I slept late due to jet lag this morning and my late start upset my plans for the day. Finding the museum and royal palace closed for lunch by the time I was up and about I ended up acceding to one of the many tuk tuk drivers offering lifts around the city.
Having initially agreed to a spin to Wat Phnom and the monkey temple on the far side of the Mekong, I ended up also going to Koh dak or silk island. The whole afternoon took over 3 hours and I was pretty exhausted by the end of it and ready for dinner and a rest. Although mildly irritated not to have gone yet to the museums or palace, I did see alot of Phnom Penh today.
The first temple, Wat Phnom, was very attractive and teeming with ceremonies, chanting and tourists.
And here is an audio of the music from the temple. Very soothing and calm
The monkey temple was nice also and not too heavy with tourists although I did have kids trying to beg money from me which of course is dis-spiriting and sad.
From there I got the ferry over to Koh dak or silk island as its known. Here I got to see some of the cottage industries and some of the farming and village life too.
As we passed my guide pointed out the China town on the distance across the Mekong. A gleaming modern construction it sat in stark contrast with the Muslim fiahing village on this side of the river.
This is one of the fishing boats directly above. My guide advises me they are predominantly Muslim and that they live on the boats.
Onwards then to Koh dak or silk island. It was nice to see village life but the pressure to buy was strong. This was a world apart from the main city with farming and cottage industry predominating. It was nice to see it but I was exhausted by the end of it. I eat a delicious curry and returned to my book and then the hostel. But the begging children and the desparate pressure to purchase on the island linger in my mind.
Alan Coakley is a Travel Director with Trafalgar tours based in Ireland.