PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – For some, skipping Phnom Penh is usually the most common decision of people doing a Indochina land travel. But I would have to say that the capital of Cambodia is also a must-see. Give it a try. Even for just a Phnom Penh overnight trip.
Getting to Phnom Penh from Kuala Lumpur
From the old LCCT, we took a direct flight to Phnom Penh after our short stay in Kuala Lumpur.
Visiting the Killing Fields from the airport
The Killing Fields or the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center was a bit south of the capital, away from most of the tourist destinations in Phnom Penh. To save time and money what you can do was talked to an airport taxi driver to drop you off first in the Killing Fields before going to your hotel.
This will only work if you arrived at the airport with enough time before the closing of the Killing Fields. An extra USD will also be negotiated by the driver which was really fine for our case.
We arrived at around four in the afternoon in the Killing Fields. After the entrance fees were collected from us, we went straight inside exploring the complex. It was not that hot since the sun was about to set, another bonus of arriving at this time of the day. And of course, Golden Hour.
In summary, Killing Fields was depressing. So much for a start of our Phnom Penh overnight trip before visiting the temples of Angkor Wat.
This should serve as a reminder of our past. We should learn from these atrocities. The fact that until now, every time it rains, the complex staff are on the look out for human bones that are exposed from the soil was just disheartening.
There was also a tree to bash the heads of children. How awful was that scene to witness.
Where to stay in Phnom Penh: The Green House
We booked our Phnom Penh overnight hotel accommodation in ” target=”_blank”>The Green House.
It was cheap and clean. The room was big. Bathroom/toilet was also big and clean.
I have just noticed that some unused condoms were left inside the drawers of our room. Not squirmish about it though.
Phnom Penh hotel/accommodation recommendations worth checking out::
DIY Tour of Phnom Penh
Outside our hotel, a tuktuk driver was waiting. We approached him (kind of we already made the first move) and asked for a price of a city tour. Good thing he was able to reply in English. He was quite friendly.
We were able to agree to price that will include a city tour and transport to the bus terminal from our hotel for the six-hour bus ride to Siem Reap.
We passed by the Independence Monument when we were on our way to the Royal Palace.
This Cambodian Royal Palace was the first Southeast Asian royal palace I have seen in my entire life. But quite frankly this was definitely less crowded than Bangkok’s Royal Palace.
We were able to check out the Silver Pagoda and the National Museum. These were located in the same complex of the Royal Palace.
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Another depressing part of our DIY Phnom Penh city tour. We have read some of the history of this place. And just like the Killing Fields, the sad past of this former school turned prison/torture camp was just to much to bare.
The Cambodians really suffered a lot during the Khmer Rouge regime. This what Tuol Sleng symbolizes. This should be warning for all of us. We need to be vigilant about our liberties and freedom. The silver lining now is that Cambodia can look forward to a new future. I have so much admiration to this country that I only wish them well.
I was in the fourth floor of the building when I saw my companions already sitting on a bench in the yard. They told me later on that they were already overwhelmed to continue exploring all floors of Tuol Sleng. Yes, you cannot really stop yourself from being emotional when visiting this genocide museum.
To somehow cheer us up, our tuktuk driver suggested we visited a Khmer restaurant manned by Filipinos. Intriguing to find OFWs in Cambodia so we decided to take our lunch here.
After our lunch, we went to riverside to see some the developments being constructed along the Mekong River. We just drive by to see a glimpse of the Mekong and then went back to The Green House.
Bus ride to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh
We checked out from our hotel while our tuktuk driver waited outside.
It was just a short drive to the bus terminal and then we saw that the whole place was crowded with tourists. We gave our tuktuk driver a good tip. He was very happy about it. We were just appreciative of the good service he rendered.
Our Phnom Penh overnight experience really went well. We executed our plan and was able to visit and experience the history, food and mingle with the people of this capital. It was really worth it.