Phnom Penh

Our first time to Cambodia, and we are loving it.  Until we arrived I didn’t realize we’ve been mispronouncing Phnom ….. that is not a silent P!!

pp6

The marathon travel is over!  Arriving in Phnom Penh and climbing into our first tuk tuk of many for our Asian adventure.

What a chaotic city.  Anyone who has ever travelled with us knows that we walk and walk and walk …. 5 blocks anyone??  Mexico City has often seemed challenging for walking, you are so often looking up, down and all around for obstacles.  Well, Phnom Penh is insanity compared to that!  At first we thought maybe they don’t have sidewalks, but technically they do ….. it’s just that their purpose is for parking, small businesses or restaurants and even scooter or motorcycle driving (in any direction).  In fact even in the lanes of the road, the direction of traffic is ONLY a mere suggestion.  Pedestrians, walk at your own risk!  Every time we crossed a street we breathed a sigh of relief.

pp3

If this was a video you would see that guys head swivelling in all directions as he tried to cross, at a crosswalk!  There is no way I even got a photo of us crossing or walking anywhere, just too perilous, each walk was dangerous ….

They do however, have a beautiful walk way along the Tonle Sap river which is wide, well lit and very busy.

pp14

Wats and feral cats everywhere!  I’ve never seen so many stray cats of every description. They don’t bother you at all though, certainly no begging for food or attention.

pp7

These salted snails cooked with lemongrass and lime leaves with chili are a very common snack. No, we didn’t try them …. always a wee bit leery of seafood sitting in the sun (plus Reid tried them and said the texture was off putting).  Well maybe that isn’t the word he used but you get the idea.

pp12

These mangos though!!!  Outstanding and so very plentiful.  We ate them in salads, for breakfast and just for snacks.

pp16

Love the way two different factions of buddhism are side by side in Cambodia.  They have a strong influence from both Chinese and Indian.

pp20

pp11

pp9

Always monuments!  This was in the centre of another pedestrian walkway.  It is obviously the only place for safety in activity as entire families were out there walking, joggers were jogging, badminton games and roller skating – the place for it all.

pp8

In order to recover from our arduous journey we went for a traditional Khmer massage.  Was it relaxing???  Not on your life it wasn’t.  Grant had plans to nap, as he usually does in a massage.  Not a chance of that happening as we both moaned and groaned and yelped throughout the entire hour.  (ever had a aThai massage? ha ha ha) By the time it ended we were absolutely glowing however, and enjoyed our relaxing cup of tea with the hand stimulator going.  Even two days later our calves were still tender from the experience, but we’d do it again!

pp5

Loved staying at Corner 9 Bassac Hotel …. an oasis in the middle of a very hustling bustling city.  The rooms were quiet and comfortable and it was great to have the pool to relax with.  Their breakfasts were the best we’ve had.

The best breakfast were delicious ….. they bring the ingredients for your noodle bowl and you put it together as you like.  The pork with rice had a dipping sauce that was a bit sweet, spicy and salty … so good.  And, have you ever had rice fresh from harvest?  It is incredibly tasty.

PP 22

We did go to the Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh.  This peaceful garden was once a secondary school before Pol Pot took over with the Khmer Rouge and their horrific methods of removing any citizens that were scholars, artists and effectively wiping out generations of Cambodians.  Cambodia is still struggling with recovery.  This is the only photo I took there, where it is now once again a peaceful garden with monks gathering alongside people coming to learn about the genocide that took place as well as pay respects.

pp4

FROG!  and not just frog legs.  Marinated and fried, then tossed in a ginger lemongrass sauce that was finger licking good.  

PP1

Betel leaves wrapped around marinated beef with peanut dusting as well as a lime pepper dipping sauce.  The pepper is so fresh (grown in Kampot, Cambodia) which means it is fragrant and very tasty without being overwhelmingly hot.  Just look at all that pepper in the dipping bowl, and yet it wasn’t too spicy.

We ate at Mok Mony 3 times over our few days in Phnom Penh, it was that good.  The owner Peter was very entertaining, and I loved his philosophy.  Go ahead and order whatever you want to try, if you don’t like it (for whatever reason) he simply takes it back.  At the end of the night they reheat all the leftovers, make rice and serve it to the homeless.  This was our first taste of Cambodian food and we were immediately hooked. We actually hadn’t heard much about the Cambodian food culture like we do for Thailand and Vietnam so this was a real bonus in our books.

 

pp17

The streets around the Royal Palace are for pedestrians only, and you will be sure to spot plenty of monks around.

pp19

This old colonial building is for sale or rent ….. just a wee bit of a fixer upper.

pp13

This old abandoned building has been taken over by squatters, and is full of families.

Phnom Penh has been great, a busy hustling and bustling city that was our introduction to Cambodia.  Now on to smaller areas as we make our way up to Siem Reap.