April 21, 2014

Cambodia : Phnom Penh

Continuation from here...

Our hostel was very easy to find. Camory Backpackers Hostel is located at the shop lots facing the Mekong River. There is a café at the ground floor, and restaurants and bar on the first floor.

The hostel wasn't my first choice as it was a little pricey compared to other hostels but I was glad I chose it. The location is perfect. And thankfully, they let us checked in to the dormitory to get some sleep.

view from the hostel

At about 10 am, we woke up and refreshed ourselves before going out for sightseeing.

Our first destination was Wat Ounalom as it is very near to our hostel. The wat was founded in 1443 and comprises 44 structures. It was damaged during the Khmer Rouge era but has since been restored.

The Royal Palace is nearby but it was closed when we reached there and would only resume opening in the afternoon.
park opposite the Royal Palace
So we headed to the Independence Monument. Walking along the big open park leading to the monument was distressing cos it was so freaking hot. Nobody was at the park except us. I bet all the drivers passing by the park thought we were some crazy tourists, frying ourselves in the middle of the day under the blazing hot sun.
Cambodia - Vietnam Friendship Monument

Statue of the legendary former King Norodom Sihanouk, who died in 2012

Located at one of the city's busiest roundabouts, the Independence Monument was built in 1958 to commemorate the end of French colonial rule in Cambodia five years earlier. Post Khmer Rouge era, it has also become a memorial place dedicated to the Cambodian's patriot who died for the country.

After a couple of photos, it was time for lunch. I searched for halal restaurants in Phnom Penh on the Internet and found D'Wau Restaurant. It is located inside New York Hotel so I just followed the direction of Google map on my phone to the hotel. After walking about 30 minutes, we reached the restaurant safe and sound and hungry.

Ordered this.

And paid USD 4. Halal food in Cambodia is pretty expensive. -_-

While having lunch, I remembered someone I know who lives in Phnom Penh. I first met Arina in Turkey back in 2010. So I messaged her on Facebook asking her whereabouts cos I wasn't sure whether she's still in Phnom Penh or she already moved to somewhere else. Within minutes, I got a reply and we set the meeting to catch up. :)

we met again!

She then brought us shopping at a local department store and the Central Market.

It is a good place to find souvenirs in Phnom Penh. We met a few Malaysians shopping for Cambodian silk here. The price is quite cheap so we bought a few too. hehe..

Arina's husband picked us up afterwards and dropped me and my friend at the riverfront. We spent some time walking around the happening area before retreating to our hostel to recharge. Another day in Phnom Penh tomorrow...

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