Our last morning in Phnom Penh and determined to see the goddam Royal Palace even if it kills us.
Had an early breakfast and out the door by 8am which we were told was the opening time for the Palace. Thank goodness it was only a 10 minute or 30 tuk tuk driver walk there.
Have now worked out that the tuk tuk drivers tell you the Palace is closed and then con you into a tour elsewhere!!! It was actually closed yesterday when we asked the guard. It is open between 8-11 am and 2-5pm. We saw heaps of people entering a gate to the Palace even as several tuk tuk men were telling us it was closed but pressed on regardless.
At last we paid our $13 and made our way into the Palace complex along with hundreds of very excited Cambodian school groups armed with their selfie sticks and posing for constant photos.
Bit of a drama when Teena put down her camera to pay for ticket and walked off without it. She hurried back and retrieved the camera before we got too far into the complex.
Teena was quite amazed at how clean, tidy and manicured the grounds were.
But I guess when you are a King, you need a few niceties around you. The King just celebrated his 61st birthday apparently. Had a look around the pagodas there, wandered around through the courtyard with all the stupas for the old kings and queens and the little temple in the grove of trees in the centre. Walked through the Silver Pagoda, so named because there are over 5,000 silver tiles on the floor and it contains display cases holding hundreds of Buddha and god statues, all in solid silver or gold.
This pagoda also contained the king’s coronation chair which is has 23kg of gold on it. Unfortunately, you are no longer allowed to take photos in any of the buildings.
The Polish government is restoring the wall frescoe paintings of the Buddhist legends along the wall of the stupa courtyard so half of that was cordoned off but still enough for Teena to get an idea of what they were about.
Just spent the rest of our time at the Palace walking around the displays about the King and Khmer life in the past.
A couple of hours out in the sweltering heat was enough so time to head back to the hotel to pack and book out and sit in the lobby reading for a while.Teena felt brave enough to take a photo standing outside the entrance to the street market.
Organized a cab to take us to the airport at 12 for our 2pm flight to Siem Reap.
Before no time and a cup of coffee, we were boarding our tiny little plane for the 45 minute flight. Bit daunting when the flight attendant says only have 20 people listed on manifest but more like 60 on the plane!!!! Flight was 45 minutes and no sooner up than we were landing in Siem Reap.
Ordered a taxi to take us to Somadevi Hotel where I have stayed each time in Siem Reap. Nice and close to market and Pub Street. Managed to get us the most desperate taxi driver. The whole drive into the city he was pushing for us to organise a tour, he would come to our hotel tomorrow and see what we wanted to do. He compared us to his grandmother???? and became a real pain in the proverbial and quickly lost himself a job for the next few days. On arrival I thought I would give him a tip and he told me to keep it!!!! First time ever in Cambodia I have encountered someone so rude.
Quickly made the most of the airconditioned room, did some handwashing and Teena headed down to the pool for a swim and read. I am definitely not a pool person and preferred to read alongside my airconditioner. Too tired to go out and not all that hungry at dinner time so nibbled on dry biscuits we had, ate a dragonfruit for dessert (Teena managed to get stains all over her doona!!!) and read for a while. At about 8 Teena had dozed off with book in hands despite the noisy Cambodians partying down poolside. I must admit it certainly was not much later that I had to put my book down and hit the sack for the night.
Holidays are so tiring!!!!