Phnom Penh – the charming city
The capital of Cambodia is sure charming, when you are thrown right into touristy sightseeing spots. Looking around the city independently you will have to look harder to to find the charming side of a country that is just beginning to blossom, with anti corruption units forming, growing child abuse and sex trafficking awareness – what you will notice is that Phnom Penh’s appearance is gradually changing.
From 1975-1979 one fifth of Cambodia’s people lost their lives to famine and murder during the Red Khmer attempt to establish agrarian utopia, forcing millions out of their urban homes to work on the land, killing and torturing intellectuals, minorities, religious groups and whoever was considered a subversive element. Phnom Penh was left a ghost town under the regime of Pol Pot, who was never put on trial for committing genocide.
Nowadays Phnom Penh’s charm lies more in the village character than in a bustling metropolitan atmosphere, but is also found in the remnants of old French Indochine architecture, which undergoes renovation and is brought back to life. We saw many decaying beautiful art nouveau houses that I am sure of will proudly present themselves again in old splendor in the near future. There are more and more signs of the modern world finding its way to Phnom Penh with sweet small boutiques and traditional but modern Khmer eateries that serve decent meals, dusting off communist dark and depressive restaurants.
I have put together some pictures that mirror this slowly wakening capital.
Women seller on river promenade.
The dreadlock man teaches children how to swim.
Get a haircut – right on the street or in a salon.
The hairdresser with the best location in town.
Rickshaw man coming our way to offer a ride.
Khmer solar company.
Steel industry in town.
Child with mother selling toys for children.
Popular family spot in front of the royal palace.
New riverside promenade.
Evening event in front of Paragon mall.
Shops inside Paragon mall. Spooky, empty interior.
Cambodian Family Mart: more going on outside than inside.
Competitive food shops on wheels.
Hangout for youngsters: the popular supermarket in the heart of the city. By Cambodian standards it is very well stocked.
Modern cafes serving drinks to go.
The wat gate. From tranquillity and incense aroma to street life and sewage smells.
From old time rickshaws to modern motorbikes. The next step will be cars and traffic.