We spent five nights in Phnom Penh, mostly because we were waiting for our visas for Thailand (four days was the absolute quickest we could get them due to the King’s birthday, and we needed visas because our next stop was two months in Thailand). We had originally planned only three nights there, but we made the most of our longer visit, sightseeing at a slower pace and relaxing. On our first day there we visited the Tuong Sleng genocide museum, a former high school where the Khmer Rouge held prisoners during their reign of terror in 1975-79. What can you say about a visit to a place where so many people were tortured? Learning about the genocide in Cambodia isn’t what we would call a fun activity but it felt important to us to understand this dark period of history. For the same reason, later that week we visited the Killing Fields, where prisoners were taken to be executed – another moving and incomprehensible site, reminiscent of our visit to a concentration camp in Germany.
We also spent time visiting less heartbreaking sights, like Wat Phnom, the temple that the city is named after, and the beautiful Royal Palace (pictured above) where we were some of the only visitors. Phnom Penh is definitely worth a visit, but probably didn’t need as long as we spent (although it did give us time to discover a gorgeous little cupcake shop…so maybe the extra time was okay!)