Phnom Penh is such an underrated city. If you ask any tourist which Southeast Asian destination he or she would love to visit, the Cambodian capital will probably not even be on the list.
The more popular Siem Reap with its glorious Angkor Wat complex is usually what comes to mind first when talking about Cambodia.
But there’s something so special about Phnom Penh. Perhaps the fact that there are fewer tourists here, despite the history and similarities it shares with its French Indochina neighbors is what makes me root for it more.
Feel Good breakfast
Mornings are made for great breakfast food and coffee. Cold brew is still not as common in Southeast Asia as I’d like, but most cafes in Phnom Penh like Feel Good Coffee make their cup of joe the way they also do in Vietnam: with a metal drip and a splash of sweetened condensed milk.
Walking around the neighborhood gives you a quick feel of what modern-day Phnom Penh is like. It’s reminiscent of the bustling cities Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh and even Bangkok — lining every street are parked scooters and vendors selling iced beverages including my favorite Thai iced tea!
Choeung Ek killing fields
40 minutes from the city proper is the Choeung Ek memorial, a must if you’re visiting Phnom Penh. Tip: Hire a rickshaw or tuktuk to take you there and then back, although the newer rickshaws are cheaper, a lot more comfortable, and feel safer than the latter.
There are no words to describe how disturbing Cambodia’s history is — a very recent one at that. No more than 40 years ago, a quarter of the Khmer population — mostly people from Phnom Penh — were murdered by its own government for the promise of a utopian future.
Today, Cambodia tells the gruesome stories of the Khmer Rouge victims and survivors — some of them younger than my own parents — through memorials like the Choeung Ek Genocidal Center.
They are built to remind the new generation to not make the same mistakes and to embrace the freedom that they enjoy today.
Phnom Penh is home to a lot of good restaurants that serve local cuisine at a reasonable price.
While Khmer food staples lok lak and fish amok are easy to find, the noodle dish uy kuy teav isn’t exactly as popular. It’s not rare to see Vietnamese and Thai food in the menu as well.
If you must visit one temple in the city, it’s got to be the tallest one. Inside the Wat Phnom complex is also a huge park where you can relax and reflect.
Shopping at Central Market
Cambodia isn’t exactly known for the unique shopping finds unlike Thailand’s Chatuchak Market, but a lot of your favorite clothing brands have products made in Phnom Penh. So you’ll find good deals on quality overruns from Levi’s, H&M, and Nike in the different markets around the city.
Central Market, also referred to as Psar Thmei, is the biggest one, with stalls selling not just clothes, but also jewelry, kitchen tools, and of course, food!
The market is one of the few landmarks that will remind you of Cambodia’s colonial history. It was one of, if not the biggest market in Asia when it was built in 1937 during the French colonial period.
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum
If you still have time, visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum before sunset for more insight on the Khmer Rouge brutality.
The Tuol Svay Prey High School was converted into the largest detention center from 1975 to 1979 when Pol Pot’s army took over Phnom Penh and the rest of Cambodia; former classrooms became interrogation rooms, torture chambers, and prison cells.
Phnom Penh Riverside
Phnom Penh sits at the intersection of Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers. You can enjoy the view from the Riverside Park with a refreshing cup of iced Ceylon tea.
Across the park are restaurants and bars. Some of them have rooftops for a better view of the river.
Romantic dinner at Romdeng
End the day at Romdeng, a restaurant run by an NGO that trains locals in hospitality management and supports the marginalized.
Their version of Cambodia’s national dish fish amok is especially tasty!
Cambodia is on a long road to recovery from the horrors of its past, but its capital and people do not forget; they remember. And despite everything they have been through, they remain steadfast — filled with so much hope and kindness — and we could all learn a thing or two from them.
24 Hours is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we showcase our travels through a smartphone camera’s perspective. It’s also a documented guide on things to see and do in a city in case you happen to plan a trip there.
First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14
Bluer than Blue!
September 11 marks a historical day not just for New Yorkers, but for (almost) everyone in this world.
With a memory that lives forever in our heads, Michael Josh has tried commemorating it.
He went to the pier along Brooklyn Bridge to recreate a shot he wanted to do for so long.
Can’t wait to see how the shot turned out? Or just curious how the iPhone 14’s gonna last throughout the day?
Head over now to our iPhone 14 First 24 Hours video to feed your curiosities.
First 24 Hours with the iPhone 14 Pro Max
Battery & Camera Champ?
Aside from the usual one day usage, it’s also a great time to see the streets of New York, at least virtually.
With the new cameras of the iPhone 14 Pro Max (including a 48MP sensor),
is it suffice to say it’s worth upgrading to this year’s iPhone?
Here’s Michael Josh’s first 24 hours with the new iPhone 14 Pro Max for you to find out more.
vivo V25 and V25 Pro: First 24 Hours
Impressive all around!
For the uninitiated, smartphone manufacturer vivo makes the V-series, apart from the more premium X-series. The V-series is its midrange line that inherits a lot of the flagship features its more expensive brothers offer. It’s also got fun selfie camera features, as well as a more colorful, dynamic design.
The V25 and V25 Pro are the latest in the series, and we partnered with vivo to talk about our experience using both phones for the first 24 hours. We took them around New York City to test out new camera tricks during the day and at night, as well as to give you an idea what it might be like using the V25 Pro in the real world.
Lunch and Errands
We started the day by unplugging the V25 Pro at 10am at 100%. Errands had to be run around the city, which took almost 4 hours.
We then headed to Urbanspace meet some friends for lunch. It’s a food hall with lots of yummy options to choose from, and I opted for a caramelized pork banh mi.
While waiting for my order, I took some video samples using the V25 Pro’s rear camera. For a lot of smartphones photographing and filming at Urbanspace is not as easy. It’s moody with random light sources here and there but the V25 Pro’s 64MP OIS Ultra-Sensing Camera took the challenge like a champ. Watch our YouTube video here.
After lunch we walked over to Grand Central Terminal to take the subway to a Mediatek event. We were running late but we had to take a few photos using the V25 and V25 Pro because this station is stunning.
Even if it was quite dim inside the station, these shots came out great thanks to the V25 series’ 64MP OIS Ultra-Sensing Camera, which minimizes blur and supports a longer exposure time, resulting in clearer and brighter images.
When it comes to videos, the V25 series uses a Hybrid Image Stabilization (OIS+EIS) feature to deliver smooth videos even in low light. The X-series has long been known for great video stabilization so it’s good to see that come to its more affordable models. So, we also filmed a few clips during our subway ride.
Processing Power and Color Changing Design
At the Mediatek event, we got reunited with a lot of our fellow tech YouTubers, including Enobong Etteh (@booredatwork, Joshua Vergara (@jvtechtea), and Danny Winget (@superscientific).
Both the V25 and V25 Pro are powered by a MediaTek 5G system on a chip. The vivo V25 is powered by Mediatek’s Dimensity 900, a 6nm chip with exceptional AI camera features.
Meanwhile, the V25 Pro is powered by MediaTek’s Dimensity 1300, an octa core CPU with boosted AI performance and HyperEngine 5 which provides a suite of gaming related optimizations.
At the event however, we got our friends to talk about the color changing design of the V25 and V25 Pro.
Our V25 unit turns from golden yellow to a rich orange tone when exposed to the sun or UV light. While the V25 Pro goes from a lighter blue to a deep blue. This is thanks to the Color Changing Fluorite AG Glass material that vivo used.
Both Joshua and Danny liked how eye catching the V25’s color is. I personally love anything blue, so the V25 Pro is my pick.
At the event we also got to test the V25 Pro’s 32MP Eye AF selfie camera. It’s got autofocus, so even if you’re dealing with moving subjects, it locks on them so selfies remain clear.
In one test we had Chay move in and out of frame. Autofocus detects her as soon as she comes back into frame and follows her along as she moves around the frame.
I also love the teleprompter feature which lets me put up a script to read while recording video. I might use it for my Instagram stories more often. It’s such a fun tool!
The MediaTek event took place on a gorgeous rooftop suite so while everyone was busy mingling, I snapped the rest of these photos.
We had a lot of fun catching up with everyone, showing them the new vivo phones, and taking photos that we almost forgot to do a battery check.
At 7:07 PM, the vivo V25 Pro still had 62% left. That’s 9 hours after unplugging it from the charger.
Back in Brooklyn
After the event, we headed back to Brooklyn to try and catch the sunset. This time of the year we get longer days so we had a few minutes left and I snapped more photos along the way.
Being able to film video at night is the holy grail of smartphone videography and with Super Night Video on the V25 Pro, I can shoot videos of the Manhattan skyline when it looks its best.
Super Night Video brightens and reduces noise when filming in low light.
It’s 8:30 PM, and I could just feel the hunger pangs so we decided to grab some tacos from Tacocina at Domino Park. But first, another battery check: 49% left in the tank.
Of course, we didn’t want to pass up on the chance to take a photo of the tacos, too. The camera always eats first.
While we were there it was also the perfect opportunity to test out the Bokeh Flare Portrait. There are five effects to choose from: default, hearts, stars, butterfly, and cherry blossom.
The vivo V25 Pro did a great job of separating me from the background despite how dark it already got. I can’t say which effect is my favorite but I think I’m gonna use hearts for now.
I was so hungry after the day we just had that I had to order another taco. While waiting I went and tested out the Time-Lapse feature on the V25 Pro as well. You can watch our video here to watch those samples.
More Photos at Night
Our next camera test involved having the subject in the shadows, with a well-lit background. We snapped a few around Domino Park, but it’s the one where Chay stood in front of the pillars that takes the cake.
For that we turned on Super Night Portrait. It uses AI to compensate for the lack of light on the subject. It’s of course not obvious in this photo, but in real life, Chay had barely any light on her face when we took the shot.
We couldn’t end the day without taking some artsy night time photos.
This first shot is of the Williamsburg bridge around Blue Hour. I visiting love Domino Park for views just like this one.
I love that Tacocina exists. It means you don’t even need to leave the park to get food and drink. I highly recommend their carne asada soft taco!
I always am a sucker for a mural. I love street art and the walls around Domino Park are lined with them.
I had to do it: an OOTD photo.
These blue steel towers are actually cranes from the sugar refinery that once stood in this area. I love how they kept them around and how they’re now like art pieces that illuminate the park at night.
I love this shot of Chay walking down the stairs from the elevated walkway.
We’ve got a few more shots for you from my walk home.
I was super impressed with this one of a food truck because it was much darker than the pic looks. I also love how the V25 Pro did not produce lens flares other smartphones tend to do when photographing lights.
Neon is always a challenging thing to film or photograph. I think the V25 Pro did an excellent job of this hair salon.
I thought this was a quirky way to end this photoshoot — a neon flamingo atop a building.
After almost 12 hours of use, and exactly 4 hours of screen-on time, the V25 Pro had 28% left at 9:39 PM.
I’m glad we ended our day in Brooklyn with night photography tests using the V25 Pro. It’s worth pointing out that V25 series cost half the price of higher end smartphones. Yet it more than delivers in terms of capturing stunning photos at night.
I guess I shouldn’t even be surprised, considering how the vivo X80 Pro, along with its predecessors, are some of the best smartphone shooters we’ve tried.
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