small bus was waiting for our group around the corner and it took us to our hotel.

When we got to our room, I went to the bathroom and there was no shower or tub! I told my roommate and she showed me where the shower was. It was above the toilet and didn't have curtain. Oh. This is common for budget hotels in Southeast Asia. We turned on the TV and American Idol was on. After resting, we tuk-tuked down to the riverfront and had dinner at Happy Herb Pizza and then stopped briefly at FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) before heading back to our hotel.
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Our courier
Our courier
Phnom Penh Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
"Your good taste and your health was here..."
I realize that eating whatever food is local is almost always the best way to go when you are traveling, but sometimes you just have to have pizza. I … read entire review
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk