Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
I arrived to Phnom Penh (PP) by bus from Siem Reap and met my German buddy Daniel, whom I first met in Burma in December. We spent the first night getting stuck in the typical traveller areas. The prices are higher, the people are all Western, and the experience is down right boring. This applies to hotels, restaurants and the like. After one night in a traveller guest trap, I mean guest house, we decided to find a 'hotel' in a section of the city that wasn't on the tourist map. That was the best decision we could have made. All of a sudden, we were back in a foreign country. The people that ran the hotel also ran a great restaurant next door.
The next day we made our way out of town to the shooting range. Daniel, being ex-German military, couldn't wait for the chance to get ahold of an AK47 and fire off a few rounds. You can actually pay to fire a grenade launcher or almost any other firearm imaginable. And amazingly, these weapons are NOT mounted.
Next we visited the national museum of the Killing Fields, where countless people were brutally tortured and murdered in Pol Pot's sick idea of a utopia. To say we were humbled to stand on the grounds of the killing fields would be an understatement. In all, its estimated that Pol Pot and his psychotic army killed about 3 million Cambodians in the 1970's. His 'experiment' is still quite difficult for me to understand. Why would the leader of a country demolish everything relating to the country's history, and brutally murder its own people? What could have been the purpose? He called the new beginning, year 0.
The next day we visited S21, an old school that the Khmer Rouge used as a concentration camp. This was even more humbling as we stood in the old prison cells, many of which haven't been touched since the Khmer Rouge fled the scene in the late 1970's. Reminants of the jails still remained as they were nearly 30 years ago. The photos will tell the best story, but feel free to do a little reading about this ugly chapter in Cambodian history.
The next several days we spend hanging out in PP, having great meals at local food stalls and simply checking out this up and coming city. Phnom Penh has lots of fun pubs with pool tables and $1 draft beers. Our time in PP made for an educational, humbling, yet fun experience in the nation's capital. I normally don't care much for cities, but this one had some beautiful colonial architecture and the locals were friendly, just as you'd expect in small villages.
Next, we obtained our visas for Vietnam, and were off to the Cambodian coast for a few days of chillin out...