Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 10 - Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River with Bangkok – Southbound

February 2015 - Cruising the Mekong

Day 10 February 15 Cruising: Phnom Penh

The capital city of Phnom Penh retains its French charm to this day. This morning, your sightseeing tour by private cyclo includes visits to the ROYAL PALACE with the spectacular SILVER PAGODA.

After breakfast we alighted to our personal rickshaws. You need to remember the number of your driver as he will take us to several places.
Kinal about to give us instruction on how to get in and old. No fingers on the wheels.

We head out, you have to understand that this is a crazy traffic city, cars and motorbikes everywhere!!

Yikes, I can touch this tour bus! People are taking pictures of us.

The NATIONAL MUSEUM, featuring an outstanding display of Khmer artifacts.

The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. It was built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma).

Outside as we gather with vendors of course.

No photos inside. We had to have our shoulders covered and the mens' shorts had to below the knee.
The guides are very careful what they say in case there is any misunderstanding.
For example, the current king is 61 and unmarried. Most people assume he is gay, but you wouldn't dare say it within these walls.

No cameras allowed and you must remove your shoes.

The Preah Thineang Dheva Vinnichay Mohai Moha Prasat or "Throne Hall"  means the "Sacred Seat of Judgement."

The Throne Hall is where the king's confidants, generals and royal officials once carried out their duties. It is still in use today as a place for religious and royal ceremonies (such as coronations and royal weddings) as well as a meeting place for guests of the King. The cross-shaped building is crowned with three spires.

Phiem, our tour director, taking a group photo with everyone's cameras.

The group

The establishment of the Royal Palace at Phnom Penh in 1866 is a comparatively recent event in the history of the Khmer and Cambodia. The seat of Khmer power in the region rested at or nearAngkor north of the Great Tonle Sap Lake from 802 AD until the early 15th century. After the Khmer court moved from Angkor in the 15th century after destroyed by Siam, it first settled in Phnom Penh which back then named as Krong Chatomok Serei Mongkol in 1434 (or 1446) and stayed for some decades, but by 1494 had moved on to Basan, and later Longvek and then Oudong.The capital did not return to Phnom Penh until the 19th century and there is no record or remnants of any Royal Palace in Phnom Penh prior to the 19th century. In 1813, King Ang Chan (1796–1834) constructed Banteay Kev (the 'Crystal Citadel') on the site of the current Royal Palace and stayed there very briefly before moving to Oudong. Banteay Kev was burned in 1834 when the retreating Siamese army razed Phnom Penh. It was not until after the implementation of the French Protectorate in Cambodia in 1863 that the capital was moved from Oudong to Phnom Penh, and the current Royal Palace was founded and constructed.

The Silver Pagoda is a compound located on the South side of the palace complex. It features a royal temple officially called Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot  but is commonly referred to as Wat Preah Keo. Its main building houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. Most notable is a small 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha (the "Emerald Buddha" of Cambodia) and a near-life-size, Maitreya Buddha encrusted with 9,584 diamonds dressed in royal regalia commissioned by King Sisowath. During King Sihanouk's pre-Khmer Rouge reign, the Silver Pagoda was inlaid with more than 5,000 silver tiles and some of its outer facade was remodeled with Italian marble.

Back to our rickshaws for the trip to the museum.

Felling like a queen!

National museum, no photos allowed inside.

We head back to the boat for lunch.

John snapped the egg delivery guy from his rickshaw.

Ok that is my beige knee as my rickshaw passes between these two cars.

The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore the city.

We relaxed onboard until around 4 PM, we then got a tuk tuk to give us a thirty minute city tour for $6.
Some of the others had headed out right after lunch to the market but it was too hot. We also wanted to stay out for dinner. We like to sample the local places when we can, the food on board is ok but not very exciting.

 He is very knowledgable and shows us the city map.

Furst stop to see the fruit bats in the park, yuck,

Phnom Penh (literally, "Penh's Hill") takes its name from the present Wat Phnom ("Hill Temple"). Legend has it that in 1372, a wealthy widow named Lady Penh found a Koki tree floating down the Tonle Sap river after a storm. Inside the tree were four bronze Buddha statues and a stone statue of Vishnu. Daun Penh ordered villagers to raise the height of the hill northeast of her house and used the Koki wood to build a temple on the hill to house the four Buddha statues, and a shrine for the Vishnu image slightly lower down. The temple became known as Wat Phnom Daun Penh, which is now known as Wat Phnom, a small hill 27 metres (89 ft) in height.

 There are 1.5 million people in Phnom Penh.

Bread delivery

We had the tuk tuk driver drop us at the Central Market. I bought two skirts and a shirt.

We looked for somewhere to have a beer and stopped at a sidewalk bar, when we asked for a draft beer we were directed to their rooftop terrace.

We then grabbed a tuk tuk to take us back near the boat, but I don't think the driver could read English so we got out close to the boat but near the night market.

Oh my Buddha! This is an amazing market. it is full of locals and they choose their food and then sit on the ground, shoes off and enjoy.

We found a restaurant to eat in, right on the street and had a lot of fun people watching.

  Just before dinner, children from a local orphanage will put on a SHOW featuring local song and dance. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

It seemed to be a big deal when we arrived back and met our tour director that we hadn't come back for the show and dinner, I'm amazed no one else stayed out. This was a little annoying "having to explain".


  1. Hello Jackie .. What can I say??? Apart from Amazing place, they sure do live in a totally different way to you and I. It looks fascinating. Cannot believe they sit on the floor to eat ! Bizarre. So much to see , I can imagine you have thousands of photos , not surprised. My husband would love the Buddahs and temples , he seems to be into this sort of thing in the last year. But they do make very interesting photography , just like the Bats and the egg delivery man. And of course you Queen of Sheba :-) .. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Marvelous shots, and such a different part of the world from what I'm used to.


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