Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

On my first day in Phnom Penh, I visited Choeung Ek – the Killing Fields which is around 17 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. There are many ways to reach the place, you can easily book a tuk-tuk tour around $12-$15 or you can share the tuk-tuk with the hotel arranged tour which is possibly cheaper. I however decided to rent a $3-bicycle to ride around the city, stopped by some local schools and visited local markets as well. Phnom Penh is much hotter than Siem Reap, riding on the road without trees surrounding like in Siem Reap is not recommended. However, it depends on how you want to experience the city, just go for it !

The Choeung Ek Killing Field

The Choeung Ek is a mass grave of victims of Khmer Rouge who were killed between 1975-1979. At that time, 17.000 men, women and children were detained at S-21 prison. 8895 bodies were discovered and over 8000 skulls were arranged by sex, age and by the way how they were killed in the center of the area. The Choeung Ek Killing Field reminds a long horrifying history period of Cambodia under the reign of Khmer.

The victims were brought from S-21 prison, where they had been tortured for months. The majority of them were trucked to the Choeung Ek in the late evening. Trucks would arrive 2-3 times a month or every 3 weeks. Each trucks held 20-30 frighten, blindfolded and silence prisoners. The Pol Pot used many horrifying tools to kill the victims such as shackles, leg irons, hatchet, digging hoes, shoves, etc.

Royal Palace of Cambodia

Royal Palace, established in 1866, is a complex of spectacular buildings which serve as Royal residence of Cambodia’s King. The whole area is about 174,870 square metres, which includes the main buildings like Throne Hall, moonlight Pavilion, silver Pagoda, etc. The Palace is an example of Khmer architecture with a slight french featuring. Nowadays, the buildings open to public and Royal Palace becomes one of the tourist attractions in Phnom Penh beside the Choeung Ek – The Killing Field.

Psar Thmei – Central market

Address: ផ្សារ​ធំ​ថ្មី, Calmette St. (53), Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Opening time: daily from 6.30 AM to 6PM.

Phsar Thmei literally means ” New Market” in English but the Central Market is more common to foreigners and tourists due to its location and size. It is simply a great place for trying local food and shop for souvenirs. The building’s architecture and design is very beautiful and unique with the pyramid structure.

The Central Market is a very hustle and bustle place in the middle of Phnom Penh. There are plenty of shops selling gold, silver jewelry, clothes, souvenirs, electronic items, various of groceries and plenty of second hand stuff. You can practically get almost everything there, simply like with 2$-7$ you can easily get a local souvenir like T-shirt with elephants image, purses, pants, shorts, dresses, fridge’s magnet, etc.

And it is really surprised me since I can find a lot of Vietnamese stores and vendors there. As many of my friend had mentioned it before my trip to Cambodia that there would be a lot of Vietnamese in Cambodia, but still, walking the middle of the Central market or cycling around Phnom Penh gave me a familiar feeling of Vietnam or Saigon in specific.

Central Market, Phnom Penh

Sisowath Quay Broadwalk

It is a nice place for early morning or evening stroll, it is however very hot during the mid-day. Sisowath Quay Broadwalk is along the Mekong River, it offers fresh air in the morning with thousands of beautiful pigeons.

Nevertheless, in Sisowath Quay and in Phnom Penh in general, there is a lot of rubbish on the street, children beggars are everywhere at the tourists attractions.

Beautiful Sisowath Quay Broadwalk

Bicycle Tour around Phnom Penh

With a bicycle you can easily reach all of the spots in Cambodia and you can stop by any place that you want to check out on your way. I chose bicycle as my main way to travel around because it is cheap, just around 3$-5$/day. I visited Choeung Ek Genocidal Center by bicycle, it is super hot with the 40 degrees Celsius heat of Phnom Penh. It is actually not recommended to visit the place by yourself because it is not like Siem Reap with trees surrounding, it is the highway. However, I had chance to stop by the local school and some local shops by the street and talk to local, people are friendly and enjoy talking with foreigners^^.

Despite the difficult history, Cambodia has been developing with modern buildings or beautiful Sisowath Quay Walk. Nevertheless, there are stills many old buildings, Buddhist sites and old local markets which brings the hidden beauty of Cambodia. Choose your comfort way to explore the city!

Food Tour In Phnom Penh

Cambodia food is one of the highlights in my trip. Cambodian cuisine is somehow described as similar to Thai and Vietnam cuisine. In Phnom Penh, I think it is not easy to find an authentic Khmer restaurant because most of their food are influenced by their neighbors’ flavors ans style. However, there are many places where you, as a tourist, can learn how to cook original Khmer food. To be honest, I love Vietnamese, Thai and Cambodian food, I found many Vietnamese restaurants in the Central Markets which I did really enjoy.

A typical Cambodian breakfast is rice (Bai Sach Chrouk),noodles, and porridge. Besides, trying streets food is a good way to experience local life and their food on a budget. You will easily find many delightful and delicious street food around Phnom Penh which usually cost just around 2-3 dollars.

Visit National Museum of Cambodia

Address: Street 13 in central Phnom Penh, next to the Royal Palace.

Opening hours: 8am – 5pm

Last admission tickets are sold: 4.30pm

Ticket price: Campodian – 500 Riels. Foreigners (10-17) – 5$ . Foreigners( 18 and above) -10$.

National Museum of Cambodia, which was constructed between 1917 and 1924, is the world’s largest collection of Khmer art. The museum is home of plenty of terracotta Khmer sculptures; besides, the museum also displays many potteries and bronzes from the Pre- Angkor, Angkor periods and the recent works as well. Many Khmer works of art prove how the Khmer was impacted by the Indian religious mainly from Hinduism and Buddhism. The audio guide is available in multiple languages for an additional price of 6$. Most of the museums in Cambodia is strict for taking photos.

National Museum, Phnom Penh

References

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://www.cambodiamuseum.info (Accessed 2019-6-28).

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choeung_Ek (Accessed 2019-7-17).

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