Today we are going on to the last destination of the holiday – Cambodia.
We had planned to fly between Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh, but when we came to book the flights they were much more expensive around £130 each compared to the other flights which cost us between £40 and £70.
To save some money we decided to book the Mekong Express to take us across the border to Phnom Penh just $14 dollars each and taking around 6.5 hours. The bus was pretty old, but comfy, a bit like an old sofa. The journey was pretty interesting too, so it turned out to be well worth the extra time as we wouldn’t have seen this if we had flown. Crossing the border leaving Vietnam was a strange experience… we were herded off the coach into a hanger and then made to queue up whilst our passports were taken and stamped. Entrance to Cambodia also meant having our finger prints taken.
Phnom Penh – Cambodia’s capital was hectic as we drove in by mid afternoon, bikes and cars everywhere, and it was really hot, even hotter than Ho Chi Minh. We jumped on a tuk tuk to our hotel, Aquarius Hotel and Urban Resort. When we arrived we weren’t disappointed. The design of the interior was great, super clean and a stunning roof top pool and restaurant area – a welcome escape from the chaos of the streets.
We had read and been forewarned that Phnom Penh was perhaps more dangerous than other cities we had visited, with lots of warnings about bag and phone snatchers, corrupt police, fake monk scams and beggars. We certainly were shocked to see how much more poverty there is in this city in comparison to Vietnam and Laos, but didn’t necessarily feel in any more danger. The tuk tuk drivers here are definitely much more pushy though… walk 5 minutes and you can guarantee to be asked if you want a “Tuk tuk sir?” about 50 times. We have seen so many expensive cars on the roads, there seems to be a massive gap between the rich and the poor, and unfortunately we found out that’s largely down to corruption.
That evening we went for dinner at a recommended restaurant Mok Mony and tried some traditional Cambodian food, including beef wrapped in bettel leaves which strangely tasted like little sausages. We then went for a walk around the hotel to get a first glimpse of Phnom Penh.