Bridge the Travel Gap

A week is Phnom Penh and what it cost

We arrived a week ago in the city of Phnom Penh from Saigon. I did a lot of searching online for a hotel and we finally decided on the Double Leaf Boutique hotel. Good decision. It cost us US$41 a night including breakfast. We got a brilliant room with a great shower, excellent wi-fi and air conditioning that worked. We also enjoyed a dip in their lovely pool during the day or after being out sightseeing. There is a lot to see in the city.

What we did in Phnom Penh?

There is a lot to do in Phnom Penh and we visited the Royal Palace, did a food tour and wildlife centre tour, sunset cruise, shadow puppet show as well as the genocide Museum Prison and Killing Fields. We also ate at some amazing restaurants close to our hotel with great food. All of them were good from Alma to Vans. I am glad we decided to spend a week in Phnom Penh it is a wonderful city to explore and in some ways I think we have only scratched the surface.

Genocide

The sad thing about visiting Phnom Penh is going to S21 or the Genocide Museum. It was an old school converted to a torture centre. The most chilling thing for me was the haunting eyes of dead people looking back at you in hundreds of photos. It should be a compulsory visit for world leaders and it is depressing how few have visited this evil place. Perhaps if they did it might stop a few more genocides happening.

We then went to the Killing Fields the final stop for prisoners at S21. The place is eerily quiet as people walk around the 18 stops trail listening to the horrors that happened here on their audio tour tape. History is important and places like this serve a purpose. The prisoners were taken here and died horrific deaths from garden tools to babies being bashed to death on a tree. I have no illusions that it will not happen again but places like this and Auschwitz may slow it down. The rise of Pol Pot is linked to the bombing of Cambodia a strategy devised by Kissinger and one that ultimately led to the establishment of the Khmer Rouge. Later in his life Kissinger would be awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, not for this, but it does make you wonder.

What did it cost?

Double Leaf hotel for seven nights cost US$287
Wildlife Alliance behind the scenes tour for two US$150 (discount for low season)
Expensive blowout meal at Vans cost US$79
Other food, attractions, sunset cruise, food tour US$444

Total for the week was US$960 or US$138 per day. We spent a bit more that I thought we would due to going out a lot and deciding to see Mad Max at a brand new cinema at the Aeon Mall with moving seats, wind and lights as well as 3D glasses with popcorn and drinks cost US$31. I felt like I was riding a bronco for two hours!

Our next stop is Siem Reap.

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