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  • Mina

A quick glimpse of Phnom Penh

When starting the trip, our plan was to fly Lisbon - Ho Chi Minh City, where we would stay one night and the following morning would leave for Phnom Penh, where we would have almost the entire day to walk around the city before leaving for Sihanoukville on the next morning. It seemed to be in a bit of a rush, but we were about to have just the enough time to see and do what we wanted to in Phnom Penh. We were about to see more of HCMC in the end of the trip. But, as in fact, the day planned for Phnom Penh, we spent on a plane from Abu Dhabi to HCMC and then getting another flight (bought almost in the last minute) from HCMC to Phnom Penh, we actually arrived after midnight. At least we didn't have to cancel that hotel as well.

On the next morning, we had a flight to Sihanoukville. But we've decided that if we wake up early, there was still a gap of around an hour and a half we could still enjoy and see a bit of the city. I've booked a hotel in the city centre, and the Royal Palace was pretty close. Although, initially we've thought to skip it, as it is quite similar to the one in Bangkok, being short in time, we decided to give it a shot.

When leaving the hotel for a short walk to the Palace we combined with a tuk-tuk driver the time and price for a ride to the airport. It was around 8:30 a.m. and the heat was already quite heavy. On our way to the Royal Palace we crossed the park with the Statue of the King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Wat Botum Park. Both were very well organised and I have to say - I was admired how clean everything was. Actually, Phnom Penh was the first city in Asia I've noticed there are bins for separating garbage.

We figured we're close to the Royal Palace as we saw several buses parked around. It should be somewhere here. As we were looking around some friendly tuk-tuk drivers showed us the way to the entrance gates. It seemed too calm for such a major tourist site. And it was perfect. We were able to have a nice, peaceful stroll around and although we had no time enough to visit all the buildings inside the court and see everything, we left satisfied.

We met some kids preparing for monks and I got quite curious around them. I asked one of them if I could take a photo of him. He didn't understand a word I was saying. He just smiled back to me shyly and stood there. I took my photo quickly, as I didn't want to bother him. Also, we were already in a bit of a rush as we had to leave soon. But what I felt at that moment was far more interesting than the bad photo I took... The peace that boy was transmitting was extraordinary.

When we went back to the hotel the tuk-tuk driver was waiting for us but not to take us to the airport. Apparently, for some reason, he was not able to drive us, but he had already arranged another person to do so. This was the first time I noticed that Cambodian people stand up for their words. And until the end of our stay in this lovely county, no one proved me wrong.


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