Friday, 15 February 2013

Phnom Pehn you long time!

Our journey from Siem Reap to Phnom Pehn, Cambodia's capital, was a very pleasant 6 hour coach drive though Cambodia's varying countryside. Lush green rice fields were in abundance as we whizzed by.

Phnom Pehn definitely has more of a city feel than Siem Reap with high rise buildings and commercial venues. It does however have a more functional feel, dominated by shops, street sellers, millions of tuk tuk drivers, street food cooking away and the now familiar sight of local girls befriending western men.

Rules for inmates!
Whilst in Phnom Pehn a visit to the Killing Fields and S21 Genocide Museum is a must. It's certainly not for the faint-hearted but equally an important part of Cambodian history that cannot be ignored. S21 prison, was a former school turned into a torture, interrogation and killing establishment by the Khmer Rouge in the mid 1970's. Sadly over 20,000 Cambodians and foreigners were killed here.



Remarkably this figure was a drop in the ocean of deaths compared to reports suggesting that over 3 million of their 9 million population were murdered during the regime. The Killing Fields we visited was one of hundreds dotted around the country, used for mass genocide. Seeing the graves, bones, teeth and old clothing was very surreal and emotional.

Clothes of the deceased
Mass graves now empty
To lighten the mood, the following day we headed to the Phnom Penh museum followed by the Royal Palace. The museum displayed artefacts from Cambodia's history including numerous statues and busts. It didn't really float our boat, perhaps we'd been museumed out by then. The Palace grounds contained several courtyards each with number of beautifully decorated buildings including temples and the Silver Pagoda as well as a collection of exotic flowers. Part of the grounds including the main Palace was closed off to the public as it is the Royal residence.













Who has the third one?
As a little treat before the next leg of our trip, we went to Bloom Cafe. Raved about on Tripadviser for it's amazing cupcakes, we couldn't resist. We were not disappointed. Inside, the cafe was adorned with many bright and intricate cupcakes in addition to numerous large cakes in fantastical designs, all proudly displayed in a show case. The cupcakes tasted as good as they looked, washed down with some posh coffee. Well worth the trip and expense.

Edible makeup?

1 comment:

  1. All travel is an education some more painful and disturbing than others. We had the same reaction when we visited Auschwitz and saw the display cases full of people's belongings.

    So, who did eat the third cup cake? Half each?

    Love Marlene and Geoff