Phnom Penh, Cambodia
I arrived to "one stop hostel" by Tuk Tuk from where the bus dropped us off in the city of Phnom Penh on January 5th. This country immediately showed its friendliness to me! Big bright smiles, amazing English speaking Cambodians and little kids waving at me from the streets as our bus passed thru the city.
The entrance to One Stop hostel. On the right behind Alex (the guy in the red shirt) is Ben. He's the Cambodian guy who seems to run the hostel which is owned by a Japanese man. This hostel has 3 locations throughout Cambodia.
The lounge area on the 2nd floor.
My 8 bed mixed dorm room. There was a great mix of travelers in this room.
My very comfortable bed which also had an electrical outlet and a light. They all had these.
I discovered this staircase in my last night there. It's in the dorm room on the top floor and if you go up the these stairs you've basically entered a secret dorm room of 4 more beds.
"Enjoy with your stay" painted on a wall in the hostel. These kind of saying are commonly found in Vietnam and Thailand as well. translation: "Enjoy your stay"
I arrived in the evening to the hostel immediately booked a tour to the killing fields and the genocide museum/ prison for the next day.
I met several travelers the first morning there. We were eating breakfast downstairs and trying to organize 2 Tuk tuks to split us between for the tour we were heading to. This is Leah from NZ, Ken from Hong Kong and I. These dust masks were given to us for the Tuk Tuk and we gratefully used them!
Between the dust on the poorly maintained roadways, the garbage trucks, and the dreadful smell of sewage as we passed over the water ways; we needed those masks! The smell... Imagine the last volcano you visited and think of that rotten egg/ sulfur smell. Now intensify that by 100x! These poor people! They need to find a new way to take care of this problem and clean up their water.
The killing field entrance fee was $3 and $6 if you want the audio guide. I highly recommend the audio guide. There are guides you can hire or signs to read yourself but the audio is great! So educational!
As I walked with my audio guide id come to these signs and punch in the number (see the little blue sign w/2 and a set of headphones) shown on the sign.
This is the grave pit of women and children. The babies and young children were thrown against this tree "the killing tree" (now covered in bracelets) to their deaths.
Pieces of bones still remaining and appearing to this day, after excavation in 1980.
This building was created to house and honor all who lost their lives.
The skulls are categorized and color coded by colored dots. The colors tell the ages, sex and how they were killed.
Pol Pot, the cruel man behind the Khmer Rouge and killings of innocent people starting April 17th 1977. Surprisingly this was the only photo I saw of him after 2 big tours.
This was a school building saved and turned into a prison.
Inside the classrooms were chambers and small jail cells made of brick.
The entrance to the prison/ museum was another $6 including audio guide or free with a valid student ID.
It was a pretty exhausting day. Lots to look at, take in and read. I honestly just skimmed the prison. I was having a hard time taking any more in that day. I followed behind a tour guide and listened to him for a bit and read some things on my own and then walked the grounds before leaving.
That night was my last night at the backpackers. I honestly wasn't impressed with this city. 2 nights there was perfect. There was a handful of beggars who when offered food didn't want it. They wanted money. Children and their mothers. The Wednesday night market wasn't very good. It was mostly clothing and a little bit of food but it was the most un creative of all the Asian markets I had been to yet. There was nothing hand made besides the food.
After the market and everyone eventually went to bed I stayed up visiting with local guys who work at the hostel. They invited me to try some of their local food that they were cooking up. Friend noodles and then this desert... Beans mixed with coconut milk and tapioca beads. It was good because of the coconut but the beans were a strange touch.
I woke the next morning to gather my things and catch an oversized mini van to Kampot. I said goodbye to the new friends I made there and helped light up some sparklers! Yep, sparklers!
This is Allen from Ireland and it was his 22nd birthday the morning I left. Leah had sparklers in her backpack and our other friend ordered a pancake and set him up with a birthday cake when he walked downstairs that morning. Our efforts brought a smile to his face.