Phnom Penh: A City in Transition

Phnom Penh Travel Blog

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after leaving laos with a heavy heart i was giddy with excitement to see what cambodia had to offer. we took the bus down from si pha don and passed through the border where lao and cambodia officials gave us a rough time because we refused to pay them ‘administration fees’ for stamping our visas.

there are 3 hurdles when crossing the lao-cambodia border. the first hurdle is the lao officials, they require 20,000 kip. The second hurdle is the medical screening for h1n1 which costs US$1 and finally the cambodian border officials which costs US$1.

of course none of this is official, but you don’t have much of a choice. one person on our van refused to pay entry and the lao officials threw his passport back at him. so i guess if you want to leave the country, you don’t have much of a choice. although using the excuse that you don’t have the cash and diverting the conversation to where the nearest bank is will help your cause.

we stayed at a place called the Last Home Guesthouse. which was by for the most expensive place we stayed during the trip. the owners of the shop were extremely friendly and i ended up hanging out at my guesthouse much more than i would’ve liked.

we spent plenty of time talking to locals while we were at phnom penh and the thing that struck me most about the cambodian people is their excellent command of english.

one local restaurateur told me that because of the massive amount of foreign investment being poured into the country, all the locals are required to be able to speak at least a bit of the language to be able to even stand the chance of getting a proper job. after spending a couple of days in cambodia, it becomes quite apparent how influential foreign countries and corporations are in the country. with oddly named monuments and places such as the cambodian-japanese friendship bridge and the cambodian-korean friendship forest.

it has only been 30 years since the end of communist rule and it seems that the cambodian people are trying to make up for lost time. one can only hope that the result of this development isn’t the loss of culture that has made cambodia the proud asian enigma that we all know and love today.

There is just too much about phnom penh to be able to do it justice in one article, but one thing for certain is that perception of phnom penh as a dirty city where crime is rampant is unsubstantiated and i feel for all those poor people who have let common misconception get the better of them and avoiding this beautiful city.

like a traveler once told me �" traveling is about discovery and not ticking sights of a “to see” list.

after a great time, we headed down further south to soak up the sun in finally get a glimpse of the sea in Sihanoukville.
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Phnom Penh Hostels review
I'd recommend the Last Home Guesthouse to anyone who's willing to spend slightly more on a room in Phnom Penh. Its key features are - 1. Clean 2. … read entire review
Phnom Penh
photo by: terminalfunk