Phnom Penh : Part 3 – Where To Go

We were told that we could finish sight seeing Phnom Penh in one day.

However, we decided to spilt it up in two days as we were carrying baby. Baby is The Little Prince. He may be in Cambodia or London, but once he needs his nap or go for No 2 – the world stops till his business is done. We hired a personal Tuk Tuk driver to bring us around for the 2 days.

Day 1 (Outside The City)

1. Choeung Ek Genocidal Center

Get the audio and spend at least an hour to fully immerse yourself in the history of the area. It was gruesome. The audio narrated the whole incident clearly with details not found in books or television documentaries. There were excerpts of peoples experiences, daunting instrumental music and such.

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2. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

I was not too keen on this place but Mr Husband was sprawling all over the area taking pictures and scutinizing every single photo/graphic images. I did not bring baby inside the building and remain outdoors fearing that he will get a night mare and such. You know how it is with kids and spirits. Yah.. I can be superstitious at times. Thankfully, baby did not say he saw a ‘kakak‘ or ‘momok‘ or ‘nenek’ during trips to these torture areas.

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3. Psar Toul Tom Poung 

Also known as the Russian Market. We informed the tuk tuk driver that we’ll be in the market for at least 2 hours. And indeed we spent just enough time to buy stuff for the people at home. I had always wanted to get some fabric to sew my baju kurung for Eid and managed to get a good price for them.

Im thinking of making 2 pairs of baju kurung Pahang off them. The rest of the fabric? Mostly to give away. I ‘borong’ some scarves – for my own use and for my ‘parcel kasih sayang’  to my ladies later. Mr Husband spent more on purses and magnets and nail clippers and such. Of course,I benefitted from his shopping spree as I too get to have 2 new purses. Yippeeee.

Expect the fabric to be sold between $8- $12 per 4 metres.

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Day 2 (within the city)

1. The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.

I searched high and low for an audio booth to make our rounds within the palace ground more interesting. Unfortunately there wasn’t one and no tourist guide was available on the spot in the area. At least the Royal Palace in South Korea had English descriptions outside each building.

So I had to be content with just appreciating the wonderful architecture of the place. Since I barely remembered what I  read about in books. I had wanted to know more about a particular quirky looking tree in the area.

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2. National Museum of Cambodia

Our Tuk Tuk driver was astonished that we finished touring the museum in 30 mins. It was just too much history in one day.

Still, a photo is a must. Just so we know we’ve been there.

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3. Wat Phnom

This Buddhist temple was our last stop. It was very serene to just stroll in the park. However we had to cut our stroll short as we witnessed two ladies fighting with each other and the last thing we need is to be inconveniently there.

So, thats a wrap for Phnom Penh. Perhaps I should get started on writing about my Korea trip. Ha ha.

Phnom Penh : Part 2 – Halal Food

To Eat or not to Eat; Halal is the question

The challenge of travelling overseas especially to a country with Muslims as a minority is in finding a HALAL yet LOCAL cuisine. Its no surprise then that in catering for muslim tourists , we see Halal restaurants sprouting like mushrooms although at times a bit disappointing as they serve either Malaysian or Indian food.
I don’t want that. I want to taste the exotic, Halal Cambodian food. Meaning the meat is slaughtered in accordance to syarak and the dish is not flavoured with alcohol and such.

There were times when we had no choice but to eat at Malaysian restaurants but still, the trip was worthwhile as we still get to experience the local dishes.

Breakfast at Royal Mekong Boutique Hotel

 

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Unlike Malaysia where one can start having breakfast at 4AM in the nearest Mamak stall, things does not run on the same vein here. Which explains why Malaysians are overweight/obese to a certain extent. They just eat whenever and whatever time they feel like.

We had the ‘safe options’ – Harmless coffee, scramble eggs with toast and seafood noodles. Like, for 2 days in a row throughout our stay at the hotel.

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Both Mr Husband and I studied in countries where Halal food is scarce thus are quite ‘open’ to observing certain religious practices. Therefore while some Muslims have a strict NO-NO against eating in a non Muslim premise, we were quite happy to indulge in our meals as long as we are confident that the providers do not spray pig fat on our toast or add bourbon in our scramble eggs and serve sake instead of coffee. Ha ha ha.

Ah-Man Halal Restaurant

 

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Food was OK. We had takeout from this place the moment we arrived and had another meal her for dinner too. No Khmer options. Just Malaysian food. bosan. However, we were starving and baby kept screaming for his drink. So, we caved in. Mr Husband insisted that his food was still exotic : Black Mushroom Noodle. I ordered the common Roti Telur. Not even worth a picture, he says.

Halal Restaurant

 

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Its as though the owner is out of ideas to name this joint. At least they had a tinge of Khmer to their menu. I honestly enjoyed my Khmer beef dish. It has a citrus taste to it but palatable. Mr Husband had the tomato rice with Lock Lack beef. Baby fed from us like parasites and get to eat them all. They were not spicy hence baby loved it.

D’WAu Restaurant

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This was another Malaysian restaurant but at least it serves both  Malaysian and Cambodian dishes. We had Lock Lack Rice, Tonle Sap Clear fish soup with steamed rice and as for drinks : Soda Gembira which literally means Happy Soda. Even the owner was asking if we felt happier after drinking the soda.

Bopha Phnom Penh – Titanic Restaurant

 

Here’s a tip. Scroll through the Muslim trip packages and see which restaurants they tend to bring their clients to. In Phnom Penh, we dont have the Jakim Halal logo and to be honest, these so called Halal eateries arent 100% halal as they too offer alcoholic drinks at the bar to cater for non muslim tourists. Its the same for Victoria Station or TGI Fridays in Malaysia but we still see a huge amount of Muslims eating at those places for they go there for the meat, not the alcohol.

So we were excited to find this pretty place which is also children friendly. The atmosphere was wonderful beside the river and it didnt take us long to choose our lunch from the menu. We chose the Cambodian meal set and boy, it was not disappointing.  The portion huge though that we regretted ordering 2 sets instead of one.

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In the set there was

Appetizer : Khmer beef salad

Main Course : Jasmine steamed rice and amok fish

Dessert : Crunchy spring rolls with banana filling and sira

Drinks : Angkor Wat Sunrise & Chocolate Milkshake

Bon Bon French Ice Cream

Price Range : $1 – $12

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An odd place to choose maybe but we have a little boy who loves ice cream. So its only natural that we go to a place not available in Malaysia hence Bon BOn. We had 3 scoops of ice cream for $2.95 which isn’t bad. Thank God baby did not demand for a second bowl of ice cream. Or we’d have to drag him away by the feet – kidding!

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SMILE

This is not a restaurant – just a convenience store. Something like 7-Eleven where we get our supplies of orange juice for morning brekkie in the room and snacks.

A side note;

Dont forget to taste their sugar cane mixed with lemongrass drink. Available on the streets I suppose. We got ours during a haggling session at the Russian market. We were so thirsty that we just stopped a lady selling those walking by the shops and bought the drink there and then.

We had wanted to taste the so called famous Cap beruang Coffee and colourful corn but couldn’t find any. Perhaps next time when we consider going to Angkor Watt.

Phnom Penh : Part 1 – Getting There

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The earliest blessing of this year came in the form of free flights to Cambodia. The very country that Angelina Jolie fell in love with during the filming of Lara Croft: The Tomb Rider.

Mr Husband and I chose Cambodia because;

  1. We were intrigued by the story behind the pol pot regime who executed their own kind whom they find ‘threatening’ in their own stance; literates, doctorates, those wearing glasses or even those with soft hands!!
  2. Things are cheap from accommodation, food and souvenirs
  3. It takes less than 2 hours to get there on the plane – hence scoring extra brownie points considering we’re hauling Baby Zeeq as well

On that note, every aspect of our itinerary had to revolve around our son. We have come to accept that even if we could backpack across Cambodia, it was just not possible doing that with a little person in diapers around. This also means we have to plan our mode of transport and mealtimes and such.

This was our first attempt alone with baby on a trip overseas, so we were pretty excited in making it work for both of us and baby.

Royal Mekong Boutique Hotel

Cost : $- ( I dont remember.. husband paid for it)

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Located quite central in the bustling little city of Phnom Penh, this cosy boutique hotel caters children as well. It boasts of tremendous Cambodian hospitality, always longing to please and willing to go the extra mile to make their clients feel at home.

It has the added bonus of a bath tub in our deluxe room which is a rare commodity even in Malaysia itself. The room was spacious and the decor was simple and emits a Khmer aura to it.

I wouldn’t think twice of staying at the hotel again. It will always be a yes from me.

Our first night was spent well in the comfort of the room. Exhausted from the trip, we deferred the idea of exploring the night scene on that day. The concierge was informed to arrange our transport for sight seeing the next 2 days –

the TUK TUK.

TUK TUK

Cost : $ 53.00

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We hired our personal Tuk Tuk to drive us around for the next 2 days. This was an 830AM – 5PM arrangement and we were free to use his services to anywhere within Phnom Penh.

Other Cambodia notes;