Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Angkor Sunset

Posted by Picasa
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The land of smiling people, Buddhas, Stupas, Tuk Tuks & Mobile phone towers

We are almost at the end of our holiday after three weeks. Now in PP for a few days of site seeing and shopping in this interesting city that seems to be in a boom at present. You could say it is just another Asian city but we have found it very friendly and easy to get around, the restaurants are great value and the quality is very good. I was expecting a much less developed city, not the bustling city we found with trendy shops & restaurants.
Our hotel,The Boddhi Tree Arman is a very small place next door to the British Embassy residence in a 1950's building close to the Royal Palace.We can pop in for a cuppa anytime we feel like it.
The hotel has been trendily decorated a few years ago but now in need of a touch up. Our room overlooks a rusted steel roof of the food street vendors who operate in the laneway off the street approaching our hotel.
I woke up early this morning and went for a walk around the Royal Palace and the surrounding streets.
Many people were waking up from their beds on the footpaths, others were doing aerobics near the Democracy Monument to the sound of disco music or walking their dogs.
Tonight we meet our friends Bert & Lyn from Australia for sunset and dinner at the Foreign Correspondents Club.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From Malibu Cambodia

Our stay in the sea side town of Kep in the south of Cambodia is at a very quiet resort with quite luxurious rooms and a huge swimming pool costing $50 a double including breakfast.
It looks like this town is undergoing a revival boom at present but it is still a sleepy little back water which was once the Riviera of Cambodia. The royal family have a residence here although most of the grand villas built from the thirties into the sixties are now ruins destroyed by the Khmer Rouge army.
Before cominmg to The Malibu estate we had two very pleasant days at The Beach House overlooking Kep Beach.
Unfortunately we had to move as there was a previous booking for our room but our new place The Malibu although not overlooking the beach is really very nice.
The food in this town is very good, we try a different hotel / guest house/ restaurant every night.
Seafood is a specialty of Kep, there is a Crab Market not far from here, with restaurants along the sea front.
Yesterday we went on a Tuk Tuk tour of the closest big town, Kampot. We remembered that not so many years ago two young tourists were kidnapped and killed by Khmer Rouge here. It is all so hard to imagine these things could happen in this country of pleasant smiling people.The lush countryside was quite magnificent and we were glad to do the trip in a bouncing took-took which seemed to take hours.
Some restaurants to try out were, Le Flamboyant in a lovely garden setting.By Cambodian standards expensive but there was a great chef here. The menu was in  French.

The Beach House Hotel

The boat builders of Kampot

Fishing boats at Kep

Crab Market at Kep

We have the Big Banana they have the Big CRAB !!!

The Malibu Estate Gardens where we stayed

Inside one of the many ruins in Kep

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kep is a lovely quiet town

After an arduous mini bus trip from PP we are now in the lovely sea side town of Kep, renowned for it's sea food, quietness, sunsets over the South China Sea and famous for Pepper trees.
We have had a few meals utilising the fresh peppers seeds, the squid fried with peppers was yummy last night here where we are staying at the Beach House Hotel with lovely views.
We had a bit of trouble getting a room in this town, there seems to be a shortage. Tomorrow we have to move to The Malibu Resort, (a most peculiar name for a town in Cambodia) which we looked at yesterday and it looks fabulous with a most superb looking pool in a quiet rural setting (cows, rice etc).
This town is also infamous.... known as the ghost town, where the Khmer Rouge killed many people and destroyed a once popular resort town which thrived in the thirties where the French colonialists built villas for their holidays. There are many ruins about town of the large villas that I have photographed.
Kep also boasts a Crab Market not far from our hotel where there are some popular restaurants which we will try out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Phnom Phen

After a very uncomfortable and crushed bus trip fom Siem Reap we are now in Phnom Phen, the capitol city of Cambodia.
The very attractive and helpful young woman who was our bus conductor / commentator gave us a talk about what we were looking at as we were driven to our destination. Firstly, she spoke in her Cambodian language then she translated this into English. It was meant to be informative but unfortunately we didn't understand a word !
She was so sweet and had the loveliest smile, how could we possibly complain.

Sunset at the Foreign Correspondents Club ( FCC) in Phnom Pehn.
Famous events happened here during the Vietnam war.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


We are still in Seam Reap staying at the Golden Banana Boutique Hotel, about 5 minutes from town attractions of restaurants, shops & bars.
Last time we stayed in the GB Resort Hotel but no room this time, not quite as good but still very good value and very comfortable rooms. Our room is on two levels with sitting room downstairs and bedroom upstairs. Unfortunately the TV isn't in bedroom like the resort hotel where all on one level for most rooms. Damn it, but ya can't have everything in life that ya want....... So they say, but will keep trying anyway !

The Food Is Yummy Here As Well.
The Cambodian cuisine is similar to Thai food but there seems to be more use of lemon grass and other aromatic spices. YUM YUM !!!
We've tried a different restaurant each day, there must be hundreds to choose from and the main eat street is closed to traffic at night, making it easier to find a place to suit.

Many look beautifully decorated, we particularly like the Red Piano where she with the lips used to hang out when they were filming that tomb raiding movie.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monks in the temple

A senior monk and these young ones were keen for photo opportunities, happily posing for all the tourists.

Now In Cambodia

After a wonderful time in Luang Prabang ( can't wait to go back ) we are now back in Siem Reap, near Angkor Wat where we last visited in March this year. Our flight here with Laos Airlines was pretty awful, on a noisy smaller plane ( 60 odd people )
We are staying again at the Golden Banana Hotel which we like very much.
The young staff looking after us are absolutely gorgeous... and i mean gorgeous.. like drop dead type GORGEOUS !!!!.
They are so helpful and sweet to us.
We stay here until Thursday morning then catch a bus to Pnom Phen ( 4-5 hours) after that we go to a beach place called Kep.
This morning we went on taxi tour to Banteay Srei temple about 40 kms from our hotel. It is called the women's temple. why? I don't know yet. It was a very pleasant drive through lush green countryside and this small temple complex was beautiful although not overwhelming like Angkor Wat or others. It was worth the visit.

Banteay Srei (or Banteay Srey)  is a 10th century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Located in the area of Angkor in Cambodia, at 13.5989 N, 103.9628 E, it lies near the hill of Phnom Dei, 25 km (15 miles) north-east of the main group of temples that once belonged to the medieval capitals of Yasodharapura and Angkor Thom.[1] Banteay Srei is built largely of red sandstone, a medium that lends itself to the elaborate decorative wall carvings which are still observable today. The buildings themselves are miniature in scale, unusually so when measured by the standards of Angkorian construction. These factors have made the temple extremely popular with tourists, and have led to its being widely praised as a "precious gem", or the "jewel of Khmer art.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Luang Prabang We Love It

This is our last day here, we have found this town to be one of the loveliest of places we have ever visited.
The wonderful ambience,the beautifully kept streetscapes, the superb ancient temples, the gorgeous river side setting with mountains in the background, the yummy food, the lovely people, the cool evenings and mornings,the monks procession, the Buddha caves, the royal palace, the peace of not having many vehicles, lovely guest houses and small hotels, the charming laneways..........the flowers......
Well. what more can we say, you must come here soon.

Some shots from our stay in Luang Prabang

Our car awaits to drive us to the airport, a $20 splurge, a five minute drive one way.

View from hotel restaurant

Street gardens

Lanes connecting streets in town are beautifully planted

Euphorbias ar very commonly used here

Temple in Royal palace grounds

Royal palace museum

Ancient Buddhist Wat

Many Buddhas

Even more Buddhas

View from restaurant where we had lunch on Mekong River

Our next house....gorgeous !!

We are coming back in November 2010 for an extended stay before it gets too touristed, and before we can no longer afford to travel

Tum tum is yum yum !!!!

We have had some beautiful food here in Luang Prabang, beautiful restaurants in lush tropical settings.
Last night we went to the TUM TUM CHENG restaurant which also has a cooking school.
What we had:
  • River weed crackers with sesame seeds
  • TUM TUM secret soup ( chicken & pumpkin coconut & spices )  YUM YUM !!!
  • Lemon Grass Pork
  • Fish cooked in banana leaf with coconut & spices
combined with Beer Lao YUM YUM !!!!

Other food we have sampled.
  • Wild mushroom warm salad with spices.
  • Buffalo Laos sausages
  • Crispy spring rolls
  • Laos fish cakes
  • Duck Curry
  • Beef larp
  • various noodle soups for lunch
Most restaurants are very inexpensive, mains about $3 to $6

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our First Destination... Luangphrabang, Laos

Our first stop on this trip after an overnight stop in Bangkok is the ancient capitol of Luangphrabang in Laos. Or is that Luang Prabang ?

After our flight from Sydney to Bangkok we are staying in a hotel near the international airport, it's called the Queens garen resort. It isn't expensive, looks like a three star, we had no urge to stay in Bangkok city central again having been there many times before.

Luang Prabang is an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional architecture and Lao urban structures with those built by the European colonial authorities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions.
From UNESCO website