After leaving my new favourite place Arcadia, it was a heaven sent that I found it so much so that the book I was reading was about travellers finding Arcadia. ( The age of Magic by Ben Okri) and the book was given to me by my first traveller friend Henry in Hong Kong you can check out my Hong Kong post.
I headed off on the 20th of November to the capital city of Cambodia Phnom Penh I had heard mixed reviews about this town some people like it other people hate it. I also heard that you must be careful with your belongings I wasn’t going to take a chance with anything or listen too much to naysayers but rather experience it for myself each to your own right!
I arrived and again being very lucky and blessed my uncle owns a hotel here. As I asked the tuk-tuk driver to take me to Hilary’s Boutique Hotel, he said oh Hillary Clinton and gave off a chuckle and he continued to tell me that people ask for Hilary Clintons hotel lol. I made my way in the tuk-tuk to the hotel.
I was so surprised I didn’t know what to expect but it was so charming and quaint a little slice of peace and tranquillity in the heart of the bustling city. I met up with my two Swedish friends for a drink and then I heard the sad news of my friends phone been taken straight out of her hand when she was looking for directions! So with that in mind, I was going to be more cautious!
The managers at the hotel were lovely treated me like royalty as soon as I walked in. It was so strange living in a hotel now; it’s so quiet and no bunk beds, but it was nice!
The next day we went to the Tusol Genocide Museum and it was heartbreaking to hear the history of what happened a good twenty or so years ago killing innocent people and children is never ok.
I later went to the killing fields the emotions I felt that day was unreal! I remember coming back and feeling so sad and shared my experience on Facebook.
This is what I wrote:
The feeling after seeing the killing fields: How do you put your feelings to paper or even make sense of it out loud it’s crazy! I didn’t know anyone who died but yet I feel as if I do. I watched people as they walked around and the look on their faces as if they were at a friend or family member’s funeral this is history and was people’s reality for many years! I sit here with a lump in my throat knowing now what I didn’t an hour ago yes this feeling of helplessness and sadness will pass but the harsh reality of the past will never! Every single Cambodian I pass by in the street has had a family member killed. What pains me Is it was unfair and there is nothing we can do about it now but pray that it will not happen again!! The killing fields a place of calmness and peace now; ironically it was a place of brutality and hate!
This is something I wish everyone to experience if you have the chance to visit this city.
I spent about a week in Phnom Phen it was great to unwind after the crazy three weeks I had just had. It was also boiling so spent most days in the pool watching movies, reading and when I needed some human contact I would wander down to Mad Monkey hostel get a beer, and people watch for hours.
I visited the Royal Palace too, it’s beautiful, and my tour guides the managers of the hotel were so kind explaining their culture and history to me. I am very grateful to them for taking me to exciting, authentic restaurants. I feel I got to experience the real city side of Cambodia also the Russian market is not bad for trinkets and clothes! I also got the chance to visit the Cambodian Children’s Fund to see the great work taking place here. An NGO that’s transforming lives of many children giving them a place to stay and education and something critical health care to many people in a small village in the city. I left feeling inspired and call to do more where I can.
I didn’t hate Phnom Penh I guess because it all depended on your experience with a place and I was very blessed to be treated to a real relaxing time in a beautiful place in a great location and highly recommend Hilary’s Boutique Hotel ( not being biased because I know the owner.) It’s a great place for families, solo travellers and people on business trips. They make yummy food too so defiantly check out the restaurant, and the staff are fantastic.
I entered Cambodia unexpectant, not knowing anything about the country but I truly left enriched and with many excellent friends.
Peace love and Happiness