My trip to Cambodia was fantastic. It was definitely my second favorite country after the United States. Almost every stop I made in Cambodia was fantastic. The Cambodians were courteous and friendly hosts. That being said, I despised Phnom Penh.
The bus travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh wasn’t too unpleasant. It was a lengthy journey, but I was in a smaller van, so it was somewhat pleasant. A pregnant woman sat next to me and fell asleep as soon as we started driving, resting her head on my shoulder.
She didn’t say anything or ask any questions. She simply rested her chin on my shoulder. That has never happened to me before. We came to a halt at one point for a rest. She made a gesture like “Is it OK?” when we got back in the van. She went back to sleeping on my shoulder after I said yes.
In the van, there was also this impatient small boy who was climbing all over the place. She was enthralled by the foreigners on the van and delighted in feeding us.
We arrived at Phnom Penh after a lengthy drive, and I had no reservations. I assumed I’d employ my Battambang method and hire a decent driver to assist me in my search for a lodging. My luck had run out, and the hotel he led me to was in the heart of the red-light district. The red-light district is somewhat close to tourist restaurants and bars, so it wasn’t too horrible. I was awakened by really loud banging on my second night in the hotel. In South East Asia, construction is widespread, and I believed a crew was getting started early. Then I noticed the time was 3:00 a.m. on the clock. For a minute or two, the banging continued, and then there was a huge crash! The hotel’s front door had been smashed open.
After that, I heard a Khmer shout. Also pleading and whimpering was someone else. It was literally right outside my front door! I got out of bed and slid my passport beneath my mattress. I searched the area for a weapon, but there was nothing that I could use. I couldn’t shatter a lamp or any of the furniture. Nothing! I was certain that a gang was robbing everyone in the hotel door to door. I had no notion what the police department’s phone number was. I simply sat in bed and opted not to put on pants. I assumed I’d attempt to look as pitiful as possible and hope I didn’t get too seriously battered.
I lay in bed, certain that my door would be slammed in my face at any moment. Things quieted down after about an hour, and I had no idea what had transpired.
The following day, I noticed that the massive glass door in front of the hotel had vanished. The day before, I’d met a different driver who had picked me up to take me to a restaurant. He told me the story after speaking with the motel owner.
During the night, a hotel guest was high on drugs and damaged a mirror on the property of another company owner. He then bolted and attempted to hide in his hotel room. That specific business owner didn’t play games and used a bat to smash down the front door. Then he tracked down the individual and thrashed him in front of my door. I’m not sure if the victim was a Cambodian or a foreigner who was beaten.
My driver brought me to a restaurant, which was rather enjoyable. I’ll admit that Phnom Penh had a lot of decent culinary alternatives. The driver was nowhere to be found when I crossed the street to board the tuktuk. I noticed a gathering forming a short distance down the road and ultimately spotted my driver approaching.
He told me that a tuktuk full of locals passed by while he was waiting for me. Two persons on a motorcycle passed by and grabbed the phone of one of the passengers who was looking at his phone. They dragged the tuktuk passenger out of the tuktuk while he clutched on to his phone. He was critically injured when he crashed into the street at a high rate.
That’s two crimes in a short amount of time. I shortened my stay in Phnom Penh by purchasing a bus ticket to another city. That was sufficient for me. On the one hand, it was reassuring that visitors were not being targeted, but it was not the atmosphere I was looking for.
Phnom Penh has some beauty, but it’s such a large, polluted city that it was difficult for me to enjoy it. And seeing the crime made me want to flee.
I boarded the bus and snapped a few photos on my way out. This woman was selling a common type of seafood. It’s either a shellfish or a cockle. On a hot day, it didn’t seem like a good snack option.
I’d arrive at the coast a few hours later and discover a far more pleasurable location.
Please accept my apologies for the brief post. My time in Phnom Penh was much shorter than I had anticipated, and I didn’t obtain nearly as many images as I had hoped. The next stop will be a lot more tranquil location with less crime.