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Published: January 18th 2013
We Crossed into Cambodia via the Ha Tien border crossing with Vietnam in the far south of the country. We had a 6 hour minibus transfer through to Phom Penh which I was strangely looking forwards to. For me the best way to get a feel for the countryside it to travel through it overland. The roads once we crossed over the board were dusty dirt roads and we travelled through some very poor looking villages with lots of people toiling in the fields. Not a piece of machinery in sight although there were plenty of water buffalo’s (South East Asian Tractors). Apart from the buffalo’s the landscape reminded me of parts of Africa and the basic houses we passed could have been from Zambia or Malawi. As Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest countries the rural area’s that we were travelling through were a real eye opener as to the levels of poverty and the hardship people face who live in rural Cambodia.
As we got closer to PP all this seemed to change as the traffic volume increased dramatically as did the number of people we were seeing. PP is a surprisingly large and modern
city especially when you compare it with the rural area’s we had just travelled through. The thing that surprised me the most was the amount of high end 4X4 that are in Cambodia. Outside the UK I don’t think I have ever seen that many Range Rover’s in one city. PP is built around a lovely water front where the Mekong meets the Tonle Sap with some striking French style architecture which led to it being know as the “pearl of Asia”.
PP is a great city to wander around with plenty to see and do and we particularly enjoyed the silver Pagoda and the Royal Palace temple complex. The real highlight of PP though for me is the fascinating street culture. There are stalls and stalls of delicious street food and markets down all the backstreets. You often see Monks zooming round on scooters plus rickshaws and Tut-tut’s are everywhere. Like most cities in Asia PP really comes alive after dark with a great Bar scene along the river and plenty of clubs that go on to the early hours. No visit to PP is complete without a trip to its most famous nightclub the Heart
of Darkness, although to be honest I found this place to be a little cheesy (when you could see it through all the dry ice). We only had 3 days on PP but I felt this was enough to see all the highlights, besides next stop was Siem Reap and the world famous temples of Angkor which we were itching to see. (which will be in the next blog)
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