Day 02: Old Phnom Penh, New Experience (Aug 2018)

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August 10th 2018
Published: August 16th 2018
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Friday, 10th August 2018

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, our tour bus came by to pick us up at 8.30am where we began our city tour of Phnom Penh.

Barely 10 minutes into the journey, we had arrived at the first stopping point for the day, the imposing Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda. For USD10, we were able to gain admission to the beautiful grounds dotted with healthy green lawns and immaculately kept gardens. The great thing about Phnom Penh is that the sights are within closed proximity to one another. There is no need to spend lots of time on the road before arriving at our destination. Within the grounds of the Silver Pagoda lies a mini Angkor Wat where we happily snapped loads of pictures of the beautiful model.

It was closed to lunch by the time our party finished touring the compounds. We headed to the beautiful Central Market for our meals. Built in 1937 and designed by French architect, Jean Desbois, the art-deco market was the biggest in Asia when it first opened. The market was renovated some years back and painted in its classic yellow shade that made it stood out from the rest of the buildings within the vicinity.

We had chicken porridge, prawn crackers and traditional sweets for lunch. This was a well-thought-out menu that was satisfying and probably one of the best meals we had in Phnom Penh.

Our tour in the afternoon continued to the Tuol Sleng (S21) Genocide Museum. This functioned as a concentration camp during the Pol Pot Regime where thousands of detainees were kept in appalling conditions before transporting to the killing fields to meet their fate. As I had visited the S21 Museum in the past, I chose to opt out from this tour and instead headed to the nearby Panda Cafe with some kakis for avocado shakes and fries.

Next, we visited the Factory Phnom Penh, a co-working space that was developed out of a disused garment factory in the newer part of the city. We were given a tour by the person-in-charge of the premises. This is a work-in-progress project where it has huge potential to become a mini-city of its own comprising residential towers, flexible office spaces as well as niche cafes and pop-up boutiques.

Prior to dinner, we stopped by at Russian Market for some shopping and baguette snacks. I was really happy to return with a long overdue painting for USD10 to decorate my bedroom wall.

For dinner, we happily tucked in at Tonle Bassac II Buffet Restaurant. Food was tasty and coupled with lots of varieties to satisfy the most fussy eaters on earth. More importantly, the dinner provided a great opportunity for me to mingle with new-found friends that I made during this retreat. Food aside, this was an evening dedicated to team bonding as we also found much joy celebrating the birthday of one of our mates!

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