Cambodia

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Cambodia

When I was in primary school, i remembered history lessons taught us that this country is called Kampuchea. Today, it is known as Cambodia, also officially the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Since then, Cambodia has fascinated me. Her culture, her people, and history was very interesting. As a child, the fact that Cambodia is located at the southern part of the IndoChina peninsula was something that caught my attention. Being born and raised on an island called Singapore, I wondered what it was like living as part of a peninsula?

In October 2018, I was fortunate to visit Phnom Penh, the capital and also the largest city in Cambodia. It is also the political, economic and cultural centre of the nation.

Phnom Penh today is a flourishing city. Besides the popular attractions that draw many tourists, there are more high rise buildings and hotels, modern malls, coffee places where people chill and relax as well as many more exotic and interesting places to see, eat and stay.

While I was there, the city impressed my in many ways. But there was something that did not make my visit a good experience. I did not find the people warm or welcoming to tourists. In fact, many were downright cold and rude. For more about Phnom Penh, and how I feel about this city, watch for my next update about this city.


Where is Cambodia?

The Indochina peninsula is this large piece of land that extends beyond China, downwards south towards the equator (though never really reaching it).

At the southern part of this peninsula is Cambodia. Surrounding this country, and also part of the Indochina peninsula are Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Thailand is at the northwest of Cambodia, Laos is at the northeast, and Vietnam is to the east.

This places Cambodia in a very interesting location. Her history naturally is linked to these other countries. And since then so are trade, social and cultural exchanges.


Races, Culture & Religion

Races

At the point of time this article was written, the population in Cambodia is over 16 million. Most are native Khmer people with minorities such as the Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams and about 30 people of the hill tribes.

Culture

The culture in Cambodia is uniquely Khmer. Yet, it can be said that there were many contributions to the Cambodian culture by the French, the Theravada Buddhism, the Angkorian culture, and even the Indians through Hinduism.

Religion

Buddha Image at Silver Pagoda - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The majority of the people in Cambodia practices Buddhism. It can be said that about 97% of the people are Buddhists. And the official religion is Theravada Buddhism.

There are other religions practiced too; such as Islam, Christianity, Folk Religion and even the other form of Buddhism that is Mahayana Buddhism.

In the past, Hinduism played a critical role in this country. And influenced the construction of temples and monuments such as the famous Angkor Wat, one of the World Heritage Sites.


Official Language

The official language is Khmer, or Cambodian. There is a strong influence of Sanskrit and Pali in their language.

Most of the people also speak English. So, if you speak English, traveling around and communicating with the locals is not a problem



Festivals and Public Holidays

There are many public holidays in Cambodia. One important point to note is that most of the holidays follow the Khmer traditional calendar, known as Chhankitek.

This is a lunar calendar that is based on the movement of the moon. As such, you will find that some of the public holidays will fall on different solar calendar dates every year.

Here are some of the public holidays and festivals in Cambodia:

1 January, New Year

As with the rest of the world, Cambodia does celebrate the New Year that falls on the solar calendar’s January 1st.

January 7, Victory Day over Genocide

This is the day that remembers the genocide that happened in this country, and also the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979.

Usually January or February, Chinese New Year

This is celebrated by almost all Cambodians. It does not matter if they are Chinese or not. It is believed that by taking part in the Chinese New Year celebrations, you will receive good luck.

Just like other countries that celebrate Chinese New Year, there are lion dances. And most businesses close for this period to allow employees to go home and spend time with their families.

Usually in February, Meak Bochea

A national holiday to commemorate the gathering of monks to listen to Buddha’s preaching.

International Women's Day - 8 March


March 8, International Women’s Day

It is awesome that this country celebrates the International Women’s Day. A day when the entire world dedicates to all the women in the world, and remembers their hard work and bravery.

April 14 to 16, Khmer New Year

This is a very important national holiday that lasts three days. It allows the people to fully celebrate the Khmer New Year.

Usually April or May, Visak Bochea

Prayer Lotus Candles

By now, you would have noticed that some of the festivals or public holidays are not set on certain dates and are described as ‘Usually this month or that month or these months’. Just like this holiday – Visak Bochea.

The reason, as mentioned above, is that holidays like this follow the lunar calendar. As such, they do not fall on the same dates on the solar calendar every year.

Visak Bochea is a national holiday where people who are Buddhists observe and commemorate the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha.

Other countries call this Vesak Day or Wesak Day.

Usually April, QingMing Festival

This is another festival that is celebrated by the Chinese. It is also referred to as Ching Ming. It is a time when people visit the graves of their ancestors. They bring food and drinks for the spirits of the dead. And they will clean the tomb, if there is any. That is why this is also called Tomb Sweeping Day.

May 1, Labor Day

On this day, the entire country recognizes the economical and social achievements of the workers, and celebrates them.

Usually in May, Royal Ploughing Ceremony

This is to mark the start of the planting season.

May 13 to 15, King Norodom Sihamoni’s Birthday

The King of Cambodia is beloved. Hence, a national holiday was established to commemorate and celebrate the day His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni was born. And that day was May 14, 1953 on the solar calendar.

May 20, National Day of Remembrance

One of the saddest period of Cambodian history was the mass killings during the Cambodian Genocide that began on May 20, 1976. This public holiday is a reminder that such a monstrosity must never happen again.

International Children's Day

June 1, International Children’s Day

This is another international celebration that Cambodia has embraced and made into a public holiday. The idea is to remember that the children are the future, and we must keep them safe.

June 18, Queen Mother’s Birthday

The Queen Mother is as much loved as the King. And this national holiday celebrates the birthday of Queen Mother Norodom Monineath that is on June 18, 1936.

September 24, Constitution Day

On this historic day, the great King Sihanouk signed the Cambodian constitution. The entire country celebrates this every year on September 24th.

Usually September or October, 3 days Celebration, Pchum Ben

This is also called ‘Ancestor’s Day’ or ‘Festival of the Dead’. The national holiday period lasts three days. But the Cambodians are known to practice Pchum Ben for 15 days.

During the time, they pay respects to the spirits of their deceased relatives by offering prayers and food. Meals are also cooked for monks.

For many Cambodians, this is a time to remember those who died during the Khmer Rouge regime.

Usually September, Silkworm Festival

Cambodia has a long history of silk textiles. The hand woven textiles by experienced weavers is much respected. On a full moon day in September, this festival pays tribute to this beautiful tradition.

Usually September or October, Mid Autumn Festival

Full Moon - Mid Autumn Festival

Mid Autumn Festival is celebrated in many Asian countries, especially when there is a Chinese community. In Cambodia, many Khmers celebrate this festival because they believe that it will bring them good luck and prosperity.

The celebrations begin in the early morning when the people prostrate to the moon, and offer fresh flowers, cassava soup, flat rice, and sugar cane juice. In the night, more goodies are prepared and laid on a table. Upon the view of the full moon, everyone rejoices and prays for blessings.

October 15, Commemoration Day of King’s Father

This holiday is dedicated to the Royal Soul of His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, Preahmahaviraksat, King Father of the Cambodian National Independence.

October 23, Paris Peace Agreement Day

This is the day when the Paris Peace Accords are commemorated.

October 29, Coronation Day of King Sihamoni

A day to commemorate the Coronation of King Sihamoni.

November 9, Independence Day

A glorious celebration on this day for Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953.

Usually October or November, 3 days of Celebration, Water Festival

This is one of the most exciting and colorful festivals in Cambodia. Originally, it was established to remember when the ancient Cambodian navy soldiers battled for Cambodia under King Jayavarman VII during the Khmer Empire.

Today, a thrilling boat race along Mekong River provides much entertainment and celebration on this wonderful three days.

Usually November or December, Kite Flying Festival

One month after the Water Festival, the nation celebrates the Kite Flying Festival. It is a time for the Khmers to pray for good weather and good harvest. Also, for peace, freedom and happiness for everyone. At the same time, the festival has become an opportunity for kite makers to demonstrate their talents.

December 10, Human Rights Day

An awesome day to celebrate the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption and proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Dress Code & National Dress

Dress Code

No matter how Cambodia has advanced in recent years, as a visitor you must know that this is still a country steeped in traditions, rich culture and long history. As a visitor, please respect the culture and dress appropriately.

When visiting sacred places like temples and Angkor Wat, do not wear revealing clothing like sleeveless tops, tank tops or shorts not covering the knees. Doing so, you are showing disrespect for the temple’s sanctity.

When entering a sacred place, take off your shoes, sandals or any hat or cap or any head covering. Below is an educational video by His Excellency Sok Sangvar about the code of conduct when visiting a holy place in Cambodia.

National Dress

The krama is more of a traditional dress accessory. It is a red and white or blue and white checkered scarf. It is at least 1 meter in length. And it is worn by men and women.

There is also the sampot, a wrap made of cotton or silk. It is a large piece of cloth that is about 2 meters long. It is used to wrap the lower part of the body like a sarong.

Cambodian women used to wrap themselves with the sampot. It is a long wrap that goes all the way to the ankles. For men, it is shorter, and they match it with a jacket.

Together with the sampot, the women wear the Av Pak. This is a blouse usually made from cotton and embroidered with silk and gold thread. It has a high, embroidered collar too. This is often worn as formal wear or for special occasions.


National Sport

There is no actual national sport in Cambodia. There are more like pastimes such as soccer, kicking a sey (something like a footbag), and chess.

Dragon Boat Festival

What is really popular is the Boat Race that was mentioned earlier in the Festivals and Holidays section. It is called Bon Om Tuuk, and is a major annual event.

It is held at the end of the rainy season. Many people attend this event that is held at the Mekong River. Boat racers compete down the river and back to the start point to much fanfare and excitement.

During this time, there are also games to play, fireworks to watch, and much festivities as people enjoy good food in an atmosphere that is like a carnival.


Currency in Cambodia

US Dollars

The official currency in Cambodia is the Riel (KHR).

While this is acceptable in most transactions, as a tourist it is best that you get US Dollars (USD) as it is more widely accepted at hotels, cafes, restaurants and even the attractions.

Tip: Do be careful with the USD you bring. There MUST NOT BE any stains or damage to the notes. If there are, the locals will not accept it.


Weather in Cambodia

The Cool Season – December to February

The weather during this period is the best. It is actually cool and pleasant.

Tip: This is also the peak season when many tourists visit Cambodia. If you wish to enjoy lower hotel rates, avoid this season.

The Hot Season – March to June

Temperatures start to rise towards the end of February. By April, it gets really hot. Temperatures can rise to 40 degrees Celsius. Add humidity to the mix, and you get really difficult to tolerate weather.

There are short and strong showers occasionally during this hot season. This can bring brief respite.

The Rainy Season – June to November

Heavy Rain Monsoon

The monsoon season starts to roll in around September. In the beginning, the showers are short. Usually less than an hour. They are also predictable as they often happen during the afternoons.

From October, the monsoon can get full swing, and it starts to rain more and heavily. It is also the time when temperatures start to drop, and everyone finds relief from the heat of the previous hot season.

Tip: Rainy season is a great time to visit Cambodia. There are fewer tourists, and hotel rates are lower. The down side is that when it rains, it can put a damper on your tour plans.


Things to See in Cambodia

From what I hear, even from the locals, there are three main places that tourists must visit in Cambodia. They are Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

Phnom Penh is the capital city, and as such the popular attractions are those that relate to nation as a whole. For a start, there is the Royal Palace, Independence Monument, King Statue and many pagodas as well as the well liked riverside and boat cruise.

Angkor Wat at Siem Reap

At Siem Reap, of course there is the world famous and iconic Angkor Wat. Aside from this, there are the other temples to visit, the many interesting museums, the night markets, nature and wildlife tours as well as visits to the local lifestyles.

Sihanoukville is the place to go when you like to enjoy time at the seaside. It is known for beautiful beaches where you can relax and enjoy the sun, sea and white sands. There are also many small tropical islands you can explore Of course, like the rest of Cambodia, Sihanouville has its fair share of temples and night markets.



What to eat in Cambodia?

Just like all other Southeast Asian countries, the staple food in Cambodia is rice. Fish is also another important part of the people’s diet. They get the fish from the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers.

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Dinner with Salad, Chicken Wings, Coconut Freeze and Avocado Freeze

As a tourist, you can patronize the local restaurants where you can enjoy the local Khmer food as well as Thai and Vietnamese food. Most local restaurants also serve western food. Some even serve French food. For more about local food, please read my Phnom Penh Restaurants Review.

Drinks

Cambodians drink lots of tea. In recent years, the younger generation have started to enjoy coffee more. And as such, coffee chains such as Starbucks have entered the market. There are a few local coffee chains, too. The most popular is Brown Coffee.

Local coffee are made with beans imported from Laos and Vietnam. There are domestically produced coffee, and this is gaining popularity. The beans come from the Ratanakiri Province and Mondulkiri Province.

Rice wine is also a popular local alcoholic drink. This is often infused with fruits or medicinal herbs. For example Sombal liquer, which is sraa tram (soaked wine). This is popular because of its smoothness.


Shopping in Cambodia

There are many wet markets, day markets and night markets to shop at in Cambodia. These are markets where you can find cheap local food, household items, arts, handicrafts, fake branded goods, clothes, and accessories.

In recent years, the malls have started to appear. One of the popular malls in Phnom Penh is the Aeon Mall. There are many brand stores, theme stores, large supermarket, cafes and restaurants. If a wet market is not your style, visit the supermarket at the malls.


How to Get to Cambodia?

Just like any other country, when you visit Cambodia, make sure you have a valid passport. One of the things to note is that your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry to Cambodia.

By Airplane

Before planning to visit Cambodia, check if there are airlines in your country that fly direct to this place. If there are not, then you will have to fly to a country in Southeast Asia and make a connecting flight to your destination.

You can fly direct to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap from Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur as well as many other Southeast Asian cities.

By Train

There are trains to Cambodia from Bangkok and other cities in the region. Also, the Trans-Siberian railway from Europe takes you to Cambodia. But

By Bus

There are private bus companies that provide transport to Cambodia. These are from Bangkok and Saigon. If you are coming from these cities, and decide to take the bus, check with the right bus companies.

Tip: When traveling from one city to another, it is best to take the day buses. Night buses have high rate of accidents.

By Road

The most popular way to Cambodia via road is from Bangkok. You can rent a taxi or a car and drive in to the country. Oddly enough, when you travel by taxi or car, you can arrive in Cambodia faster than by bus.

By Boat / Ferry

There is only one ferry that goes to Cambodia. And that is from Vietnam. It is run by a ferry company called Mandarin Cruises. Go to them to check for further information such as sailing schedules.

On Foot

It is very difficult to travel by foot into Cambodia. Consider the above options instead, especially flying.

Visas

Most visitors to Cambodia require a visa. It can be obtained upon arrival at Phnom Penh or Siem Reap International Airports.

Visitors from some countries are required to get the visa in advance. It is best to visit the official Cambodian immigration website for more accurate details

People from ASEAN countries do not need to get a visa, as long as the stay is not more than 21 or 30 days (depending on the country). ASEAN countries include Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, and Myanmar. Again, it is best to check official resources to confirm this.


How to Get Around in Cambodia?

After you arrive in Cambodia, you will find there are a few ways to get around a city.

By Bus

There are city buses that is one of the most used public transportation by locals. As a visitor, you can try this mode of transport too. But it will take a lot of effort to understand the bus routes and schedules.

The upside is that the bus fares are very low. At the point of time this article is written, the fare can be as low as USD0.25.

While cheap and almost convenient, do not that the buses do not have air conditioning. And during peak hours, they can get very packed.

By Taxi

Taxis are plenty, and easily available. It is rather safe to take a taxi. One advantage is that the drivers speak English and usually are very knowledgeable about the city they drive in.

Tip: Negotiate for the price you are willing to pay before you ride the cab.

By Grab

Today, in cities like Phnom Penh, Grab is very popular, and the choice for locals and tourists. This is a service where you can get a cab or a Grab driver (for example an owner of a private car) to drive you to your destination. It is exactly like Uber.

All you have to do is download the app, and fill in your details. Then use the app to ‘hail’ a vehicle to get you to your destination.

By Cyclo

These are like the rickshaws or trishaws in other cities in Southeast Asia. The passenger sits on a large chair (sometimes can fit two people), that is fitted to a three-wheeled vehicle. The driver peddles to get the vehicle moving.

The advantage of this is that you get a clear view of all surroundings because the top cover can be pulled back. Also, this is relatively cheap.

The downside is that you will get wet when it rains.

By Moto

Motos are basically motorcycles that act as taxis. It is quite common in countries like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

It is very cheap and convenient. As a motorcycle, they can easily maneuver around other vehicles and not get stuck in any traffic jams.

Downside is you will get wet when it rains.

Tip: You must wear a helmet, even as a passenger. The driver must provide you one. If you are caught without a helmet, the police will catch you and extort some money from you.

Tuk Tuk in Cambodia

By Tuk Tuk

Like Thailand, there are Tuk Tuks in Cambodia that drives people around the city. It is basically a passenger carriage on a three-wheeled motor vehicle.

It is much cheaper than traveling by a taxi.

By Foot

Most visitors travel around by Tuk Tuks or Grab. At times, when an attraction is nearby, you can consider traveling by foot.

But please be careful when crossing roads. The traffic lights can be confusing. And sometimes cars do not follow the lights.

Tip: It is best to travel by Tuk Tuk or Grab.


If you have ANY questions about Cambodia, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,

Timotheus

Phnom Penh Restaurants Review – Boat Noodle Restaurant

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Featured Image

Phnom Penh Restaurants Review – Boat Noodle Restaurant

Before I arrived at Phnom Penh, my Cambodian friend gushed about this place. It is one of the very good Phnom Penh Restaurants he said. Many locals, including him, as well as foreigners patronize this eatery. It is also a popular place for people who are in the arts, such as artists, photographers, etc. My friend is a really good photographer. He is well known in Cambodia for really excellent photographs he had taken.

I was intrigued, and I made him promise to bring me here as soon as I arrived. He made the promise and he was true to his word. When I arrived, it rained heavily. That did not stop us. So, after an evening of dining, here is my Phnom Penh Restaurants Review – Boat Noodle Restaurant.


Boat Noodle Restaurant – The Overview & Rankings

Name: Boat Noodle Restaurant
Cuisine: Asian, Khmer and Thai Food
Meals Served: Various types of dishes to be eaten with rice, Specialty – Boat Noodle
Dining Choices: Dine In, Takeout
Family Friendly: Yes
Food: 2.0 out of 5.0
Service: 3.0 out of 5.0
Value: 2.0 out of 5.0
Atmosphere: 3.0 out of 5.0
Prices: $$ out of $$$$$
Asia Travel Gems Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0 two and half stars rating


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About Boat Noodle Restaurant

I had wondered about Khmer Food since I started to plan for this holiday. And I was a little surprised that most restaurants do not just serve Khmer Food. They also serve other foods like Thai Food, Vietnamese Food, Western Food, and others. This Boat Noodle Restaurant was no exception. They served Khmer and Thai Food.

And to match, or even communicate, the type of food served, the place is decorated with art, sculptures, handicrafts from these countries.

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Interior of Boat Noodle Restaurant, Waitresses cleaning up
Phnom Penh Restaurants – Interior of Boat Noodle Restaurant, Waitresses cleaning up

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Interior of Boat Noodle Restaurant
Phnom Penh Restaurants – Interior of Boat Noodle Restaurant

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Interior of Boat Noodle Restaurant
Phnom Penh Restaurants – Interior of Boat Noodle Restaurant

An interesting thing to note is that apparently there is a famous Boat Noodle Restaurant in Phnom Penh. And this is not that one. Even so, this is a popular place for the locals. Some expatriates even frequent this place. That night when I was there, there was a French family dining at a table nearby. And they were later joined by more of their friends from France. From their conversation, it was apparent that they are regulars at this eating place.


Food and Drinks at Boat Noodle Restaurant

The Boat Noodle Restaurant is supposed to be famous for their Boat Noodle. But apparently, they are much better at their meat dishes, especially the barbecued meats. We ordered the barbecued chicken wings, local salad with minced chicken, and rice. My friend had his favorite coconut juice freeze. And I ordered the avocado juice freeze, which was very delicious!

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Dinner with Salad, Chicken Wings, Coconut Freeze and Avocado Freeze
Phnom Penh Restaurants – Dinner with Salad, Chicken Wings, Coconut Freeze and Avocado Freeze

Before I arrived, my friend sent me pictures of the barbecued chicken wings they server here. They looked delicious. But that rainy night, when we ordered the same barbecued chicken wings, they looked a little sad.

Phnom Penh Barbecued Chicken Wings
Phnom Penh Barbecued Chicken Wings

The taste was all right. But not fantastic. And they were served cold. We later found out that it was because of the heavy rain. Usually, their chef would barbecue the chicken wings in the open, and only when someone ordered the wings. But because of the rain, they could not do that. And before the rain came, he quickly barbecued what he could in preparations for later orders throughout the night.

Not ideal. But I have learned that when you are in a foreign country, you have to learn to accept their ways. This is how they handle the heavy rain situation.

Travel Tip: If it rains, go to another place to eat. Come back here when the weather is fine.

The salad was not quite to my taste, too.

Phnom Penh Restaurants - Salad with minced chicken
Phnom Penh Restaurants – Salad with minced chicken

I guess I was used to the tangy taste of Thai salads that I had in Thailand and in Singapore. The salad in Phnom Penh did not have that zing to it. It was quite mild in flavor to be honest. And it was, to me, quite soggy. The vegetables in the salads in Thailand and Singapore were fresh and had a little bit of crunchiness, which I enjoyed. But this one here, the vegetables were wet and a little soggy. Not so much crunch to them.

I was not deterred though. I thought it could be just this restaurant’s way of preparing this dish. I even ordered and tried the salad again at the Titanic Restaurant a couple of nights later.


How to Order the Food?

A waiter or waitress will seat you at a table. Then they will present you with a menu. Here are a few pages of the menu from this restaurant.

Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu Cover
Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu Cover

As mentioned earlier, they serve both Khmer and Thai food. And in the menu, they divide the two types of delicacies in sections. Before the range of Khmer Food, they have a sort of sub cover page to indicate that you are about to see Khmer dishes.

Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu Khmer Food section
Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu Khmer Food section

Here is a page of the Khmer Food section. As you can see, the food is quite varied. And at times, I find the dishes almost familiar, like Chinese dishes. Also, good news! Every item is described in Cambodian and English

Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu - List of Dishes
Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu – List of Dishes

Here is the page where we ordered our dishes from – the salad and barbecued chicken wings page.

Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu - List of Salad and Grilled Chicken Dishes
Boat Noodle Restaurant Menu – List of Salad and Grilled Chicken Dishes

The ordering of the food is just like how you would order at any restaurant. Simply choose the dishes you would like to have. Wave to the waiter to indicate that you are ready to place your orders. Inform the waiter or waitress all the dishes you and your party would like to have. Then patiently wait for your food to arrive and enjoy!

Travel Tip: Payment is by cash only. So have your US dollars ready. The meal we had (see image above) cost us USD13 only.


Boat Noodle Restaurant – Asia Travel Gems Final Word

To be fair to this restaurant, perhaps I visited on a bad day. To be fair to me, I have to give this place a two and a half rating because the food did not meet my standards.

two and half stars rating

I love chicken wings, whether deep fried or barbecued. Or even sauteed and steamed in some gastronomically delightful sauce. But the chicken wings that night failed totally.

Even my friend who frequent the place seemed a little surprised that the chicken wings looked and tasted so poorly. He commented that it was not like the usual standard that he was used to.

Some people may like the salad. But I really did not enjoy it. There just so much water. And the taste was so mild.

I did read from other reviews that the meat dishes are the best here. So, maybe on a less or no rain day or night, this could be better? For now, I have to go with what I have experienced. And that is this place did not serve good food.

The place was charming. But a little cluttered. The art, handicrafts, and furnishings do make the place feel very local. But at the same time, because of the Thai influence, it was a little confusing.


How To Get There?

I stayed at The Bridge Club Hotel, and it was just a short tuk tuk ride to the Boat Noodle Restaurant. So, if you are staying in the city or near the city, the tuk tuk might be the choice of transport. Check with the hotel you are staying at to confirm. Or if you are going to stay at The Bridge Club, then you are assured it is nearby.

Address of Boat Noodle Restaurant:

184Eo Preah Trasak Paem St. (63), Phnom Penh 12301, Cambodia

Operating hours:

8.00 am to 9.00 pm, Daily

Contact Boat Noodle Restaurant:

Phone: +855 11-952-120

By Foot

You could travel by foot. But it might take hours, depending on where you are staying at. So, unless you are staying very near, I suggest to take the tuk tuk.

Tuk Tuk

This is the best and most economical way to travel around Phnom Penh. It is very cheap and affordable. For example, a short ride, about 10 minutes to the Boat Noodle Restaurant cost only USD1 plus. I highly recommend traveling around the city via this mode of transport.

By Train

There is no train system within this city.

By Bus

There are buses. But the tuk tuk is so much easier and can bring you there faster.

By Car

If you drive, you can take a look at the map above, and navigate your way there. Car park space may be an issue though.

By Taxi

There are taxis. But most people use Grab now. See below.

To be honest, I traveled most of the time in tuk tuks. Occasionally, by Grab. So, I have no idea how the taxis work here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

By Grab

Grab has taken Asia by storm. Phnom Penh is no exception.

When I arrived, I booked a car by Grab that drove me to The Bridge Club Hotel. It was so easy. All I did was pull out the Grab app. Then book a car. The car arrived, and I was brought to the hotel in less than 30 minutes (it was off peak hours, so no traffic jam).

Grab is now my preferred option for travel when I need to move about within a city. It is so easy. There is no need to negotiate because the price is quoted via the app, and confirmed. The price is usually reasonable and affordable. No hassles.

I have switched to Grab for my travels within a city ever since this option became available.


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If you have ANY questions about this Phnom Penh Restaurants Review – Boat Noodle Restaurant, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe and happy travels,

Timotheus

Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club

Phnom Penh Hotels Review - The Bridge Club - Featured Image

Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club

It was my first visit to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I wanted to stay at a comfortable hotel that has a magnificent view of the city and the famous Mekong river. Plus, I wanted to stay at a room that is really affordable. I can even say cheap. And I found it!

Today, in this Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club, I will share with you my experience of my stay at this hotel. In this review, there will be lots of photos and a video showing you the room I stayed in, the amenities offered, and the facilities available. There is also information about nearby attractions, where The Bridge Club is located, how to get there, and how to get around Phnom Penh.


Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club – The Overview & Rankings: 

Hotel: The Bridge Club
Room Rates: USD93 and above (depending on room type) per night. For a Deluxe Double Room with City View, the rate is USD101 per night. I got it at USD30 per night only. That’s 70.3% Discount! And I got this great deal at Agoda!
Cheapest Place to Book: Agoda
Location: Ground floor (unit 18 and 19), near The Bridge SOHO entrance, National Assembly Street, Sngkat Tonle Bassac, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Rooms:

  1. Superior Room with King Bed
  2. Deluxe Double Room with City View
  3. Premium Studio Room
  4. Executive Twin Room
  5. One Bedroom Suite Apartment
  6. Two Bedroom Suite Apartment
three and half stars

Service: Some staff were friendly and helpful, some were not
Value: At the price offered at Agoda, definitely worth it! Great value for money!
Sleep Quality: Excellent! It helped that I woke up every morning to the magnificent view of the city and the Mekong River
Cleanliness: Very clean
Asia Travel Gems Rating:  3.5 out of 5.0 


Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club – The Video: 

In this Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club video, you will see the reception area, all the amenities in the Deluxe Double Room, the awesome view of the city and Mekong river from the room which is at 30th floor, and all the facilities offered at this hotel. Click and Watch the Video to see it all!

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About The Bridge Club

The Bridge Club is a 4-star accommodation located in the Chamkarmorn area of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is a very good location as it is near a large mall, cafes, coffee houses and restaurants. Plus, the famous attractions are not too far. Just a short ride on a tuk tuk.

The Bridge Club - View of hotel at night from side
The Bridge Club – View of hotel at night from side
The Bridge Club - View of hotel at night from front
The Bridge Club – View of hotel at night from front
View from back of The Bridge Club Hotel
View from back of The Bridge Club Hotel

It  is the state of the hotel that is a concern. It is very new. And parts of it are still under construction and renovations. There were times when my friends and I were taking the passenger lifts, and the construction team would move things in and out using the same lifts. Not very professional.

Rooms

There are apparently about 900 to 1,000 rooms. As mentioned earlier, there are various types of rooms available:

  1. Superior Room with King Bed
  2. Deluxe Double Room with City View
  3. Premium Studio Room
  4. Executive Twin Room
  5. One Bedroom Suite Apartment
  6. Two Bedroom Suite Apartment

* Tip: Not all rooms face the Mekong River. Some do not even have windows. So, make sure you ask for a room on a high floor with a view of NagaWorld and Mekong River. Of course, you must book a room that has that potential view.

When I booked, I chose the Deluxe Double with City View room. But this type of room can either face the Mekong River or the other side, which is the other part of Phnom Penh city. The view is just all buildings. So I added instructions in my booking to give me a high floor room with a view of Nagaworld and the Mekong River. And I got such a room! See the awesome view!

Phnom Penh Hotels - The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View - Great View of the City and Mekong River!
Phnom Penh Hotels – The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View – Great View of the City and Mekong River!

The rate per night for my room was USD101 per night. I got it cheaper at USD30 per night. That’s a whopping 70.3% Discount! All thanks to Agoda!

The size of the room is about 37 sq m with 1 Super King Bed. It is really huge for two people. I really enjoyed the space. And of course, the awesome view. I watch it every chance I got.

Phnom Penh Hotels - The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View - Living Room and Bed plus window with Great View of the City and Mekong River!
Phnom Penh Hotels – The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View – Living Room and Bed plus window with Great View of the City and Mekong River!

Visiting Phnom Penh? With Agoda, your Rooms Get Up To 70% Off! Don't Miss This Great Offer! Click Here Now!
Book Your Rooms with Agoda and Get Up to 70% Off! Click above image!

Amenities 

There are quite a lot of amenities at The Bridge Club. But I find the quality of the amenities lacking. For example, the towels were very rough. And the staff a bit raw and untrained. Some were even unfriendly and not very hospitable. But being a hotel that is a work in progress, plus the really affordable rates at this time, it is almost acceptable. I do hope things improve after all the construction and renovation work are done.

Front Desk

  • 24-hour Front Desk
  • Front Desk Safe
  • Express Check-in and Check-out
The Bridge Club Front Desk
The Bridge Club Front Desk
The Bridge Club Reception Area
The Bridge Club Reception Area

En-suite Bathroom with towels

Bathroom and Toilet facilities in Deluxe Double with City View Room of The Bridge Club Hotel
Bathroom and Toilet facilities in Deluxe Double with City View Room of The Bridge Club Hotel

Other Amenities

  • Hair Dryer
  • Free toiletries; e.g. Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Refrigerator
Phnom Penh Hotels - The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View - Living Room with Refrigerator, Water Cooler and Washing/Dryer Machine
Phnom Penh Hotels – The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View – Living Room with Refrigerator, Water Cooler and Washing/Dryer Machine
  • Microwave
  • Electric Kettle
  • Washing Machine and Dryer
  • Electronic Safe
  • Free Internet access via WiFi
  • Free and Pay TV
  • Work Desk
  • Air conditioning
  • Daily Housekeeping
  • Free Asian and Western Breakfast (at 13th floor – check your booking package to see if this is included for free)
  • Pay Later Option with Agoda
  • 1,000 Non-smoking rooms available

Facilities

Outdoor Swimming Pool

Lovely Outdoor Swimming Pool
Lovely Outdoor Swimming Pool
View of Phnom Penh and Mekong River from Outdoor Swimming Pool at 13th Floor
View of Phnom Penh and Mekong River from Outdoor Swimming Pool at 13th Floor

Garden

  • Garden with view of city and Mekong river
  • Barbecue area in Garden
Garden with BBQ facilities at The Bridge Club Hotel
Garden with BBQ facilities at The Bridge Club Hotel
Garden at The Bridge Club Hotel
Garden at The Bridge Club Hotel
View of Phnom Penh from back of The Bridge Club Hotel, 39th Floor
View of Phnom Penh from back of The Bridge Club Hotel, 39th Floor

Indoor Swimming Pool at Top Floor (39th Floor)

Indoor Swimming Pool at 39th Floor of The Bridge Club Hotel
Indoor Swimming Pool at 39th Floor of The Bridge Club Hotel

Gymnasium

The large gym at The Bridge Club
The large gym at The Bridge Club

More Facilities

  • Spa
  • Rooftop Terrace
  • Playground
  • Car Park with Free Parking for Guests
View of The Bridge Club Hotel from Garden to Top Floor
View of The Bridge Club Hotel from Garden to Top Floor

Visiting Phnom Penh? With Agoda, your Rooms Get Up To 70% Off! Don't Miss This Great Offer! Click Here Now!
Book Your Rooms with Agoda and Get Up to 70% Off! Click above image!

What Good Food to Enjoy in Phnom Penh?

The local food is quite similar to the food in the region – Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. So, you will find some dishes that taste about the same; e.g. curry. At the same time, I noticed most places offer Thai, Vietnamese and Laotian meals. All that can even be in one restaurant! You will be spoiled for choice.

My Cambodian friend introduced me to one of their popular coffee chain called Brown Coffee. It is very good. I will share more about this in a future blog post. Also, we had a fantastic local meal at a restaurant called Titanic. Watch for more about food in future posts.


Attractions Nearby

When you stay at The Bridge Club, you will not run short of attractions to visit. There are so many nearby. For those that are near, you can simply take a stroll over there. For those a little further, take the tuk tuk. It is cheap and convenient. Here is a list of some of the nearby attractions, in alphabetical order:

  • Aeon Mall – about 1 km away
  • Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center – about 800 m away
  • Independence Monument – about 1 km away
  • NagaWorld Hotel & Entertainment Complex – about 500 m away
  • Phnom Penh City Centre – about 3 km away
  • Preah Sihanouk Garden – about 700 m away
  • Royal Palace – about 1.7 km away
  • Samdech Hun Sen Park – about 800 m away
  • Silver Pagoda – about 1.7 km away
  • Sontepheap Garden – about 400 m away
  • Statue of King Father Norodom Sihanouk – about 1 km away
  • Tuol Sieng Genocide Museum – about 1 km away
  • Wat Botum Partk – about 1.1 km away
  • Wat Lanka – about 1.1 km away

Where is The Bridge Club?

The Bridge Club is located at the Chamkarmorn area. It is a very nice area. Not too busy like in the City Center. Yet, close enough that you can easily visit and see many attractions, and enjoy delicious food at good cafes, coffee houses and restaurants. Here is a map to show you where it is located.

Address: Ground floor (unit 18 and 19), near The Bridge SOHO entrance, National Assembly Street, Sngkat Tonle Bassac, Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phone: +855-023-236-236

Email: contact@pp-bridgeclub.com

How To Get There?

By Air

The Bridge Club is around 14 km away from the Phnom Penh International Airport.  There are many airlines that fly to Phnom Penh from many cities. You can check which airlines fly to Phnom Penh on Agoda.

By Road

You can also choose to travel by road if you are going to Phnom Penh from a neighboring country. Do plan your route carefully, and make sure you have all papers ready when you cross the borders.


Getting Around

By Bus

There are buses in Phnom Penh. But it is not easy to understand their routes and timings. Also, they only operate from 5 am to 8 pm. Not very ideal when you need to get around after 8 pm, especially after dinner or after a night out in town.

Plus, parking is usually not a problem because there is ample space almost everywhere.

By Taxi

Do these exist here anymore? Most people take the tuk tuk or Grab. See below.

By Tuk Tuk

These are motorized three-wheeled vehicles that have replaced the traditional pulled trishaws. It is a very cheap mode of transportation. It is not as comfortable as sitting in a car, but it serves the purpose of traveling short distances for very low price.

By Grab

Grab is like Uber in Asia. In fact, it has taken over Uber.

It has become my preferred mode of travel when getting around a foreign city in Asia. One reason is that there is no need to negotiate. Another is that the price is usually reasonable and affordable. No hassles.

It is so easy to travel around in cities now because of Grab. Just download the app, state your destination, a driver is assigned to you, take the transport, and you arrive at your destination. Comfortable and easy.

I have switched to Grab for my travels within a city ever since this option became available.


The Bridge Club – Asia Travel Gems Final Word

From afar, The Bridge Club looks impressive. It looks like a good hotel with fine service, rooms, amenities, and facilities. But looks can be deceiving.

three and half stars rating

The room I stayed at was good. Really large room with lots of space. The bed was very comfortable, and the pillows are just the right bounce. They are not too soft till there is no support, and not too hard that it is unpleasant to lie on.

The amenities were plenty. But they lacked quality. They felt like amenities provided in a budget hotel, or a 1-star hotel. They could up the standards.

The facilities are quite all right. All still new. So, no surprise there that it was all good.

The service was the issue. The staff at the Front Desk were not friendly. For example, a local friend of mine drove and parked at the hotel car park. We asked for the parking vouchers since it is free parking for guests. They had to be convinced to give the free parking vouchers for all the days we were staying there. At first, they insisted we go to the Front Desk every day to get the voucher for the day.

I had reason with them that we were already booked and staying for four days. Why can’t they give us the vouchers for all four days? Does it make sense that we are expected to go to the Front Desk every day to get a voucher? We are tourists. We are busy sightseeing and experiencing all the city has to offer. We don’t want to get the voucher daily. After a long while, they finally relented.

Another incident was when housekeeping left only one towel for a room that was meant for two. To get that towel, we had to take the lift from the 30th floor, walk from the SOHO area to the Front Desk, ask for the towel, told we had to wait, and we waited for more than half an hour plus we had to take the towel back to our room.

Finally, the ongoing construction. I don’t know how long this has been going on and how long more it will go on. But it is an inconvenience.

All right, true that the room rates were cheaper because of the construction. But surely the construction crew and the housekeeping staff (with their housekeeping trolley), can take a service lift? It is very unsightly to see all that for a hotel guest.

So, there you have it. Why the rating for this hotel is so low? I would have given it an even lower rating. Maybe even a 2 stars. But because of the view. Ah, that gorgeous view of the city and the Mekong river. That is precious. And for that, they get a slightly higher rating.

Phnom Penh Hotels - The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View - Great View of the City and Mekong River in the evening!
Phnom Penh Hotels – The Bridge Club Deluxe Double Room with City View – Great View of the City and Mekong River in the evening!

Visiting Phnom Penh? With Agoda, your Rooms Get Up To 70% Off! Don't Miss This Great Offer! Click Here Now!
Book Your Rooms with Agoda and Get Up to 70% Off! Click above image!

If you have ANY questions about Phnom Penh Hotels Review – The Bridge Club, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.

Thank you for reading this.

Wishing you and your loved ones safe, fun and happy travels,

Timotheus