Lonely Planet describes Phnom Penh as “an assault on the senses. Motorbikes whiz through laneways without a thought for pedestrians; markets exude pungent scents; and all the while the sounds of life – of commerce, of survival – reverberate through the streets. But this is all part of the enigma. Once the ‘Pearl of Asia’, Phnom Penh’s shine was tarnished by the impact of war and revolution. But the city has since risen from the ashes to take its place among the hip capitals of the region, with an alluring cafe culture, bustling bars and a world-class food scene.” and we couldn’t agree more.
We know a lot of people that loathe Phnom Penh but for David and I, there is a familiarity in the ordered chaos that we absolutely love. It’s the bustling Southeast Asia that gives us joy and life. Despite the maelstrom of people and traffic, the city holds an abundance of hidden gems with the area around Duan Penh, Tonle Bassac and BKK1 being our favourite neighbourhoods. With green spaces, gorgeous boutiques, cafés, wine merchants and chocolate shops, promenade walks, glistening pagodas, ancient palaces, boutique hotels, street vendors, restaurants and plenty old world Indochine charm, a little time spent in the chaotic capital of Cambodia was just the boost David and I needed to push through to the end of the year.