Phnom Penh

Aspara dance

To get to Phnom Penh I take a small plane of the same airline I took into Cambodia. It is a short flight and the experience isn’t quite as bad as when set out to arrive in the country.

Phnom Penh is the capital of Cambodia. The capital feels more contemporary and does not have all the ancient temples like Siem Reap. Also famous is that it was the capital of the Khmer Rouge in the 1970’s, the group responsible for horrific genocide. My stop in Phnom Penh is short and I just get a slight feel for the city.

I book a decent but affordable hotel near the Royal Palace (which I end up not visiting). Lately I make sure I book a place with a pool since it is a requirement anymore for traveling during these hot times.

Villa Grange

I decide against visiting the Royal Palace right away because of the heat and it proves to be a bad decision because it seems to be my only opportunity because of two reasons: missing the limited opening hours on my other free day and the unfortunate death of a Cambodian princess which had many things shut down – including alcohol service at restaurants (I awkwardly found out when trying to get a cocktail at a restaurant and they refused to serve me alcohol. I am a little confused until somebody explained it to me on the table nearby).

The princess Norodom Bopha Devi is famous for helping revive traditional Apsara dance (unique style dance with intricate hand movements) after it is almost destroyed during the horrific time of Khmer Rouge.

I fortunately booked an evening to see Apsara dance at Cambodian Living Arts.

Churning of the ocean of milk
Apsara dance

Here are some short clips of that dance performance:

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