We arrived in Phnom Penh after a two hour flight from Singapore. We caught a tuk-tuk from the airport to downtown where we would be staying. Upon our arrival at the hotel, the staff advised that while we had made a room reservation, they did not have a room available and sent us to a sister hotel a few blocks away, a bit further from the main tourist area. We were quite annoyed and frustrated, but as we were only staying for one night before heading to Siem Reap, we decided to accept their discount and stay at the other hotel.
It was still walking distance to the riverside road, Sisowath Quay, so we decided to wander there in the afternoon. We passed the Royal Palace, which looks extravagant from the outside. Due to the recent King’s death, the Palace is closed to visitors for three months.
There were many tourists around given it was peak visiting seasons. We were hungry and stopped at a local restaurant who claimed its proceeds were given to less fortunate Cambodian children. We ordered a delicious amok (Cambodian fish coconut curry) dish and La Lok (beef with rice).
After our meal we headed to the Phnom Penh Night Market for a stroll. It was a Saturday evening so there were many stalls selling all kinds of items from clothing, jewellery to souvenirs. We immediately went to the food stalls – a colourful display of Cambodian snacks – skewers of meat, fish, and all sorts of unidentifiable delicacies. Having just eaten we were very full but still decided to sample a few fresh rice rolls which were only one-thousand-five-hundred Riels (approximately twenty-five cents) each! In the centre of the food stalls were many bamboo mats which the locals used for eating their meals. We also tried a sweet dessert, similar to ais kacang (a Malaysian dessert), consistent of various sweet/savoury snacks and mixed with shaved ice, coconut milk and syrup.