Day 2: A fascinating and in depth journey into the cuisine and modern history of Cambodia.
Around 8 am you will meet your guide at your Guesthouse to start a very unique tour. Your first stop is the Pshar Kandal, to enjoy local delights, and we guarantee that it is safe for you to eat, and you will not leave hungry! Try Mi Char (fried noodle) Lort Char, Sach kor ang (BBQ beef) with papaya salad, noodle soup, Nom krok, small traditional snacks made from rice and coconut juice cooked in a clay pan. Move on towards Pshar Chas to try some Banh Srung, a small noodle dish with coconut milk and spring roll slices. You can also sample Chek Ktis - a sweet dessert.
After breakfast you will walk to Phnom Penh's old French quarter – home to a selection of fine colonial era architecture. Here you will be able to see a number of Belle Epoque and Art Deco designs. You will start with the post office a grand building still in use today. Moving on to the old French administration building – although dilapidated its beauty can still be seen. Currently this building is abandoned and the back is used as a coal shed. The area is a designated ??walking zone' on weekends and public holidays.
Moving onwards you will walk to Wat Phnom. Wat Phnom – in Khmer ??Mountain Pagoda' is a Buddhist temple located in the heart of the city. Built in 1373 it is the tallest religious structure in the capital. Legend states that Daun Penh a wealthy widow found four bronze statues inside a koki tree in the Mekong. The built the shine to house the sacred relics and giving Phnom Penh its name. Wat Phnom is totally different in style from the colonial French quarter displaying Phnom Penh's amazing variety of architecture.
Walking onwards you will pass the national library, a fine building still with the French sign. You will pass the Raffles Hotel with its colourful history. Opening in 1929 by the French, The hotel has hosted names as varied as Jacqueline Kennedy and Pol Pot. The hotel reopened as a Raffles in 1997. Between 1970 -75 most of the journalists working in Phnom Penh stayed here, it was the last refuge before the Khmer Rouge forced all foreign nationals in to the French embassy.
Continue to the train station where you will see the large colonial built train station. The station has an uneasy feeling as it has been disused since the early 1990's. Although still used infrequently to transport goods it is no longer commercially used and it's closed to the public. You will visit Cambodia's largest market and a Phnom Penh landmark – Psah Thmey. Psah Thmey (meaning grand market) is an amazing art deco building built in 1937 by French architect Louis Chauchon. When opened it was the biggest market in Asia.
The four wings of this gigantic yellow dome are teeming with stalls that sell goods ranging from gold and silver, antique coins, money exchange, men's and women's apparel, clocks, books, flowers, food, fabrics, shoes, souvenirs, fish, seafood, dessert, luggage, and countless other products. In the market you will also have the chance to meet with a traditional Cambodian fortune teller (optional: 5 USD) and have your fortune told if you so wish. You will also try some of the local snacks in the market. Try also a surprisingly refreshing Teuk Ampil - a popular Khmer drink consisting of sugar cane juice poured over ice.
After your foodie tour, it is time to pay respect to the dark history of the Cambodian Genocide. From 1976 to 1979 the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia with their own form of ultra-Marxism, resulting in the deaths of millions and destruction of the country that can still be felt today. Toul Sleng Genocidal Museum (S-21), was once a high school and was converted into a detention and torture center during the Khmer Rouge regime. Toul Sleng remains to remind and educate all people about this dark time in Cambodian history.
If your tour is on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, you will take a tuk tuk to the final stop at the Kingdom Brewery. Kingdom is a local brewery located about 5 km from the heart of Phnom Penh. You'll be given a guided tour of the brewery where you will learn about the machinery and the process that goes in to producing the beer. After the tour you will continue to the bar/lounge overlooking the Tonle Sap River, here you will be given the opportunity try a few of the beverages!
At around at 2 PM you will be transferred back to your Guesthouse by tuk tuk, car or van.
Meals: 1 x Breakfast/Brunch/Snacks
Accommodation: Overnight Hilary's Boutique Hotel, Deluxe Room