Captivating Phnom Penh (Day 1)
PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA. Since we were already in Vietnam, we made sure to also visit its neighbouring country Cambodia. We left Ho Chi Minh on Christmas Day last year and took a bus going to Phnom Penh. It took us about 6 hours and $14 each to get there. A long travel actually but cheap which is favorable for us since spending less is a top priority. During the trip, I could not help but notice how much similar Cambodia is as compared to the Philippines. They both have the same look of the streets, the houses and even the people and how they dress! But of course, the atmosphere is different. I still felt I was in a different country and that was because the differences were more prevalent still than the similarities.
We stayed in NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex. The magnanimous hotel overlooking the Mekong River was ultimately adorned with every imaginable Christmas decor there is. There were tall and big Christmas trees and Christmas lights dangling from everywhere we look. Large Christmas balls and greens and reds abound in every nook and corner of the hotel. It was more westernized than what I imagined it to be. It was just so festive. After settling down our belongings in our rooms, we immediately sailed out to experience the city.
We went out in search of some food as we have not had our lunch yet. We took a tuktuk to get us to the Central Market expecting to easily find some food but boy has it been a very tedious task. There were jewelry, textiles, RTW's and what-nots but the edibles were hard to come by then.
We chanced upon some food stalls at the back of the market: meat and animal organs on a stick ready for picking. If Filipinos love to grill this kind of stuffs, the Cambodian on the other hand want theirs boiled. So it took a lot of trying and tasting before we got used to the taste. Surprisingly, the boiled organs tasted so good!
After satisfying our tummy with some of their local delights, we were again ready to go around the city. It had been a nice and hot day to roam around and take in as much sights as we wanted. Phnom Penh was unexpectedly serene. It was a slow-paced city which is an attribute I definitely adore and crave for from living in Manila. Do not forget to get some ice cream though after a tiresome day walking around the city. If Italy has gelato stalls and restos in every corner and street you go to, Phnom Penh has The Blue Pumpkin to address your gelato concerns just in case you need one. Nonetheless, it is such a perfect dessert to end the day on a fruitful note!