It was a bumpy bus ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh as roads are really bad so it wasn't the most comfortable journey. On the way we passed through a few villages which just seemed like they had been forgotten by the world! There were children playing in dirty water, and people getting washed outside.
When we arrived in Phnom Penh it was like any other capital city - very busy!! We checked into our hotel and then decided to take a walk to find some food as we were really hungry. As soon as we stepped outside the hotel it was kaos! The roads were so hard to get across with the amount of cars and tuk tuk's on them we had to just run across when we got a chance and hope they would miss us. We were permanently being asked "you want tuk tuk?" as we walked, it began to get really annoying so we decided to go back to our hotel and go to the KFC that was actually in our hotel lobby.
The next day we braved the streets again, so we walked towards the river.We tried to use some of the quieter streets to avoid the traffic, but we wer still permanently being asked if we wanted a tuk tuk by what seemed like every person that we passed - they musn't know that people actually like to just walk sometimes!!
The area around the river was really nice, lots of restaurants and guest houses although it did smell slightly bad as the Mekong River is known for being quite dirty. One thing that we noticed about Cambodia especially in Phnom Penh is the amount of people begging. We could barely walk passed a local without them putting their hand out for money and everytime we walked past a child who was with their mother the child would cup their hands together as soon as they saw us which was slightly annoying as it was obviously something they had been taught to do everytime they saw a westerner.
After a walk around we sat outside a restaurant to have dinner. It was a bad idea to sit outside as we got hounded by people trying to sell us things, some of the children were funny though, I don't think they understand "no thankyou" so they just carried on repeating the same words "two for $1" and then one of them dropped their lolly pop on Janes dress. They were actually selling some really nice bracelets but we have read that you shouldn't buy off children as it encourages their parents not to send them to school.
Just after our food had arrived a woman stood by our table staring at us with her hands out, practically the whole time we were eating she just stood there, it is hard not to feel sorry for them but it was beginning to annoy us slightly as it felt like we were permanently being harrassed for money!
We booked a trip to visit the killing fields the next day. We were happy to get out of Phnom Penh for a few hours, so we got a tuk tuk to take us there as it was quite a few km out of the city. When we arrived we were given an audio device and some head phones and were told to follow the numbers around the site. It was really good because you could do the tour in your own time so at every numbered spot you clicked that number on the device and it told you everything about it. Although it was a sad place because of the awful things that happened there, it was strangely very peaceful! Everyone was quiet as they walked around and there were so many butterflies about it was such a contrast to what actually happened here. The last number on the tour took us to a big monument that stood in the middle of the grounds which held all of the skulls from the victims. It was eerie being so close to so many human skulls, but what made it even worse was that there were many childrens skulls there too! After the tour the tuk tuk driver took us to the war museum were we walked around the actual prison were some of the victims were kept. Even though I listened to the guide and read about what happened I am still very confused as to why it happened!
We were dropped back off by the river and there was an excercise class going on, it looked so funny as it was so close to the road and everyone was taking it so seriously. We then had a walk around the market were there was entertainment on too but we left after a short while as people kept staring at us like we were aliens or something! We made our way back to our hotel and packed our bags for our early morning bus in the morning to Vietnam :)
I am so glad we visited Cambodia as it was nothing like anything I have seen before. Although the country and many of the people are very poor they just get on with it and seem very happy. I would definitely like to visit it again in the future to see how much it has developed.