Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Phnom Penh, Cambodia - places to visit

ACE spent four days, three nights in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the first week of the school holidays. It was an adventurous experience having to go everywhere in a tuk tuk as that was the cheapest, fastest and most convenient mode of transport in the busy, traffic-choked city. The traffic on Phnom Penh (PP) streets is rather haphazard compared to KL roads. Vehicles are driven on the right-side of the road and there's hardly any traffic light junctions so one has to be very brave driving there considering the number of cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks moving around very closely to each other.
It is best to wear a face mask, especially if you have nasal allergies like C, when on the roads of PP as the air is rather polluted with dust and vehicle fumes.
If your hotel is within the city centre, a tuk tuk ride to almost anywhere you wish to go would cost you USD2. The drivers would usually ask for more but it is not too hard to negotiate it down to USD2. Agree on the price first before you board the tuk tuk.
We visited the Silver Pagoda, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, National Museum, Sisowath Quay, Russian Market and Central Market. You may Google or read other travel websites for more details of each place as there's too much to write if I were to provide all the information. Here are some pictures and info of the places.
 Statue of Buddha under a Bodhi tree at the entrance to the Silver Pagoda
 A stupa inside the compound of Silver Pagoda
 The Silver Pagoda is a temple within the Royal Palace grounds. It is called 'Silver' because the entire floor inside is laid with silver tiles. The silver was mined in Cambodia but sent to France to be made. Each tile weighs more than 1 kg.

 There is a scaled-down replica of the Angkor Wat in the Silver Pagoda grounds. Angkor Wat is in Siem Reap, outside of Phnom Penh. It takes a six-hour bus journey to get there from Phnom Penh.

 The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is also known as the S21 Prison. This was where Cambodians captured by the Khmer Rouge led by Pol Pot were detained, interrogated and tortured for confessions. The victims were then taken to the Killing Fields (15 km away) to be killed and buried in mass graves.
 A room where a victim was detained and shackled to the bed frame, fed only with about 3 tablespoons of poridge daily.
 small detention cells measuring 1 metre in width
 Graves of the last 14 victims found dead at S21 after the Khmer Rouge was toppled.
 A structure within the Royal Palace grounds facing the Mekong river, currently mourning the late Prince Norodom Sihanouk who is lying in state in the palace until his cremation in Feb 2013. Until then, the Royal Palace is closed to visitors.
 Wat Ounalom, a temple at the quayside, said to be the centre of Cambodian Buddhism. We did not enter this temple.
 Sisowath Quay by the Mekong river.
A sculpture at the quayside.
 The National Museum is located near the Silver Pagoda/Royal Palace. It takes about 10 minutes to walk there. It showcases artifacts from ancient Khmer and also gives a detailed look at research done of Angkor Wat.
 Central Market is located near Sorya Shopping Centre, one of the more modern malls in PP. It is more organised than Russian Market. Sells lots of semi-precious stone jewellery, accessories, bags, clothes, household wares, souvenirs and also has a wet market section selling fresh produce.
A stall selling local crafts such as scarves, bags, silk...

 A flower stall on the outer periphery of the Russian Market
 A fruit stall outside the Russian Market.
 Inside the Russian Market, a maze of narrow alleys flanked by small stalls crowded with loads of 'antique' ware, clothes, souvenirs, bags, silk, handicraft, household wares, hardware, machinery, wet market, food stalls....
Other places you could visit in Cambodia:
Choueng Ek Killing Fields
Independence Monument
Historical sites like the Angkor Archaeological Park (Angkor Wat)
Bokor National Park
Siem Reap
Kompong Chom
Koh Kong


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