We arrived at our hotel for the stay in Phnom Penh, Homeland Guesthouse, very helpful staff who immediately helped us with arranging our tourist visa for Vietnam ($63 USD) however we had arrived on a weekend so it would not be ready until the Tuesday evening but this didn't matter too much as we had quite a bit we wanted to do in Phnom Penh.
We hadn't planned to do too much on our first day other than we had booked tickets to see Jurassic World in 4DX (a first for both of us). We decided to head out for a walk, heading to Frizz restaurant firstly to book our cooking class for the following day. This turned in to a slight goose chase due to maps out here telling little lies and not being to scale haha so after walking up and down the same street 3 times we got a tuktuk to take us there (we hadn't walked past it just hadn't walked far enough) we then got him to take us to Aeon Mall. Huge mall, very clean and filled with restaurants,designer shops, arcades, bowling alleys. We found it very difficult decide what to eat, in the end the decision was Kenny Rogers. ( to date Katie's worst meal haha and Andrew getting very excited to have mini chicken sausages!) we then headed to the cinema grabbing some popcorn(they do the best popcorn out here) and awaited the film to start. Definitely an experience to be in a dinosaur simulator for two hours, bursts of water sprayed at you, gusts of wind in your hair and a moving vibrating seat, the full 4D experience!
After the movie we decided to walk back to the hotel, Phnom Penh is a different kind of place at night and had an amazing vibe about it, however we did just view it from the outside as we were a bit tired, but as we approached the street our hotel was on we were drawn in to a little bar, to where Andrew orders a large beer, which when delivered is more of a small keg with it's own pourer haha. We got through it and questioned in the end whether we were in a knocking shop after a visit from Cigarette sales ladies in suit jackets and mini skirts, genuinely looking no older than 16. Had the best sleep in our twin beds haha to await another day.
We had to be at Frizz restaurant for 8:45 so we set off half an hour before grabbing a bite to eat on the way, we soon discovered that what looks a short distance on the map was in fact quite a walk, so we grabbed a tuktuk and arrived on time. There were six of us on the class and after a quick introduction we headed to the local food market to buy our produce for the class. Fantastic experience to learn about lots of the foods and delicacies. Wonderful arrays of fresh fruits and vegetables. The dishes we cooked were, Spring Rolls, Fish Amok, Banana Flower salad and Mango Sticky Rice. The cooking class was on a roof top terrace and had amazing pestle and mortars, table top stoves all ready for us to get cooking. The differet tastes and flavours a truly incredible and such a lesson. One of the nicest dishes was the banana flower salad, which consisted of everything you wouldn't expect in your average salad, no lettuce for one! Many different types of mint, basil, banana flower, shallot, red chilies! So fresh and beautiful! After the class we headed back to the hotel. We were pretty full so dedicated to a couple of beers then Andrew decided to head out and get something a bit more substantial haha whilst he went Hannah and Chris arrived, Katie hadn't seen Hannah for over two and half years so it was amazing to meet up, especially so in Cambodia! Andrew returned with a bottle of whiskey, Malibu and a baileys haha to cut this story short the night went on longer than expected!
The morning didn't start great...for any of us haha but we stuck to our plan for the day after a breakfast of toasties and Andrew having a veggie benedict! We grabbed a tuktuk for the whole day, a new tuktuk which as you can see in the photos felt like we were in an apple the whole day! The first stop was The Killing Fields. This visit was all done by a radio set and headphones to walk you through. It was always going to be difficult to describe places like this other than it making you feel quite physically sick and saddened. Afterwards all feeling quite depressed(and still a little hungover) we headed for some food before heading on to S21 prison (Tuol Sleng Museum), this part of the day was more visual, with a lot of disturbing imagery and very hard to comprehend that this is where so many thousands were imprisoned and tortured. We had prepared ourselves for this day but we don't think anything does quite prepare you well enough. It certainly creates a lot of quiet moments and reflections upon life and what people have gone through in recent times. We had booked on to a Sunset Cruise for the evening, much needed after the day we'd had. The cruise was truly fantastic we went with CamboCruise and for $22 we had a tuktuk driver collect us, take us to the port, we were directed to boat by some truly lovely helpful staff! The boat was awesome and upon boarding we received a free welcome cocktail, a duo playing Cambodian instruments we left port and got a small sunset amongst quite a bit of rain then a beautiful buffet including spring rolls, chicken, pork, rice, salad allsorts! We had also by now had a quite a few more cocktails so all started getting slightly Merry once again haha and the staff even gave us a few extra few cocktails due to some people not showing up for their booking, bonus! (There was only 6 people on the cruise, four of them being us haha the benefits of low season!) at 8:30pm we were back at port and decided to head to one of the rooftop bars, we went to FCC for another drink and even had a couple of games of pool. The night then continued with a tuktuk and a stop off at the corner for another "large beer" haha!
A much needed sleep in this morning was followed by a farewell to Hannah and Chris, we then decided not to waste our last day in Cambodia and headed out on foot to The Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and the central market to get a last few Cambodian keepsakes. Come the evening we headed for a bite to eat stopping at a local place to which we were flocked by staff with one menu, most waiters stand and watch you whilst you decide, you feel slightly rushed and pressured but you get used to it haha. the menu was very Cambodian including frog, eel, chicken feet dishes, yikes! To this moment we're still not sure what we ate but it was cheap and tasted okay. We collected our visas from reception and had a sleep, which leads to now, as we sit on possibly the comfiest bus yet, lots of leg room, a toilet, free water and face towel haha thumps up to Kumho Samco Buslines! Highly recommend! Also just realised we've been married six months today, can't quite believe how fast time is gong! Scary! We're not far not from the border now so we'll speak to you from Vietnam :-)