The day's adventure begun with the ride to Phnom Penh on National Route 6. My year 2002 Rough Guide Cambodia stated that this national road was in a hazardous condition with frequent occurrence of road fatalities. However, during our road journey, I could see improvement on this 'highway' whereby 80% of the road was on tarmac, apart from a few unstable bridges and sand filled roads. Rumble strips and speed humps were also installed to slow down traffic, though locals might want to consider creating zebra crossings for cows. Our driver Deth truly exercised ‘safety first’ on the road, we were seated on his minivan with much relief and comfort at all times.
After several days of temples, temples and more temples in the northern region, we finally landed ourselves in the more modernized city of Phnom Penh. We stayed three nights here, at a backpacker hostel - the Hotel California 2. Probably due to the excessive heat we experienced throughout the journey, we began to lose interest in strolling around town under the hot sun, and some of my friends even had second thoughts of leaving the town after our second night.
Phnom Penh, in Chinese is Jin Bien, or 'Golden Edge' in direct English translation. The most notable attraction in this once golden city is none other than the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, formerly a Khmer Rouge S-21 prison where thousands of victims including children were killed by the cruel and monstrous KR regime. My heart turned heavy and solemn after walking through the fenced prison blocks which were once a peaceful primary school premises. I remained speechless for the next couples of hours. Page 22 showcases the collage of photos I took at the museum; they could be visually disturbing so I hope you're well prepared.
Our lady travelers finally found their element in the Russian and Centre markets in town. The heaps of complaints about the heat and exhaustion were suddenly brushed aside and their innate price haggling ability emerged instantly from within. It is ideal to have female travelers in a group; they may help you to save some dollars for the trip.
Day 9 marked the end of our short walk in the sacred land of Cambodia. Our ladies couldn't wait to board the plane heading back to the modern city of Kuala Lumpur