Phnom Penh is the vibrant bustling capital of Cambodia. Situated at the confluence of three rivers, the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, what was once considered the ‘Gem’ of Indochina. The capital city still maintains considerable charm with plenty to see. It exudes a sort of provincial charm and tranquility with French colonial mansions and tree-lined boulevards amidst monumental Angkorian architecture. Phnom Penh is a veritable oasis compared to the modernity of other Asian capitals. A mixture of Asian exotica, the famous Cambodian hospitality awaits the visitors to the capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
1. Motodops know everything
Granted this one cuts both ways. But when you’re in a pickle, you can count on a motodop — what Cambodians call motorbike taxi drivers — to find you what you need, be it someone’s office or a particular kind of mango. These guys (they’re almost all men) know every in and out of the city. Of course, you can also count on them to be waiting for you somewhere you hadn’t mentioned going. They just knew you were there.
2. Hammocks are everywhere and, coincidentally, so is nap time
There’s really nothing better than stringing up a hammock between two posts, or a post and a tree, and taking a snooze in the shade. That must be why Cambodians and foreigners alike do it all the time.
3. Two-hour lunches
It’s like a mandatory break that really allows you to do something and also eat your lunch. Many people eat and then snooze. Others hit the gym and then eat. And if you’re tempted to work through lunch, well good luck getting any business done. People really take their two hours across the board. Phones will keep ringing, so you might as well not be the one calling.
4. Cheapest massage ever
This really goes for any spa treatment, but perhaps the most pervasive is the massage. You can get a solid one for under $10 if you know where to look.
5. So many holidays
Cambodia has a ridiculous amount of national holidays. Wikipedia lists 18, though that seems modest. What really makes them special is that there is an unwritten policy allowing folks to take off a couple days before and a couple days after each holiday, just cuz. It’s not uncommon to call someone the week before Khmer New Year in April and find they’re not there because “next week is Khmer New Year.”
6. The best iced coffee you’ll ever drink…for 50 cents
7. Cruising the Tonle Sap
Phnom Penh is built at the confluence of four rivers, which form the focal point of the city. One of these rivers is the Tonle Sap (“tonle” is Khmer for “river”). A lovely way to spend a few hours, particularly at sunset, is hiring a boat and taking a spin, with or without beer.
8. Beer is cheaper than water
Speaking of beer. This isn’t true everywhere and it isn’t true for every beer, but it is definitely true in lots of places for lots of beers. A can of Anchor can go for the equivalent of 50 cents, while a bottle of water will be $1.
9. The nightlife will surprise you
No matter what you prefer, a casual chat in a beer garden or a dance-your-pants-off evening with Khmer teenagers, there is something for you.
10. Big apartments for cheap
This varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Riverside apartments can get pricey, for sure. But if you’re a little flexible, a couple hundred dollars can buy you a large space in a great neighborhood.
By Emily Lodish, GlobalPost
This article is syndicated from GlobalPost