Pilot Trip to Cambodia

Almost two week since I went to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There are less than 2 weeks left to take the second trip to that city. My first abroad trip was not only interesting and curious but also disappointed a bit. I have learned a lot.

New lessons. New experience. New feelings. New friends.

As so excited for that trip, I could not sleep much at the night before the departure day. I’ll say that time I was so lucky. My bosses rode me from Cantho city to Chau Doc town by their own car. I just slept on a whole trip. What else could I do?

inside innova
Stepping on the visa applying process, I felt disappointed. Most are red-tapes. Money is priority. Without it, probably we cannot do anything in that such region. Luckily, we passed through those shit paper working. Our guests, my bosses, my colleague speaking French and I stepped our foot on Sisowath Port – an international port in Phnom Penh city. I thought it was very large and full of big ships. There were some speedboats, local floating restaurant on board and fish-catching boats though. I agree it is larger and steelier than Ninh Kieu Quay.

Sisowath Port
I went to Phnom Penh at noon. My first impression was a very big hotel at the door leading to Cambodian capitol. At first, I did not know it is a hotel until Mr. Benoit – my boss told us (here, my colleague Thanh and I). Then, along the riverbank, there are many Cambodian typical structures. That is Sisowath Quay – similar to Ninh Kieu Quay which is located in my city. However, Sisowath Quay is longer and wider than Ninh Kieu and sort of stinky smell too.

a hotel along the Tonsle River
Welcoming us was Chou Thay – an operator of Blue Cruiser speedboat company in Phnom Penh. I can introduce you to him and about his company so that you can book a seat on those cool speedboat. The weather was too hot and dry. I get used to such kind of weather. So, I felt alright. Thay booked 2 rooms in Mekong Palace for us which took us around 20 bucks per night meanwhile Xuan Mai hotel which is in my city and more comfortable just cost you about 10 bucks per night. At about 1p.m, Thanh and I were taken to have lunch by Trong (a Cambodian Vietnamese guy working for Blue Cruiser) with Thay at a local food stall. That was my first experience with local people there. That food stall reminded me of some in my city. I got a familiar feeling and did not feel like an alien to the local people; except one thing was that I did not get any single word they spoke to each other. LOL. Our lunch was very simple and light. We needed to save time for wandering around the city. (Photo)

Trong took us around the city as we wished. The first place we visited is Wat Phnom, a pagoda on the top of the hill and kind of in the center of the city. Generally, the pagoda is beautiful and unique. Look at photos and you will understand more

front of Wat Phnom

inside of Wat Phnom

on 4 walls and roof inside Wat Phnom are full of paintings about the Buddha’s life

walls outside of Wat Phnom

top of Wat Phnom

There was one annoying thing that they asked us to pay for admission. That pagoda is not a national museum, neither a national park nor such those things to need preserving by the government. Money is not a paper, as I always think and talk. I do not know where those amount of money will go to or what they will be used. However, Trong told us many stories about Buddha and the custom of being a monk in Cambodia to calm us down after I got a bit upset about the admission. I knew why monks hold the dong big bow in front of their belly when they are on the way to take the food from the people. That meaning is every touch to me. They assume that bow with full of hot fresh steamed rice is hardness and tiredness and hurt which our mother has to experience to give our birth. We will not always forget that period. Being and living in the life are the precious gift that our parents gave to us. Good lesson ever. I know about respecting this valuable period but not from a habit of carrying a hot bow of Cambodian monks.
The second and also the last place we went to is Royal Palace. Gee, that is so large and respecting, long lay. My second impression was the admission of this palace. With the money I paid for the entry ticket, I can live in 3 days. I should not compare the price in a whole entry. Sorry. We got tickets and some booklets about this royal family such as history (always), members, some caption for some really royal rooms where you are not allowed to enter.
What I can say after visiting: AMAZING I did not take many photos of me, but the scenery (as usual)
(copy from the booklet: The royal palace is the principal residence of their Majesties the King and the Queen and the royal family. This royal palace in Phnom Penh was constructed twice. Most of the buildings include magnificent sculptures and are characterized by many tiered roofs and topped by towers which are symbols of prosperity. The previous buildings were wooden and then reconstructed in concrete but their original forms have been preserved. It is the symbol of the whole nation and all the pavilions are adorned and painted yellow and white. The yellow represents Buddhism and the white represents Brahmanism.
There are many interesting buildings inside the palace
* The Throne Hall: the main building, I think.
* Ho Samran Phirum: used as His Majesty King Sihanouk’s museum.
* Ho Preah Khan: used to preserve the Cambodia Royal regalia.
* The Pavilion of Napoleon III: used as the art gallery of oil paintings, photos of the former Kings of Cambodia and other valuable art objects. It was closed when I visited, kind of sad.
* Preah Vihear Sour: used as a temple to celebrate various Buddhist festival.
* Preah Moha Prasat Khemarin: the permanent residence of their Majesties The King and the Queen
* Preah Tineang Chanchahaya: used as a place for the King delivers speeches on the National Day or special events.
* There are some other places which I did not have enough time to visit. Maybe, next time!)

Royal Palace on sunset

one of many buildings on Royal Palace – Silver Pagoda

that’s me on the right side of the Throne Hall

That’s me on the Throne Hall. behind me is the pavilion of Napoleon III
Then, we came back to the hotel for bathing because we would have dinner with our bosses at a Thai and Khmer restaurant (name of the restaurant and photos). We took a tuk tuk to get there. On the way I took some photos of Phnom Penh at night.

Tuk tuk – I always bargain before I get on

Independence Monument at night

Phnom Penh at night (taken by me :P)

in front of the restaurant named KHMER SURIN

that’s me playing with the red napkin

Food: amok, beef and Khmer cary
It was so beautiful. Food at that restaurant was ok. I tried amok and Khmer sour soup and carry. Amok is good but very spicy. Carry was not as good as I thought ( I prefer the carry cooked by my mother :P). We also tried a bit beer Laos which was ok to me. After dinner, Thay said he would take us to enjoy Phnom Penh at night by his brother’s car. Gee, why not ? 6 of us on a 4 seat car – Camry branch. It also reminded me of the time when Mathilde rode Louis and I on a motorbike in Cantho.

That’s the car I mentioned
At night, Phnom Penh seems sleepy. Stores along the streets closed soon. Lights were turned off at some blocks (I guess the government wants to save the electricity). One of the thing I like in this city is that people do not press their horns on motorbikes or cars. They use light to give signal instead. About 8.30 pm, we stopped by a typical café bar for the young. Its name is T&Coffee. It has a similar style to Highland Coffee in Saigon. I like the uniform of waitresses there. They look very friendly and helpful. They can also speak English with a very typical accents which I like a lot. There was a live music show inside of the bar. I actually do not like Cambodian pop music which is sort of the same to Vietnamese ones – cheesy and corny. Thay translated most of the songs for me. I ordered sour soup juice and a chisumari cake (cake, chocolate, cream – Italian style). In that bar, they have a very special teapot which I really want to buy one – it is impossible to me 🙂 (photos of food and teapot). Talking to Thay and Trong was really cool and funny. They said they will help me for accommodation and transport if I get a chance to travel there again (no more business trip). I really hope so. We got back to the hotel around 9.30 pm. I know it was still early but in Phnom Penh, it is always a good idea to back to your place as soon as possible.

That city sort of goes to bed early and wakes up late. Funny Around 7 am of the next day, Thanh and I went out for breakfast but stores still closed. Kind of like Saigon. Finally, I bought 2 baguettes with eggs and cheese. I can say 2 of them equally to 20 ones in VN. However, it was worthy, and very good. I like it

sugarcane juice – like in Cantho

houses in Phnom Penh

traffic lights – very big number. Without my glasses, I can read them, LOL

a very old French style house

road name board

Food stall on streets

I do not want to write about places in VN, because by looking through the photos, you can feel yourself how different between 2 cities and how peaceful my city is.
(Photos and captions)

I will come back to Phnom Penh in 2 weeks. That trip will be very important to the company and to me too. I will not go to PP for fun and taking photos during the trip like I did last week. I look forward to that trip. I learned a lot how to take a good and prof photo with Mr. Benoit’s help and lessons. I like his Canon camera. I used it sometimes on the trip and here are some photos taken by myself by using his camera. Look cool eh?

Every time I travel, I learn new things, meet new people, experience new environment, and events. So, I become more mature and earn lots of life lessons for myself. I love traveling 🙂

You can look at more other photos on my picasa account: http://picasaweb.google.com/angelathaohuynh


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