3 Days at Cambodia – Day 1: to Phnom Penh


It has been a while since I write the last post about Yomiuri Land, Tokyo, and upload some pics in Serenity topic. I turned back to the daily life busy working for budget for a next trip. And when I have some days-off in Lunar New Year, I chose Cambodia a new destination, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap particularly.

From Ho Chi Minh City, I went 70km to border gates Moc Bai, in Vietnam side, and Bavet in Cambodia side. Just right after leaving Bavet, you can easily see a lot of casinos there alongside the road. Some people say it isn’t good getting in so I bypassed it and went straight away to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Cambodia’s Royal Palace

After taking a snap at hotel, I went to the Royal Palace, an areas with many buildings to serve the King and royal family. It’s still looked new even started building at 1866.

A special tree in the King's gardenThis tree is called Sala in Vietnamese (or you can search for Shorea robusta in wiki). A kind of tree imported from India. In Buddhism, they believe it’s a holy tree besides Bodhi tree. At Cambodia, you can find many of this tree at pagoda or sacred places. I feel it a bit weird but when Google it, it’s quite beautiful while blossoming.

A giant, mushroom-like tree in the King's garden at Phnom Penh
A giant, mushroom-like tree in the King’s garden
Chanchhaya Pavilion
The Chanchhaya Pavilion

In the picture is Chanchhaya Pavilion, it’s the place for the King to have party and for Royal Dancers. This building is constructed at 1913 – 14.

Besides that, in the area there are also 8 other buildings for different purposes of use. First, the Throne Hall for meetings. Second, Hor Samran Phirun, the house for resting and waiting. Third, Hor Samrith Phimean, currently served as a museum for Royal costumes, weapons, tools, etc.. Next, the Napoleon III Pavilion is the only Europe style construction in this area. It was initially for use of Empress Eugenie of France, wife of Napoleon III, in 1869. Fifth, Phochani Pavilion originally is a dance theater. There is also a Royal Office placed at Damnak Chan building. The Khemarin Palace is for resident purpose. And finally, the Villa Kantha Bopha with western style for foreign guest.

At this area, there is also a flagstaff. To explain, if the flag is raised mean that the King is currently here at the Palace.

The Cambodia King's clothes for each weekdays, displayed in Royal Palace in Phnom Penh
The King’s shirts are displayed in the museum within the area. Here officers and staffs have different color shirts to wear each day.

And it can be remember by an ancient poem –
Red is for Sunday,
Orange truly looks like a beautiful moon,
Purple is reserved for Tuesday,
Wednesday is the green of the lieb plant
Thursday is the yellowish green of the leaves of a banana palm
Happy Friday is blue and must be tidy,
Saturday is the color of ripe pring (a type of plum) according to the ages

Cambodian King's weapon in the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh
The King’s weapon, it’s used in the past war. A symbol for the Royal’s power in the past and a treasure now.

These are places of worship called ‘Silver Pagoda’ which is next to the Royal Palace. In Cambodian culture, Sala tree and elephant are important. As Sala connects them with Buddha and elephants are their friends in traditional stories, you can see Cambodian respects with those.

Phnom Penh’s Biggest Casino – Naga World

Leaving the traditional and cultural of Cambodian behind, I started the afternoon by having a city tour. Then, I visit one of the biggest casino at Phnom Penh, the Naga World. At Cambodia, you can easily find many symbols of Naga, a giant snake in the local’s legend. To generally describe, Naga was a king who absorbed the water to make the land Cambodia. Because it’s unable to take pictures in the game area, I just have some pics about the decoration, which is pretty nice.

Those places are all the popular destinations that tourists must visit while coming to Phnom Penh. However, in case that you want to check in an uncommon destination, there is Oudong, the old capital of Cambodia. You can take a tuk-tuk to do a day trip from Phnom Penh to Oudong, it’s just 40km away.

In my journey, I followed the common route from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. But first, let check out my next post ‘Day 2 at Cambodia – Khmer Food‘, the story of a very interesting place where locals sell and eat insects.

This article is now available online on GPSMyCity. Free download here to read offline and use it as a tour guide. Or upgrade with a small fee for a planned trip with destinations showed as written in the article.

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