Phnom Penh


Phnom Penh was a surprise in a number of ways. I was expecting a dusty underdeveloped place, much like Vientiane in Laos, or maybe even Saigon, in Vietnam. Instead, I found a fairly modern city, with fashionable boulevards and $10 pizzas, polished cars and people who were consciously fashionable.



The National Museum was more than amazing, with a world-class selection of art, well displayed and catalogued.



Outside, some curbside religion is taking shape.



A visit to Tuol Sleng, the school turned torture camp during the Khmer Rouge regime was pretty sobering.



An unnecessary sign to ensure visitors don't smile. Inside, pictures of some the dead are displayed.



It looks very innocuous from the balconies of the former school. More than 10,000 people were tortured here between 1975 and 1978.



Even back then "water boarding", was practiced.



The royal palace was next on the agenda, a refreshing change.



Sadly, no pictures can be taken inside the palace and the silver pagoda, housing an improbable collection of gold Buddhas, laced with diamonds. The floor in the silver pagoda consists of 1,500 silver tiles.



The royal palace contains a number of buildings, scattered around lush gardens.



In a quiet corner, a small selection of figures await deployment.