I Love Phnom Penh
As what I have posted on my previous article, I went to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Believe me, it was indeed captivating and mesmerizing. Since I introduced only a summary of Cambodia, here I will tell you what to see in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Only few people have talked about Phnom Penh because most bloggers only featured Siem Reap.
In Phnom Penh, there are also numerous tourist attractions and most of these are located just within few blocks. You can take a tuktuk to see these spots or even walk if you want some exercise. Well for me, I hired a tuktuk and luckily picked out a good driver named Peter. He speaks English and is a very helpful gentleman. I started the day early. Peter picked me up in the guesthouse and I told him I need some food to eat for breakfast so, he took me to a famous restaurant called Khmer Saravan. I just ordered a clubhouse sandwich and also bought some sandwich for Peter as a treat. In Khmer Saravan, there were quite a lot of tourists who visited this place as you can see the walls were full of drawings from travelers anywhere in the world. The ambience was great overlooking Sisowath Quay of the Tonle Sap lake.
Just 15 mins, Peter and I headed to Wat Phnom. Since I didn’t hire a tour guide, my tuktuk driver became one. He told me the story behind Wat Phnom. He said that during the early decades, Phnom Penh was submerged in water by flood and only the mountain that Wat Phnom was erected can be seen thus, people have been saved by going and climbing the mountain and after later years, they built the temple. In the temple, there is an admission fee of USD1 as a contribution to support Wat Phnom.
1. Wat Phnom or called as Temple of the Mountains or Mountain Pagoda is the tallest religious structure in the city of Phnom Penh.
I paid some respect and after I took some photos in Wat Phnom, I went down and headed to my next destination. But when I got to the tuktuk, I was a little bit thirsty and I told to go to some nearby store. So, he drove all the way to Preah Nokor St 126.
2. Central Market or Phsar Thmei was of course a market but was considered a tourist attraction. This market opens from 0700H to 1700H and most tourists came here due to the availability of extensive amount of products for bargain. But, I went there just to quench my thirst.
Back to the tour, we went to Wat Sarawan but it was not advisable to go there. There were monks living there and it was not well sustained. Hence without a doubt, we proceeded to the next nearest attraction.
3. Wat Ounalom is located on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake. There, it has magnificent view and designs of the temple. Per wiki, it has been believed that the stupa at the main complex contains an eyebrow hair of Buddha and an inscription Pali.
I spent so much time there. It was hot but I enjoyed the shade of the trees around. I sat down for minutes and when my energy was restored. I went to my next stop.
4. Independence Monument or Vimean Ekareach is a little far from Wat Ounalom since I skipped the main attractions of the city which are the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Anyway, who wouldn’t get his attention when passing the Independence Monument. It’s huge, and strikingly grandiose. It is in a form of a lotus-shaped stupa of the same style of the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.
The panorama of the Independence Monument is marvelous and worth picture-taking. Yet I have to go off as planned. Next stop was another religious centre.
6. Wat Botum Vattey is somewhat a community. In English, it is a Temple of the Lotus Blossoms. I saw here a school nearby and there are a lot of stupas. They said that there were too many politicians and eminent persons of the city who were laid to rest here in this temple.
I was busy taking photos when my camera alarmed and signaled, Battery Low. Then, I have decided to go for lunch and take some rest while charging the battery of my camera. Few minutes later, we went back on the road and this time, it was far. It was about 30 mins drive to get there.
7. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a different type of museum. It showed here what happened during the Khmer Rouge. It was heartbreaking, hair raising and teeth gritting experience. It maybe just a plain museum but it sure can make you teary eyed.
I spent almost an hour in the museum. When I was done there, I went back to the guesthouse to get my baggage because I needed to transfer to a hotel where I was supposed to be staying and Peter helped me picked up all my things. The whole day tour service offered by Peter thru tuktuk was for USD20 and with some tips. After I settled down in the hotel, I went for dinner which was a restaurant of the hotel called Yin Yang.
Yin Yang offers complete meals from breakfast, lunch, dinner and even happy hour. I got the chance to try some Khmer cuisine. I so love their loc lak dishes from pork, chicken to beef.
When I emptied my dinner plate, I needed a bit of exercise so, I went strolling in Sisowath Quay til I got to Phnom Penh Night Market. I got to use my haggling tactics. I bought my Cambodian souvenir here and I paid for USD5 and got a pair of Nike slippers for USD5 too.
The next day was scheduled for a grueling walk around the city’s main tourist spots. I didn’t need a tuktuk since it was just near my hotel. I woke up a little late and walked to the biggest attraction in Phnom Penh.
8. Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. It has a full name of Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk in Khmer. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied this place since it was built, but was abandoned during the period of the reign of the Khmer Rouge when the country was in turmoil.
I was wandering in the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda for almost 2 hours. It got to the point that my feet hurt and when I was due to another destination, I waved the white flag. I was already in front of the National Museum of Cambodia but I said to myself, I’m exhausted and I called it a day.
I slept in my room for hours and then, I have thought that I needed to somehow relax from the days I was so busy exploring Phnom Penh. So, I made a choice to do a leisure walk and went out.
9. Sisowath Quay is what they called near the Tonle Sap lake. I just sat down in the lakefront while looking on the people passing by, enjoying the fresh breeze from the river, and a laid-back lifestyle. I enjoyed some quiet time for myself.
I came to realization that a life here in Phnom Penh maybe everybody’s dream. Almost everything is affordable, people are friendly and hospitable, slow paced life and the country is rich of culture and traditions. I can definitely say that I LOVE PHNOM PENH.