Originally not on my itinerary, I found myself with the opportunity to visit Cambodia. My journey would start with a flight from Ho Chi MInh City straight to Siem Reap and from there down to Phnom Penh. It’s a country steeped in history, both highly interesting in culture as well as highly horrific in recent history. I learned much even in the brief 6 nights I had in the country.
My itinerary through Cambodia ended up playing out like this:
- January 24th: Arrived in the evening and got picked up by taxi. Made a deal with the driver to take me around for the next couple days. This will pretty much be the method for getting around as there is no really well advertised public transit system.
- January 25th: Driver picked me up in the early afternoon from the place I was staying. Headed to the museum which is an excellent first stop before heading to any temples. After the museum, the driver got us to the ticket windows just as they were about to open for the following day’s tickets. Bonus: if you can get the ticket as the they are start being sold, you’ll have enough time to get out to Pre Rup which they allow even though the ticket would be for the following day. Checked out the sunset at Pre Rup.
- January 26th: Headed out early at 5am to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat before exploring the rest of the complex. Next temple was Angkor Thom. Third temple on the trip was Ta Prohm. I found that one pretty interested from it’s maze like walkways as well as being overgrown by large trees. The final temple was East Mebon, a nice small temple to easily explore with elephant statues and jungle surrounding.
- January 27th: Driver swung by and took me to the airport in the afternoon. Caught flight to Phnom Penh.
- January 28th: Busy day with first stop being the Royal Palace. A quick walk after took me to the National Museum of Cambodia which was rather disappointing especially compared to the museum in Siem Reap. My mood was recovered upon exploring Wat Ounalom and finding all of its feline inhabitants. A stroll up Preah Sisowath Quay would get me past the known Cambodian Central Post Office building before I reached Wat Phnom – the city’s namesake temple. Had a late lunch at the Central Market.
- January 29th: A somber day as I would first head to the Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum where many prisoners were held during the Khmer Rouge. Many of the prisoners were eventually transferred to the Killing Fields and never heard from again. After the museum, I followed the same road down to the Killing Fields where I had took the audio tour of the grounds. So much horror in such a small parcel of land.
- January 30th: Said goodbye to Cambodia as I headed to Penang for culinary adventures!
In Siem Reap, I ended up staying at the Cozy Cloud Backpacker’s Hostel. Luckily, they had a deal going via Booking.com for a single room with private bathroom and I took advantage of it! It’s a chill place with a small pool and free breakfast. They even packed me a breakfast for the early morning I had out to Angkor Wat. Best part of course was the cats that hung out around in the hostel.
For Phnom Penh, I decided to treat myself and staying in the Pasteur 51 Hotel. It was a nicely appointed hotel but was a real steal at sub $50 a night. It included a tasty breakfast buffet and the dinner menu was pretty good as well. I did enjoy myself in the rooftop pool which overlooked the city.
Cambodia is definitely an interesting country to visit, steeped in history and culture as well as being quite affordable for most travelers. The only thing to note is the public transit system is minimal, limited to buses that aren’t well advertised or explained. Taxis are the best way to get around and are rather cheap – don’t be afraid to negotiate!
Now, let’s get to checking out some random photos!