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24 Apr 2017

Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh, once known as the ‘Pearl of Asia’, is the capital and largest city in Cambodia. It is now a cultural, commercial, and political center that offers a unique blend of traditional charm and urban bustle. Today, Phnom Penh is a place of diverse economic and urban growth. A swift wave of development has brought in new highrise buildings–including a 30-storey business center–restaurants catering to every palate, and stylish hotels promising all levels of luxury. Contributing to this development are burgeoning culinary and nightlife scenes that can rival any other in the region. The alluring capital city also features a wide variety of historical and cultural attractions, along with myriad opportunities to sample local Cambodian culture. Here, classic colonial facades endure alongside sleek new eateries, golden-spired pagodas, and buzzing markets– all evidence of the dynamic energy of Phnom Penh’s city streets. Phnom Penh’s famous riverfront is lined with trendy pubs, bistros, and restaurants. Stores offering beautiful Cambodian silk products and chic galleries dot the side streets. Add to this a blooming arts scene and a heady dusk-to-dawn nightlife and you’ll understand why Phnom Penh has become such a well-loved and compelling tourist destination. Around Phnom Penh The vibrant streets of Phnom Penh are full of colorful sights. The city possesses an exciting range of historical and cultural attractions to tout, along with countless restaurants and nightspots. For a taste of Cambodian history and royal life, visitors can tour the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda located just next to the palace grounds. A short walk away, the National Museum beckons with room after room of Khmer sculpture, ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects. To get a taste of city life, visitors can walk along Sothearos Boulevard, sampling local foods and patronising a clutch of ‘antique’ shops that sell silver trays, betel boxes, belts, ancient coins, silver or wooden statuettes and famed marble carvings from the province of Pursat. Visitors may also find it pleasant to take leisurely strolls around Phnom Penh. Boulevards peppered by elegant colonial buildings and a bustling riverfront lined with cafes and restaurants make this a truly beautiful city to see on foot. For those interested in shopping, ‘Phsar Toul Tum Poung’ also known as Russian Market offers antique pieces, sundry sounvenir items, and factory over-run designer clothing at hugely discounted prices. Visitors who prefer air-conditioned comfort may opt to stop in the city’s modern shopping complexes (Sorya Shopping Centre, Sovanna Centre and the City Mall). A sunset cruise down Phnom Penh’s Tonle Sap river serves as a perfect, relaxing end to an activity-filled day. Catch the soft river breezes and watch as Cambodia’s capital begins to light up and shimmer for the evening.
20 May 2015

Mondul Kiri Province

To the south of Rattanak Kiri is Mondul Kiri, the most sparsely populated province in Cambodia, despite being the largest in land area. This province is known for its thickly-forested hills, verdant landscapes, and cascading waterfalls. Its capital is Sen Monorom. Though remote, Mondul Kiri will awe visitors who make the trip with its otherworldly tranquility and beauty. To truly appreciate this province, one should arrange for a trek (or an elephant ride!) through the area’s lush jungles to enjoy unspoiled scenery and the bracing fresh air, not to mention some of the country’s most spectacular waterfalls. Few visitors will pass up the chance to soak in the rare and dramatic beauty of a waterfall tucked in the thick of the Mondul Kiri jungle. Mondul Kiri also offers a handful of unforgettable cultural attractions. Many visitors enjoy a stop at the Phnong minority villages where they can observe the rich culture belonging to local hill tribes. There are even opportunities to experience cultural community life on the edges of the forest through ‘home stay’ arrangements in the corridor zone of Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mondul Kiri Protected Forest.
20 May 2015

Siem Reap Province

Siem Reap, located in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the world-famous Angkor temple complex, which includes the magnificent Angkor Wat. The province also contains a vibrant capital city boasting many luxury hotels, beautifully-aged colonial buildings, a buzzing Pub Street, silk farms, markets, and much more. The city of Siem Reap, also the capital of the province, is a ‘must-visit’ destination for all visitors to Cambodia. This is where the glorious 12th Century Angkor Wat temple, the largest religious building in the world, is located. Situated on the northern bank of the Tonle Sap Great Lake, this mesmerizing eighth wonder of the world can be easily accessed by plane, land, and boat. The ruins of Angkor, located in thick jungle, are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over one thousand temples ranging in scale from nondescript piles of rubble scattered through rice fields to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat–the best-preserved temple. Apart from the legacy of the vast Angkor temple complex, Siem Reap has a lot more to offer to tourists, from the spectacular floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake to the heritage site of the Kulen Mountain, to the recently discovered Koh Ker ruins. In town, there are a bevy of ethnic craft shops, galleries, cafes, eateries and top-notch restaurants serving every type of cuisine. The famous ‘Pub Street’ and the night markets of Siem Reap are now renowned tour destinations in their own rights. Additionally, siilk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a very rich bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake make Siem Reap one of the most captivating places in the world.
03 Sep 2014

Preah Sihanouk Province

Preah Sihanouk province is Cambodia’s most famous beach town. Better known as Kampong Som to locals, it is about 230 km southwest of Phnom Penh and boasts pristine white-sand beaches, unspoiled tropical islands, and a dynamic nightlife. With its palm-studded shores and warm, clear waters, it hardly comes as a surprise that Preah Sihanouk attracts crowds of locals, expatriates, and tourists eager for a beachside holiday. Do as locals do and enjoy the stretches of powdery white sand with a chilled coconut and some toothsome grilled seafood. Or, indulge in a beachside massage, take a dip in the sea, and go for dinner in any of the local restaurants that serve fresh crabs, prawns, lobsters, fish, and scallops in a mouth-watering array of styles. There are dozens of untouched islands off the coast of Preah Sihanouk: Koh Rong and Koh Rong Samlon both feature blissfully uncrowded beaches with palm-shaded shorelines. Being a beach town, there are also many sea-based activities for adventuous visitors, including boating, island-hopping, fishing, diving and snorkeling in crystal clear waters. For the expert enthusiast who wants to explore the mysterious underwater world of coastal Cambodia, the province has PADI Dive Centers and qualified instructors who know just the right spots to take you. In the evenings, the nightlife heats up, and those in search of pulsing bars and nightclubs won’t be disappointed. Many entertainment venues, especially those on Weather Station Hill, stay open well into the wee hours.
03 Sep 2014

Stung Treng Province

Stung Treng is a beautiful province located on a high sandy bank overlooking the Mekong River. It is about 455 km from Phnom Penh and some 40 km to the Laos border. This charming city is linked to Banlung (Rattanak Kiri) and is more than just a ‘stopover’. The Sekong Bridge, itself an attraction, serves as a convenient passage to the border of Laos. There are several noteworthy attractions in the province of Stung Treng. The incredible Sopheakmith Waterfall never ceases to mesmerise visitors, and neither does the stretch of the mighty Mekong, which is home to the incredibly rare Irrawaddy dolphins. The Thala Barivat is only 4 kilometers from the provincial town. This is accessible by crossing the Se Kong River. Thala Barivat is the historical site where the Preah Ko, a 7th century brick temple of King Jayavarman I is located. Preah Ko is consists of six brick towers arranged in two rows of three towers each perched on a sandstone platform. This is one of the earliest temples built during the Angkor era. Here in the vicinity are a few other small ancient temples; the Prambuon Lveng Temple, Srei Temple and the Angkor Kmao Temple. The Hang Kho Ba Pagoda, a 300 year old temple in the Hang Kho Ba Village, is also only about 6 Kilometers from the provincial town and worth the while to pay a visit. Stung Treng province is also famous for sweet tamarind Pa Si Yi fish, a local delicacy enjoyed by many tourists.
13 Aug 2014

Kratie Province

Kratie Province, located on the east bank of the Mekong River, attracts a fair share of visitors, many of whom wish to catch a glimpse of the last few Irrawaddy Dolphins left in the world.  The recommended place to see them is Kampi Village, about 15 kilometers from town. Irrawaddy Dolphins are an endangered species and are extremely rare; it is estimated there are only about 60 living in this stretch of the river. The town of Kratie offers an authentic rural ambience, and therefore serves as the perfect place to spend a peaceful night or two. It is a nice relief from some of the country’s more trafficked areas. There numerous sites to visit in Kratie. Phnom Sombok is a small temple located on a hill north of town. A long flight of steps lead into a pavilion of Phnom Sombok that features detailed photos of afterlife punishments to those who have sinned in the present life. Wat Roka Kandal is a restored pagoda with an ancient Lao style ‘Stupa’ on the riverfront about 2 kilometers from the town center. Nearby lies a more modern pagoda where chanting of the monks can be heard at dawn and in the evenings. About 15 kilometers from town, there is a large Cham community. This is known locally as the ‘basket-weaving’ village; it is the biggest in Kratie with over 4000 villagers living here. A popular end-of-the-day activity in Kratie is to relax by the riverfront to watch the sun set.
07 Aug 2014

Preah Vihear Province

Preah Vihear province, which borders Thailand and Laos to the north, is home to three of the most captivating temples of the Angkorian era: the Preah Vihear temple, the Koh Ker temple, and the Preah Khan Kampong Svay temple. It also houses communities of many ethnic hill tribes. Koh Ker used to be a capital of the Khmer Emperor King Jayavarman IV who built this city in the year 921AD. Some parts of the temples are still hidden in the jungle and are not accessible. The Preah Vihear temple is most significant in this province. The temple of Preah Vihear, dedicated to Shiva, is situated on the edge of a plateau that dominates the plain of Cambodia. The temple is composed of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases over an 800 metre long axis and dates back to the first half of the 11th century AD. Nevertheless, its complex history can be traced to the 9th century, when the hermitage was founded. This site is particularly well preserved, mainly due to its remote location. It is exceptional for the quality of its architecture, which is adapted to the natural environment and the religious function of the temple, as well as for the exceptional quality of its carved stone ornamentation. A unique architectural complex of a series of sanctuaries linked by a system of pavements and staircases on an 800 metre long axis, this temple is an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture, in terms of plan, decoration and relationship to the spectacular landscape environment. Preah Khan Kampong Svay, also known as Prasat Bakan, is a complex of gigantic proportions located in the southwest corner of Preah Vihear province. It covers an area 4 times that of the Angkor Wat with a 3 km long Baray and a large number of towers or Prasats within the compound. Largely unknown and rarely visited, the temple had been very badly looted over the years.
07 Aug 2014

Kampot Province

Kampot, the third largest coastal province in Cambodia, shares a border with Vietnam to the east and extends into the Gulf of Siam to the south. Elegant colonial architecture, spectacular natural attractions, and bucolic charm make this province a favorite among locals, expatriates, and more recently, tourists. Kampot’s languid atmosphere and quaint, small-town feel are easy to fall in love with; many who stay in the province do so on the relaxed riverside, where visitors can swim in waters full of bioluminescent plankton or take a smooth kayak ride down the river. Kampot is more than just a sleepy riverside town, however. The province offers plentiful historical and natural wonders to discover, and serves as a common gateway to Bokor National Park, the beaches of Kep, the beautiful rapids of Toek Chhou and other attractions in southwestern Cambodia. Bokor National Park is popular for its cool mountain climate and remains a year-round favourite amongst locals and foreigners alike. The scenery from the top is captivating, especially in the morning hours when one can literally touch the clouds and take in the bracing mountain air. Other attractions include the Popokvil Waterfall where thundering falls provide a cool, refershing pool to dip in. A short distance across the track, the Toek Chhou Rapids is yet another popular tourist attraction. The Prek Ampal Resort, Kampong Trach Mountain Resort and the Anlong Pring Bird Sanctuary are also worthwhile stops in Kampot.
07 Aug 2014

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07 Aug 2014

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