Phnom Penh – Part 3

This gonna be my very last entry of Phnom Penh. On the 2nd day here, right after our visit to the Killing Field and S-21 Prison, we then decided to spend some of our money at the local market. Based on the research, you can actually go to Phsar Thmei, Russian Market, Phsar Kapko and others. We spent most of our time in Phsar Thmei and we went to Russian Market early morning (on our 3rd day there).

If you’re staying somewhere near to Sisowath Quay area, Phsar Thmei can be easily access by walking distance. With local map in hand, get the name of the street and off you go! Phsar Thmei is commonly known as the Central Market. Basically, the 4 wings of the building houses numerous stalls ranging from antique stuff, gold and silver products, clocks, food, fabric, fresh flower, shoes, electronic goods, wet market and others. Its open from 7.00am to 5.00pm. We bet the most interesting part will be the wet market area. We were there late afternoon and half of the wet market area are already empty. As i read from other blogger and forum, you can actually see all kinds of bizarre foods here which is Cambodia local delicacies such as monkey brains, animal stomachs, fried insects and others. Phewww!

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Our new friend, Pich. If you’re facing the Central Market building, just find a girl with the name of Pich on the right hand side. She’ll definitely give you the best price.
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Cambodia silk
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We bought quite a number of shirt here. We went to every single stalls who sells shirt but unfortunately we’re not happy with the quality eventhough it cost us only USD 1 . We end up at this stall and you can actually saw this aunt on the left hand side of the main entrance. This is the only stall who gave good quality shirt (for your information, all the shirt are the Old Navy factory outlet shirt) and come with various range of design. We managed to persuade the aunt to give us 3 shirts for the price of USD 5.

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You can see a row of florist at the other wings of the building. Managed to talk to one of the florist there by asking them where are these flower supplies come from. Most of it are from China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

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On the last day in Cambodia, we went to Russian Market. As mentioned by Abg Suri and Kak Mas that they preferred to shop here in Russian Market compared to Central Market. We’re here early in the morning since its super hot where they only used the zinc roof! We guess you can imagined the whole situation here. Serious macam sauna dalam tu even though you came early in the morning. They don’t really have a proper building as in Central Market. There are narrow pathway, low ceiling and no air circulation. Besides all the negative aspect mentioned, the best part is that they have all the stuff here from car spare parts, hardware shop, bookstore, furniture, factory outlet clothes and other that you couldn’t imagined to be in a market.

Bookstore! This is not the only one!
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Outside of Russian Market
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We managed to buy some kids clothes for our nephews. Rambang mata tengok all the branded clothes there and it’s super cheap. But we couldn’t stand the sauna condition. Just to kill the time, we walked around Russian Market area just observing local peoples.

This is how they spent their time. We could see a lots of coffee shop with the similar crowd doing the same thing.
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We saw this in front of a shops but we really don’t have any idea what on earth is this.
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We departed to KL via Air Asia somewhere around 4pm. After the 5 days journey, we’re very much glad that we’ve been to Cambodia. There’s a lot of things that you can see,learn and discover here. The best part is getting new friends that we still keep in touch till now. We definitely missed all our new friends there especially Nasir, Salim, Budi and friends, Abg Mas and Kak Suri. The most important things that we’ve learned here is that how lucky we are to be Malaysian.

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Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

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Phnom Penh – Part 2

Started the day by having a heavy breakfast at the Mamak Corner at St 114 (Sangkat Phsar Thmei), very near to Central Market. Pagi-pagi dah exercise by walking down to the restaurant all the way from our guest house. We had nasi lemak hoping that it will last till afternoon.

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Right after that, we walked around Phsar Thmei (Central Market) area talking, explaining and bargaining on the Tuk Tuk service. As mentioned, it will be more easier communicating way back in Siem Reap compared in Phnom Penh even though it’s the capital city of Cambodia. Maybe, peoples in Siem Reap are prone to tourist and well verse in English. They always thought that both of us are Khmer’s and local. Skin colour sama dah kot. We managed to secure a Tuk Tuk from an old guy with the price of USD 12 from Phsar Thmei – Choeung Ek Killing Field – Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum – National Museum – Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda – Phsar Thmei. We couldn’t confirmed whether this is a normal rate charged by them but as far as we’re concern, this is the cheapest price that we could get while walking from one end to another end of the road by asking around. Couldn’t bargain more.

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As mentioned, our 1st destination was the Choeung Ek Killing Field. It’s situated 17km away to the southern of Phnom Penh. These are one of the killing fields here which is safe and it’s open to public. The entrance fees are USD 5. We were suprised where as mentioned in the internet that ticket price is only USD 2. The personnel explained that the price increased for the past 3 months since they are now offering the audio tour with 12 languages to choose from. I choose English meanwhile hubby go for Bahasa Melayu. It was such a good audio tour with full of information.

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The stupa
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You can see signages (with numbering) which it’s match with your audio tour. Not to forget, it comes with a real story on confession by the victims itself (original audio recorded), the chief of killing field Duch and Khmer local music that has been put on play during the killing session. As for me, it was such a powerful experience. My tears drop once I hear to the first plot of the audio tour. While writing this, i still feel sad and the 1st phrase on the audio tour (once you press the PLAY button) keep playing in my mind was “Here, you’ll learn and experience what Cambodia people did to their own peoples”. I cried! I do think that during Pol Pot life, he did not learn and discover this phrase of ” It’s easy to forgive, but it ain’t easy to forget”. He killed almost 1.7million of Cambodians and mass graves containing 8k+ bodies were discovered at Choeung Ek after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime.

It used to be a cemetery praying area here. But Khmer Rouge converted it to a place to store the chemical substance.
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These are the palm tree used to torture the victims by putting is through their mouth and throat. We couldn’t imagined further.
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One of the area at the Killing Field. Here, you can sit by the bench and hear to the original track on the confession by the Khmer Rouge and what the victims had experienced.
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The left underground rags of victims clothes could be seen after raining. You could actually see bones and teeth fragment if you go closely.

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The praying charms and bracelet at one of the mass graves.
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Killing tree specially for children. Mengucap panjang kat sini.
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The final station. The stupa where all the skulls of the victims were kept.
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We then proceeded to the museum. Spent almost an hour where there’s a video show there. They even had the full attire wore by the Khmer Rouge and others. You basically could get all the information of the Khmer Rouge Regime here.

The profile of the victims.
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Duch, the only top leader from the Khmer Rouge who are still alive. He was formally charged war crime and crimes against humanity. He was the main person (top leader) behind the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison.
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Coconut drinks just outside of the Killing Fields. Energize!
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After such a powerful experience, we then traveled back to city center area to continue with the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. At 1st, we couldn’t imagine what we’re gonna experience later. I show hubby on the basic facts of the place. We’re very much understood that this is the place where the prisoners been stationed, interrogated and tortured before been send to the killing fields. It is also known as the S-21 Prison.

Empty bench, just as the building.
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One of the room at the prison.
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The corridor. If you’re such an observer, you could spot blood stains on the floor everywhere. For real!
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We spotted scratches (maybe by nails of the victims) on the wall. Fuhh! Goosebumps.
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Overall view of one of the block there.
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Pole used by the students to conduct exercise. Did we mentioned that the building was previously a school. During the regime, this pole are used to dip prisoner heads till they get unconscious.
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One of the last 5 victims who are still alive. He even showed us his cell.
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The exhibition hall.
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The overall view of the entrance.
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No more such an emotionally visit. Gonna headed to National Museum. Basically, we didn’t entered the museum. Just to appreciate the building exterior (the structure and architecture concept). But we did spotted a few subject there, monk and row of Tuk Tuk just in front of the National Museum. Just for your information, the entrance ticket is USD 3. If we’re not mistaken, there’s an art street just in front of the museum. Buddha statues, painting and other art crafts can be easily seen here.

Monks.
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Available Tuk Tuk.
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Last destination with the Tuk Tuk that we rent was The Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda (King’s Place). Unfortunately, as mentioned by local, the King’s Palace is currently close maybe for some renovation works.This place still serve as a resident to the highly respected Royal Family and His Majesty the King Norodom Sihakmony. Betul-betul takder rezeki nampaknya. Just not our luck. We spent a few minutes camwhoring in front of the palace.

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To end the journey, the Tuk Tuk driver sent us directly to Phsar Thmei. Since we are there, we quickly make a plan to get our late lunch at Cafe Malaysia very near to Phsar Thmei. Luckily, they still served their buffet lunch. Alhamdulillah.

Gonna continue with the visit to the market at Phnom Penh on our 2nd and 3rd day here!

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Phnom Penh – Part 1

Assalammualaikum and Hi there!

Woke up as early as 5am. Did the final packing and off we go. Again, Bibik from the Explorer House has given us the pre-packed breakfast and off we go with Nasir’s. The day before, Nasir’s offered to send us to the transporter. We couldn’t declined any further. The whole MPV could accommodate 14 pax in a go. There’re 2 Malaysian families together with us. What a coincidence.

Saying goodbye to Nasir. If you guys want his contact no, do contact me. Very recommended!
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Us, inside the MPV
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In the 1st 2 hours, the van will stop over for his breakfast and a quick visit to the toilet. We reached Phnom Penh 4 hours later. We couldn’t imagine if we were on a bus. It would take us approximately 6 hours. Ini pun, the driver drive laju gile! Seriously! We would like trying to grab anything that we could with such road condition. There are potholes here and there as big as 1 meter plus in diameter. How big is that! They really need a serious road maintenance here.

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Reached Phnom Penh around 1pm and we quickly figure out the location of our guest house. Since we’re in the budget constraint mode, we decided to walk around in Phnom Penh. We walked all the way from the place where they drop us to the guest house with our backpack on! We almost got our shoulder out of alignment with that heavy bags! Oh ya, did we mentioned that we just love the hard ways.

We then managed to get ourselves here in Sundance Inn and Saloon at Street 172. Again, king size bed! Awesome. Check out the room! This guest house is situated just behind Wat Ounalom. Quiet street compared to the one near to Sisowath Quay. Hubby choice and it worth the money. The highlight of this small guest house is that the desktop is connected via the LCD TV and we don’t have to quarrel around who need to use the Ipad first. I got the whole screen all by myself. We reached the guest house just on time to refresh ourselves and to settle all our responsibilities.

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We couldn’t wait any longer. We catch our late lunch at one of the restaurant nearby – Halal Restaurant (St 130, near to Indo Chine Hotel). It open daily from 6.30am to 10.00pm. Experienced the local Khmer food, Amok Fish. It taste slightly the same with what we have here in Malaysia, gulai lemak.

With itinerary and maps in hand, we continue the day by walking all the way to Wat Phnom. Wat Phnom is a man-made hill found in 1372 which the city name Phnom Penh derived from. By paying USD 1, you could climb up where there’s a temple up at the hill. Ritual and praying ceremony are still conducted here. You can see the whole of Phnom Penh city from here as well.

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Just after we came down, it rains! We managed to run in that drizzling moment to the nearby shop. We saw KFC and we quickly ran in. Its HALAL since the owner are from Malaysia. They even go for a HALAL certification locally. Still full but just to catch the times, we bought some light snacks and drinks. Lepak-lepak, browsing through all the pictures taken in Siem Reap via our camera, studying the Phnom Penh map and etc. Suddenly, a couple just behind us say hi and ask whether we’re from Malaysia. And here, we meet up with new friends from Singapore, Abg Mas and Kak Suri. Basically, they have a restaurant here in Phnom Penh. They gave us some tips while we are here. We promised them that we definitely gonna be at their restaurant and fit sometimes into our itineraries before we depart to Malaysia. Till now, we still contact with both of them via phone. Our last conversation with them is they are now in Siem Reap spending their times there before they go back to Singapore for good.

Lottery counter spot at the Wat Phnom Park. Bawah khemah pun boleh.
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Ok! Rains stopped. We quickly walked across the street heading to the jetty. It’s time to experience the Mekong River Cruise. It cost us USD 5 per pax. The best time for this river cruise is around 5.30pm where you can experience the sunset with the view of the Sisowath Quay. The whole cruise took us about 1 hour in overall. You can see a lots of local couple on the same cruise as well. As mentioned by Abg Mas and Kak Suri, local kalau bercinta, memang kaw-kaw punya. Siap boleh terjun jambatan kalau kecewa.

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It’s already dark when we complete the cruise. We just decided to stroll down the Sisowath Quay area. Bought some stuff for breakfast, snacks and drinks for the next 2 days and we stumbled across a night market. As mentioned by local, the night market is only open on Saturday and Sunday. We’re very much lucky on that day. Nothing much there but you can see how local just sat on a mat while having their dinner from all the nearby stalls. How cool is that? We didn’t buy anything here since it’s more cheaper to get in souvenirs stuff in Central and Russian Market. Walked down to our guest house and there go our 1st day here in Phnom Penh.

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Gonna continue with the Phnom Penh on Day 2! Such a powerful experience.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

Siem Reap – Part 3

We’re still in the 2nd days of Siem Reap. Too much to tell you guys about. Just right after our exploration at the Angkor Archeological Park, we then decided to stop at the Old Market. As for us, a visit to the local market will definitely taught you the lifestyle of Siem Reap people’s. We first bumped up with the sellers selling food outside of the market compound. Inside, you can see a lots of spices which had been nicely packed, fresh meats, fresh vegetables, clothes, jewelleries and others. Oh not to forget, souvenirs to bring back home. Basically, you can get cheap souvenirs here in Old Market (Phsar Chas) as in the biggest indoor market in Siem Reap. We managed to convince the seller to sell us 10 fridge magnets for USD 3. We took 40 numbers! Besides, we also managed to secure 2 kramas for the price of USD 1. As for the t-shirt, we managed to bought quite a numbers of shirts at the Angkor Night Market. We went to the same shop as my sis on her previous trip earlier. If you are asking us where is more preferable, we would say that there’s a few items which are found to be much cheaper than in Angkor Night Market but there are certain items are found to be expensive here. The only tips is to bargain as much as you can! You can get a copy of various ‘imitation’ Lonely Planet here with the price as cheap as USD 3 – 7.

There’s other alternative of market available here in Siem Reap which is Phsar Leu (Saler Market), New Market and Night Market (slightly smaller than Old Market) and Central Market.

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After a few hours there, we then headed to D’ Wau Restaurant to have our quick-lunch. Even though we knew that it’s very expensive, we still wanted to try the food there. At least! We ordered white rice with side dishes of Lok Lak Beef, omelette and chicken sour soup. After having our last sip of the soup and paying all the bill, we definitely found that its cheaper and the food taste better in Haji Musa Muslim Restaurant. So, we definitely not gonna miss Nasir invitation to try “Daging Naik Bukit” tonight.

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During our lunch session, we did discussed with Nasir that we need to buy the bus ticket to Phnom Penh for tomorrow. As advised by Nasir, it’s better to get there by VIP minivan which is much more faster. Approximately 3.5 – 4 hours rather than bus which will take us around 5 – 6 hours. Oh my! Furthermore, bus ticket will cost you USD 8 and minivan USD 10. So, minivan it is! Just near to the restaurant, Nasir helped us to purchase the tickets. We took the earliest one on schedule since we gonna have another half day extra in Phnom Penh later.

We still have a few hours to go and we then decided just to ask Nasir to bring us around the town. Pusing-pusing untuk habiskan masa. We went to Siem Reap museum but just to take a photo of the building since the admission fees are way too expensive. We’ve read all the comments given by Malaysian and even foreigner tourists from the forums and blog that it doesn’t worth the money paying for the admission fees. We even stop at the McDermott Gallery. An awesome photo collection of Angkor! To all photographers, this is the place. There are 2 galleries which is situated just next to Angkor FCC and at Pub Street. The one in pub street is much bigger than in Angkor FCC. Everything is all about Siem Reap and Angkor taken in black and white. He’s been staying in Siem Reap for the past 14 years to capture all this ancient histories.

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We then headed back to our guest house just to catch some short nap before the ‘Beatocello’ show in Jayavarman VII Hospital. Dr Beat Richner often introduced himself as ‘Beatocello’ as his stage name. The concert normally held every Saturday at 7.15pm. He will play Bach on the cello and speaks about the activites of his four children’s hospitals. Nasir’s picked us up at the guest house and we then headed directly to Haji Musa place just to catch some early dinner before the show. Before reaching the place, we stopped over at Nasir’s and Salim’s places to say hi to their family members (their in-laws, wife and kids). Anak-anak dia tak takut orang. They even asked us to play with them. How cute are they! I miss them a lots!

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While we were there, we chit-chat with Haji Musa for a few hours. Explaining and sharing with us on his new project, a school somewhere at the Cambodia border. He even asked his daughter, Laily and son to entertain us while he were busy welcoming a group of guest from Singapore! We talked and shared ideas with his daughter talking about her teaching plan at Tonle Sap. She’s basically a part-time English teacher and she’s just 17! At the age of 17, what are you guys really think on giving back to the community? Nah! Nothing right? She is such an ambitious teenage girl! She already got all her future plan on her hand.

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We got carried away talking about her future plan, about our travelling plan, what we do for living, about Khmer’s people, Muslim in Cambodia and others. And the biggest part is that, we missed the ‘Beatocello’ show! We almost forgot about our initial plan! We never regret for not showing up at the ‘Beatocello’ since we got the chance to meet up new people’s, making new friends and such. Besides, we spent a few hours up to 9pm chit chatting with our new friends from Bandung, Bayu Bharuna”s and friends. There goes our night!

Lucky us, Haji Musa’s cooked for us!

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After that short coffee session with our new friends, we then moved up to Angkor Night Market to do some final shopping before heading to Phnom Penh early tomorrow morning. FF got himself a free bicycle ride and he went for riding all over the town meanwhile, myself stranded in the room packing all the stuff for tomorrow.

Gonna continue with the Phnom Penh trip!

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma