Trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Having said that I love Phnom Penh, it only signifies that I need to see the other side of the Kingdom of Cambodia. And what better place to explore in this country than the most famous temple in Southeast Asia which is in Siem Reap. When I arrived in Phnom Penh via Mekong Express Limousine Bus, I was dropped in their bus station. Hence, I took the liberty to get a ticket for a trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. I paid USD13 for the fare for a 6-7 hours trip. I chose the 0830H departure time for me to see the views on the way there.

Bus Trip Schedules

Bus Trip Schedules

Bus Ticket

Bus Ticket

The day came for my trip. I was staying in Cozyna Hotel and according to the staff whom I talked to when I bought the ticket, they will pick me up since it is included in their service. They picked up passengers if they are staying near Sisowath Quay. I woke up early at 0600H to prepare everything and to have some decent breakfast since it will be a long ride. I waited for my pick-up service at the lobby of the hotel. They came at 0800H and we went to the bus station. In the bus station, same procedure was done when I had my border crossing trip from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh. They took my luggage and put a claim tag to it that indicates my bus seat number. After all the passengers have settled down in the bus, the bus left and headed to our destination at exactly 0830H. I’m so impressed, they follow time schedules.

Bus Station in Khan Russey Keo

Bus Station in Khan Russey Keo

Tagging Baggage

Tagging Baggage

Queue going inside the bus

Queue going inside the bus

Space between seats is wide

Space between seats is wide

Our bus attendant

Our bus attendant

Fellow Passengers, most of them are Cambodians

Fellow Passengers, most of them are Cambodians

About an hour, the staff handed to us some snacks, a bottle of juice and water. Inside the snack box were two different foods, sweet cupcakes and the other one is a pastry filled with meat yet a little spicy. But all were delicious.20141116_111726

Cupcakes and a Pastry

Cupcakes and a Pastry

The view changes on every provinces we passed by. When we were almost out of Phnom Penh, the sights were mostly temples.

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Temple somewhere in the outskirts of Phnom Penh

Then we were in Kandal, the view changed to more of rivers. The province features two of the biggest rivers in the country which are Bassac and Mekong.

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Kandal Province

Few hours later, the bus was in Kampong Cham. It is a lowland of the Mekong River. Here you will still see the river but now with amazing view of green rice fields with blue sky and red soil.

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham village

Kampong Cham village

Kampong Cham

Kampong Cham

Rice field in Kampong Cham

Rice field in Kampong Cham

Temple in Kampong Cham

Temple in Kampong Cham

Mekong River in Kampong Cham

Mekong River in Kampong Cham

Same as what I saw in Kampong Cham, Santuk also has a great view of rice paddies but this place is just a district of a big province.

Rice Paddies in Santuk District

Rice Paddies in Santuk District

Santuk District's Redland

Santuk District’s Redland

A House in Santuk District

A House in Santuk District

In Kampong Thom, we had our bus stopped at Stung Sen Restaurant which is a place for passengers to have their lunch. Upon arriving there, it was full and we can hardly make an order coz the waiters and waitresses just flew here and there. I ended not having lunch at all and just settled with some junk foods.

Kampong Thom

Kampong Thom

Bus Stopover in Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Bus Stopover in Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

Stung Sen Restaurant in Kampong Thom

After everyone has come back to the bus, we continued our journey to Siem Reap. At 1630H, we arrived in Siem Reap. I was waiting for my pick-up service since I arranged it with the hotel. The tuktuk was there and then we headed to the hotel. I checked in Putheavatei Boutique Hotel and Spa and went out to have some dinner. The owner of the hotel offered me a tuktuk driver/ tour guide/ adviser. His name is Ray and he speaks Khmer and Thai. Ray suggested to go to Khmer BarbeQ to dine there, so, we went there.IMG_1247 IMG_1248 IMG_1249 IMG_1250 IMG_1252 IMG_1253 IMG_1254 IMG_1255

Khmer BarbeQ Contact Details

Khmer BarbeQ Contact Details

Khmer BarbeQ on TripAdvisor

Khmer BarbeQ on TripAdvisor

Khmer BarbeQ Restaurant offered a wide range of food selections. They serve pork, beef, chicken, even crocodiles and many more. The place has a great ambience and it made me feel luxurious yet the foods were affordable and the services were good. All in all, the dining experience was great. After my tummy was full, I put myself to bed to rest. That is how my trip goes. It was exhausting but enjoyable.

Now, it’s your time to have a trip and have fun.

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I Love Phnom Penh

As what I have posted on my previous article, I went to the Kingdom of Cambodia. Believe me, it was indeed captivating and mesmerizing. Since I introduced only a summary of Cambodia, here I will tell you what to see in the capital city of Phnom Penh. Only few people have talked about Phnom Penh because most bloggers only featured Siem Reap.

In Phnom Penh, there are also numerous tourist attractions and most of these are located just within few blocks. You can take a tuktuk to see these spots or even walk if you want some exercise. Well for me, I hired a tuktuk and luckily picked out a good driver named Peter. He speaks English and is a very helpful gentleman. I started the day early. Peter picked me up in the guesthouse and I told him I need some food to eat for breakfast so, he took me to a famous restaurant called Khmer Saravan. I just ordered a clubhouse sandwich and also bought some sandwich for Peter as a treat. In Khmer Saravan, there were quite a lot of tourists who visited this place as you can see the walls were full of drawings from travelers anywhere in the world. The ambience was great overlooking Sisowath Quay of the Tonle Sap lake.

Khmer Saravan's Menu

Khmer Saravan’s Menu

Wall Decor

Drawings and Messages on the Wall

Khmer Saravan

View of Sisowath Quay

Just 15 mins, Peter and I headed to Wat Phnom. Since I didn’t hire a tour guide, my tuktuk driver became one. He told me the story behind Wat Phnom. He said that during the early decades, Phnom Penh was submerged in water by flood and only the mountain that Wat Phnom was erected can be seen thus, people have been saved by going and climbing the mountain and after later years, they built the temple. In the temple, there is an admission fee of USD1 as a contribution to support Wat Phnom.

Wat Phnom Admission Ticket

Wat Phnom Admission Ticket

1. Wat Phnom or called as Temple of the Mountains or Mountain Pagoda is the tallest religious structure in the city of Phnom Penh.

Wat Phnom Staircase

Wat Phnom View

Wat Phnom View

Wat Phnom View

Wat Phnom

Ticket Booth

I paid some respect and after I took some photos in Wat Phnom, I went down and headed to my next destination. But when I got to the tuktuk, I was a little bit thirsty and I told to go to some nearby store. So, he drove all the way to Preah Nokor St 126.

2. Central Market or Phsar Thmei was of course a market but was considered a tourist attraction. This market opens from 0700H to 1700H and most tourists came here due to the availability of extensive amount of products for bargain. But, I went there just to quench my thirst.

Central Market

Back to the tour, we went to Wat Sarawan but it was not advisable to go there. There were monks living there and it was not well sustained. Hence without a doubt, we proceeded to the next nearest attraction.

Wat Sarawan

3. Wat Ounalom is located on the banks of the Tonle Sap lake. There, it has magnificent view and designs of the temple. Per wiki, it has been believed that the stupa at the main complex contains an eyebrow hair of Buddha and an inscription Pali.

Wat Ounalom Street View

Wat Ounalom

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Inside Wat Ounalom

Inside Wat Ounalom

The Massive Gate

The Massive Gate

I spent so much time there. It was hot but I enjoyed the shade of the trees around. I sat down for minutes and when my energy was restored. I went to my next stop.

Passing thru Supreme Court of Phnom Penh

4. Independence Monument or Vimean Ekareach is a little far from Wat Ounalom since I skipped the main attractions of the city which are the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. Anyway, who wouldn’t get his attention when passing the Independence Monument. It’s huge, and strikingly grandiose. It is in a form of a lotus-shaped stupa of the same style of the Angkor Wat in Siem Reap.

Independence Monument

The panorama of the Independence Monument is marvelous and worth picture-taking. Yet I have to go off as planned. Next stop was another religious centre.

5. Wat Langka is one of the oldest pagodas and a famous historical site in Phnom Penh. When we got there, they were doing some open meditation sessions therefore, we went to another religious centre.

Wat Langka

6. Wat Botum Vattey is somewhat a community. In English, it is a Temple of the Lotus Blossoms. I saw here a school nearby and there are a lot of stupas. They said that there were too many politicians and eminent persons of the city who were laid to rest here in this temple.

Wat Botum Vattey

I was busy taking photos when my camera alarmed and signaled, Battery Low. Then, I have decided to go for lunch and take some rest while charging the battery of my camera. Few minutes later, we went back on the road and this time, it was far. It was about 30 mins drive to get there.

Random photo while on the road

7. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a different type of museum. It showed here what happened during the Khmer Rouge. It was heartbreaking, hair raising and teeth gritting experience. It maybe just a plain museum but it sure can make you teary eyed.

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Admission Ticket for USD3 in Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Admission Ticket for USD3 in Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

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I spent almost an hour in the museum. When I was done there, I went back to the guesthouse to get my baggage because I needed to transfer to a hotel where I was supposed to be staying and Peter helped me picked up all my things. The whole day tour service offered by Peter thru tuktuk was for USD20 and with some tips. After I settled down in the hotel, I went for dinner which was a restaurant of the hotel called Yin Yang.

Yin Yang

Yin Yang

Yin Yang offers complete meals from breakfast, lunch, dinner and even happy hour. I got the chance to try some Khmer cuisine. I so love their loc lak dishes from pork, chicken to beef.

The Menu

The Menu

IMG_1181IMG_1184

The View Outside

The View Outside

My Fave Khmer Dish, Beef Loc Lak

My Fave Khmer Dish, Pork Loc Lak

When I emptied my dinner plate, I needed a bit of exercise so, I went strolling in Sisowath Quay til I got to Phnom Penh Night Market. I got to use my haggling tactics. I bought my Cambodian souvenir here and I paid for USD5 and got a pair of Nike slippers for USD5 too.

Phnom Penh Night Market

Phnom Penh Night Market

Dining Area in Phnom Penh Night Market

Dining Area in Phnom Penh Night Market

Stalls in the Night Market

Stalls in the Night Market

The next day was scheduled for a grueling walk around the city’s main tourist spots. I didn’t need a tuktuk since it was just near my hotel. I woke up a little late and walked to the biggest attraction in Phnom Penh.

8. Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. It has a full name of Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk in Khmer. The Kings of Cambodia have occupied this place since it was built, but was abandoned during the period of the reign of the Khmer Rouge when the country was in turmoil.

View outside the gate

View outside the gate

Information for Tourists

Ticket Booth

Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda Ticket

Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda Ticket

At the Entrance, they will hand to you a free Royal Palace Guide and Map

At the Entrance, they will hand to you a free Royal Palace Guide and Map

At the Entrance, they will hand to you a free Royal Palace Guide and Map

At the Entrance, they will hand to you a free Royal Palace Guide and Map

5. Preah Tineang Tevea Vinichhay

The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace

6. Hor Samritvimean

7. Preah Moha Prasat Khemarin

8. Hor Samritvimean

Inside Hor Samritvimean

9. Preah Reach Damnak Chan

10. Preah Tineang Phhochani

11. Pavilion of Napoleon III

12. Bell Tower

13. Mandapa of Satra and Tripitaka

14. His Majesty King Norodom’s Stupa

15. His Majesty King Norodom’s Statue

Picture Perfect

16. Angkor Wat Model

Angkor Wat Model

Angkor Wat Model

17. Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Panorama of the Silver Pagoda

Panorama of the Silver Pagoda

18. His Majesty King Suramarith and Her Majesty Queen Kossomak’s Stupa

19. Her Royal Highness Kantha Bopha’s Stupa

20. Kailassa Mountain

Stairway to Kailassa Mountain

21. His Majesty King Ang Duong’s Stupa

22. Koeng Preah Bat

Another View of the Koeng Preah Bat

23. Dharmasala

Another Picturesque View

Just came out from the Silver Pagoda

25. Exhibition Hall

25. Exhibition Hall

27. Near Exit Gate

I was wandering in the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda for almost 2 hours. It got to the point that my feet hurt and when I was due to another destination, I waved the white flag. I was already in front of the National Museum of Cambodia but I said to myself, I’m exhausted and I called it a day.

National Museum of Cambodia

National Museum of Cambodia Entrance Gate

I slept in my room for hours and then, I have thought that I needed to somehow relax from the days I was so busy exploring Phnom Penh. So, I made a choice to do a leisure walk and went out.

9. Sisowath Quay is what they called near the Tonle Sap lake. I just sat down in the lakefront while looking on the people passing by, enjoying the fresh breeze from the river, and a laid-back lifestyle. I enjoyed some quiet time for myself.

Sisowath Quay

Lake Ride

Pub near Sisowath Quay

Buildings on the other island

Decorations in the Park near Sisowath Quay

Enjoying my Free Time

I came to realization that a life here in Phnom Penh maybe everybody’s dream. Almost everything is affordable, people are friendly and hospitable, slow paced life and the country is rich of culture and traditions. I can definitely say that I LOVE PHNOM PENH.

An Outline of Captivating Cambodia

After I visited the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, I went to another country which is also in my bucket list for the countries that I would love to visit. It is listed as number six.

List of Countries that I Would Love to Visit

List of Countries that I Would Love to Visit

Yes, I went to the Kingdom of Cambodia. It was exhausting traveling by land and crossing borders yet rewarding to see the Land of Temples and Towers. I made sure that I’ll be visiting Cambodia before the year ends. I added it on my itinerary to visit the capital city of Phnom Penh and the province of the famous temple and one of UNESCO world heritage sites in the country which is Siem Reap.

In Phnom Penh, after I settled down on the guesthouse I was staying, I took my first step in exploring Cambodia and I felt in love. Phnom Penh is the capital but it is not a bustling city. It is relaxing and somehow slow paced. Here, I felt at home. Loving the lake breeze from Tonle Sap, watching the people walking on streets, enjoying sightseeing on temples, riding the tuktuk, smelling the freshly baked and cooked Khmer dishes are the things that I love the most. I stayed in Phnom Penh for quite some time and It has a laid-back and stress free life. Here are the places I’ve visited when I was in Phnom Penh.

Wat Phnom

Central Market of Phnom Penh

Wat Ounalom

Wat Ounalom

Royal Palace

Neak Banh Teuk Park

Independence Monument

Wat Langka

Wat Botum Vattey

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

Phnom Penh Night Market

Phnom Penh Night Market

National Museum of Cambodia

Sisowath Quay

Then, I went to Siem Reap. If you happen to visit the Kingdom of Cambodia, make sure not to miss the famous temples of Angkor Wat, Bayon, Angkor Thom, Baphoun and Ta Prohm. There are also other temples worth visiting but the problem was I had less time to see all of them. Thus, only those temples mentioned above are the sights I can talk about.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Bayon Temple view

Bayon Temple view

Stone face

Stone face

Three- tiered Baphoun Temple

Three- tiered Baphoun Temple

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Angkor Night Market

Angkor Night Market

It sure was a captivating adventure I had in the Kingdom of Cambodia. I had fun and I will truly remember everything I have experienced in this beautiful land.

Follow me on my Southeast Asian journey for more stories.

A Quick Rest At Bright Lotus Guesthouse

I didn’t see it coming. I was in Saigon and it turned out that I need to leave a day earlier. I got no place to stay since the reservation I had with another hotel was good for the next day. I tried to inform them ahead of time that I’ll be arriving in Phnom Penh a day early but they were fully booked. I got no clue where to stay, then, I realised to just check any available rooms for a day thru Booking.com which I downloaded on my phone. It sure was handy and helpful. I found out a guesthouse called Bright Lotus Guesthouse which is just infront of National Museum of Cambodia. So, I took the advantage since it was just for $22 per day rather than being homeless when I arrived in Phnom Penh. It was a quick rest at Bright Lotus Guesthouse.

I arrived in Phnom Penh from Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City at exactly 1630H. I hired a tuktuk and I met Mr. Peter who soon to be my tuktuk driver for my tour in Phnom Penh. Bright Lotus Guesthouse is somehow famous since it is located near to almost all tourist attractions in the city.IMG_1192

When I got there, it was simple, just like any typical guesthouse looks. The check-in procedure was fast yet the receptionist was a little bit unwelcoming. Her face doesn’t show any sort of delight to welcome us. She just asked me for my passport and I told her that I will pay the due right away. She handed me back my passport and gave me the door key along with a television remote control and an AC controller.

When I headed to my room which is in the third floor, Room 309, I was thinking, is there any lift for me to get there but it appeared that it is impossible. The guesthouse is too small to have a lift. Instead, I went through the stairs. It was horrible. The stairway was small and steep and I have to carry my bags to the third floor without assistance at all. I just sighed and said it’s ok I will be staying here for just a day and I went upstairs.

I was gasping for air when I reached the third floor but to my surprise, I was amazed with the view I got just outside of my window. I had a balcony and a perfect scenery of the National Museum. I got inside the room and had a room check. It was clean, a little modern with free toiletries, towel and of course wi-fi connection. It also has a cable television, a fridge and an electric percolator.20141113_171450 20141113_171514

the balcony

the balcony

cable TV

cable TV

National Museum of Cambodia at sunrise

National Museum of Cambodia at sunrise

Sisowath Quay with restaurants

Sisowath Quay with restaurants

Near the guesthouse are restaurants, pharmacy and cafes. It is also near to National Museum of Cambodia, just 5-10 minutes walk. Just few blocks are the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda and to the other side is the Sisowath Quay, the great view of the Tonle Sap Lake. Location wise, the guesthouse is perfect. They also gave me handouts for bus schedules with corresponding prices.busbus1

Here is the address. Check them out, too, thru Booking.com.

Bright Lotus Guesthouse
No. 22E0, Street 178, Sangkat Chay Chomnas, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
+85512676682bright lotusbright lotus1