Morning departure for Phnom Penh by car (driver only). Taking approximately 5 hours, you’ll pass through provincial towns, villages and roadside hamlets offering you an insight into life away from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. There will be the opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy a coffee in Kampong Thom and stop at Skun Village, famous for its deep-fried tarantulas, if you so wish.
Upon arrival, transfer directly to your hotel.
Phnom Penh was once considered one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient and despite its recent turbulent history it still retains a certain Colonial charm. Today this rapidly developing city buzzes with energy and an air of opportunity as Cambodia advances into the 21st century.
After checking in to your hotel the remainder of your day is at leisure until 5pm when you will be met by your guide in a tuk-tuk, your transportation for the evening, for a memorable food-focused experience.
First stop is the Foreign Correspondents Club, more commonly known as the FCC. This legendary colonial watering hole oozes history, having been the social hub for foreign journalists and aid workers during the Khmer Rouge era. Some interesting memorabilia adorns the walls which your guide will talk you through, before leaving you on the rooftop terrace to enjoy a cocktail and views across the Mekong & Tonle Sap rivers as the sun sets.
Re-joining your guide in the tuk-tuk, it’s time for a completely contrasting experience…Cambodian's don’t shy away from entomophagy (that’s ‘snacking on insects’ in layman’s terms), and they have long been seen as a good source of nutrition. Head down to the river where roadside stalls sell a variety of edible bugs which you will have the opportunity to try. Your guide is on hand to decipher the surprisingly tasty offerings.
Continue by tuk-tuk to the Russian Market. By day this market is a tourist hotspot, but come evening the food stalls come alive, attracting local diners with typical Khmer food such as Banh Chheo, chicken rice porridge and beef skewers. Choose what you wish to eat, pull up a plastic stool alongside the locals and soak up the atmosphere. Next up, and your final food stop for the evening, are the popular seafood stalls where you can enjoy freshly barbecued seafood before returning to your hotel, again by tuk-tuk.
Overnight in Phnom Penh
In 1975, after years of guerrilla warfare, the radical Communist Khmer Rouge party, under its leader Pol Pot, seized power of Cambodia and declared ‘year zero’. They immediately abolished money and private property, and ordered the entire population of Phnom Penh from their homes and into the countryside to cultivate the fields. Over the next three years an estimated 2 million Cambodians died, many from starvation and exhaustion. Many others were tortured and executed for being supposed ‘enemies of the state’.
During the morning you will have the opportunity to learn more about these terrible years, through visits to the infamous Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocidal Crimes and Choeung Ek, better known as the ‘Killing Fields’. It is an incredibly moving experience, but these are two visits you will be glad to have made. During your visit to Cambodia, you will barely meet a single person who didn’t lose a member of their family during these years, yet they are all willing to talk openly about it with you. They wish you to hear about it and see these places, to ensure that it never happens again.
Overnight in Phnom Penh