Now this might just be me, but I honestly feel that Cambodia doesn’t get enough credit. Phnom Penh is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to, but I don’t really know how to explain why. I just thought the buildings were beautiful and there was a nice chill vibe. There are tuk tuks everywhere so you can always get to where you need to go, there’s great food (we got a curry on our first night!) and everyone was friendly. We also randomly stumbled across people signing up to do a race around the city, so my boyfriend got a chance to do some running again after the marathon back in April (obviously not me lol), so that was super cool.
|The 5am race start|
Unfortunately, we weren’t off to a great start when we arrived after a bus journey from Ho Chi Minh. Once arriving at the hotel at around 11pm and beginning to unpack and relax, we found bed bugs. It was disgusting. So we had to try get a refund from that hotel and find another place to stay. One that wouldn’t mind checking us in at almost midnight, not an easy job in a brand new city. We found a nearby hotel, however it was pretty swanky and out of our budget, but at that point we just wanted somewhere to sleep. It was pretty nice to stay in a lovely hotel for once too.
|Countryside view from our long bus journey|
The main things to do around Phnom Penh is to go to the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields. Yeah it’s not very cheery, but very interesting and important to learn about. I encourage everyone to look up the Cambodian genocide, as I didn’t know anything about it before being there. It was carried out by a regime named the Khmer Rouge, which was led by a man named Pol Pot. Between the years 1975 and 1979, it is estimated up to 3 million people were killed, which was a statistic of about 1 in 4 of the Cambodian population. You were deemed an “enemy” for these reasons:
- Any link to the former or foreign governments
- Professionals and intellectuals (this basically meant anyone with an education, even people just for wearing glasses)
- Any ethnic minorities
- Any urban dwellers, who were used to city life and had a lack of agriculture ability
Now, on to nicer things. The Royal Palace is huge and made up of lots of different gorgeous buildings to spend a few hours walking around. I really enjoyed our visit here and it definitely cheered us up a bit. We think we might have stumbled across some sort of celebration the day we visited, as everyone was gathered around the square outside the palace, and seemed to be throwing around corn kernels. They were all over the floor and we still haven’t figured out why or what it was. The lighting was brilliant that day, so we managed to get some awesome photos.
Well that’s Phnom Penh. I know I’ve made it sound quite depressing, but it really was one of my favourite cities. Even if you don’t want to go to the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields, I would say it is still definitely worth visiting.
My next post will be all about our little getaway to the Cambodian island of Koh Rong, which was pure HEAVEN! I can’t wait to write about it 🙂
|I wanted to show off my elephants in the background|