Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia and was a perfect place to spend four days. We had met a couple on our recent trek in Vietnam and instantly clicked, which led to them inviting us to stay with them on our upcoming visit to Phnom Penh. She is from Belgium and he is from Utah but together they have made a home for themselves here in Phnom Penh, a beautiful place they were happy to share with us.
We got to Phnom Penh quite early from Siem Reap and once we got to their apartment we took a much needed nap. I swear I could nap all the time, it’s one of my favourite activities, along with exploring and eating.
Lorne and I both agreed that our visit to Phnom Penh shouldn’t be as hectic as the past cities we have visited, not because we didn’t care about the monuments, history or beauty, but just because we felt exhausted and needed to catch up on some work. Jeremy, Zita, Lorne and I played card games for what seemed like hours, laughing, drinking iced lattes and enjoying each other’s company. It’s pretty special to feel so loved by people you’ve only known for a few days. That feeling of having friends and a home is very hard to replicate when traveling abroad but we can tell that Jeremy and Zita will be lifelong international friends.
They took us to a great bar that overlooked the Russian Market and the rest of the city. If you’re interested in buying local souvenirs, dried fish, produce or keen on getting a $2 haircut, the Russian Market is the place to go. Its surroundings are bustling and I highly recommend walking around and getting lost in the aisles, smells and sights that it has to offer. Just outside, there are always tuk-tuk drivers calling out to you asking if you need a ride or women selling bananas, durian, jackfruit and so much more, but it’s part of the culture and something we will definitely miss once we’re home.
Saturday night came quicker than we thought and we decided to head over to the area near Wat Botem Park to find some tasty street food for dinner. We decided on a small stall that had a large lineup of chicken drumsticks, wings, pork and veggies. You use your tongs and pick up what you want, put it in the basket and hand it over to the cook. Take a seat and once it’s ready they serve it to your table. The pork skewers were forsure the winners of the night, super crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, can you tell I love food?
On our last night we spent a couple hours at the national stadium and watched an amateur soccer game and played some games ourselves which was like their version of a hacky sack, it’s kind of like a shuttlecock but with a flat bottom so you can kick it with your foot. We watched crowds of people dancing in the squares and kids playing but what stood out the most was the sense of community and acceptance. We received smiles from everyone and welcoming gestures to join in on whatever was going on.
Our time in Pnom Penh was over too quickly, we said our goodbyes the next day and headed south to Kep and Kampot.