Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Given Cambodia's long relationship with France and France's gastronomic traditions, it is no surprise some of the town’s finest venues offer French cuisine. So explore and enjoy!
Feeling a little crazy, try Estatic Pizza and get the happiest pizza you'll ever eat! They are located Opposite Province Hospital, Near Old Market, Phone: (855 11) 928 531.
The proprietor takes the orders and bakes the pies. A great casual place to relax and enjoy a special little treat... The pizza is made with the finest green leafy substance around and will certainly leave you hungry for more ;)
My tip... order one pizza, extra happy, and then one regular for the road. Otherwise it's just a downward spiral, baby!
Monday, June 1, 2009
On this occasion, they served up a ridiculous amount of seafood, and a dipping sauce for each. I had shrimp, scallops, squid, white fish and a variety of unidentified tidbits that made my mouth dance with excitement. I loved the crackling sound as the butter melted and dripped over the sides of the fish and onto the charcoal, which then sent up a puff of smoke and gently flavored my fantastic little treats.
You cook your meal at your pace, and to your liking. Which is always fantastic, I think. A little hands on never hurt anyone. I left the shrimp on long enough to allow it to get blackened, giving it a hearty and smokey flavor that can't be rivaled. The scallops were grilled just long enough to see the grill markings, but not as to not loose the moisture. The squid curled as it cooked, blackening just the tips, giving it an amazing flavor. Try that with a sweet chili sauce, and you're money!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
In preparation of the big adventure, I would highly suggest that you contract with a tuk tuk driver for your entire stay in Siem Reap. Not only is it the easiest way to get around, but the drivers are reliable and affordable, and can definitely use the funds to help support their family.
I have set out a two-day schedule for exploring Angkor Wat. However, if you have more time, that is fantastic!
For your first day, get up bright and early and visit Angkor Thom, Bayon, Elephant and Leper King Terrace. Be sure to get there for sunrise, as it is simply gorgeous at Bayon temple. You can either break for lunch at the many tiny restaurants dotting the nearby roads, or better yet, pack a lunch and picnic right there!
In the afternoon, take your time exploring and visiting Ta Prohm and Angkor Wat. Wear those walking shoes and be prepared for a full day!
If you aren't too scared of heights, be sure to climb (very carefully) to the top of Angkor Wat for an outstanding view. There is one hand rail for the 25 foot wide stairs, and since only one person is lucky enough to use it, most just pile up the stairs with reckless abandon. Me? Not so much. I waited it out til all those crazy kids got up there, then proceeded to take the handrail! Much better!
On day two, check out Preah Khan, Neak Pean, Mebon and Pre Rup. Don't miss Angkor Wat's reflection on the lake as the sun begins to set. It makes for a breathtaking view and awe-inspiring photos.
After seeing this amazing site, do your best to give back to the community, be it through making a few purchases at the local shops and restaurants, or simply by tipping your tour guide or driver. They appreciate it more than you will ever know!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Unlike most Khmer temples, Angkor Wat is oriented to the west rather than the east. This has led many to conclude that Suryavarman intended it to serve as his funerary temple.
The outer wall, 1024 by 802 m and 4.5 m high, is surrounded by a 30 m apron of open ground and a moat 190 m wide. Access to the temple is by an earth bank to the east and a sandstone causeway to the west; the latter, the main entrance, is a later addition, possibly replacing a wooden bridge.
The Bayon Temple was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple to be built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine dedicated to the Buddha, though a great number of minor and local deities were also encompassed as representatives of the various districts and cities of the realm.
The similarity of the 216 gigantic faces on the temple's towers to other statues of the king has led many scholars to the conclusion that the faces are representations of Jayavarman VII himself. Look for the smiling face at sunrise. It a truly amazing view that will make you smile for years after your visit.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
It has been a relatively slow demise of the Khmer Rouge, but now that the town is safe again, visitors have used it as a base for visits to Angkor Wat.
A Bit of History...
Reliefs in Angkor
The heart of this empire during its peak in the 12th century was the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (near present day Siem Reap), the site of the world’s largest temple complexes that was only rediscovered in 1861, overgrown by jungle.
This spectacular city was built over 30 years under the reign of Suryavarman II (1113-1150). The whole area covers 400 sqare kilometers and is brimming with the finest examples of Khmer art and architecture. Within the Angkor Wat compound alone, are over 100 stone monuments and temple edifices, each of which contains countless statues, sculptures and bas reliefs that have weathered extremely well over the last 800 years.
To see the whole thing can take several days, as you get delightfully lost in its labyrinthine corridors. The most important temples to visit in the area are Angkor Wat – especially at sunrise and sunset; Angkor Thom, the remains of the capital; Ta Prohm, a palace overgrown by jungle; and Preah Khan, which is also overgrown and in the process of restoration.
I spent much time exploring and lost, walking along winding paths, confused by aware. All the while I was lost, I was not scared, but was enveloped in the moment and appreciating my surroundings. I allowed myself to see things that not every traveler would, and to venture off the beaten path.
Take your time. Explore. Get lost. And find yourself. A visit to this city would never be regretted. Enjoy!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Only a short ride by moped on the only road leading north out of town and you will find the well-known red sand dunes. Once there, it is only seconds until you have an entourage of little boys asking if they can "help" you go sledding.
They are cute, and of course, you do need something to sled on, because last time I checked I forgot to bring a plastic sled. They work in teams and will offer to watch your moped, while the others carry the sled to the best location, which happens to be about a mile away!
Note: Keep your mouth shut! Though you would like to scream an excited, "Wheeeee," remember, you are sliding down sand. Sand! And unless you want a mouth full of grit and grime, close the trap!
The kids will stay out there with you until you have had your fill. Frankly, hiking back up that dune a few times was all I needed for my vacation workout.
The trekking and sledding was certainly invigorating, and so was the face of the kid who was watching your moped. Now, the entire entourage, even the kid just following you around, wants to be paid. Each would like about $20, which would make your little sand sledding adventure about $200. Don't worry, they are happy with $20 altogether.
As we drove our moped back to the resort, I attempted to brush the sand off of my face, causing a nice exfoliation, bordering on peel. The best thing to do is the outdoor shower. Don't miss your ears... because the sand sure didn't.
Then smile, after all, you just rode down a 100 foot sand dune on a tiny sheet of plastic... and survived!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
They also offer on-site laundry service, which was very convenient, especially when traveling light. Bien Xanh has a beautiful, crystal clear swimming pool with a swim-up bar. Perfect for those lazy afternoons. The breakfast is a full buffet of local fruits, custom-made omelets, tables of side items, and a barrage of fresh juices.
There is also a great restaurant located beach side offering great snacks, both American and Vietnamese. So if you are craving that pepperoni pizza, but also want some pho, this is your place. I am starting to sound a bit like an advertisement. But actually, I was just really amazed with the quality and service at the resort.
There were also other resorts within walking distance. So if you want to change it up or meet your fellow tourists, most of the resorts do have nice, moderately priced, restaurants and bars.
Also, watch for the happy hour. In Mui Ne, they do it right with buy-one-get-one-free drinks, 3p.m. - 8p.m. at most lounges.