Day 1: Phnom Penh

We finally land in Phnom Penh. Our friend Eric sends his driver who arrived and we drove off into Cambodian traffic.

Eric's driver Singha
Eric’s driver Singha

The traffic is so bad it takes 45 minutes to drive 8KM (four miles). As we drive in the car tuk-tuks*, and motorcycle cycle bikes/scooters came so close to our car that if we had the window down they could have easily have high-fived us. Our driver said he was used to it aOnd it was normal. While he was driving us to our hotel he stopped at some sites, which we will explore more thoughly later in our vacation. There are statues, towers, monuments  and last of all our favorite, the bat tree.

Phnom Penh Monument
Phnom Penh Monument

Before I tell you about the bat tree let  me explain how hot it was. BOILING. 97 degrees and 80% humidity. I nearly died. Now for the bat tree: The bat tree is this huge tree with tons of leaves. But if you look closely you can see hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of bats! Bats that we thought looked small curled up and asleep, but when they flew they were huge! I don’t know how the tree could have sported all the wight! It was amazing.

The Bat Tree
The Bat Tree

Between the jet lag, traffic and humidity we are dizzy and our driver takes us to Brown’s, the Phnom Penh’s Starbucks. I get a scrumptious passion fruit mango smoothie.


Mango, passion fruit smoothie's
Mango, passion fruit smoothie’s

The streets surrounding the city center are lined with small buildings made out of metal shards and tarps except for some small cafés. There is trash everywhere you look and stray animals. The discrepancy between the rich and the poor is gigantic. It’s not what most people are used to but that’s how Cambodia is, and I’m here to see it all.

We get to the Raffles Hotel where we are staying. It is a huge elegant Colonial hotel that has been the ex-pat center of Cambodia for decades. The lady escorts us to a comfy couch area in the lobby. We hand the lady our passports and we think we hear her say: stay here and have a drink. We think we miss heard her because we hadn’t ordered any drinks and we didn’t plan on it. But soon enough another lady arrives holding three tall glasses of ginger iced tea with sugar cane and an orchid flower on top of it. It tasted so refreshing! And she brings soothing cold towels so we can wipe our sweaty brows.  Before we knew it we where checked in to our amazing room and on the side of the pool.

Cold refreshing check in towels
Cold refreshing check in towels


Cheers - Ginger ice tea at the Raffles hotel
Cheers – Ginger ice tea at the Raffles hotel

*tuk-tuks: a motorcycle in the front, a small metal carriage in the back, it should only sit four but this is Cambodia!