I’ve just returned from a 3-week trip to Southeast Asia, including 2 weeks in Cambodia, 5 days in Laos, and 2 days in Hong Kong. Overall, the trip was really fantastic – I met a lot of great people, got to meet up with friends from Hong Kong, saw amazing historical sites, had fun travel buddies, and ate yummy food. So as not to overwhelm, I’m breaking up my posts by city. Today’s adventure: Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, is home to the Killing Fields & the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. A brief history lesson: the Khmer Rouge seized power over the Cambodian government in 1975, with the intent to make everyone “equal”. They forced many people out of their homes, either brutally killing them or pressuring them to do break-backing work with little to no food. The Khmer Rouge’s reign over Cambodia lasted 4 years in which an estimated 1.5 to 3 million people died.
The Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum pay homage to these people, telling the stories of this Cambodian genocide. While extremely sad, these two locations are imperative on a trip to Phnom Penh. Both are well-made and informative, and since Phnom Penh was the first city we visited, helped make us more informed travelers.
After a rather heavy morning, my two friends and I visited Wat Ounalom and Wat Phnom in the afternoon (wat means temple). We were lucky enough to have a blessing given to us at the former by an elderly Cambodian man.
Phnom Penh costs (please note that most things are sold in U.S. dollars, not Cambodian Riel, so the prices here are in USD):
- Killing Fields & Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum $6 each
- Half-day tuk tuk to visit Killing Fields and genocide museum $15
- Wat Ounalom – free
- Wat Phnom $1 for foreigners
- Tuk tuk to hostel from airport $6-12, depending on driver (some hostels can help negotiate this price, too)
- Sla Boutique Hostel – we shared a private room for $40 ($13ish each)
- ST 63 Hostel – 6-bed dorm room for $9 a bed
I didn’t make it to everywhere on my list, but here are a few other places that came recommended:
- Ou Dong Mountain
- Royal Palace
- Street 240
- Russian Market
Unfortunately, I got food poisoning before arriving in Phnom Penh, so food wasn’t exactly my friend here, but my friends both really liked:
- Friends restaurant
- Malis restaurant