Lots of walking and exploring in Phnom Penh

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Where I stayed
Mad Monkey Hostel

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Saturday, February 11, 2012

And the next day it was on to Cambodia by early morning bus, a few 'extra charges' to cross the border despite already having an E-Visa but all went smoothly. We arrive into Phnom Penh only an hour or so later than expected and go to Mad Monkey Hostel.  It was our first hostel for a while and it was nice to be met by very enthusiastic staff.  We were again pleasantly surprised by Phnom Penh as we were staying in what seemed to be a more affluent area of the city and so the roads were paved (to Jonny’s surprise compared to when he was last there), lots of nice houses and restaurants and bars nearby.  We head out for our first Cambodian food nearby, local specialities seem to be fish in a coconut curry sauce and Jonny opted for red curry which was a bit too spicy for me.  I didn’t feel too bad though as when we finished our meal, the waiter came over to check we thought it was spicy too.  We then headed to a bar for a drink and discover that neither of us particularly enjoy gypsy orchestra music (the live music in the bar that night), guess you learn something every day!

The following day we guide ourselves around Phnom Penh centre which is pleasant – it faces the river, there are well finished park areas and there are plenty of temples around.  We go to Wat Phnom which is set on an artificial hill so it can overlook the city, we pass by the train station which is not in use but has been fully restored, the central market which again has been recently restored and some other old buildings.  You can see that there is progress in the projects that are going on but given the number of expensive cars being driven about I doubt all funds are going straight into the projects.  We also visit the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.  This is a large complex partly closed off as it is the royal residence and the other half open for the public to visit the temples.  There were a large number monks there when we were there who seemed to be preoccupied with taking photos of girls and enjoying the attention of tourists.  We have learned that monks can be in training for as little as a week initially and the majority are only monks for a few years or until they get married (which explains the interest in girls at least!) We end the day by going to the Foreign Correspondents Club for a drink overlooking the river.  Apparently it wasn’t even a Foreign Correspondents Club but it was fun to pretend.  Then another very good Cambodian dinner in a restaurant near the hostel.   
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