Our Neighbor Cambodia: Phnom Penh
Our first Asian trip outside Thailand was an adventure! We absolutely loved Cambodia and the sweet Khmer people. Rebecca and I spent 2 nights in Phnom Penh and 2 in Siam reap. Mike did not partake in this trip..what with his whole "job" and all.
Cambodia is right next door so the flight into Phnom Penh was only 1 hour long. They use US dollars which was weird to go back to. Next time I'm bringing a stack of $1 bills...things are cheap there!
Exploring the City
I hear PP used to be a lovely colonial city (French protectorate) but they have lost a lot to modernization. It was still a village in comparison to Bangkok and we loved its leafy streets and riverside promenade. The downside is there's not much to do. There was lots of riverside bars with great views and funky back alley bars, but apart from walking and eating, nothing else caught our eye. I'm not amused by temples and the killing fields seemed way too intense.
Our hotel was a chic little modern boutique with awesome food and incredible customer service. We stayed in the same chain in both cities and would highly recommend the Rambutan Resort.
Bus Ride to Siam Reap
Getting from PP to Siam reap involved a 7 hour bus ride. It sounds horrible but with A/C, wifi and frequent stops it was actually pretty relaxing. Watching the country go by was mesmerizing. Not because of it's beauty, but the scenes of rural life were..eye opening.
We're not in Kansas anymore
Cambodia is the poorest place I've ever been to (I even checked on the UN development index - Cambodia is number 143!). Everyone knows there are people who live on $2 a day and don't have running water. But until you really see it, it feels like it's all contained in sub-Saharan Africa and you wouldn't encounter it unless you went on a mission trip. There were so many signs of Asian rural life that I was awed to see. It felt like the first time I saw an American yellow school bus. I knew they existed from movies, but until I saw one, I only half-believed it. My yellow school bus in Cambodia was
- Water buffaloes in the front yard
- Kids playing with a monkey who was tied to a tree
- 5 people on 1 motorcycle
All this education, for just a $15 bus ride!