Getaway to Cambodia (15 - 19 June): Part 1 - Phnom Penh

Don't think I'm gonna get the pictures from the 'DSLR' any sooner, might as well write a thought post first before I forget the details of the trip by the time I have the pictures... add some 'pathetic' pictures from my Samsung Champ in this post though...

First off, I wouldn't call this trip an 'exploration' or 'expedition' or 'adventure' etc. 'Getaway' would be a better choice of word since we signed up a tour package and everything was arranged from beginning til end.

The travel mates are Michelle, Yung and Tongyam aka LCC. Just as expected, although it's the first meeting between Michelle and I, we became so close, LCC and Yung totally beh tahan with our non-stop chat LOL!

The flight to Phnom Penh was scheduled at 6.35am. Got a room at tune hotel to overnight and prepare for the early flight. 4 big kids in the Tune Hotel room was totally jam-packed. Flight was on time, everything started off smoothly until I found out that I misplaced/lost a 'BIG' angpow my friend gave me when I was in the plane in the middle of the flight! Felt very annoyed and upset of my carelessness!

We spent 2 days in Phnom Penh 金边 and 2 days in Siem Reap 暹粒, with respective tour guides.

First Day: (no pictures for this day) Our guide in Phnom Penh is Mr. Phnom, a 历经沧桑 uncle. He picked us up from the airport and brought us to our hotel. Since it's still early to check in, he brought us to breakfast and a walk to the mall and Central Market. The first 'surprise' in Cambodia was, during our breakfast, there's a dead cockroach in the complementary tea!! -_____-

Already purchasing souvenirs on our first day there in Central Market. The 'biggest' mall in PP was nothing compare to the malls in KL though. Had our lunch at a local restaurant.

After checked in, we visited the Independent Monument and Victory Monument. The two monuments bear different 'definition':
1) Independent Monument was built for Cambodia's independence from France (too bad it's under construction);
2) Victory Monument, or Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Monument, was built to commemorate the former alliance between Vietnam and Cambodia, which overthrew the Khmer Rouge regime.

Visited the NAGA Casino as in the itinerary, didn't join the game though, and had a simple buffet dinner there. Tried local body massage and it's kinda pain =.=

Day 2: A kinda full day tour around Phnom Penh, as below:

1) The Royal Palace

Royal Palace is always the main attraction, IF it is open to public. I find this palace is smaller scale than Thailand's, but the magnificence is splendid.

Places of interest:
i. Throne Hall - as a meeting venue for the King, there is only one 'grand chair' because the King is still single at the age of 60;
ii. King's Residential palace - Yes, the King does stay there, and that area is strictly forbidden to public, but we get to 'spy' at it from the Throne Hall;
iii. Moonlight Pavilion - an open air pavilion serves as a dance floor for dance performances and were once a cinema hall for the King;
iv. Silver Pagoda - was constructed to house the ashes of the royal family, national treasures and jewellery, most notable is the 90 kg gold Buddha statue with the huge size diamond on the crown, and the 5,000++ silver tiles;

Note: there is a rule and regulation about attire manners, visitors should wear tops with sleeves and pants/skirts over the knee. There is sarong and pants available to rent for 1k or 2k Khmer money.

2) Wat Phnom

One of the oldest Buddhist temples and the tallest religious structure in the city. According to Mr. Phnom, the temple 有求必应. From the front, there is a huge clock made from grass that is now belongs to China (because they fixed it after France abandoned it), and the rattan dragon 天龙 was built early this year.

3) Toul Sleng Genocide Museum

The saddest and solemnest place to visit for the day. The site is a former high school which turned into the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime.

The buildings are preserved the way they were left when the Khmer Rouge regime was overthrown. The buildings has 4 main buildings, known as Building A, B, C, and D.
Building A holds the large cells in which the bodies of the last 14 victims were discovered, containing only a rusty iron bed and a black-and-white picture of the dead victims were chained on the bed;
Building B holds, floor to ceiling, the galleries of photographs of the victims and the staffs;
Building C, which among the other buildings, gave me the most chilly and unsettling feeling. All 3 floors of the building were tied with thorny iron wire, and each rooms were sub-divided into smaller cells made from bricks and wood. The smell and echo sounds gave me goosebumps!
Building D holds more galleries including the torture instruments.

In this place too, our tour guide Mr. Phnom was in a solemn yet sober state, when he told us about his escape fleeing away from Phnom Penh during the rough time of Khmer Rouge, and a simple statement about how he was nearly killed during capture but he survived 我差一点要被抓去杀掉,可是我没被杀死. Yeah you can imagine how impressed I am by him.

I leave the place with some goosebumps on my hands, and assume I would have the same feeling if I managed to visit the Nanking Massacre Museum years ago.

4) Shopping

Central Market, Russian Market etc etc... There were where I bought all the souvenirs, and gone crazy for all the scarfs there!

5) Naga World Concert

On Saturday night, there was a concert held by the Naga Casino, maybe to launch the lottery or something, so we headed there after dinner to take a look.

The concert started with some dragon dances on the stage, fireworks and some awesome flying light thingy which I missed due to a toilet break. The funniest thing was the Cambodian version of Bruno Mars' 'The Lazy Song', Michelle and I laughed until belly pain loh!

p/s: I must say, Cambodians must be very proud with their language, because the other night I ter-watch an MTV on the Hotel TV of the Cambodian version of Pitbull's 'Give Me Everything', and I seriously beh tahan...

Later that night was also our only tuk-tuk ride throughout the trip.

To be continue...


SY said…
Bring me there someday~

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