We enjoyed our time in Siem Reap, but it was time to move on to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Our main reason for going there was to catch a flight to Ho Chi Minh City in a couple days. Vietnam’s slightly strict visa requirements make flying into the country easier than crossing a land border. We initially thought about taking a boat from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh, but online reviews made the boats sound like floating death traps, therefore, we took a bus instead.
When the bus dropped us off in the city, there was the expected scrum of tuk-tuk drivers trying to get our business. We got a quick lift to our hotel and my first impression of Phnom Penh was that it is busy, crowded, and dirty. What little we saw of the city never changed my opinion.
To be honest, though, we barely saw Phnom Penh. We spent most of our time in our hotel room on the internet, planning for future legs of our journey. In that regard, we were productive. We booked an Airbnb accommodation in Venice and booked our train from Ho Chi Minh City north to Hué, Vietnam. We also spent some time researching our options for traveling in Europe. Should we buy a rail pass and stay in hostels as we travel, or should we buy a campervan or RV for a European road trip? Whichever option we choose, we want to be able to bike around the places we stop to visit. Maybe we should buy folding bikes to take on the train with us!
I feel a little guilty that we didn’t visit the Killing Fields outside the city or the genocide museum, but neither of us really felt up to such depressing visits. The gritty streets of Phnom Penh near our hotel are depressing enough.