Tonlé Sap and Phnom Penh


We had planned a quiet and relaxing ride to the boat that would depart for Phnom Penh early in the morning. Firstly the hotel had not booked the tuk-tuk. Secondly, the driver was the oldest driver we had ever seen, and thirdly when we were relieved to be on our way we saw signs for the airport! I almost freaked out, shouted through all the noise on the highway and got the answer I did not want – we were heading towards the airport. Our pulse was about 190 when we passed our hotel again. This time with no margins what so ever! But worry and stress won’t make any difference, so we enjoyed the landscape and arrived at the boat in time. The driver had put the pedal to the metal!

The relaxing ride on Tonlé Sap, the largest sweet water lake in South East Asia, is far better than the bus and well worth the high price. In the floating villages, there are restaurants, pig farms and plenty more to see. What a contrast to the bustling city of Phnom Penh! We hurried past all drivers and headed by foot to our hotel to leave our bags and take off to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. We had chosen a hotel by the river, between the boat and the Palace, since we wanted to be able to enjoy this New Year’s Eve on foot.

What a night! Thousands of friendly locals were partying all around the city, live music, and such a nice atmosphere – as long as we stayed away from the dark alleys which are almost everywhere. Nightlife in Phnom Penh for a mother and her daughter is to be enjoyed at the markets and by the river. We decided that this city was not for us, so we took the bus to Sihanoukville the next morning. Peace and quiet, white sandy beaches and crystal clear water seemed more to our liking. But how did it turn out? More to follow and read the book if you want the whole story.