Good Morning Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

21 January 2008


Like I said before, I made sure that I made used of the moleh that we spent at Hope & Anchor. I woke up at 530 AM to catch the sunrise and it was absolutely gorgeous. I saw the locals go about doing their morning routine. Exercising, getting ready to open their store or just hanging around the riverfront. It is so peaceful in the morning. The noise pollution is almost non-existent during this hour. I just sat there at the balcony until around 615 AM and then I went downstairs to the riverfront. I saw the fishermen making their living for the day… It was a lovely sight. It’s worth the pain of waking up really early! =)

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We checked out at around 8 AM and check in at our new guest house. The friendly Mekong Palace Hotel at Sisowath Quay.


And then we head off to do our tourist duty… First stop… fill in the increasingly bulging tummy. We had breakfast at this local noodle place somewhere near the National Museum. They have English-speaking staff there and the food was really cheap! We had rice vermicilli soup with beef and it was simply delicious! They had this special sauce along with it, it was spicy and sweet… the sweetness actually tasted like brown sugar/gula malaka… SHIOK!

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After we got our tummy fixed, we head off to the National Museum. They display Pre-Angkor, Angkor and Buddhist statue there. Pretty cool. US$3 entry free and I suggest you to hire a guide, it’ll cost you US$5 extra but it’s worth it. Your guide will put words and meaning to the statues and by the end of the tour, you can differentiate between Pre Angkorian and Angkorian era statues AND you can even tell from which century it came from! hehehe… before you know it you’ll be as nerdy as Mr Lee! wakakkakaka… I kid … I kid Mr Lee, you know I love you… xoxo bitchy V.



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The self-trained tour guide with two gangho door bitchess… you betta dress like a tourist before you enter the museum bitch!

Before you know it… it’s time to… fill in our bulging tummy again… LUNCHHHHHHHHH!

We went to the ever inventive and creative in naming their sandwich shop place call… THE SHOP! It’s located at Street 240 #39. I’m really impressed with the Cambodian’s ability to make pastries… they really know what they’re doing, the French sure left something right to their colony. The price ranges between as little as US$ 1.5 to US$8. I had a mushroom bruchetta with parmesan…. YUMMEH!!! The portion was little though and I was hungry again by 4 PM 😉 Oh and they served these funky juice drinks that are deffo worth for you to try!

Infernal affairs agents seen entering “The Shop”





After lunch off we went to The Russian Market for a little bit of shopping because it was too early to visit anything. Places are open from 730 – 11 AM and then 2 – 5 PM. So we took tuk tuk to take us to the Russian Market, The Killing Fields (Choeung Ek Memorial), S-21 (Toul Sleng Genocide Museum) and then back to our hotel. Take note that these places are quite a distance away from the riverfront. It’s not like the National Museum or the Palace which are in walking distance. But do bargain if the Tuk tuk dude says it’s gonna cost you US$20. We managed to hire him for US$10, be human and don’t be too thrifty when you bargain cos it’s fuckin far.

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Beware, the following post will be more serious. There are gruesome pictures but it’s very important to know Cambodia’s history to understand where they are right now… Cambodia was ruled by the Khmer Rouge, it’s a communist political party that came to power in 1975 – 1979 and let by the infamous Pol Pot. During those years blood were shed and injustice occurred. The Khmer Rouge followed a radical form of agrarian communism where the whole population had to work in collective farms or forced labor projects.

The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. It’s their way of “cleansing” the Cambodians.

All over Cambodia, researcher had estimated there were more than 1 million people killed.

The Killing field (Entry charge US$2) is 15 KM southwest of Phnom Penh. It is the biggest location where the Khmer Rouge regime executed and mass buried their victims. There were more than 17,000 men, women and children buried here. These kind of mass grave were found all over Cambodia.


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We moved on to S-21 (Toul Sleng Genocide Museum) [entry charge US$2] where the Khmer Rouge interrogated and torture their inmates. Toul Sleng was actually a high school and they turned this building into a prison! It is now lies as the witness of all those lost souls.



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You can see pictures of the inmates on display, there are never ending rows pictures of men, women and CHILDREN! And you can tell from the look in their eyes that they have surrendered their faith in the hands of their torturer! Some men have deviant look in their eyes, some gave in, but the women… the women have the helpless look in their eyes… it’s just heart wrenching… It’s as if they know… they are going to die… The younger children don’t know what’s going on… but the older ones are scared… you can just tell by the look in their eyes…

The Khmer Rouge ruled the country for only four years and they managed to create such causalities that it was unbearable to comprehend. And to think that this inhuman act happened only less than 30 years ago…


This picture of a woman and her baby really touched me. I took this picture from two different angles and it created such an effect that I feel her gaze just follow where my camera was pointing… Her eyes… I couldn’t take it after seeing this picture that I had to get out to catch some air…


This was their torturing chamber and they displayed the picture of the victims found dead in that chamber in 1979.

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Pictures of the dead victims.



After that very depressing visit, we went back to our hotel to clean up and take a lil’ rest and regain our happy juice… It’s our last night in Phnom Penh so we wanna check out the night scene there. You don’t have to worry of running out of bars cos at Sisowath Quay, there are so many of ’em.


We decided to have a Khmer meal at this restaurant call Ponlok. It’s located on 319 Sisowath Quay. We had fish amok and crab meat fried rice, stir fry veggy and some local sour soup. The Amok was served inside a coconut… fawkin cute! Excellent meal y’all! It’s pricier for a local restaurant but as long as you don’t buy the seafood, it’s still affordable.



My coconut shake bring all ’em boys to the yard… THAT’S RIGHT IS BETTA THAN YOURS! I can teach you but I have to CHARGE!!!

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After dinner we had some drinks and hang out for a while at this cozy bar call Corner Bar accross the street from Hope & Anchor… and then we called it a night…

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Tuesday, 22nd January would be our last day and we made a stop at the Palace!


Expect the unexpected at Phnom Penh

In between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh

20 January 2008

We went to Phnom Penh on our fourth day. We took the 1230 PM bus from Siem Reap. We used Mekhong Express and it cost us US$10 per person. They have two scheduled bus, you can choose to take the earlier bus which departs at 730 AM but we decided to re-lek’ jek’ first at the hotel. The ride took around 6 hours. It was really an enjoyable bus ride no hurdle at all, I fell asleep most of the time… surprise surprise 😉  A little bit of advice… when you book the bus, request for A&B seats Ok, don’t take ours which were C&D cos the sun shines at C&D side! Seriously I should have known that it was a sign that I can’t escape from the sun… later I’ll tell you why!

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We reached Phnom Penh slightly after 6 just in time for the sunset…


The moment you see lots of run down houses stacking side by side, you know you’re reaching the capital city of a third-world country… The same scenery can be seen in rural Jakarta as well.


On our first night, we stayed at Hope and Anchor, a guest house at Sisowath Quay facing the Tonle Sap river. It’s actually quite a cozy place, with a balcony overlooking the river, but it’s overpriced for the facilities and the owner is a burly old Brit dude who was rather nasty. He charged us US$40 per room, but we asked for a discount and he finally gave in and gave it to us for US$30 per room. Mel and Mr Lee were really good at doing this! I kept quite, am useless at this cos I know we were on the losing end… We had made reservation already and agreed upon the price… oh well… Mel & Jeff went around to look for other rooms earlier and they had found a nice guest house with a lot friendlier service and better price as well! It’s mekhong guest house and it’s still facing the river… minus the balcony… . So we moved out on the second day. Mr Lee and I shared a US$20 on the highest floor – the 5th floor, Jefissa shared a US$15 room on the ground floor. I guess the Hope & Anchor owner charged the balcony separately, like US$20!


Hope & Anchor

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After all the drama in our lives, we went down to check out where we can eat, and we were cravings for food other than Khmer foods=) We went to this nice little cozy place call Veiyo Tonle (Number 237 Sisowath Quay) that serves Italian food, burgers, fish n chips and also some Khmer food. The Small size Pizza cost around US$5 and it tastes really good. They have plenty of pizzas for you to choose from! No… they don’t have any special ingredients that will make you feel ECSTATIC cos this restaurant is actually a day centre that helps and train orphanage and disadvantage kids. They have dance performance there on selected days (Mondays, but you have to check with them for other days). Too bad we didn’t manage to catch it.



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Sorry no pizza pics… way too famish to take pics cos we skipped lunch!

Afterwards we walked around the area to check out the scenery. We walked towards this shady alley where there were zero angmohs and plenty of locals… and let me tell you Cambodian are big on Karaoke man! hahaha… We saw this little cafe somewhere in the dark alley It’s call  Sakhanda Cafe. It was so nice and cozy and we only saw one old angmoh couple and they charge in real! The coffee is good and you should deffo check it out. It’s at No. 77 Oknha Inn (St 136)




My personal agenda tom… to make use of the US$20 balcony and catch the sunrise!!!

Third day is a charm!

Siem Reap, Cambodia

19 January 2008

Last day of our Angkor Temples pilgrimage… We rented the car for the whole day, which cost US$25. We managed to visit 9 sites so be prepared there are TONS of pics!

Sunrise at Pre Rup (No. 13 on the map)Utterly beautiful! It was pitch black when we went up to the third storey but it was worth it! I didn’t move from my spot until I can see what’s going on around me! Yes I’m chicken shizzz when it comes to total darkness! We arrived around 5.45 AM and the sun went all out by 6.15 AM. Gorgeous!





East Mebon (No. 11 on the map)

This is the Hindu temple buit by Rajendravarman II. It’s like the mini version of Pre Rup. I heart the elephant statues that surrounded the complex, make a pretty cool outline pics.





OH MY GOD! I look so CUTE in this picture! WAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

Banteay Srei (No. 14 on the map)

This Hindu temple is dedicated to Shiva, very definely-designed bas-reliefs. Banteay Srei means Citadel of the Women and it said it must have been built by a woman because of the fine carvings are too delicate for the hand of a man!!! Way the go ladies from the ancient Angkor! Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it so much because the joint was swamped with tourists by the time we reached there!




Ta Som (No. 29 on the map)

It was built by Jayavarman VII, my hero… the narcissistic King of all Kings! Which explains the avalokitesvara, just like what we saw at the Bayon. There was this huge tree there and we sure didn’t waste the opportunity!;)


I heart this pic… beautiful but yet somehow sad…




You and me… and me and you… We’re so happy togetherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr





Preah Neak Pean (No. 28 on the map)

It has a large square pool surrounded by four smaller square pools. I could so imagine in the old days where the place was filled with WATER and there were tons of gorgeous men and women bathing there! hihihi… wishful thinking;)


Preah Khan(No. 27 on the map)

This would be my third favorite temple (first was Bayon, second Angkor Wat). It’s humongous with never ending corridors and tons of photos opportunities! It was built by… drum roll please… yup Jayavarman VII!

The walkways towards the temple itself is awesome.


As you can see, Mr Lee has found a perfect place to rest his head! =)


Check out my background… a big prick holding even a BIGGER prick! HAUHAHAHAHHAHA


I heart the overwhelming mysterious feeling that I got from Preah Khan! It’s just mystical to me… It must have been super duper grandeur during its prime.







All together now… “FIERCE!!!”


Viatch channeling her childhood hero, the one and only… Michael Jordan!


Mr Lee… channeling Bugs Bunny when he cross-dresses in “What’s Opera, Doc?” Just imagine Mr Lee wearing this:


Sra Srang (No. 26 on the map)
Relaxing by the Sra Srang, the pool of Ablutions.



Last stop! Ta Prohm (No. 24 on the map)

This was used as Tomb Raider’s movie set… It is left to be swallowed by the jungle. Beautiful bas-reliefs, ruins and large trees, best if you visit it in the late afternoon during the golden hour cos you can get gorgeous ray of light on your pics.







GREAT SUCCESS!!! Off we go to Phnom Penh!

Second day was just a preamble

Siem Reap, Cambodia

18 January 2008


After our eggs or pancakes American breakfast, we continued our journey to the ancient world of Angkor Temples. Next stop is the Angkor Thom Complex, which is located north of Angkor Wat. It is some 10 sq km in extent and was built by Angkor’s greatest king, Jayavarman VII (r1181 – 219). It may have supported a population of one million people in the surrounding region. We started out with the city centre, which is the Bayon (No. 31 on the Map).






The Bayon is my favorite temple cos of its unique decoration. It has a colections of 216 humongous faces of avalokitesvara; which surprise surprise, bear a passing resemblance to the great king Jayavarman VII himself. Hey… a dude who knows how to leave a legacy… what’s not to love! Hail to the narcissist y’all!


Amazing bas-reliefs (even though it wasn’t as extensive as Angkor Wat, but hey… it still took a lot of effort to craft all ’em stones y’all) incorporating more than 11,000 figures that depicts everyday life in 12th century Cambodia.



Ok ’nuff of ’em artistic shots… here are my fav pics:


Hanoman strutting his style: “This is why… This is Why… This is Why Am HAWT!”


My emo’est shot EVER!


Who’s going to be Cambodia’s Next Top Relic Hunter? Is it Melly the farting princess, whose “silent and deadly fart” is capable of killing a nation? Or will it be Viatch the Sex warrior – seen in the picture with her two loyal sex minions?! Stay tuned for the battle of the century!

Aiitteeee let’s move on to the next temple at Angkor Thom – Baphuon (No. 18 on the map). I heart the catwalk – it’s 200m elevated walkway made of sandstone.


Mel had one of her MANY bimbo moments here. We were reading the info board on Baphuon when she triumphantly laughed at one of the info and said: “hehehe… they didn’t know when the temple was built so they put XX century here!” and we all looked at her… “It’s TWENTIETH century Mel!”, and she was like… “oh…” ROFL!!! I heart traveling with Mel!

After Baphuon, we visited Phimeanakas... I didn’t go up cos I was exhausted so I just lay low and waited for the rest to come back.



It was around noon and it was really really HAWT! Luckily we took the path that were sheltered by trees. We were on our way to see Preah Palilay that has huge tree comin out of it. I heart the trees there… they are humongous and in silver color… they have character!




We followed the pathway towards the east and found ourselves at the bottom of the Leper King Terrace (No. 37 on the map). It is a 7m-high platform and was built in the 12th century. It is said that the Leper King Terrace housed the royal crematorium.



Just south of the Terrace of the Leper King, lies 350m-long Terrace of Elephants (No. 36 on the map) that was used as a giant viewing stand for public ceremonies and served asa a base for the king’s grand audience hall. It reminds me of Singapore’s Marina Bay being used for viewing NDP!


Another Mel’s infamous bimbo moment occurred here as well! hehehe… We were walking and Mel’s dilapidated shoes finally gave up on her… She said “Eh… where’s my shoe sol! How come suddenly my foot felt so hot one!” In loving memories of Mel’s dilapidated tennis shoes… May it rest in peace!


FINALLY IT’S LUNCH TIME! We went back to the city and ended our trip to Angkor Temples for the day. We didn’t want to eat there cos the hawker foods are the same price as restaurant foods outside the temples and it’s mainly consist of instant noodles.

We went back to the Alley and had our lunch at Khmer Kitchen Restaurant where we wanted to have our dinner the other night. It’s cheaper than the “Traditional Khmer Food Restaurant” but the Amok was not as nice. We also tried baked shrimps with pumpkin and it’s really nice! Totally Recommended! As always, food pics are with Mr Lee. I will upload them once I got the pics from him=)



I’ve found my soul mate!!! The Bayon beer! It’s not as light as Lao beer and not as bitter as Angkor beer. It’s JUST NICE!!! HEART IT! A must try y’all!

We went to the New Market to do a lil’ shopping. Unfortunately unlike Thailand, it doesn’t really have a lot of variety of souvenirs… mainly scarfs, artifacts, gems stones, shirts and t-shirts.

And at night we continue to indulge ourselves in gluttony=) We tried out the roadside food, which was very cheap and fully loaded in MSG! hahaha We had a variety of soupy and fried rice noodles and maggie mee.



Nope… we didn’t stop there… we moved on to a Pizza place cos we wanted to try Cambodia’s special pizza. The joint is called “Ecstatic Pizza”; the name itself is self-explanatory. And you will be greeted by an extremely Ecstatic waiter who laughed non-stop, and that dearie, is a really good sign! We had the meltdown- four cheese pizza babeehhh with da special herbs, and I ain’t talkin abt Oregano K! I recommend you to have more than 3 large pizzas to feel really really ecstatic though! and DON’T FORGET THE BEER!!! I tried Crown Beer this time around.. not bad… but Bayon is still my first love!




The day when it all started

17 Jan 2008

We left Singapore on 6 AM flight… that’s right SIX freakin AM… I stayed over at Mel’s house and it was a really freakin LONG day at the office, but I was pretty excited about the trip! Woke up at 3 am and dozed off the moment the plane took off. Mr Lee the oh so dedicated reporter didn’t sleep at all cos he had to finish up his work! Poor thing, but afraid not, being the total savvy and NERDY traveler, he blew himself a head rest… Thank god the infamous snorer didn’t snore on the flight… or maybe he did… but I wouldn’t know cos I passed out most of the time=)


After two hours flight from Singapore, we finally arrived at Siem Reap international airport. It was surprisingly cold when we step out of the plane. It was aircon cold so it’s cool. We went down to the immigration… and I tell you it felt like I’m back home in Jakarta cos the immigration likes to take their time and the amount of chops they put on our passport! AND as part of ASEAN members, I still have to pay US$20 for my visa and an additional US$2 for them to scan my passport pics since I didn’t bring a passport size picture. I didn’t have to pay for a visa when I went to Vietnam y’all!


Well anyway the hotel picked us up from the airport and took us to our hotel, Auberge mont royal d’angkor. It’s a small cozy hotel, with excellent hospitality and strategically located near the Psar Cha (10 min walk), where all the pubs and restaurants are located. The room is clean and it cost US$33 per night including breakfast and airport pick up. Me and Mr Lee shared a room. It is considered a budget-boutique hotel… After we had a surprisingly cheap – US$2 for a hotel American breakfast set meal – Mr Lee and Jefissa concussed while I hang out at the bar, drank my first Angkor Beer, and finally had the time to read about Siem Reap! hahaha This is the least-planned holiday I’ve ever had! When I went to Vietnam, me and Gani spent almost a month to plan our trip. But we visited 6 cities in Vietnam and traveled from North to South so we needed to plan more for that. This happened in end of Dec 2006! hahaha. I hope I have time to post the pictures! Anyway back to Cambodia… since we are only going to visit two places Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, we decided to plan our itinerary on the spot! Which was fine cos we wanted to visit the major places and of course taste the local cuisine:) (and for me: to taste as much local beer as I could).




When everybody had woken up and looked reasonably presentable for others:) we decided to start our holiday by making a trip to the amazing Angkor Wat. We hired a car which cost us US$10 cos it’s already late afternoon, and we bought the three days pass which cost us US$40 each. And it was a good idea to rent a car cos it was super hot and dusty, plus it’s economical, there were four of us sharing:)

A little background about the temples of Angkor; they are the soul of the Kingdom of Cambodia, not to mention the source of income for most Khmers as they attract tourists in the peak months of November – March. The principal attractions are Angkor Wat, and my all time favorite, the Bayon, in the walled city of Angkor Thom. Three days is just enough time for you to discover and appreciate the beauty and the history of the Angkor Temples, less than that, would be your lost. These temples dated back more than 1000 years-old. That dearie, is enough reason for y’all to come and visit this magnificent architectural breakthrough of its time… Not only the pieces together millions of rocks, but they also crafted bas-reliefs along all of those temples which mainly tells the story of the epic battle of Mahabharata and Ramayana which were major texts in Hinduism.

This is the map of the Angkor temples complex that I got from this site


The moment I saw Angkor wat, I was sold! It was utterly stunning! It was build by King Suryavarman II back in 1112-52 and it is surrounded by a moat, which forms a giant rectangle measuring 1.5 km by 1.3 km. It’s hugeeeeeeeeee.




We went around to see the bas-reliefs on the outside of the central temple (which you must read anti clockwise) and it took us a while to see all nine of them… and we haven’t even entered the central complex yet. Smart arse Mr Lee reasoned that the best way to understand the stories on the wall is by running alongside the walls and the scenes will be connected just like cartoon! hahaha Smart arse… but we did try… and went out of breath in less than 2 minutes=)



Below are the pictures taken from the central complex.





I think we spent almost 3.5 hours at Angkor Wat… please bring enough water, cos you need it and don’t forget to apply sunscreen, it’s mighty hot out there!


We wanted to enjoy the sunset from another temple, Our driver, Mr Ping brought us to Phnom Bakheng, at which we could see Angkor wat from there… but hell… it was a bloody tourist trap! TOO MANY PEOPLE there for us to actually enjoy the sunset… but honestly… looking at the sunset there, it was hard not to appreciate it! I’ve never seen the sun so round and so red before in my life… It was like seeing a ping pong ball slowly slipping down towards eternity.



After spending half-a-day at Angkor Wat, we went back to our hotel, took the best shower in our life… separately… and went down to Psar Cha (Old market) area to have our first Khmer dinner. We wanted to go to Khmer Kitchen restaurant, located at The Alley-between Bar Street and Psar Chaa which is recommended by our bible, “Lonely Planet: Cambodia”, but it was fuckin crowded… knowing we’re way too famished to wait, we decided to try out “the Traditional Khmer food Restaurant” instead. We had Khmer famous traditional dish call Amok, it’s basically sweet curry, and you can choose between fish, chicken, beef or pork Amok, we tried their vegetable curry, which was like Malay’s vegetable curry only sweeter and we had fresh vegetable spring rolls… it was yummeh! Mr Lee have all the food pics… I was too weak and hungry to take any pics… the pics you’ll see are after i refueled myslf:)

Ohhh… and I had my first Beer Lao there… I still prefer Angkor Beer cos Beer Lao is way too light for me… Lager Queen=)


Bar Street


The Alley



Melisa… Kenyang Bego!


Mr Lee is such a sweetheart! When it was bed time, he patiently waited until I fell asleep before he slept cos he knows I can’t sleep when someone snores… and believe me Mr Lee snores… REAL HARD! hahaha I witnessed it at noon when he concussed and dang I thought someone was lawn mowing inside the room! hehehe…. thanks Mr Lee for being such a sweetheart!

Ok tom I’ll post the rest of the pics… It’s time for me to doze offfffffffffff NITE y’all