Tag Archives: phnom penh

My Backpacking Guide for Cambodia

Having completed my backpacking trip in Cambodia, I felt that it’s only apt by giving back to the travelling community by creating a backpacking travel guide for backpackers looking to travel to Cambodia. To travellers from Europe or Americas, Cambodia is one of the exotic countries in Asia that’s just so different in terms of culture and landscape. To travellers from Asia, the country is seen as a cheap getaway to travel to. Way of life in Cambodia Coming from a busy metropolitan city like Singapore, I find my pace slowing down the moment I landed in Cambodia. Sure the slightly more developed cities like Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have more people but you won’t get knocked by people on the street. In fact, the culture in Cambodia is that everyone owns a motorcycle or bicycle (and the wealthy people drive cars, of course) and there is hardly anyone.
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Praying at the Wat Phnom, the Mountain Pagoda

After visiting the Royal Palace, I checked my Garmin eTrex 20 and it says that the nearest attraction near me is Wat Phnom, a Buddhist temple a few streets away from where I was standing. The 2 Swedish girls who visited the Royal Palace wanted to visit Wat Phnom as well so we followed the directions given by my GPS and started walking. As it was just after Cambodians’ lunch hour, we see some of the locals having their favourite post-meal nap. Wherever they can. We eventually reached Wat Phnom. Built in 1373 and standing at 27 meters above the ground, we were looking at the tallest religious structure in the city. Entry into Wat Phnom costs 1 USD per person (free for locals). From the exterior, one may not find it worthwhile to visit this temple. Personally, I see the admission fee as a small donation to maintain the temple..
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Visiting the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh

I located the Royal Palace of Cambodia with my Garmin eTrex 20 and strolled through the busy streets of Phnom Penh to visit the popular tourist attraction. I had to walk around tall walls (kampaeng), a typical feature of Khmer architecture, surrounding the Royal Palace in order to get to the entrance. Along the way, I was approached by a tuk tuk driver who spoke to me in fluent English. He told me that the palace was closed as his King is praying and that it would only be open in the afternoon. He went ahead to try to persuade me to go for a tour around the city as well as a visit to the Killing Fields. Tourist scam alert! I read about scams like these in travel guides where tuk tuk drivers would try to sway tourists away from visiting the Royal Palace by telling them that the palace.
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Understanding Cambodia’s troubled history through Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Toul Sleng Genocide Museum is the former Security Office 21, also called S-21. It was designed for detention, interrogation, inhuman torture, and killing of detainees. Previously the area hosted Tuol Sleng Primary School and Tuol Svay High School. It was converted into S-21 in 1975 under the orders of Pol Pot and and additional fence of double-row iron topped with barbed wire was erected around the area. Today, the museum provides evidence to preserve the memory of the oppression and suffering of Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge reign. As I entered the museum, I can visualise the area used to be a school as the layout of the buildings was not changed. The only difference is that the exterior of some of the buildings are fenced up with only two entrances. There are 4 buildings in total, named Building A, B, C and D. Building A was converted into a set.
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