This photo was taken at my hotel, The Plantation, in Phnom Penh. Great place to stay, as I really enjoyed the pool, spa services, and the staff is excellent. Very luxurious place with reasonable room rates. I was impressed! Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a “shout out” to Sayon, the excellent concierge at this hotel. Without his assistance for a Fed Ex package he tracked down, along with his other services (places to visit, restaurants, etc.), I would have been lost. Thank you my friend. 🙂
Even though I have been in Vietnam for awhile, I still haven’t completed my posts about Cambodia and Laos. Which points to the fact, that maintaining this blog is hard to do, especially when you have someone (me) overseeing it who is undisciplined about setting aside time to do it. Ha. I wasn’t always this way. Prior to retiring early in 2006, I was the poster boy for “Workaholics Anonymous.” Umm, that guy has disappeared. Yeah, occasionally I can focus and go on a tear, but it all depends on the project I am working on. It also helps (not) that I have been sick with a low grade fever and sore throat. Consequently, I might as well do something productive with my time. With that being said, let me get back to what this post is supposed to be about, namely Cambodia.
Historic FCC in the heart of Phnom Penh.
Another shot of the iconic FCC building.
One of the first places I visited while in Cambodia, was the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Phnom Penh. It is a public bar and restaurant which is located along the Tonle Sap River (sort of a tributary to the Mekong River). Most people refer to the club as the “FCC” or simply as the “F.” It is in a three-story colonial-style building with gorgeous views of the river. I found the food to be so so, but in my opinion, it is a must see stop for all tourists to Phnom Penh.
Esplanade along the river.
Inside the FCC at dusk.
The FCC has a “Casablanca” feel to it. I can easily imagine correspondents having a drink in this place during its heyday back in the Vietnam War era.
Besides visiting the the Killing Fields, I wanted to make sure I also visited the National Museum of Cambodia. I did this with my friend, Pisey. This museum is with out a doubt, the country’s leading historical and archaelogical museum. Unfortunately, it is a shame that the museum is in disrepair, as the last major renovation of this museum was accomplished in 1968. Specifically, some of the more delicate pieces, e.g., paintings, clothing, and similar items are being effected by the extreme Cambodian heat and humidity. Not to mention the visitors who attend the museum. It is an understatement to say that it was quite “suffocating and sticky” to visit this building during the middle of the day. I’m glad we were there in the early morning and only felt the effects of the heat when we were about finished touring the displays.
Photographs of the art work was prohibited. However, the unique “Pagoda Temple” like building was stunning.
Lifesize elephant statue at the museum.
The museum is under the authority of Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. The Museum buildings, inspired by Khmer temple architecture, were constructed between 1917 and 1924, the museum was officially inaugurated in 1920, and renovated in 1968.
According to Wikipedia, “The museum houses is one of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art, including sculptural, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. The Museum’s collection includes over 14,000 items, from prehistoric times to periods before, during, and after the Khmer Empire, which at its height stretched from Thailand, across present-day Cambodia, to southern Vietnam.” All in all, I found this museum to be a worthwhile visit.
Waiting for dinner.
This is pork on a sugar cane stick that I had for an appetizer.
Delicious Cambodian soup with vegetables and chicken, along with “sticky” rice.
While in Phnom Penh, I visited the largest shopping mall in all of Cambodia. The air conditioned Sorya Shopping Center complex has an area of 40,000 square meters – it has eight stories containing shops catering to the various needs of customers; including a grocery store, movie theaters, bowling alley, and an ice skate rink on the 8th floor. It was quite hilarious to see Asians on ice skates, most of whom were having a difficult time circling the rink. Hahaha.
I loved my room at The Plantation, which had a “day bed” for napping I guess. Also, a large picture window, with a great balcony outside.
Another shot of my luxurious room.
Seriously though, Cambodia is probably the poorest country in South East Asia, so this shopping complex caters to the Cambodian elite and foreigners. I wish I would have brought my camera to this mall and taken some photos. The contrast between this place and the rest of Phnom Penh is significant. For example, much of Phnom Penh is unpaved. Moreover, much of the roads in Cambodia are in disrepair or not paved at all. My 6 hour trip by mini-van from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh was almost like taking a stage coach.
These are some other photos I took while I Phnom Penh . . .
Sort of blurry, but this frame contained Sanskrit writing which I found beautiful and fascinating. It was located at a restaurant I went to.
Pisey, who showed me around much of Phnom Penh.
Having a blast in Phnom Penh!
Obviously enjoying my meal. Ha. I had dinner here twice. Yes, it was excellent.
Pisey and I. She convinced me to go to a fashion show . . . umm, I wasn’t exactly dressed for the occasion. Hard to fit a tux in a back pack. Meh.
Pisey. ‘Nuff said.
Me and the requisite umbrella . . . Never leave home with out it.
Another outstanding restaurant. The hotel manager was from Laos and had managed a couple of restaurants there, before coming to Phnom Penh. Very interesting person, whom I wish I had gotten a photo of, as well as given him my blog address. I always forget to do these things when I am traveling and meeting people.
Cannon and elephant statues at park.
Phnom Penh street scene. I will be quite honest – I did not walk around much at night. Frequently, I would get this weird (negative) vibe. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it was . . . perhaps, the many beggars on the street or maybe, it seemed like I was always being watched. It was a bit disconcerting. In any event, I usually was back at the hotel no later then 10pm, frequently earlier.