Linger at the Royal Palace grounds
Phnom Penh's Royal Palace may be small scale compared to neighbor Bangkok's Grand counterpart, but it is also devoid of the masses that beseige the latter attraction. Aside from Angkor Wat, it is Cambodia's premier architectural masterpiece to be lingered over. There are those that take every precaution and still get stomach ailments when traveling in third world countries. They have some crazy idea that food prepared in more upscale restaurants is safer. This is certainly not always the case and, worse yet, leads them to miss out on some of the best experiences with regard to the local culture. And they sometimes miss out on some good food to boot.
Cambodia as a rule was not a culinary delight and its capital of Phnom Penh was disappointing as big Asian cities go, but with some diligent investigation, I found some interesting foods though I got more than my fair share of belly aches and worse en route. I guess finishing off what tasted like fermented fish even though it went well with fried plantains was not my best tactical maneuver. That said, I would not have forgone ice if it meant missing out on the fruit shake girl. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Silver Pagoda: Wat Preah Keo,...
Silver Pagoda: Wat Preah Keo, Next to Royal Palace
The Royal Palace tickets are valid here. 7:30-11, 14:30-17
Pagoda of Emerald Buddha. The floor is covered with over 5000 silver tiles.No photography inside the pagoda. The 17th C Emerald Buddha statue is made of Baccarat crystal. Also on display are a number of other Buddha's, relics and presents from foreign.
Royal Palace: Royal residence - only a small section is open to the public.Access only with a guide from Silver Pagoda 7:30-11:30,14:30-17:00, admission $10, Camera $2, Video $5, The ticket valid for Silver Pagoda.
Throne Room, Main building left of entrance. Built in 1917 in Khmer style. Houses Royal thrones, and a sacred gong. The walls are painted with scenes from the Ramayana.
Royal Treasury Built 1866, S of throne room.
Napoleon III villa Originally belonged to Empress Eugenie.
Cambodian culture and customs has a rich and varied history dating back many centuries and has been heavily influenced by India. In turn, Cambodia has also greatly influenced Thailand and Laos.
Cambodian teachings include that if a person does not wake up before sunrise, they are lazy.
You must tell your parents or elders where you are going and what time you will be home.
If you slam a door then you must have a bad temper, always sit with your legs straight down and not crossed, (crossing your legs shows you are impolite) and always let other people talk more than you.
The greater a persons age, the greater level of respect must be shown to them. Everyone in Khmer culture is given a hierarchical title before their name, in some cases names are shortened with the title added before the name is given.
Some elders are referred to by a family title even though there may be no relation, out of respect to their seniority in life. Referring to someone by the wrong title is a sign of disrespect and would be taken as improper parenting or lack of respect for the elders.
Most Cambodians wear a checkered scarf which is called a Krama.
This scarf is used for many purposes such as for style, protection from the sun, an aid for your feet when climbing trees, a hammock for children, a towel or even as a sarong.
Under the Khmer Rouge all Khmer were forced to wear a red checkered krama.
In Khmer culture a persons head is believed to contain the persons soul, so it is taboo to touch or point your feet towards the head.
It is also disrespectful to point or sleep with your feet pointing at another person as the feet are the lowest part of the body and considered impure.
In Khmer weddings it is the groom who carries the brides scarf and stays with the brides family, this symbolizes that he is from afar and marrying into her family.
The wedding ritual takes three days and the bride and groom wear garments decorated with jewellery as a sign of respect to their parents and are surrounded by family and guests.
They also pray to the monks for a happy life.
Today most Khmers in Cambodia and overseas celebrate with both a traditional Khmer wedding and western style wedding.
Khmer Classical Dance
Khmer Classical Dance is also known as Khmer Royal Ballet or Khmer Court Dance, it is a form of dance originally performed only for Royalty.
In the Khmer language it is called robam preah reachea trop which means "dances of Royal wealth."
The dances have many elements in common with Thai classical dance, more than likely as a result of the Royal Khmer Court exchanging culture with the Royal Thai court throughout the post Angkor period.
Khmer and Thai classical dance costumes also were very similar but the Khmer dance and costumes have changed slightly due to reforms bought in by the former Queen of Cambodia Kossamak Nearireath.
During the mid 20th century Khmer Classical Dance was introduced to the public where it is now a celebrated icon of Khmer culture and is often performed during public events, holidays and for tourists.
Vernacular dance (or social dance) are dances which are danced at social gatherings.
Though it is acceptable to wear smart casual dress to most temples and pagodas - including those at Angkor - visitors to the Royal Palace's Silver Pagoda are expected to dress a little more formally, with men wearing long trousers and women in long skirts.
Shoes are generally removed before entering pagodas.
Cambodians greet each with a bow and a prayer like gesture called a Sompeah, the younger or lower ranked person normally initiating the gesture.
Acting calmly and quietly - especially when under duress is recommended, while displays of bad temper, especially in public, will make a bad situation worse.
Permission should be sought before taking photographs of people, especially monks and hill tribe villagers.
I wasn't sure where to put this as it is considered off the beaten path since it's about a 30minute Tuk Tuk ride away. However, it is a must do so it could have been listed under things to do as well.
The Killing Fields were a number of sites in Cambodia where large numbers of people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979. At least 200,000 people were executed by the Khmer Rouge (while estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.4 to 2.2 million out of a population of around 7 million). In 1979 Vietnam invaded the country, which at that time was officially called Democratic Kampuchea, and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime.
These type of places never leave me in a good mood. I find it horrible and disgusting and having also been to a couple of concentration camps in my time, this site falls into that same category. It just wasn't talked about as much, which is a shame.
The View from the Top
This area was most awesome and inspiring place I have ever been to (along with the Great wall). The main temple of Angkor Wat rose up to 3 enclosures on the inside. You can climb to the 3rd level, up stone stairs of no more than a few inches in depth and up a 60 degree angle. It was pretty frightening going almost vertically up. Once on top, the view was superb.
Location : Angkor Wat