We head to the Thai consulate south of the city. We need visas for Thailand and we want to stay there for 2 months, and hopefully extend it to 3 months.
After finding that everyone’s computer printer has stopped working on the same day (a typically thing for Cambodia) was get a tuk-tul to the consulate, and find the forms there anyway. We just make the cut-off time and get seen fairly quickly. We had heard that this embassy wasn’t the friendliest, but we found it very good. There is currently free visas for tourists, so we also saved ourselves $70!
We take a walk towards the Russian Market. Phnom Penh is an interesting city to walk around, and this walk is no different.
The city has a distinct lack of cafes for visitors. We find non on our walk but see a nice little coffee shop in a petrol station, when we stop for a bottle of water. After a very good, strong coffee and Danish Pastry we hit the road again and make it to the market.
I couldn’t remember this market from our visit last year, but once inside I do.
Cambodia definitely has the best budget/market shopping in Southeast Asia. There are lots of locally produced goods at good prices. A large percentage of the Western world’s clothes are made in Cambodia, and we see various labels and brands being sold in the markets. Some of the labels are fake, some are not, simply leaked from the factory.
Abby bargains for a few products, only to be told that they cannot sell it for that little an amount, as they buy it for more. One lady proves this buy showing us her prices. The goods in question are cheaper at home, so it seems these ladies are paying to much for their goods.
After the market we trek more than half way around the city, stopping to find cafes mentioned in the guidebook, but find them not there anymore. How strange that many cafes that get good reviews in the Lonely Planet guidebook should close. Normally a Lonely Planet listing is a key ingredient of a successfully business. Annoyed but undeterred we trek further across the city.
We eventually stop at a KFC (something I almost never eat at home). We are mainly drawn by the lure of the large ice cold drink, but the chicken tastes pretty good also.
More trekking and we make it to the massive and beautiful central market. It has got a lot bigger since last time we visited a year ago, and is also under renovation. Most market buildings in Asia are non-descript, with zero aesthetics and foulness in every corner. Yet the central market of Phnom Penh is perhaps the most impressive market buiding I have ever seen. A piece of Art Deco/French inspired beauty.
It’s close to closing time in the market (5pm) and we decide to leave it for tomorrow. We visit the nearby shopping centre for air conditioned bliss, before heading down to the river by the Royal Palace to watch the Phnom Penh evening world go by.
We see many interesting sights and move down towards the parks. We wander, finding new sights, stop at a shopping centre for great coffee, and eventually get a tuk-tuk home, but not before stopping to buy road-side steamed corn-on-the-cob for tea. An essentially meal in Southeast Asia.
A long and exhausting day. My flip-flops are close to being flat. Our pending trip to Bangkok will allow me to buy some good replacements, rather than the fakes on offer here.