Scott and I flew into Phnom Penh thinking that it would be a dusty, old city with not much to offer. To our surprise, we found out that it was a (very) dusty, old city with a heck of a lot going on! We ended up absolutely loving Phnom Penh, and we often contemplated the possibility of just renting out an apartment near the river for a month or so…. It had great local restaurants on every corner, an incredible fresh market, with fresh donuts and steaming noodle soups being served up on the sidewalks, cheap cost of living, surprisingly impressive nightlife, a plethora of French-inspried cafes for reading and working, an edgy movie/ music scene, group aerobics on the commons every night :), and easy (fixed-cost!) transport all over the very navigable city… Unfortunately, we only spent a week in Phnom Penh, but here are a few snapshots that round out our time there pretty well:
We stayed at Europe Guesthouse for $12/night. Amazing staff, super clean, highly recommended!
Every morning for breakfast we ate at this place called “126”, which serves up delicious typical Khmer breakfast:
126 specializes in noodle soup with lime juice, pepper, chilies, bean sprouts, and whatever meat is available that day– usually chicken, pork, or beef. This breakfast is one of the things we will miss most about Asia, hands-down….
(This dorky video makes me cringe every time I watch it, but it shows the Phnom Penh surrounds, at least):
Most days we spent our time catching up on work in one of the many cafes. The cafes all serve Vietnamese coffee, which is basically coffee with about an inch (!) of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom. This is the drink that officially turned me into a coffee drinker. Vietnamese coffee in foreground:
In addition to the Killing Fields (mentioned in my previous post), we also took one day to visit the National Museum, which contains many of the artifacts that were removed from the old Angkor and pre-Angkor temples for preservation:
One night we visited the night market, where the whole city comes out to mingle, shop, watch karaoke, and just eat good food:
(below: This man is sending sugar cane through a grinder. The extracted liquid will be mixed with fresh-squeezed pomelo/tangerine juice– amazing!)
Sugar cane/pomelo drink (in right hand); red bean ice cream deep fried in a waffle that is the shape of a fish (in left hand). I just can’t make this stuff up… :
One night, we visited yet another wacky Asian mall. On the roof of this one, there was insane full-contact roller skating going on! These kids were good.