December, 2015: yes, it’s been a year since we actually went to Cambodia. Better late than never! – let’s just say this is #throwback.
Colombo to Singapore on Singapore Airlines and Singapore to Phnom Penh on Silk Air. It wasn’t a bad flight, except for the fact that I was babysitting two adult ‘brothers’ (one of which, is my actual brother).
We had a tour company plan out our trip – unless you’re the typical backpacker, having the tour arranged made it easier for us to get around. Phomn Phen for me, was just a capital city. As we landed, we drove into the city. We had a very friendly guide who gave us a gist of Cambodia; a country with 95% Buddhists, pagodas, temples and Royal buildings scattered around the city.
Cambodia doesn’t have a method of public transport – just millions of motorbikes. We drove along the Mekong River into the city center to catch the Central Markets before they closed for the day. From fruits, vegetables and all kinds of everything, there’s plenty of noise and activity to wake you up after a tiring flight!
Apart from the gorgeous architecture and Royal palaces that adorn the metropolitan, there’s not much excitement for a tourist. We first visited the Royal Palace and Museum – Cambodia, like many other Asian and Southeast Asian countries has so much history. From the times of the Khmer Empire that reigned for over 600 years, there are stories of war, love and peace. It was during this same time that the infamous Angkor Wat was built, now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site (blog and pics of Angkor Wat coming soon).
One section of the Royal Palace is open to the public while the King still resides on the Southern end of the Palace grounds. The parks and gardens though are beautiful, and a number of different Pagodas and smaller shrine halls have been built, each with it’s own legacy.
The National Museum in Phomn Penh is intriguing. We dropped in to see the many different artifacts and tomb stories. It has a beautiful courtyard with statues of Khmer design, Hindu gods and goddesses and Buddhist sculptures.
As the sun went down and it was a little cooler to walk around the city, we went by the Wat Phnom temple. The temple grounds is popular among tourists as it’s a beautiful picture-spot. The carefully manicured garden has a giant grass clock in front!
The Independence Monument stands tall in the middle of the city. The nights are fairly quiet in the capital but it makes a quite relaxing walk after dinner.
The next morning we’d take a drive up to Kratie province and watch fresh water dolphins! You can read about it in the next article.