Photos: La Rose Suites, Phnom Penh
Visiting Cambodia has been on my mind since September 2012. I can exactly pinpoint it to September 2012, because that was when my dear friend Cailee sent me the most detailed Facebook message about the main sites to see and places to eat in various cities in Cambodia. After spending a year in Cambodia, Cailee knew so much about the country. I felt like I was getting the insider scoop. So why would I miss it?
So below I will share my first City Guide – Phnom Penh with many suggestions provided by Cailee!
We spent four days in Cambodia’s beautiful Capital, Phnom Penh. I am not sure what I was expecting prior to arriving in Phnom Penh, but I was greeted with a booming city of color, lights, motorbikes and the smell of cooking food. However, the chaos of the outdoors was quickly silenced the minute we exited our TukTuk, and walked through the beautiful double doors of La Rose Suites in Phnom Penh. As avid users of TripAdvisor (see my post here on Five tips for using TripAdvisor), we found La Rose Suites easily as it #1 rated hotel in Phnom Penh on TripAdvisor. The tranquility of the reception area is divine and we were offered a delicious welcome drink. Thank you very much!
ROOM: I cannot rave enough about the room. It’s spaciousness is enough to make any traveler swoon. Also the bed, its so comfortable, it is like sleeping on a cloud. Ryan spent a good portion of one evening sitting in the desk chair watching soccer and only after a good two hours in that chair did he get up, sit on the bed, and begin the lamenting process of all the time he missed laying in the bed as opposed to sitting in the desk chair.
SPA: La Rose Suites offers a very professional spa service. I had a relaxation massage, and it was wonderful. Although, there was one odd portion when I was laying on my back and the masseuse began massaging my stomach. Totally laughed but the masseuse maintained professionalism. I would say I never need a belly massage again, but it was interesting nonetheless. Also, since the spa is on the 3rd floor (we were on the 2nd), I wore this robe to my massage. Since I am obsessed with gingham, I was seriously thinking about keeping the robe. I had no idea prior to arriving in Asia, but so many hotels basically allow you to buy ANYTHING in the room. From the TV to the robe, it can all be yours for a price.
La Rose Suites is a perfect spot to launch your Phnom Penh explorations. It is a few minutes walk from Independence Circle and just a TukTuk ride away from anything in the city.
GETTING AROUND: Most TukTuk drivers will try to convince you that everything is far away to try and charge you more for the ride, but friends, nothing, aside from an airport TukTuk ($7), should be more than $2-$3. I am sure it should only be a $1, but hey, there is always a tourist price and a local price, just make sure you don’t get the extra tourist price.
CURRENCY: Since Cambodia’s economy is still in recovery mode, their currency, the riel, is interchangeable with the USD. $1 = 4100 riel. As our hotel manager said, “Cambodia is the land of wonder!” So you can pay however you like. So prior to arrival in Cambodia, only bring small bills. The ATMS spit out $100 bills like its no one’s business (yep, I am just rolling in my $100 bills – I wish) and it is a pain to exchange for smaller bills.
THINGS TO DO:
1. National Palace : GORGEOUS to wander through but make sure your shoulders, chest, and knees are all completely covered.
2. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum: An important memorial to visit while in Phnom Penh to fully understand recent Cambodia history.
3. Russian Market: Do it over Central Market (super touristy). The Russian Market is a REAL Cambodia market, but you will still be able to get your printed elephant pants, promise!
4. Flicks: It’s a really awesome movie house with delicious A/C and you can watch the movies on giant pillows on the floor! $3.50 for as many viewings as you want.
5. Cambodian Living Arts: Fosters traditional Khmer art forms by sponsoring masters who survived the genocide and trained youths in dance, music, and traditional shadow puppetry.
1. Friends: Really good food and benefits a great charity for street children.
2. Sovanna: Authentic Khmer BBQ experience. I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS PLACE HIGHLY ENOUGH!
3. FCC: Beautiful place to get drinks overlooking the river at dusk. AVOID the food though, it’s not great and overpriced.
4. Warung Bali: Great Indonesian restaurant.
5. Romdeng: Associated with Friends, so also a great cause.
We are currently in Cambodia, follow along on Instagram!
Additionally, I am cohosting a link up with Laura, from I do deClaire this week!