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We’ve made it to Cambodia! Our first stop is Phnom Penh where we spent two days and three nights seeing what the city had to offer us; from beautiful palaces to dark historic events, this place is a mixture of old and new and I couldn’t wait to explore.
From Ho Chi Minh we travelled to Phnom Penh using the Giant Ibis bus which I booked via 12 Go Asia. The journey took approx. seven hours but considering we had to cross the border this was fine. The bus was fairly comfortable with reclining seats, free WiFi (albeit pretty hit and miss), one bottle of water per person and even a snack. There isn’t a train line from Vietnam to Cambodia so without flying coaches are the best way to get from A to B.
On arrival to the bus station we booked a Tuk Tuk via the Grab app to take us to our hotel – this is by far the best way to travel in Phnom Penh and my ultimate favourite transport type in South East Asia too!
As per usual we used booking.com to find our accommodation for our three nights in the capital. We chose a superior double room at the well situated Suite Home Boutique Hotel which was located just a short walk from The Royal Palace, local restaurants and bars.
With just two days to spend in Phomn Penh I pretty much knew exactly what our itinerary would be from the get go!
We started our day with a hearty breakfast courtesy of Suite Home before taking to the streets to sightsee around the city. First up on our agenda was Wat Phnom which is the central point of Phnom Penh, the Buddhist temple is 27 metres above ground so you can’t really miss it! The grounds surrounding the temple were occupied by friendly locals, some of who wanted to take our picture which was becoming a most common occurrence as we ventured around South East Asia.
In the afternoon we ventured around the corner to The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda where we spent a good couple of hours checking out the various buildings on site. As The Royal palace is still to this day the Royal Residence of the King of Cambodia not all areas as open to member of the public and the palace is closed over lunchtime. The Silver Pagoda complex houses many national treasures such as gold and jewelled Buddha statues including small green crystal Buddha known as Emerald Buddha, and a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha.
After a quick shower and outfit change we headed out for dinner at an amazing Indian restaurant Called Idli Dosa (previously known as Dosa Corner) which served awesome vegetarian Thali for the bargain price of $5 (approx. £4).
Phnom Penh has so much history, a lot of it dark history but it’s important to gain an understanding of the past and that is what we did on day two. Through our hotel we booked a bus tour that ferried us from our accommodation to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Security Prison 21 (also know as S-21) where we spent a couple of hours listening to the audio guide and learning about the Cambodian genocide at the hands of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979. Following our visit to S21 we were taken to Choeung Ek Genocidal Center which is more widely known as The Killing Fields and spent time following the audio guide route and taking in the gravity of what has happened at this site.
In the evening we dined at SURN YI Vegetarian Restaurant which was just down the street from our hotel, the food was delicious and rather cheap too.
Initially I thought we’d have enough time in this city, little did I know how much I’d like Cambodia’s capital and wish we could have stayed longer.