We really enjoyed Phnom Penh. It can be truly depressing at times, with amputee beggars (which you can’t help but feel guilty for), prostitute bars, and children aggressively selling bracelets. However, there’s a plethora of affordable rooftop bars and awesome public spaces where everyone in the city congregates once it cools down. The National Museum and night market were also nice highlights of the city.
After we visited the Silver Pagoda and Royal Palace, we stopped in the shade of the park directly in front of it. As the sun started setting, hundreds of Cambodian families, teenagers and monks converged on the park to hang out. Two friendly, 20-something, iPod and cell phone wielding monks came over to chat and practice their English. They were awesome. They were both studying at a university in Phnom Penh, one international relations, and the other electronics. It was interesting to hear how the poor in Cambodia cope while the rich people that control the country ride around in Land Rovers and Lexus SUVs.
We took a cheap sunset cruise full of Cambodian teenagers and explored the central market.
On our last night we relaxed at a rooftop bar happy hour and watched the ladies doing aerobics on the riverfront.
The things that have really set Phnom Penh apart for us is its public spaces. You sometimes forget how important they are.