This morning, I felt great and refreshed after a long, cool shower – then we hopped onto a tuktuk to our first tourist attraction. We also thought it was cool that Jacqueline Kennedy stayed in our hotel, Raffles, during her stay in Cambodia. Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and First Lady of the United States from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.
The Royal Palace cost about $30 USD for the three of us to enter, and it was worth every dollar.
It was in the mid-thirties in terms of temperature, and while we were uncomfortably hot, the sights made up for it. What a beautiful place.
There was plenty to see. From Wikipedia:
“The Royal Palace (Khmer: ព្រះបរមរាជវាំងនៃព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា, Preah Barum Reachea Veang Nei Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea), in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, is a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. Its full name in the Khmer language is Preah Barum Reachea Veang Chaktomuk Serei Mongkol (Khmer: ព្រះបរមរាជវាំងចតុមុខសិរីមង្គល). The Kings of Cambodia have occupied it since it was built in 1860s, with a period of absence when the country came into turmoil during and after the reign of the Khmer Rouge.”
“The palace was constructed after King Norodom relocated the royal capital from Oudong to Phnom Penh in the mid-19th century. It was built atop an old citadel called Banteay Kev. It faces towards the East and is situated at the Western bank of the cross division of the Tonle Sap River and the Mekong River called Chaktomuk (an allusion to Brahma).”
“The complex is divided by walls into four main compounds. On the south side is the Silver Pagoda, to the north side is the Khemarin Palace and the central compound contains the Throne Hall and to the west is the private sector or the Inner Court. The buildings of the palace were built gradually over time, and some were dismantled and rebuilt as late as the 1960s. Some older buildings date back to the 19th century.”
For lunch, we dined at the beautiful Daughters of Cambodia restaurant. It is a very special place, because it changes the lives of girls forced into the sex trafficking trade by teaching them to cook and sew. According to their site, Daughters of Cambodia helps at least 100 girls each year walk away from sex work, and experience psychological and physical healing while improving their quality of life. Eventually, many girls are promoted to head chefs, business managers, counsellors, receptionists, and production line managers.
Onto the food! We enjoyed:
- cheesy garlic baguette
- pumpkin soup with parsley, cream, and baguette
- spinach eggs Benedict on a homemade English muffin
- chicken, bacon, and mushroom béchamel crepe
- crispy chicken tenders with french fries and garlic aioli
- hot chocolate brownie with caramel ice cream
From the Daughters of Cambodia website:
- Daughters of Cambodia exists to empower those trapped in the sex industry in Cambodia to walk free and start a new life, with healing, dignity, and the means to prosper.
- We offer a wide range of rewarding jobs, with opportunities for promotion, in our attractive and innovative social enterprises.
- We teach our clients how to sustain their new life-styles in non-institutional settings, and we provide recovery programs including social work, counseling, medical treatment and life-skills classes.
After that, we purchased some lemongrass soap and visited “Cambodian Rexall’s” for insect spray and sunscreen.
Our final stop was the National Museum, which we browsed while chatting about the history of this magnificent country.
That was it for the morning of Saturday, January 6. What a lovely way to spend a typically cold, wintry morning. 🙂
I’m excited for our evening, but for now, will just rest in our nice and air-conditioned hotel room.