I left Singapore on 7th November. My first destination was Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. I have plenty of friends here and I wanted to see them one last time before leaving South-East Asia. Not that I will never visit the country again but the convenient weekend trips to Phnom Penh are over for now.
I planned for a 7 day stay, just relax, meeting friends and chill. I love the late afternoon and evening walks on riverside. The place is always full of life. This is one of the reasons I like Asia so much. Life is happening on the street. My visit also happened to coincide with Cambodian Independence day. I didn't know it at the time nor did I plan for it. I just noticed large number of people near Royal Palace. Little bit further away students in their uniforms lined up in Wat Bottom Park alongside the road holding banners with photograph of former king of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk. I asked what was happening and what's the occasion. Apparently, his majesty Norodom Sihamoni, the king of Cambodia was about to make appearance passing by in his car visiting the Independence Monument. Sun was scorching hot but youngsters patiently waited for their moment of royal sighting. Sure little later the royal car with police escort showed up and slowly drove alongside cheering crowd. I glanced the smiling face of the king waving at his subjects.
As sun dropped lower to the horizon I returned to riverside. I saw lots of people coming to Dorngkeur Shrine for prayers. Atmosphere was quite mesmerising. Old and young lined up and performed their traditional praying rituals. Even small podium was built for people to sit on and pray. Few guys played nice tunes on ranaat ek, a xylophone like traditional music instrument of Cambodia.
Every morning I visited the Kandal market, also one of my favourite places in the town. It is just of the riverside not far from hotels and restaurant yet it is 100% local market. Great insight into Khmer way of life in the city. Also very good opportunity for photography. There is a small local restaurant where I often stopped for dirt cheap meal.
I also paid a visit to Cambodian Children's Fund. It is a place filled with so much positive energy. Lot of things have changed since I visited the place first time about two years ago. Facility is continuously evolving and changing. New buildings are built, older ones are renovated. Playgrounds were build, new school project is in the works. And there are always plenty of children around. I felt like Christmas tree when I went in, with all those kids hanging around my neck, hands and legs. Of course I met Srey Vy, my sponsored child. Well, she is not really a child any more. She blossomed into a young lady. We obviously went for the usual outing, had lunch, did some shopping. All the fun stuff.
Day later there was another very important meeting with someone very special. I was immensely looking forward to it. You guessed, it was Little Mermaid. I missed the little girl a lot. We had a dinner at Suki Soup restaurant. A good two hours of fun and laughter.
I love Cambodia. Always had a wonderful time here and this week was not an exception. I managed to meet up with most of my friends and say goodbye. I will miss them dearly but I am sure I will be back one day. Here are few photographs I made during these few days. It's time to go for another adventure. So long Cambodia.