About Mel C
Lives in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Since Jun. 2013
25-34 year old female
I was born in Mauritius, Africa and grew up in Vancouver, Canada since I was two years old. After 25 years of my life growing up in Canada, I had an irresistible urge to live somewhere else for an experience and because I knew there was so much more of the world to see. In 2013 I quit my full-time jobs to work for an NGO in Cambodia for 7 months. I then went to 5 other countries in Southeast Asia, met hundreds of people and it was the best year of my life. I can't seem to stay away from Cambodia for very long now I'm working for a travel company during my time here and loving it. I've met some of the most generous people I've met in my life in Cambodia. In my spare time I love riding my motorcycle, cycling, hosting dinners and enjoying the company of funny people.
Flea & Street Markets
Arenas & Stadiums
Castles, Historic Sites
Sacred & Religious Sites
Boat Tours, Eco Tours, Private Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Bars & Clubs
Start your day early in the morning at the Russian Market. While you won't actually find Russian items here, the market got its name from the many waves of Russian inmigration in the 1980s. This is your one-stop-shop for souvenirs, including tiny Buddhas, recycled purses, antiques, food, DVDs, knock-off clothes, and anything else you may want or didn't know you wanted.
Everyone must take time to visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to learn more about the genocide of 1975-1979 under Pol Pot. An estimated two million Cambodians were killed during this period, which was almost a third of the population at the time. This former high school was converted into a prison (called S-21), where an estimated 30,000 people were tortured, interrogated, and killed. At the end of your tour, you will encounter two of the only seven survivors of the prison, who have spent many days telling their stories and answering questions from visitors. It will help you get a better understanding of the war's negative impacts on the country, which have caused many social problems in Cambodia into the present day.
During the war, about 17,000 who were tortured and interrogated in the S-21 prison were transported about 11 kilometers to the killing fields in Choeung Ek. This now peaceful and natural area honors the victims and stores the remains of 8,985 people. You can learn about the stories of the survivors and more about the history with a great audio tour.
The Olympic Stadium, or National Sports Complex, was completed in 1964 by Cambodia's most famous architect Vann Molyvann. Contrary to its name, the Olympic Games were never hosted at the stadium. In 1966, the stadium hosted dignitaries, state occasions, and was the home of Cambodia's national athletics teams during the GANEFO (Games of the New Emerging Forces), which ironically was established and ran against the doctrine of the International Olympic Committee. People now come here for various sports including boxing, gymnastics, volleyball, aerobics and swimming. If you visit after lunch, you can take a dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool in the afternoon, usually the hottest time of the day.
After finishing around the Russian Market area, you can head back toward the riverside and visit the famous Royal Palace. It is a complex of buildings built in the 1860s, and has been the residence of Cambodia's Kings until today, except for the period during the Khmer Rouge reign in the 1970s. The complex is a good example of Cambodian architecture, and the different sections of the area contain the defensive wall, throne hall, Silver Pagoda, and Khemarin Palace (the official residence of the king).
Attend an entertaining cultural performance organized by the Cambodia Living Arts non-profit organization. You'll see a spectacular show with historical story lines that change regularly, composed of artists who have developed their own talent and showcase traditional costumes and dances. The organization's founder Arn Chorn-Pond survived as a child laborer during the Khmer Rouge regime and escaped death by performing propaganda music. He established this organization to revive the arts, which were almost completely destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, to provide artists with a living, and to develop their talents through teaching and workshops.
If you want to see a very modern side of Cambodia, come to Aeon Mall, where you'll find a variety of higher-end fashion shops, restaurants, cinema, bowling, and even a skating rink. Many of the customers are local Cambodians working in business. You'll forget that you're in Cambodia.
Wat Phnom is Phnom Penh's most famous temple on Norodom Boulevard, sitting on a 27-meter high hill. The first thing you'll be struck by is the large flower clock at the base of the Wat. The original clock came from France and was installed the 1960s. In 2000, it was replaced by a new version that was a gift from China, to mark the friendship between the two countries. The first pagoda on this site was built in 1373 to house the four statues of Buddha that were deposited from the Mekong River. It's a beautiful site to visit in the late afternoon just before sunset, and you'll find many local people making offerings for good luck and receiving blessings.
End your day in Phnom Penh with a beautiful sunset cruise and dinner along the majestic Mekong River. This is a wonderful way to get away from the noise and traffic of the city center and enjoy the peaceful boat ride with delicious food, including BBQ and spring rolls. The staff are very friendly, informative, and hospitable, and you will no doubt enjoy their company during your 2.5-hour boat ride.
For the international foodies, come to Sher-e-Punjab, close to the riverside, for a heavenly blend of spices and ingredients. The restaurant consistently provides quality Punjabi food, including a huge list of curries, dahl, and naan bread. This is a great place for dinner to share food with your travel buddies.
You can continue to enjoy Phnom Penh's nightlife at one of the city's most popular clubs. There is no entry fee, the music is spinning pop and electro house from local and western DJs every night, drinks are cheap, and it is also gay friendly.