Cambodia is the kingdom of wonder. You have heard that, right? No-w, let me ask you. Have you ever felt belong to somewhere that you visited before? Oh right, how about Cambodia specifically? Ever felt belong here?
An old saying goes,
“To feel belong to a country, you need to feel and experience the depth of its culture.”
Regardless of how many countries you have been to, it will not be meaningful enough if you do not feel belong there. Sometimes, it might be boring if you do not feels belong. However, no longer need to worry.
Read this article to find out what to do to feel belong in Cambodia in just 5 days.
Please note that you should have arrived a day before these 5 days activities starts.
Woke up on the broad daylight, open your curtain, take a shower and wear something comfortable. Afterwards, open the door to walk outside then look at the sky, say to the sky of Cambodia that, “Yo, Cambodia. I am going to explore you.”
Psa Thmei in Phnom Penh
Photo credited to: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images
The dark-yellow Art Deco Phsa Thmei (New Market) is also referred to as the Central Market, a reference to its location and size. It was constructed in 1935 37. The Art deco building is shaped in the form of a cross with a nice central dome. And has four wings filled with shops selling gold and silver jewelry, antique coins, fake name-brand watches and other such items.
It is recommended to be your first destination while you spend your first day in Phnom Penh. It is devilishly attractive with various views. Visiting Phsa Thmei is not just for you to have an insightful view of the products there, but to learn how Cambodian live in their everyday life. They say everywhere might be the same, the only difference is the way you are looking at it. The best time to be there is probably 10am to see various things and have lunch there afterwards.
Local food at Psa Thmei
Right! You can have local food at Psar Thmei after you explore the market or window shopping. It is a decent local like place where you can spend a moderate amount of cash to enjoy the food made by locals or seafood there as you like. The smile from the locals and the environment itself will be blended to enhance the taste of the foods. It is not just about eating. Experience and engage with locals through foods and taste different things would make you realize that you are familiar with what you eat and who you talk to there.
Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
Khmer Rouge is a must know when you arrive in Cambodia, especially when you want to feel like you belong here. In 1975-1979, Khmer Rouge Regime was led by Pol Pot to conquer for power in the whole country of Cambodia and put everyone into an era of disaster where killing was limitless. For 3 years 8 months and 20 days, the people suffered from this dark regime. As Toul Sleng itself was initially a high-school, but turned into the number one prison during Khmer Rouge Regime. Various sad memories are still there to be worshiped and prayed. Dig through the history and you will feel yourself in their shoes.
Feed Pigeons and visit Preah Ang Dong Ka
In a fresh morning around 7am or 8am, live like a local. Get up and go to the front of Royal Palace and buy some foods for pigeons. Feed it and have fun there. Afterwards, visit Preah Ang Dong Ka, regardless of any religions, visit there and make a wish to show the gratitude of kindness. Most of Cambodians and travelers go there often as they believe Preah Ang Dong Ka really granted wishes.
Preah Ang Dong Ka is one of the gods there in Buddhism, which is generous and powerful due to the believe in most Cambodians as the state religion is Buddhism. Go there and live like a local for today.
Visit Royal Palace
Credit on the photo.
Royal Palace is the place where King Norodom Seyhaknuk lives with her majesty, the queen. However, it is also a tourist attraction too. In there you will see various kind of temples and castles for the king to host activities. Furthermore, you will be informed the understanding of the history and the materials/products within that. Visiting this place gives you insight on what is going on in the country and deep down you are fulfill with knowledge to be used in order to accompany your curiosity while exploring elsewhere in Cambodia.
Visit Wat Phnom
Wat Phnom is the middle point of Phnom Penh. You can never miss this if you are here. Wat Phnom is actually a pagoda. According to legends, when the flood covered the whole city of Phnom Penh; the only place which was not flooded is Phnom Penh. Thus, Cambodians have a huge believe on that. As for travelers, you can explore the park of Wat Phnom and learn about its history there. Aside from that, you will be able to understand how people spend there time here and relax.
Visiting Sky Bar at Night
What is the best night in Phnom Penh? SkyBar is likely recommended. Eclipse Sky Bar, the highest restaurant and bar in Phnom Penh. Located at the top of Phnom Penh Tower, with 360-degree view of the city. Enjoy an evening out overlooking the bustling city with a cold cocktail and a bite to eat. Relax, after your long journey during these two days with some nice foods and drink.
Travelling to Siem Reap by Hotel Bus
To save time, travel at night with hotel bus. Book a hotel bus and leave Phnom Penh around 11:50 pm or 12:00 am to Siem Reap. It can save a lot of time and cost during your travel. It should arrive between 5-6am in the morning. Be sure to book a hotel in Siem Reap ahead of time and ask for early check-in, thus when you arrived go straight to check-in. You have a choice whether to rest more till 9 am or you can explore the hotel or kill time or you can start booking electric bike with WeChoul for the next hours.
Book Electric Bike from WeChoul
Yes, rent the electric bike from WeChoul and explore Siem Reap city. WeChoul is a platform which is recommended by us. It is vehicle rental service which one of the best parts is the delivery. Book through WeChoul to get your electric bike to your place in less than an hour.
Visit Angkor Wat Temple
What is the most famous ancient temple in Cambodia? Angkor Wat it is. You might miss anything in Cambodia, but not Angkor Wat. It is the symbol on the Cambodian’s flag. Inside Angkor wat you will see how our ancestors in the past build this whole sacred place from scratch without advance technology at the time. You can ask around or hire tour guide to illustrate the history clearer. On the walls of the temple are decorated with various kind of arts. Knowing about this place, you will be amazed on how it is built. Oh! Before you travel to another place, make sure to charge your electric bike while having lunch, or instead of it carries you, you carry it.
Visit Bayon Temple
Bayon temple is well-known too as ones go to Angkor Wat, they should not miss the chance to visit Bayon temple. With the electric bike from WeChoul, you can go everywhere around Siem Reap. Bayon temple which is not too far from Angkor Wat, is popular for a good photoshoot and the history of how it was built too. Make sure when you visit temples, do not miss this.
Visit Bakheng Temple to see sunset
Park your electric bicycle and walk to the top of Bakheng Temple to enjoy a perfect view of sunset. In the evening before you go back and rest, make sure to climb to the top of this temple first. The beautiful sunset is an enjoyable view and can make you go back to the time where it is peaceful without any stress. That was how the people in the past live.
Visit local Market
Local market is a good one for quick breakfast. If you aim to spend less and feel like a local, walk inside this local market and have breakfast there. The price is reasonable and the taste is good. Seeing local go back and forth while eating your breakfast, plus chit-chat with the sellers can totally make you feel belong. The locals there are friendly as they will always smile or laugh when you talk to them. Fun fact, you will instantly be favored by the locals if you can speak some Khmer words. Enjoy there!
Visit Local Cuisines
Local foods are devilishly delicious. Explore local foods in Siem Reap both day and night time. Make sure you try at least 20% of it within your journey. The taste which locals make resemble our traditional cooking which was passed down to us by our ancestors. Most of the chiefs learned their cooking skills from their parents and they teach their kids and passed down from generation to generation. Find these local cuisines and eat. More than eat ask questions and try to remember some names. You will surprisingly feel closer to Cambodia, unknowingly.
Book a masterclass with local artisans: @Haystome
Haystome is a website which connects traveler with the local artisans through authentic masterclasses. It is one of the best platforms which I recommend in order to make yourself closer to the local people by understanding of culture and the ways people live. Additional value is you can even experience how each type of arts that are originally made by those local talents. Thus, book this experience for the next day to enjoy and get yourself closer to the local.
Experience with local artisans booked with Haystome
A facilitator will pick you up and accompany you from the beginning of the experience till the end of the experience. Usually, you should block your half day in the morning for these awesome experiences. I recommend this over other platforms because the experiences are super authentic. You will see how artisans live, where they work and how they do it. Furthermore, the artisans are friendly. This is not enough to say it is the best in Cambodia, but what is special is this platform runs by Cambodian’s students who are supporting in-need artisans who are struggling in their living and raise the value of art. This project also contributes to SDG 6 and SDG 11, too. More than an experience, it is contribution. Why not? Explore the cultures through arts.
Visit Pub Street
Pub Street is a must visit and it is one of the best for relaxing. After a long travel, Pub Street is recommended to enjoy yourself by drinking and taste the local foods. Moreover, you can check out various of interesting products there too. Gather your friends around and go here. Trust me! You will never ever forget an amazing time in this Pub Street.
Congratulations!!! You now feel belong in Cambodia. This will be your second home-country. What are you waiting for? Grab your backpack now and travel to Cambodia. Despite many rumors, Cambodia is one of the best countries you shall visit.