Table of Contents
Welcome To Phnom Penh!
Travel To Phnom Penh – Hello! Tuktuk?” were the two words of the week and “May I help you?” (it also sounded as “May I have you?”, but don’t be alarmed when you hear it) is the question that kept us company for five days in Travel To Phnom Penh.
P1040298Monks garbed in orange robes with matching orange umbrellas and orange cloth pouches march on the streets, some with rubber slippers, but all with round and clean-shaven heads. They are easily noticeable even when they walk alone. They pass by shops, restaurants, often giving blessings to the laypeople, at times receiving blessings in return.
Understanding the role of Buddhist monks in the Khmer society takes one to study the religion itself. Incidentally, I read that the monks recently took the roads of Phnom Penh as they started a 10-day Peace Walk.
We expected really hot weather before going to Phnom Penh, but surprisingly it was tolerable even at 12 noon. Although Cambodia has almost the same weather throughout the year, the last quarter is the best time to travel there as it is dry and relatively cool. I enjoyed my walk in the park at noontime and enjoyed as much our walk along the river quay
Travel To Phnom Penh-Crossing the street in Phnom Penh reminded me of patintero, a street game I used to play back home as a kid. Players need to get past the lines guarded by players of the opposing team. The winning team is declared when all players are able to cross back to the home base. In Phnom Penh, pedestrians need to get past the tuk-tuks and motorcycles driving by left and right.
Never mind that there is a traffic light flashing in red. There’s no stopping them. If there’s space on the road, there’s a tuk-tuk or a motorcycle in it.
Drivers are not afraid to face head-on incoming traffic. They just glide by the side of the gutter and when the street is clear, move forward to their right of way. Pedestrians have to commit to crossing the street; once you step on the road, don’t turn back but keep looking at all sides. It’s not that they are undisciplined; I think there are just too many of them on the road.
Clean at first sight;
Travel To Phnom Penh – clean and dust-free! Hubby and I exclaimed to each other as we enjoyed our first tuk-tuk ride from the airport (US$7). As our driver took us to narrower streets, we winced a bit because the air suddenly smelled of spoiled food. The traffic turned a bit heavy and garbage in some corners was in sight.
There are streets and corners that are really clean i.e. the Royal Palace grounds, the park grounds, residential areas. However, the inner streets are not really that clean and food peddlers add to the stench of spoiled food.
The road to the Killing Fields was also dusty that even locals wear a face mask. Mr. Thearit was considerate enough to buy one for each of us and it was indeed helpful.
Well, we’ve seen this and we’ve been through it in our own country
Dollars and riels
Travel To Phnom Penh | – P1030958When purchasing anything, you can opt to pay in US dollars or in riel, Khmer money. Most items are charged in dollars, but you can ask if you can pay in riel. Expect also that you may receive your change in riel. The standard exchange rate is US$1:Riel4000. So for example, your worth of purchase is US$1.50 and you gave US$2.
Your change will be Riel2000. Just do the math. They don’t have coins. It’s advisable to carry several 1-dollar bills to make paying for minute items easy for you.
To the hospital, we go
One thing that I learned from this trip is to mark the nearest hospital in the area you are staying at. Hubby got sick with a gastrointestinal infection and had to be brought to the hospital. The healthcare industry in Cambodia is progressing with several hospitals that can accommodate tourists. Fortunately, Naga Clinic where there are Cambodian and French doctors was just 1 kilometer away from our guesthouse and we went there by tuk-tuk for $5 back and forth. For a list of other international hospitals, click here.
I gained a kilo in my five-day trip to Phnom Penh even when I walked around most of the time. I think spending an hour each in Toto Ice Cream and Dessert Café and Cupcake Café can take the blame for that.
Toto serves homemade ice cream and you can choose a combo of ice cream and a hefty slice of cake. On the other hand, cupcakes in Cupcake Café are small enough to make you order for another one, priced at USD1.50 each. A cup of coffee goes well with sweets, so why not order another cupcake? Now you knTravel To Phnom Penh -Fish amok is a local dish recommended by a lot of bloggers who have been to Cambodia. We tried it at Tuktuk Restaurant Cafe which was just right beside Toul Sleng Genocide Center. We didn’t expect it to be creamy, but it was good. I couldn’t eat well though because we just came from the genocide center.
I was hungry but I had little appetite. I suggest that if you will take a trip to Toul Sleng, do it before lunch or late in the afternoon.
On our last night, we ate at Le Wok along with Preah Ang Makhak Vann, beside the National Museum. With a few drinks, risotto, and shrimp in avocado, we were ready to call it a night and cap the vacation. Read more reviews about Le Wok here. Personally, the food looked and tasted good. Service was also good; the waiters were attentive enough to serve us since there were only a few diners that night.