Road trip to Phnom Penh-A A +A
Thursday, September 20, 2012
SIEM Reap has been lovely and good to us (so was Raffles Hotel). Our timing was perfect, not too much tourists were in town and elbowing for space to get a shot in the Angkorian temples was non-existent. The photos were surreal. Void of other people, it seemed like we had the temples to ourselves.
Now, it was time to move to another Cambodian destination- Phnom Penh. For the six-hour drive from Siem Reap, we opted to rent a car (with a driver) to take us to the capital city of Cambodia. It's a few dollars more than taking the bus, the cheapest way to commute, but with three of us splitting the rental cost, it came out quite reasonable. Factoring in the comfort, the US$5 over the bus fare was nothing.
Traveling during daytime is best. The car air-conditioning may battle with the Cambodian sun beating down on the car but the drive will present a picturesque countryside one may miss during night travel. That's a bonus, plus this - a privately hired ride can offer the convenience of multiple stops any time. Photo-ops (perfect for a pixel whore like me), a meal or a breather will be on your call.
So we zoomed along the Amorsolo-esque rural scenery of Cambodia and grabbed lunch in a busy restaurant in Kampong Thom, the province bordering Siem Reap. It was quick, as we wanted to get back to the comforts of the car where it was cooler (brats!).
Reaching Phnom Penh would have been quicker if not for a major road rehabilitation of the national highway before reaching the capital. Traffic was bad and added a couple of hours on the allotted travel time. But alas, we crossed the border by mid-afternoon and a few minutes more of driving within the city, we reached our home for the next two days- Raffles Hotel Le Royal and was welcomed warmly by the hotel staff.
The iced fruit drink and cold towels offered by the hotel were totally refreshing. It was going to be the home we will so look forward to come back to after a day of touring Phnom Penh in the next two days.
After settling in, I left my companions to rest and to took to the streets and explored what Phnom Penh has to offer.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 20, 2012.