Cambodia’s Central Market reminds me of Thailand’s Chatuchak Market. It is a little more organized though. 🙂 I didn’t take many pictures here as I was largely kept busy munching tidbits like Cambodian doughnuts, quail egg balut, palm seed dessert, and other mostly sweet snacks. (Thank you, Seng, for buying all those yummy goodies for me to stuff my face with, just like I did to you in KL #paybacktime) 😀 If you’re visiting the Central Market, bring along your USD, and note that bargaining is mandatory and expected.
I’d brought just 250,000 Cambodian Riel (100USD) with me for this trip. And ended up spending about half of it only. I did not have to pay for accommodation and transport, and some of the meals were paid for by my pals. Yup. I feel super fortunate! 😀 😀 And I didn’t buy anything at the Central Market. My SG pals got some cool shades at the very first stall they encountered. It’s not something I’ll usually do – I might scout around for a better deal first. But as we had our Cambodian pals helping us with the bargaining, I guess it made sense.
This is the flower stall that became our meeting point for the group (picture taken with shaking hands while getting off the van, I guess)
And here’s my Thai friend gamely trying on some expensive (20USD?) wigs:
One of my hobbies in the past was prawning but I have since stopped. Though it is a really thrilling sport, it is rather cruel. Still, the sight of these mega prawns (you can’t really tell their size from this picture, but trust me, they are BIG) set my heart racing again. The exhilaration of landing a big catch at the prawning pond is beyond words: feeling that tug on the line, and battling the prawn as it tries to stay in the water while I ‘wrestle’ it to the surface, maintaining a careful tension so I don’t jerk the line too much and have the hook ripping through the prawn’s mouth. 😄 Ahh… those were the (cruel) days.
Now I just snap pictures, ok:
And then there’s this weird-looking marine creature with a hideous hide and yellow legs:
No one seemed to know what those creatures are. But I’m DEFINITELY not having them on my dinner plate. Ever.
~ Watt Phnom ~
Watt Phnom is a Buddhist temple in Phnom Penh. And beyond that, I cannot tell you anything else about it (try Wikipedia instead) because we did not proceed up those stairs. We did take the obligatory tourists shots here though. Our Cambodian friends tell us that the view at the top is not worth the entrance fee. You have to pay 1USD per person just to visit Watt Phnom – it’s not an unreasonable sum, but if the locals say we shouldn’t, then we don’t. There’s a security guard house near the foot of the stairs. And should you loiter too long here taking your free tourist pictures, you’ll get dirty looks shot your way. 😉
I did see some people hawking food though. And you can even spot their children studying right next to them. Somehow, such a sight causes a stirring in my heart. The children in Singapore are so fortunate: they sit at desks to revise their homework, use the coolest Smiggle stationery, see better with the help of desk lamps, and most likely have air-conditioning in their study rooms and/or bedrooms. And they have the cheek to complain, when they should be seizing every opportunity to develop to their fullest potential! *sigh* And yes, even I am guilty of being ungrateful sometimes, and not counting my blessings enough. That’s why these trips are important!
~ Random Snaps Around The City ~
This photo was taken from the van we were on, hence the reflective bit in the middle. This is Cambodia’s Independence Monument. According to Wikipedia, it was “built in 1958 for Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953”. It looks even more stunning at night, as there are water sprays and multi-colored lights. Do keep an eye out for it. 🙂
And here’s a Cambodian tuk tuk:
It is different from Thailand’s tuk tuks. Cambodia’s tuk tuks are essentially motorbikes with an attachment at the back. I did not get the chance to ride in one of them, but I did watch enviously at tourists sitting in them. Ahaha! 😀
And one final interesting sight in Cambodia is the row of balloon sellers you can find lining major roads. It’s apparently the latest fad right now: gentlemen buy these balloons for their girlfriends. I’m not sure how I would react should my other half pop by my place with these balloons. 😉
We DID see a guy holding onto what must be some 20 balloons when we boarded the Chom Ka Snea boat tour. We’d all thought that some wedding proposal must be happening soon. And one of my Cambodian pals was brave enough to step forward and ask the guy what was happening. As it turned out, it was a birthday celebration for his girlfriend. So we all wished her a happy birthday. 😀 (And secretly wondered about the number of balloons he’ll need to buy for a proposal – maybe hundreds and hundreds of them).
*The boat is berthed at the “floating port in Bopha Phnom Penh Titanic Restaurant, Riverside along Preah Sisowath Quay”. It costs USD5 per pax. We went after the sun had set so it became a night cruise of sorts. Do go at a more opportune time to get some pictures of the sunset, ya!
Stay tuned for my final post about our visit to the Royal Palace in Cambodia. 🙂
And click on the links below to read my Cambodia Travelogue posts:
- My Visit to Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum a.k.a. S-21
- My Stay at a Singaporean-owned Guest House in Cambodia, and a study tour at Brown Coffee & Bakery
- My Top 5 Recommendations for Food in Cambodia, plus a few others for the adventurous palate
- My experience volunteering at a Cambodian Orphanage 🙂 *Make sure you visit the right orphanages!