Thoughts on Phnom Penh

April 6th to April 8th, 2018

Giant Leaps


Photo by Mark Sugi on Unsplash

This note is part of my travel series, Giant Leaps: a collection of my experiences from across the globe. You can view all of my trips on here.

Find me on Twitter. Thanks for reading!

This is Part 4 of my trip to Thailand and Cambodia

(click here for parts 1, 2, and 3)

What I Did

  • We took an overnight bus from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. It was my first time taking an overnight bus in Asia and overall it was a fine experience. Probably not recommended if you get car sickness or need silence when you sleep…quite a bumpy / not so pleasant ride.
  • We stayed at the Billabong Hostel — it was quite nice, they had a pool, restaurant, and friendly staff who helped us navigate the city.
  • Phnom Penh was perhaps the most emotionally transformative trip that I took in the Spring of 2018. We visited the tragic killing fields and the S21 Genocide museum. I think this is one of the most under-covered tragedies in the history of the modern world. Millions and millions of people (kids included) were murdered in Cambodia in the 1970s. This is just 50 years ago…yet no one ever talks about it in the United States. I highly recommend visiting the grounds and reading the stories of the battles lost as well as meeting survivors and hearing their journeys. I did not at all expect such an experience from Phnom Penh (due to my ignorance) but this was definitely an enlightening time. Do some googling and you will find the history…a real shocking and unfortunate event for history.
  • Other than visiting the museums (which took up most of the day), we also biked around the city. There is lots of traffic but it is really fun (reminded me of biking through Yangshuo). The city runs along a large river which honestly is pretty gross.


  • Two days is honestly enough to see Phnom Penh…I think it is definitely worth stopping by the museums and fields, a big part of history that is important to understand.
  • We definitely did not “fully experience” Phnom Penh as we were quite tired by the end of this trip (and excited to get back to Hong Kong) but it was overall worth going.