It is early in the morning as we wake up. Our bus to Phnom Phen is leaving at 8 AM and we need to be at the bus stop at 7:30 AM. Fortunately it is right beside our hotel, the NY NY guesthouse in Kampot.
To get some food we go to the other side of the street for breakfast. Not the best choice but better there is not much time left and so possibilities somewhat limited.
The bus is in quote good condition and only 15 minutes late. It’s a small one and only two other passengers are with us. Nobody else enters and we have a lot of space just for us. The road is good too and we have a smooth and comfortable ride to Phnom Phen.
The bus station is located in the center of Phnom Phen. To search for a hostel we want to go to BKK 3, one of the backpackers area in town. A Tuk Tuk driver is assaulting us for minutes until he drops the price we can not pass. Following our strategy Helen waits at a cafe taking care of our stuff and I’m walking around to search for accommodation. Like in almost every big city prices are higher and we cannot expect the same money to value deal we found for example in Kampot. Room fees start around 12$ for very basic ones. Finally we choose the Top Banana guesthouse. A party place, but it’s clean and our room is the one most far away from the bar. After having some food around the hostel and checking out the nearby area we go to bed early. Right next to our guesthouse is a small Indian restaurant with Masala Dosa. Helen loves this dish since our stay in India, so it’s not getting hard to decide where to have breakfast. After leaving the restaurant very satisfied we start a tour through the Oknha Chhun Street (214) one of the trendy streets with fashion stores, cafes and different NGOs.
First interesting stop is the Agile Development Group (http://agiledg.com). It is a small grassroot startup that consults NGOs and social projects. We spontaneously enter their office. People seem quite surprised but are very friendly and welcoming and we spend around half an hour talking about their work and projects. The founder and executive director Ian Jones from Australia is very nice too and open to answer all of our questions. We hope their work will be a good support for people in need.
Some stores further down the road we pass a shop with bamboo goods and also bikes made out of bamboo. It’s awesome! Only parts like the gears, the wheels and the chain are out of different materials. They even sell bamboo helmets 🙂
The biggest surprise of the day awaits us while searching for something to eat. Suddenly Noah, one of the volunteers at OrganiKH, is passing by. After some big hugs we decide to go for a coffee together. He tells us about the time after we left OrganiKH and we share or experiences on Kho Rong Sanloem and in Kampot. We arrange to meet again tonight for dinner and spend the evening together.
The next day is marked by our visit of the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Link to Wikipedia) also known under the name S21. It is unbelievable what happened there. The well done free audio guide is explaining the horror and terror that happened here in significant details. I’m not making any pictures because it feels wrong. This is a place of memory and compassion. The museum reminds my again how important it is for us in Germany not to forget what happened in the third reign and how dangerous the current political developments are. After the tour Helen and I are not talking for quite a long time because of our intense feelings.
In the evening we meet Noah again for a Japanese dinner. Noah also wants to go to Vietnam, so we agree to go together. We buy the tickets for the next morning and an intense day finds its end.
Happy to go for the next destination we wake up, leave our room and enjoy a nice 7 eleven breakfast on the street, waiting for Noah and our bus. The transfer over the border it’s no problem and we are proud of the sixth immigration stamp in our passports.