Existing Member?

the road to serendipity

1st weekend here

CAMBODIA | Monday, 22 September 2008 | Views [1678] | Comments [2]

Psar Thmei & Psar Tuol Tom Pong

Psar Thmei & Psar Tuol Tom Pong

As there were no classes on Sat and Sun, the weekend was kinda slow but relaxing. Not that the weekdays are any stressful or hectic of course heh.

Had a pleasant surprise on Sat morning as an Australian lady, Dorelle, came to FLOW and stayed a night. She had been here this time last year and it was reassuring to hear from her that great improvements have been made to the living conditions and food for the children. Compared to last year, most of the kids now have beds except for the young ones whose beds have not arrived. They also have proper rice (lots of it) and a soup with ingredients like vegetables and fish to go with it, rather than just porridge for every meal.

Dorelle is such a lovely lady. You wouldn’t be able to guess her age by looking at her. At 67 (!!!), she’s lugging 2 backpacks and spending time here with several NGOs helping people with disabilities, poor villagers, children, bears in captivity and inmates etc. After spending a day with her, I’ve nothing but admiration and respect for this lady. Speaking with her has only spurred me on to do more with my time here. I’ve decided to join her at Free The Bears for a day or two when I leave FLOW.

Met the founder and the entire team of staff over lunch at the guest canteen and while I did not understand most of what they were saying (Khmer), it was nice watching these people come together to have a meal after spending the week busying themselves over the kids and orphanage.

Finally ventured into the city for the 1st time as it costs me US$20 to hire the van and driver for half a day! One of the girls, Meata, aged 17, acted as my translator and guide for the afternoon. First and foremost I had to get my Cambodian SIM card (do you know the cheapest rate I can call on my singtel line is almost S$6/min?!?!) At the mobile shop I almost got conned into paying more for a ‘special’ number. The shop assistant showed me a list of numbers with different values beside them. Thinking they were the values of the SIM card, I picked one that was US$10, not bothering much about the number. I later found out that that was only the price of the SIM card and not the value in it! Which meant that I had to top up another US$10 to make calls! I was quite peeved and insisted that I did not need a nice number; just gimme the cheapest SIM card and I’ll top up the value! They refused but finally relented after they realized I wouldn’t barge. In the end they sold me a US$7 sim card and I topped up the rest. Now you might think the difference might not be a big deal but here, it can pay for a meal, even 2! That’s especially important for volunteers like us alright! Plus it was more a matter of principle – I just wouldn’t wanna get conned into paying unnecessary money!

After that was outta the way, we visited the popular Psar Thmei (Central Market – 1st market in Cambodia) and Psar Tuol Tom Pong (Russian Market, named after the Russians who shopped here in the 80s). If you’ve been to Ho Chi Minh’s Ben Tanh market or Bangkok’s Chatuchak, these 2 pale in comparison in terms of size and variety but are still worth a visit if you wanna see the art deco dome in Psar Thmei and browse anything from motorcycle parts to souvenirs to fish at Psar Tuol Tom Pong. I didn’t get anything as nothing caught my fancy and I didn’t wanna add anymore weight to my bags while I lug them to Sihanoukville. Being the city dweller that I am, I had to pay a visit to the newest mall in town – Sovanna Shopping Centre. It’s only a month old and apparently the hippest place to be spotted for teenagers. Stepping into the air-conditioned building I felt instantly at home. After a brief walk through the 4 storeys of  shops (which really resembled a mall back in the early 90s in Spore) we rest our feet at Lucy Gelato, a Cambodian café. Treated Meata and myself to some forgettable gelato but it was nice to just eat ice cream, you know? Well if you’re an ice cream person like me you’d understand. Before we left for the orphanage I bought the children and myself some snacks from, Lucky Supermarket, a local supermarket chain.

Sunday was just a day for relaxing. After sending Dorelle off, I spent the afternoon playing ‘Snap!’ and ‘Heart Attack!’ with some of the boys using the cards I’d brought. Simple card games like that can really bring a smile to children’s faces J

So that marked the end of my 1st weekend here in Cambodia…

P/S: worldnomads only allows me to place pictures before or after the post so do bear with it yea. I know it’s not the best but I cannot be arsed to change the blog. More photos on my facebook.

Tags: sights



two questions

1) does that mean you don't wanna visit russian market anymore?? cos i wanna go

2) i heard got KFC somewhere, did u see?


  joon Sep 25, 2008 7:07 PM


1) i don't mind going again, since it's right in the city centre. and i'm guessing i would have more space in my luggage after i offload the stuff for the kids at Sihanoukville.

2)yes i happened to see Phnom Penh's FIRST KFC opposite the mall I went to.

  shix Sep 25, 2008 7:59 PM

About shix

Follow Me

Where I've been


Photo Galleries


My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Cambodia

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.