Beautiful Shoes has been around this area of Tuol Sleng a good twenty years. The family run business established itself as one of the first cobblers returning to Phnom Penh after the war. The adjacent shoe shops are relatives of the original owner, although most people still shop at Beautiful Shoes.
Phsars, literally "markets" are where Cambodians purchase anything from fresh fish and vegetables, tools for home improvements, jungle knifes for field expeditions, bibelots for friends and relatives, to CDs, DVDs and books. Phsars usually offer better deals than individual shops and shopping centres, although the latter would have the upper hand for electronics.
Phnom Penh is relatively compact and you’ll get your bearings quickly. The Monument of Independence sits at the centre, with Monivong and Norodom Boulevards (appropriately named after Kings) as main thoroughfares.
Phnom Penh is a city steep in history, with a heavy past and hopefully a radiant future. If you like historical buildings (about to be bulldozed), urban architecture or simply like to stroll around town to feel the local pulse, take to the streets of the Cambodian capital city.
All right, we grant it to you, the sidewalks in Phnom Penh are not always in tip top condition, and serve as parking or selling space more often than not. Add on the crazy traffic, the heat or the floods, and you've got yourself a cocktail of pedestrian hell.
Visitors are often surprised to discover the average Cambodian will gladly make his melodious voice heard. There is in fact no such thing as closet singers in Cambodia, only karaoke singers.
There is a handful of performing troupes of Sbek Thom (literally large leather) shadow theatre in Phnom Penh and few more in the rest of Cambodia. Sbek Thom features two metre high leather puppets lit against a white screen by torches (or modern projectors), and a classical pin-peat music ensemble.
Packed a day bag, a camera, and a couple of friends. And off we were to Phnom Chisor, an 11th century site about 60 km South of Phnom Penh. There are two ways to reach the temple sitting at the top of the phnom (the hill) by foot : the old, high, steep and overgrown Angkorian steps, and the new concrete ones, less charming, but more suited to our small statures and footsteps.