Phnom Penh : City of Dollars

After a trip to Vietnam, I thought why not cross the border to Cambodia, Phnom Penh City.  I will explain in another post on crossin...

After a trip to Vietnam, I thought why not cross the border to Cambodia, Phnom Penh City. 
I will explain in another post on crossing border experience.  

After 7 hours of van ride from HCM, i finally arrive at Phnom Penh. I have no expectation at all, the plan just to explore the city and visit the tourist places. I arrive around 2.00 pm at Van Station. Along the 7 hours journey, I met with one businessman who always comes to Cambodia for his business and advises me very important tips :
1.  Cambodia accept a dollar in the transaction, you will see the price tag in the US dollar and riel as well.
2. Very easy to convert Riel to MYR - 1000 riel = RM 1
3. Tuk-Tuk Grab is available and uses it. 
4. Try not to go out late at night alone. 

When I look at my offline map, I saw my hostel is not far away from the van station. I purposedly book hostel nearby so that i can save money. It was blazing hot sun, with the 10kg backpack I walk across the streets, crossing the highway, back alley and someone house backyard and manage to reach to my hostel. If I would use TukTuk it will be around 10 minutes drive which cost around RM10 but with walk 30 minutes, I just save RM10 for dinner plus I can lose some weights and see the city! I stay at Rachana Hostel which is cheap and nearby to tourist places. If you coming to Phnom Penh for the first time, stay nearby the riverside as they say, due to its location near to tourist places & attractions. But bear in mind that, this place is pack with tourist and not that clean, "sort of" but for backpaker, this is good enough. Well, if you have a budget to travel back and forth via TukTuk you can stay at more non-touristy places like BKK. 

It was a long ride and walk, so I took a nap-). I mean, as much as we love to continue walking and exploring the city right when arrived, but I choose to rest my body well. Don't want to get sick while travelling. 

Around 7.00 pm, I strolled around the riverside, to find foods and just to experience what the locals do. Riverside pack with tourists and foods, you can easily find bars, restaurants from Arabic, Indian and local cuisines. Tons of people around. There is a night market open from  5.00 pm to 12.00 am mzinly selling clothes  but got foods stalls too.From my observation, Cambodia largely accept foreigners to open thier business here. Mosf F&B outlets, I saw own or operate by non- Cambodian. Interesting. 

Royal Palace Cambodia
My tour began with visiting the Royal Palace Cambodia. It's open at 2.00 pm when I visited and closed around 6.00 p.m. Entrance fee about 10USD. It is quite near to my hostel-15 minute's walk. A lot of great structures and beautiful garden. Although it is not as big as the Royal Palace in Bangkok, still it is beautiful. However, with 10USD seems like too expensive because, your tour somehow restricted which I get it, but less than a couple of hours, you are done! But, it is must visit while you are at Phnom Penh. 

Beware of scammer that linger near the palace. They often would say, the palace is closed for some reasons, so that they can offer to bring you to other places. Don't fall for the trap, if you did, you are doomed.  

Wat Phnom
Next if you keen to walk and willing to get free tan , you can go to visit Wat Phnom, a historical hilltop temple located in the middle of the city. It is free to visit. Free sounds good right? What's good? While admiring the structure of the building, you can learn the history and take good photos there. Many shades and chair for you to sit and rest. If I was not mistaken, it was built like 1372 something. Nothing much to do during my visit there, just a structure and visiting the hills. Pretty though. 

National Museum of Cambodia
Your trip to Phnom Penh will be not complete if you not visiting the Nationa Museum of Cambodia. It is not far from the Royal Palace. You only pay 10USD. It is worth to visit even though I'm not a fan of history. You will find a lot of Khmers art. artefacts and history which largely influence Cambodia as we know today. 

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
I have the opportunity to visit, I believe the highlight of the Phnom Penh visit - a Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The site is a former secondary school used by Khmer Regime for prison. From the audio tour, the story is heart-breaking. The site still maintains a possible location, scenes of the people that torture to death, and even have pictures of the event. I suggest you pay the audio tour to listen to Audio and its available in main languages. Worth it. 

The surrounding areas gives you chills as the Audio Guide tells you all painfull stories and true interview with the survivors. 

Tuol Sleng open daily from 7.00 am to 11.30 am and 2.00 pm to 5.30 pm. Entrance fee is bout 8USD with Audio. 

What my takes for Phnom Penh visit? 

While it is a great city, you can't deny the fact that, foods or items and price are more favourable to European visitors. Based on my observation, at the area where I was staying, the majority is European tourist.This could be the exchanges rate - is super cheap and furthermore, transaction can be done in dollar and all price display also in dollars. Probably a linean policy allowing foreigner to operate a business in Cambodia also clould be the reason.
But somehow, I am suprised English is widely spoken or the local might can converse in basic English which is realy helpfull. I like Phnom Penh, maybe I should try to stay at BKK as recommended by locals in the future. 

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