- Published on Friday, 12 October 2012 10:55
- Written by Steve Vaile
Phnom Penh Riverside
I arrived in Cambodia by air, unlike so many of the people who visit this Kingdom of Wonder I did not travel first to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. I came straight to the Capital, Phnom Penh. Phnom Penh isn’t a huge city that’s part of what makes it nice, but it sprawls a little bit and the airport lies to the far west. The long tuk-tuk ride from the Airport over to Phnom Penh’s Riverside was interesting and vibrant, the colors strike me, back home it seems everyone’s houses are the same tan or white color as the next. As we moved east towards the Central Market, I was able to recognize more business names and the road quality even seemed to improve as we reached the area around the Mekong River. Called the Riverside, this area is a popular spot in the city with locals and tourists. This could easily be called the heart of tourism in the city; the riverside is home to the Royal Palace, the National Museum, some of the most well reputed restaurants and bars are here as well. The Riverside is the most busy place I have seen in years, the place is practically swarming with people in the evening. The street side is a mix of travelers, restaurant hosts and walking vendors as well as many tuk-tuk and moto drivers. Across the street on the Mekong side of the Riverside there is more space and the place is treated much like a park, there are some monuments, free exercise equipment and of course the river. Many locals meet for aerobics classes that grow rather large, and kids and teenagers frequently play impromptu football matches on the tile boardwalks beside the river. The riverside is pretty, and is consistently used in Cambodian media as a backdrop for shows or music videos. The area has many book shops and other nice little stores much of the city lacks, but also has a drawback of being over crowded at times and as the tourist center of the city it also rocks the cities highest prices. The Riverside is not a place to miss but my favorite place in the city is Bkk1.