OK, sorry, I couldn't resist a reference to the Who's Tommy in the title here. It is obviously a reference to newspapers, in this case the Phnom Penh Post, the English daily in the country, which makes for a very interesting read. For those of you used to cutting edge Western investigative journalism, you may be disappointed. I find, however, that it gives a fascinating insight into daily life in the Kingdom and moreso into the system that requires certain standards of journalism.
Much of the content is lifted straight from the wires of Reuters, AFP etc. but there are stories translated from local regional papers, some of which are so banal as to not merit inclusion in the Kettering Pig Breeders Quarterly and some, whilst undoubtedly tragic, rendered into English in such a way that I cannot help but smile at them.
The weekend edition does include a half decent lifestyle magazine and it is certainly worth the few riel it costs to buy it. If you can't find it, most decent bars and restaurants will have today's edition.
The Cambodian Children's Painting Project
Visit the Cambodian Children's Painting Project (CCPP). CCPP is a NGO located on Serendipity Beach Road, Sihanoukville. The project works with impoverished Cambodian children. Together with volunteers the children create art which is then sold to help support the children's families and the project itself. As part of the project children are provided with access to education, painting materials, sport activities, two meals a day, medical assistance and dental assistance. Social workers are employed to work with the children's families. You can help by becoming a volunteer, donating painting materials, buying a painting, donating money or by holding an exhibition of the children's art. Visit their website htpp://www.letuscreate.org for more information.
This temple was left over to the jungle completely! The French discoverers decided to leave one temple like they found the whole complex. Ta Prohm was built at the end of the 12th century by JayavarmanIII and was a Buddhist monastery .
It really has a special athmosphere! Don't miss it!
3. Very easy to exchange U$ into Cambodia riel so no need to exchange in advance (not even sure if it's internationally exchanged/traded).
2. Yes, with a party of 5, it's best to have a car or van to get around. You don't really need a guide since the driver knows all the places. You can pick up a good Angkor guide at the market or get one in advance. Dawn Rooney and Michael Freeman both have very good guidebooks on Angkor's many temples. If you buy there, then look carefully at the book/s since some are poor photocopies.
1. Eventhough you've only got 2 full days, I'd concentrate on the major ones within the small circuit: Angkor Wat of course, Angkor Thom (multip places all worth visits such as the Bayon, Phimeanankis, Terrace of the Elephant King, etc), Preah Khan, Ta Phrom, etc.
This is quite subjective but since the Women's Citadel or Banteay Srei is now roped off from access to the most detailed structures, and since it's quite a distance with added cost and time, I'd skip it for this trip.
Also recommend getting up early one day for sunrise and ask the driver to take you to the East Gate / entrance of Angkor Wat.
As to catching sunset on the first day, sure why not. Once you get settled into your rooms, drop the bags and head on up to the back of Angkor Wat or the every crowded Phnom Bakheng / sunset temple.
You can save the evenings to explore the town of Siem Reap.
The Royal Palace in Phnom Penh is like a mini version of the one in Bangkok. It was originally built in 1434 butthen destroyed and rebuilt again in 1866.It is 435m long and 421 m wide with a high wall. However some of the areas are not open to the public. The Silver Pagoda is particularly impressive.
There are loads of fascinating markets in Cambodia.In Siem Reap there is the Old Market and the Night Market. In Siem Reap town on the way back into town from the Angkor Temple area there is a market on the left hand side of the road. I don't know its name but it is just the local market for the people,not a tourist market. Stop off and stroll around and you will see lots of interesting sights and smell interesting smells. We were amused that the local sellers had their babies sleeping strung up in hammocks between the stalls.you can find lots of fruits,vegetables,fish and household goods for very cheap there.
Maybe it's a little touristy but we decided to go to the Apsara dance show and meal given in a hotel in Siem Reap.Our guide got us the tickets and took us there.Actually it was pretty enjoyable and the food choices were immense,it was a buffet with loads of different things to choose from.We had just got inside and sat down when the rain came pouring down so we were happy to be inside watching the show for the next hour and relaxing.It made a nice change from tramping round the temples in the sweltering June heat.
you can read about this form of dance on the link below which is the most informative source I know of information about Siem Reap and Cambodia generally.
I am not sure of the name of the restaurant where we saw the show, but your hotel or guide will be happy to book tickets for you.
when you are tired of temples it's a good idea to take a morning off and go to see the stilt villages on the Tonle Sap lake.We went to Kompong Phluk which is further away from Siem Reap and therefore more difficult to reach but apparently also less touristy than the closer village.WE had to get to the lake by motorcycle because it was rainy season,and then from there take a boat up to the village. It was really interesting on the way to see the flooded forest trees growing out of the salt water,and see all the life on the river.You see floating pig cages, floating washing lines, people fishing and kids playing and bathing in the water.The village itself is small and lots of 'small guides' will be willing to show you round and practice their English on you. The small schoolhouse was interesting too,and if you have the inclination you can try and teach the kids a song.
all very enjoyable. Our guide from Amazing Angkor fixed up the whole thing for us for $65 for two of us. NOt sure if that was a good price but we were happy.It is near the Rolous temple group so you could combine the day with that. Or go to Bantey Sreay afterwards,as we did.
If you take a good guide you can manage to see the main temples in around 3 days.
The temple pass is for 1,3 or 7 days.
Clearly 1 is not enough and 7 is too much for many people as you get sated after a while and can't remember what you have seen.So I think 3 is a good option for most visitors (except specialist archaeologists maybe)
Your guide can organize the pass for you.You don't need a photo ,as they take your photo at the ticket office.But remember to keep your pass on you all the time ,or you won't get admitted to the temple sites.
The times of day you see the temples can greatly influence your impression,so if you have time to go back to one again,it's good. The light and weather changes how things appear.
This is provincial town to the north-northwest of Phnom Penh. Takes about 4 hours to drive
there. Also on the Mekong. Center of town has a snake-like sculpture - 5 minutes right over the river, to the left, very nice restaurant on stilts.
I visited the provincial town hall where we met, and then the center for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, pleasant garden!
Stayed in a perfectly clean hotel for $20 -called Lea Vireaksa - however no breakfast there.
But for that, just across the main traffic circle, there was a restaurant.
We drove to Kampot all the way from Kampong Cham, so it took about 8 hours, possibly 3-4 from Phnom Penh. There are two roads, the further one is smoother, the closer one is EXTREMELY bumpy. Little villages, farms, each tiny house on its stilts, with a shrine in the front yard. As you get closer to Kampot, enormous hills, mountains really rise up - very dramatic against all the greenery. Kampot has an inner tongue of the sea, and then one could drive out to the ocean - I wish we had time to do that. Also, you could go up onto the mountain facing you across the waterway which was a colonial station - The town itself is not large, restaurants along the water etc. We drove a short way down to one on the same road as Riki Tikki Tavi hotel - (maybe walking at night is not such a great idea) and had a great dinner!
I do not eat crab, but heard from the others that the fresh crab was especially delicious.
These are the ruins of several palaces, important to the history of Cambodia, and of Buddhism. Fantastic. I went in extremely hot weather, so that's not the best, and would adivse spending the night there so you can see the sites over a day and a half at least. I rushed through all by 5, it can be done.
Starting at the bridge to Angkor Thom there are great figures - good spirits line one side of the road and bad ones on the other The fantastic gate is meant to impress, and had a door to keep enemies out. Then, entered the main ruin where the Buddha faces - large ones, are placed all over the roof of the temples, and detailed murals show the history of wars and how ordinary people lived, fished, hunted, gave birth, played games.
Angkor Wat is the more photographed larger site, lots of groups going through, very crowded, and a must-see
I was told before I left I should visit the Killing Fields outside Phnom Penh, where there are the pits of the mass graves where the Khmer Rouge killed and buried their victims. To prepare I read a few books including First They Killed My Father (you can buy it there in English or French too)
The site has a stupa which is a series of shelves inside entirely lined with skulls; going up all the way to the top. At the base is the clothing they dug up from the graves
It is not a fancy, impressive monument like the Holocaust Museum, but eerie and one feels the evil of the genocide that took place here.
A guide is preferable.
The Royal Palace is actually a palace complex with many buildings inside., first built in 1434, then rebuit. It was boiling hot when I went, sunglasses would have helped. Bright yellow marigolds or possibly a kind of crysanthemum line the sides of brilliant white buildings with fantastic golden roofs. Taxis must stay other side of the road, cost about $6 to get in. There wasn't really enough explanation on any placards & so advise going with a good guide. I still enjoyed it - shrines, temples, the elephant shrine, lovely, lovely plants, relics and display about official costume, showing which color is to be worn on which day -- I guess this is a Buddhist tradition.
At the far end of the building is a smaller one with some replicas of typical Khmer houses and in a little tree house were traditional musicians and drummer. The master musician invited some of tourists to sit down and try, and instructed them so they could keep up with his marathon piece.
Also know as the Victory Monument, this tower was built in 1958 to commemorate Cambodia’s independence from France in 1953. It is modelled after the ornate central tower of Angor Wat. The tower has 5 levels and is decorated 100 snake heads. It serves as a memorial to the war dead of Cambodia and wreaths are laid here on national holidays by government officials. Be careful where you take pictures of this monument as it is in the middle of a roundabout (traffic circle) in one of the major roads in Phnom Penh. The best viewing time is late afternoon when the tower takes on an orange glow.
Raffles Hotel Le Royal is the premier hotel in Phnom Penh. The hotel was first established in 1929...more
The hotel is simply splendid. The spa is the ideal manner for relaxing after a long sightseeing of...more
KO Road, Rottanak Commune, Battambang, Cambodia
Good for: Solo
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