Phnom Penh - The undiscovered street art
Hello :) Britney here!
If you are a seeker of beautiful, off the beaten track discoveries like us.. Then this post is for you. The 2 main things you hear about when coming to Phnom Penh, (which is Cambodia's capital) is going to the S-21 Museum and The killing Fields. As much as we love to delve into history when visiting a new country, we knew there had to be another side of beauty other than this cities harrowing past. We will talk about the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot in another blog post.
- Where to find Phnom Penh's Street Art
When we arrived on STREET 93, we actually thought we were in the wrong place. I noticed that a lot of the graffiti and artwork was different to what I had seen online. Never the less, we are always down for an adventure and walking through suburbs less known. You never know what you will find :)
If you have the MAPS.ME app, it will make your travelling life a whole lot easier! We swear by it.
It is walkable from down town Phnom Penh but this will take you about 30 minutes depending on where you are staying. We stayed near the night markets opposite the Mekong river. Walking in the heat is very uncomfortable, so I would suggest getting a Tuk-Tuk. Ask the driver to take you to STREET 93 in the BOEUNG KAK LAKE AREA. The language barrier can be pretty difficult and the first couple of tuk-tuk drivers couldn't understand us. They didn't even know what the art district was.
It is quite a small lane way, mixed with residential, home stays and a couple of little cafes. Once you spot all the colourful artwork, you'll know you are in the right place.
You do not need to pay to walk through the art district. Just keep in mind that this is where people live and you are walking through their neighbourhood. You will come across kids playing in the streets, locals cooking food, hanging out the washing etc.. To be polite, I would suggest asking to take their photo first. A lot of the street art is at the front of peoples homes.
If you are travelling from the Night Markets in down town Phnom Penh, you will pay around $1-$3 USD depending on how well you can bargain with the driver.
- History behind Phonm Penh's street art
In 2015 Phnom Penh held the Cambodia Urban Art Festival, where numerous murals were painted. Many of the sites where these murals were painted are sadly no longer existent. Nowadays you will find the most happening of the street art and graffiti in Street 93 (as mentioned above), which back in the 90's was known as the backpacker street. Once a neighbourhood full of hustle and bustle, this was the place to be amongst travellers. Sadly around 2010 the government decided to fill in the lakeside which also killed off the popularity of this area. Residents were pushed out of their homes and businesses were closed down.
I have read that people are trying to give back to this community by brightening up the streets with colourful art. You will now find a few cafes and home stays there. There was also a lot of construction going on, so I hope to see this area gain some attention again.
If you have been here or know other facts about this area, please mention it below in the comments!
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