25.08.2009 - 28.08.2009 31 °C
At 06.30 on Tuesday morning we left Saigon on a bus bound for the Cambodian border then Phnom Penh. We had a suprisingly smooth journey with us being given all the relevant forms to fill in on the bus and no full bag searches, unlike China. In fact the only notable incident was at the Swine Flu quarentine section the guy just grabbed my form and after establishing I was English said 'ah hello Mr Crouch'. This shows they were taking swine flu very seriously. We then travelled on an increasingly bumpy road into Phnom Penh.
We were dropped off at the bus company offices, miles from the centre of town, so had to take our first tuk tuk, which was really a motorbike with a trailer. We decided to stay at the lakeside and checked into our guesthouse where there was aview of the lake, which didn't have a great deal of water in. Our room was also a bit interesting with the bathroom falling to pieces when I decided to have a shower. Although it was OK we decided to save the regular walk or tuk tuk ride into the centre of town and we are now staying in the centre in one of our nicest rooms so far for about the same price.
The best side of our first hotel.
We spent Wednesday mostly relaxing and wandering about the city a bit. On Thursday we did a tour of the city. We visited the Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng genocide museam at the notorious S21 prison. This wa an interesting but harrowing experience. We also visited the Russian market and the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda which were pretty amazing.
Memorial at the Killing Fields
The Royal Palace
Today after a fairly leisurely start we visited Wat Phnom where we met some local wildlife and, in terms of paying the $1 foreigner entrance fee, Alex found he didn't look local enough. After walking down to the other end of town and having lunch we visited the Independance monument, which is in the middle of a big three lane roundabout, and the Liberation Monument. On the way back to the hotel we passed someone on the street offering haircuts and decided it was a good idea. They worked out fairly well and were good value at $2 each.
Tomorrow morning we catch a bus to Siem Reap (Angkor).