In an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S., Chandler and Eddie were talking about Chandler’s ex thinking that the capital of Cambodia was Sean Penn (who later graced the show). When I was in Phonm Penh, I realized that the ex actually had it close. 😉
I’ve shared how I planned my solo trip in Khmer Land and here’s the continuation.
Giant Ibis buses
My best bus experiences come from Cambodia – but then again, I was aware of how difficult others’ experience with the buses were so I did extensive research on the best ride. Giant Ibis it is.
I took the sleeper bus – and wow was it comfy. It was a bit short for m (I’m taller than the average Cambodian at 5’6″). We left Siem Reap at at 11pm and arrived at Phnom Penh around 5am.
Upon arrival, a horde of tuktuk drivers were waiting for us. I started walking because based on my google maps (there was wifi in Giant Ibis), Wat Phnom was walking distance away (take note, as long as it’s shorter than 5km, it is walking distance for me).
After asking a couple of people sweeping the street, I finally reached Wat Phnom.
After I went to Wat Phnom, the next place I wanted to visit was the Killing Fields, though I wanted to drop some of my things first at my hostel. So I rented a tuktuk at USD15 to drop me off at Eight8 hostel then take me to the Killing Fields.
I wanted to try the dorm life (USD8 per bed), but I realize I don’t like sharing rooms. Unfortunately, Eighty8 was fully booked so I couldn’t change my reservation. This was a so-so place, I wasn’t delighted nor was I appalled so I guess that’s a win still. Will I go back there? I’ll probably try to explore others. Oh, and it’s difficult to find so suggest you print out a map if you plan on walking (or just hire a tuktuk. Most drivers were mean. They wouldn’t point me to the right direction unless I wanted to hire them. Hmpft.).
This was depressing. We started off with the usual torture and killings – Pol Pot came at the end of the war and when people were rejoicing after one win, another war, this time perpetrated by their own, started.
I listened to the podcast, and walked through the killing fields where the story unfolds.
They killed scholars, mothers and children. At one point I couldn’t help but cry when I saw the tree where they killed the children with. It was devastating. Cambodians killing Cambodians. I don’t want to go back to this place ever again.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
In my country, elections are held at schools because they are strategically located at every town. Apparently, the same applies to torture chambers.
Tuol Sleng Genecide Museum is a school. Was, rather. It served as one of the more famous torture chambers in Phnom Penh.
They also had impressive monitoring – pictures of all tortured Cambodians were kept as “evidence”.
The Royal Palace was, well, royal. Everything was gold! And we can’t take pictures of the throne room or the treasures (obviously and unfortunately).
National Museum of Cambodia
The National Museum of Cambodia was pretty close, so I started walking.
As usual there’s a different rate for locals and foreigners. I could pass for a local – if only I could speak the language!
After this I went to the Central Market (which wasn’t fun so I left immediately), then went back to the hostel to sleep.
There was a massage at the hostel, which was the highlight of my stay at the hostel.
Then I left the next day to go to Ho Chi Minh.