Defend Phnom Penh


“Don’t go to Phnom Penh. The only things you can do there are depressing, and the city isn’t very nice.”

That’s what I was told. Phnom Penh was a city that I could only spell after I left and I’m still only just learning how to say it right. I planned to only visit “Pnomh Phen” as a means of leaving Cambodia, but it appealed more as I gained interest in Cambodian history. I scheduled time visiting S21 prison, as well as the Royal Palaces.

The first time I arrived in Phnom Penh was during a brief stopover on the Siem Reap to Sihanoukville journey. We walked along the riverside, contemplated a Happy Pizza and walked inside another beautiful temple called Wat Ounalom. The Cambodian temples were my favourite.


There’s a nice bookshop opposite the temple, and we took a cheap breakfast at a French bakery.


The time I spent in Phnom Penh that day didn’t inspire me a lot. I came expecting to write a Defend Phnom Penh post, and left knowing I couldn’t. I spent time in Koh Rong and returned, ready to see the sites.

We took the bus from Sihanoukville when Alessio began feeling weak. He was shivering cold but felt too hot. We arrived to our hotel, where we were offered a “bait and switch” upgrade – they offered us a great price for a better room, which we turned down. Then they replied they actually don’t have the room we booked, and upgraded us for free.

Alessio began to worsen. He lay in bed and the next morning, severe stomach problems began. There was no chance of him moving or becoming well enough to leave the room. He was pale and shivering, with no water to rehydrate himself.

I decided to go out alone on a mission for food and water.

Phnom Penh was loud, chaotic, unforgiving and I began to see the appeal. You had to move at Phnom Penh’s pace or be crushed.

Incidentally, on my way I found a friend I met in Vang Vieng, and we walked together, discussing the direction our travels had taken. Late afternoon began to fall and the riverside promenade came to life. Children came home from school and kicked balls, adults chatted, hawkers were lively and music was playing.

The vibrance made me wonder how anyone could only see the miserable history of a city that had so much life. It was then I knew I had to Defend Phnom Penh.

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “Defend Phnom Penh

    • tishjarrett says:

      I read somewhere before I went that Cambodian food could be a bit disappointing but it wasn’t true at all in my experience!! I loved Cambodian dishes! I have a lot of foodie posts coming up once I’m done writing about the cities so I’m looking forward to that!

      Like

      • A Hearty Nomad says:

        Well, the food wasn’t the beat after getting used to Thai food but we should not compare it. They had good food but not the Biggest choices.

        Like

      • tishjarrett says:

        That’s true – selection was small. I think the point is its not as developed or established as Thai food or Viet food. My favourite was definitely Vietnamese in fact, but I definitely enjoyed the lok laks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • tishjarrett says:

        Haha i’ll fight you on this one!!!!!! πŸ˜‰ Get your Tom Yum and I’ll bring a Bun Thit Nuong and we’ll battle it out

        (Actually all this talk of the amazing food I ate is making me so sad to be back in London!!)

        Like

      • A Hearty Nomad says:

        Oh no, well you are right but you still have the amazing Indian cuisine which suppose to be better than in India so don’t be sad. Also you can cook a lot the of the dishes you need only the ingredients. Let me know if you can’t do it and I come over for dinner next time I am in London

        Like

      • tishjarrett says:

        Can you believe I only ate indian food there three weeks in, nearly 4 when I got to Mandalay? We don’t eat it a lot in London but we saw someone making chapati on the streetside and couldn’t resist!

        And definitely!! Are you in London a lot?

        Like

  1. Maxine says:

    I love this post! I also find that people can be terribly negative when it comes to Phnom Penh (and the whole of Cambodia in fact!) I love the city, it’s vibrancy, the hustle and bustle, the landmarks and of course the Happy Pizzas. I enjoyed every moment I spent in PP, I didn’t experience any negativity and I would go back in a heart beat (unfortunately my boyfriend wouldn’t, so I’m currently in Ireland lol) πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

    • tishjarrett says:

      That’s right! And there’s a lot to like and love in Cambodia! We had a couple of negative experiences, but on balance nothing so awful it made us dislike Cambodia at all

      So the happy pizzas are what we thought they were huh πŸ˜‰

      Well Ireland is lovely too!! Which part?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maxine says:

        Oh there’s so much to love! In fact I think it’s the best country I’ve visited, I feel I have a natural affinity with the place… not sure why lol! Haha, yes, the happy pizzas are exactly what you think they are, and they can be made as happy as you like. My advice, don’t have one past 9pm!
        We are currently in Cork, the weather is a little different than in SE Asia, but it’s beautiful and I have family here so it’s definitely a treasured experience.

        Like

  2. Matius Teguh Nugroho says:

    I hate when people say, “Don’t go there, there’s nothing but…”

    I’m sure there’s always something in every city, every country. What you hate, doesn’t mean I will hate them too, and vice versa. Every traveler has his / her own interest πŸ™‚

    Like

    • tishjarrett says:

      I agree with you! How can you say there’s “nothing” somewhere. And you’re right. Lots of people loved places I didn’t love, and even though I didn’t love them I could still appreciate them because every place is so unique and it’s such a privilege to travel!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s