Amazing architecture at the main roundabout
We took a plane from Myanmar (Yangon) to Bangkok then got a transfer flight from Bangkok to Phnom Penh. This saved us over $100NZ so I recommend that when you are looking at flights and time is not your enemy consider making pit stops along them way.
Now back to Phnom Penh, what a surprise it was for us to come to savy sort of a city. It reminded us of the baby version on Bangkok, it is still a city behind in a technological sense, but we discovered shopping centre and plenty of convenience stores. I got lucky and picked a place called Feel at Home Guesthouse which, was a french colonial style building! Very pretty we were on the top floor, it had a beautiful balcony and a bamboo bathroom which I thought was pretty neat.
Place Pagoda and Grounds
We stayed four nights in Phnom Penh, I think it is a good amount of time. There are plenty things to do in the city like the night markets on the weekend and central markets in the week, but we did the Royal Palace and the killing fields; along with a gun range. The one thing you need to take into consideration, some of these activities are not cheap and if you get a tuk tuk driver like we did they will try and rip you off. So a tour of the city should be no more than $20US for the day, talk about price at the beginning and say no to things you do not want to do. It will save you a lot of hassle, believe me.
Otherwise we spent the rest of our time walking around the town and trying out the food and looking at monuments scattered through the city. It was a great place for us to unwind after the full on adventures in Myanmar.
Sunrise at Ankor Wat
The land of the ancient temples, some are fully functional temples and some are just ruins for tourists to walk through. Siem Reap was suprising as even though its a tourist destination you don’t feel too overwhelmed by tourists.
Aki Ra, Founder of the Landmine Museum
We did a sunrise at Ankor Wat which was pretty cool and we also went to a temple where Tomb Raider was filled (fan girl moment). I am not sure what to write, only to say that I really loved the temples and the people here were friendly. Also you should checkout Cambodia Landmine Museum, it is quite astounding how many landmin were planted in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge period. It is a not for profit organisation in which you entry fee helps the victims of landmines and also help fund the commisioning of active landmines.
Then there is Pub street a main street you go to check out pubs and club, plus also some pretty tasty food. Tuk Tuks are everywhere so be prepared to get harassed slighty with the madam, sir would you like a tuk tuk?!
We came to this place for a few nights, this is where we caught our boat to Lazy Beach on Koh Rong Island. Snooky (what the locals call it) is a young backpackers dream, cheap boozes parties on the beach. It came across to us a little scummy and too much of a party area, there was one person we saw walking around at 8am cover in scratches and blood; in which we could only assume he got into a fight. The place is littered with casinos, so we were definitely happy not to have stayed more than 2 nights. However on one of the days we went to a beach called Otres Beach, its further down from the main beach. It has less hawkers, less theif and nicer people; if you end up here you sound at least go to this place.
Before I talk about this I would like to point out that there are two Koh Rong Islands, one is Koh Rong and the other is Koh Rong Sanloem. I never figured out why they are both called Koh Rong, but I am sure you can google about it.
My boyfriend (Alex) really wanted to have a proper small island experience and he made it his mission to find it in Cambodia. So when he found Lazy Beach, it was all he could talk about?! It took me a little while to get on board, but I am glad I did! Lazy Beach is situated on the Koh Rong Sanloem island. This island has only a few resorts and small accommodation compared to its counter part. To get there we took a 2 1/2 hour boat ride to get to the island, the boat was pretty old and a lady on our boat look extremely green.
Once we got there it was to find a really stunning beachfront about 1 mile long and dotted just off shore were bungalows, all designed to blend in with scenary. Lazy Beach was the only resort on their side of the island, it had between 10-15 bungalows and if you want to go to the otherside of the island it would be a short 20min walk.
There was under 50 people at our place, we got a bungalow on the waterfront. It was stunning! There was only electricity for the evening and it could vary and there was no wifi whatsoever, it was quite refreshing. We stayed three nights, got super brown tans, walked to the otherside of the isalnd and along the way saw quite a few monkeys. I also polished off Tom Clancys Patriot Games booked that I found in the supplied bookcase in the restaurant. We had such a relaxing time we did not want to leave, but sadly our budget couldn’t let us stay there forever sigh…
Kampot & Kep
Kampot and Kep are little sleepy towns along the southern coast of Cambodia, we really enjoyed our stay in Kampit and we went to Kep for the day. Kampot still look quite French as in the buildings and the statues scattered around the town, it also has a Durian statue in there big round about. If you don’t know what Durian is, it is one of Thailand and I believe Cambodia’s national fruit, it got a shell that looks like a pineapple but the inside smell quite putrid to me and the taste reminds me of soggy potatoes. Yeah…wasn’t really a fan.
One of the highlights in Kampot for me was Epic Arts Cafe, a cafe that employs people with disabilities; quite a few people are deaf but they have made a system which makes it fun to interact. It also hosts an art centre where locals with disabilities come to create amazing pieces. They have a gallery above the cafe in which you can view and purchase local art and crafts, it was a real inspring place to go, plus the food and coffee there is AMAZING!
Kep is a popular place the rich Cambodians like to go for their vactions, there are some very large and I mean large homes around there. We stopped at a little shop/cafe run by a wonderful lady (sadly we didn’t ask for name, bad us) she made all her products herself and cooked some amazing food. She was fluent in Khmer and French plus she spoke English pretty well, we had a great chat with her and man she is an entreprenuer! Not only does she own this shop/cafe, she also lease scooter (in which she owns 20 scooters) she also teaches children at the local school French and plans to make her a guesthouse a cafe in the future. I was just blown away by her drive to succeed and make a business for herself. So if you are in the area please head to Can Thau Design and check it out, I think anyone would enjoy this lady’s company and products.
So there you have my review of Cambodia, next stop Vietnam!