Our time in Phnom Penh was brief, but well worth it. We had found a flight on miles to our next destination through Phnom Penh, so decided we should stop there and we are glad we did.
How We Got There & Around
Lucky for us Rangsey and his mom, Sovann, drove us the 5 hours from Siem Reap to get to the capital. They had family in Phnom Penh they wanted to see, so it ended up working out well. For the full day we were there, they picked us up again to show us around town. We were pretty stoked to have them there.
On our way to Phnom Penh we stopped along the way to visit a bridge that was suspected to be built in Angkor times. The bridge is still functional today for scooters and foot traffic.
Where We Stayed
We stayed at Point Boutique Hotel. It was really cheap, provided great breakfast, and had happy hour on the roof. No complaints at all.
What We Did
Royal Palace – The royal palace was built in 1866 when the capital was moved back to Phnom Penh from Oudong. The throne hall and surrounding temples are beautiful. Sadly, photos are not allowed to be taken inside.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – This museum is a must see for anyone traveling in Phnom Penh. Yes, it is a horrific thing to visit, but history isn’t always pretty – what’s important is learning from our mistakes. It is hard to believe that this place was once a high school and ended up being the most famous and gruesome prison (S-21) during the Khmer Rouge Regime. It was here that many were tortured, forced into “confessions” which many didn’t have any ties to spy networks or communists and eventually killed. Out of 17,000 people (including 79 foreigners) who came into the prison, there are only 7 known survivors. The majority of the people imprisoned were intellectuals, or the families of intellectuals. The museum itself is very well done. It is worth it to buy the audio tour guide, which has testimonies from survivors to guards. We spent a few hours here and found the entire experience, although extremely sad, to be well worth it. The aftermath of the Khmer Rouge Regime is still shaping the country today, so for many people, visiting this museum brings a lot of closure.
Phnom Penh Post Office – Another old building with cool architecture. We liked how yellows seem to be a very popular color here. Here, we purchases a few post cards and sent them home too.
Wat Phnom – This temple was built in 1372, and sits on top of a hill. The temples itself has been rebuilt several times. We enjoyed walking around, people watching, and seeing the giant clock display too.
Our trip to Cambodia was an important one. We made new friends that we now consider family, we experienced life as a local, saw so many historic sites and learned a lot about Cambodian culture and history. While here, we felt inspired to give more, help more, and understand more. We would recommend Cambodia to any of our friends and family.
We want to thank our Cambodian family again for such wonderful memories and experiences.