Phnom Penh!

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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I was most excited to get to PP having seen the movies and read the books.  It did not disappoint.  Organized chaos is the only way to describe it really.  Thousands of people on cycle, motor bikes, by foot and the occasional car.  Book airport transfer through your guest house as it didn't seem readily available at the airport.  Driving the streets gives you a great view of daily life.  The intersections seem life threatening as thousands of bikes beep horns and work their way through, but everyone turns out okay.

We got to our guesthouse, Billabong Hotel, dropped our bags and took a walk out to the Mekong.

  It was the water festival, Bon Om Tuk, which is when the river changes tides and what seemed like most of Cambodia turns up to celebrate on the river banks.  The streets close down, but it isn't much of an issue to get around, you just get stuck in with all of the people on foot.  The people were all in happy moods watching the dragon boat races, which go on all day long.

We walked around the river area and settled in at the FCC (foreign correspondents club) for lunch and drinks.  This venue is amazing, probably one of the nicest in the city.  The downside is you'll be surrounded by only expats, but it is a nice escape from the hustle and bustle on the streets.  The roof deck was a perfect place to grab a beer and watch the racing.  We ended up here for lunch and dinner on day 1.

  Great view of all the boats on the river lit up at night in parade of lights.

The next day was spent lounging by the pool at the Billabong and touring the local markets.  You must check out the markets, they sell everything!  There is a central one in a dome looking building and one further outside the centre known as the Russian market where you can buy and barter for anything imaginable, they're huge.  The people were all so nice and very good salesman.

PP was my favourite spot on the trip.  It was great to be on the streets of this city and seeing how the Cambodians go about their days.  The people are so resouceful and seem to be making the best out of whatever situation they are in.  It gives you some perspective on how your daily life compares and the different challenges people face everyday.  Get to know a driver or two as we did and you'll get some guided tours of the old French buildings and some tips on where to go, it was very helpful!

 

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Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk