This is a brief list of observations from my first five full days in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I plan on spending two weeks here before heading to Saigon and then suburban Kuala Lumpur for another housesit.
- Lots of good coffee shops
The biggest and most pleasant surprise upon arriving in Phnom Penh was the ubiquity of high quality coffee shops. There are dozens of places near my Airbnb apartment that serve good coffee and have attractive interior spaces. Brown Coffee, which has 10 locations in Phnom Penh, is my favorite spot so far.
- Danger of theft
Bag thieves are apparently quite common here. It is good to keep an eye on your belongings while in tuk-tuks as thieves often operate on motorbikes.
- Congested traffic
There seems to be a lack of traffic lights at some busy intersections, which leads to clogged roads. I try to avoid driving during rush hour.
- Polluted air
Like Bangkok and Hanoi, the air is quite polluted. This makes riding around the city on my motorbike less enjoyable.
- The city that always sweats
It is supposed to be the tail end of the extremely hot part of the year, but the picture below gives you an idea about the sizzling heat.
- Many people come from villages
The city has expanded rapidly in recent years with a large influx of Khmer people from surrounding rural areas.
- Lots of corruption
I haven’t seen any corruption first hand, but I have heard that Cambodia is highly corrupt with regards to the government and doing business in the country.
- Expensive cars
One outward sign of the corruption here (I assume?) is the abundance of luxury cars on the streets. Although the vast majority of Cambodians are poor, high-end vehicles such as Lexuses, Range Rovers, and Porches are surprisingly common.