The capital of Cambodia has a lot to offer, and it’s not as poor or underdeveloped as one thinks either. This city and country has gone through a dark moment less than 40 years ago when the Khmer Rouge party rose to power in 1975. During the next four years, the most catastrophic acts against humanity were committed. One of these catastrophes were shown while we visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum. As we entered the museum, we felt the heavy energy of the place on our heads. It only got heavier as we visited each room, until we could not go longer. From people getting beaten by electric whips, to bath of salt, to hang upside down until unconscious, to rape, and many other things. Some of the pictures posted here are a bit graphic and heavy, be aware of that. For the fortune and unfortunate of Cambodia, this party was only in power for 4 years and no longer, but of course, this should have never happened in the first place.
Although this site is a bit heavy, Phnom Penh has many other nice things to see, like the Royal Palace which absolutely stunning or Wat Phnom and the Independence Monument. We have not been disappointed by the food as the city offer all kinds of restaurant you can imagine. It’s also very enjoyable to have a walk by the river, it’s quiet and peaceful. It is where we have met our good friend Jasper, met along the way in Vietnam! We discovered with him a part of the city as he has lived there for a while and the insects testing..! It is common to see in Cambodia people selling crickets, frogs and other insects on the street. They even have tarantulas !! They are grilled and crunchy, ready to be eaten! Mmh, Juan tried some insects and the taste is finally not that bad !
Othewise, we have to specify thought that it is a very touristic city and surprisingly the main currency for the tourist is the dollar. If you want a short tuk-tuk ride, a beer, a pack of tissues, how much is it ? 1 dollar, of course! Local people still keep using the Khmer currency, the Riels, but it is somehow never propose to us visitors. As we stayed longer in the city, we felt there was something missing, like the heart and soul of the city. Maybe it’s the area we stayed in, or maybe not. Not sure. In a way we saw poverty, real poverty, where kids and adults alike, walking almost with no clothes and no shoes, begging for money. On the other hand, we saw many brand new Lexus, Mercedes Benz, even Porsche and Rolls Royce. Many restaurants are super nice and expensive. It’s almost like the west customs have made it into Cambodia to stay there. We felt very much alike in a common European or American city. There seems to be a huge social division where the rich get richer and poorer get poorer.
Even with all of this, we still liked the city. It was definitely worth the visit. We now head to Battambang for what seems to be an spectacular bat cave and others temples.
Salsa courses can be taken almost every night at La Terazza, The Groove restaurant.
1 dollar = 4000 reals. A short tuk tuk drive is 1 to 2 dollars.