Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Day 1

In the morning, me and my friend had a simple,cheap breakfast at our hostel. After that we tried and failed to go to the Royal Palace. Funnily enough, we did accidentally come upon it when trying to find our second destination. But there was a dress code that we stupidly weren’t prepared for. We didn’t want to spend unnecessary money on the pants and t-shirts they had so we decided to go back the next day.

While looking for the palace we saw the Independence Monument. We weren’t intentionally looking for it, but I was happy to have happened upon it. It’s always nice to see something you didn’t plan on seeing. The monument was built to commemorate Cambodia’s Independence from France in 1953.

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And near that is the Statue of Norodom Sihanouk who was the king of Cambodia twice and is considered a national hero.

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After getting all turned around trying to find the palace but finding these places instead, we headed to our next spot of the day which was the Daughters of Cambodia shop and cafe. One of the reasons we weren’t easily finding places is because neither of us decided to get sim cards so we were navigating based off screenshots I had taken of directions when we had WiFi at the hostel. We did find this place without much trouble which was a relief because we were hot and ready to take a break. We got some refreshing drinks and fruit. After cooling off, we headed back down to the first floor to check out the shop and spend our money. They had a lot of super cute jewelry and other handmade things that were for sale at really cheap prices so we both got a lot of things.

The Daughters of Cambodia is an organization that helps people who have escaped sex slavery. It offers them a chance to start a new life and gives opportunities of employment. My description is a simple one but check out their site to learn more. Sex slavery is a big issue in Cambodia, and I think it was wonderful to find an organization like this that helps those who have escaped empower themselves and have a better life. Everything you buy at the shop is handmade by the women and men (they also have Sons of Cambodia that I can’t seem to find a separate site for)  who have escaped the sex trade and been taught new skills via this organization. They also wotk in the cafe and at a hotel the organization also has opened.

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It was after leaving here that we realized where the Royal Palace was and made an attempt to go but failed as I mentioned earlier.

Before heading back to the hostel, we decided to go to National Museum. It was a small but interesting museum. I learned a little bit more about the history of Cambodia. No pictures allowed inside.

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After this we headed back to the hostel and took a break. It had also started raining some so we let that die down some. Luckily everything was in walking distance from our hostel. Most spots were 10 to 20 minutes away.

When we felt re-energized we headed back out and found The Central Market. Shopping wise neither of us felt too impressed. It was quite large and there were stalls inside and out, but we weren’t finding much that we were interested in. Plus a lot of the souvenir type things were very similar to Bali and we didn’t need anymore of that. And, we had already gotten a lot of stuff at the Daughters of Cambodia shop so I didn’t to make my wallet any lighter.

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The best part about visiting the market is that I got a refreshing and delicious coconut juice with coconut pieces to drink on the way back to the hostel. We had a Cambodian dish for diner at our hostel. Then that night I walked along the water a little bit. I came back and watched a movie in the main area for a bit before calling it a night. The movie was called The Killing Fields, and this has just reminded me that I didn’t get to see the very end so I need to find it and finish it.


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