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How to Travel to Cambodia by Bus

Cambodia Bus

The roads leading to Cambodia’s provinces and cities have improved since the country’s door was opened to tourists in 1993. Travelers from Bangkok via Saigon, Bangkok to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Saigon to Phnom Penh can either choose to travel by bus or by train as they find the road trip more interesting and exciting. Travelers from Europe can take the Trans-Siberian railway trip for diversion or may opt to travel by plane.

Traveling to the countryside is no longer tedious compared before as there are several bus companies that offer tour packages to tourists. Domestic travel includes trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Phnom Penh to Battambang, Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh to Kampot.

Tourists would love to travel to Cambodia by bus as they can enjoy the scenery and they can make a stopover if they need to have some photo shoots. You can pick an air conditioned or regular buses that connect from Phnom Penh to the provinces of Battambang, Kampot and Kep, as well as Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

Bus companies ply on a regular basis daily to take passengers to their desired destinations. The Mekong Express at http://catmekongexpress.com  and Giant Ibis at www.giantibis.com are the most preferred buses from the city of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap to Sihanoukville and vice versa.

The routes for regular buses also ply at night for those who travel during midnight or early morning to make use of their time during their day tour. If you want comfort during your trip, you can travel by deluxe buses that are usually provided by the Mekong Express and the Giant Ibis. These bus companies assure you of safe travel while sitting on a comfortable seat with music played throughout the journey.

Since they offer passengers with high standard service, the fare is a bit pricey compared to the regular bus trip. They provide passengers with a tour guide, on-board restroom and snacks to make the trip more comfortable and relaxing. You can arrange the bus tour through a travel agency or your hotel since they have direct access to the bus companies or you may directly buy the ticket at their offices. You can also book your bus via our hotels reception desk for your onward travel in Cambodia.

Bus companies have their own terminals in Phnom Penh and all you have to do is to go directly to their office or at the bus stops and parking lots on Sisowath Quay and Street 104. Some buses are found everywhere. You may also opt to ride in Phnom Penh Sorya Transport bus http://www.ppsoryatransport.com at their station near the Central Market.

The trip from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap starts from 6:45 am and every hour thereafter. They have the same schedule for the trip from Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham while the trip from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville starts at 7:00 in the morning and every hour thereafter.

Unlike in Phnom Penh, when you travel in the towns and provincial cities, you will arrive and depart in the same bus station which is centralized. In the province of Siem Reap, you will find the Chong Kov Sou bus station about 7 kilometers from the western portion of the city center. Motodups and tuk-tuks are at the station to greet newly-arrived passengers to bring you to your destination. You will pay about $1.50 to $2 for the motodup ride and $3 for the tuk-tuk ride.

Departing passengers can take the opportunity of boarding a shuttle bus ride which is offered free by most bus companies. If you will travel to Sihanoukville, the bus will arrive and depart from their station next to the Independence Square where hotels, guesthouses and beaches are concentrated. You may take a motodup for $1 to $3 or tuk-tuk for $4 to $6 to bring you to the city’s tourist spots and beaches.

The daily schedule from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kampot-Kep, Koh Kong, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kratie, Stung Treng, Banlung, Ratanakiri, Laos border, Sisophon, and Thai border and vice versa would depend on the bus companies and so with their fare rates. Their schedule is also subject to change so make sure you have done some research before starting your provincial trip.

For added information you may visit http://www.canbypublications.com/cambodia/buses.htm and http://www.seat61.com/Cambodia.htm for schedule updates or contact your travel agent for advisory.

Expat Restaurants in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has become one of the exotic destinations for expats by offering better and new improved hotels, shops, restaurants where the past mingles with the present. During my visit, I found that most of the exciting places of Phnom Penh are influenced by the rich history of Cambodia. Phnom Penh is famous for its food varieties, ancient weaving techniques, French colonial architecture and natural surrounding beauties. 

eatingoutphnompenh

If you love to explore new exciting places like me, Phnom Penh will prove to be heaven for you. You can experience the beauty of nature at its best. The serene mountain hikes and relaxation in virgin beaches are just awesome. If you like to enjoy the taste of different kinds of foods from all over the world, the expat restaurants in Phnom Penh are the ultimate places for food lovers like you. They specialize in South East Asian cuisines and serve great continental food too.

Some Best Ex Pat Restaurants in Phnom Penh

The popular street food in Phnom Penh is mind boggling. The night market of Phnom Penh beside river comes up with plenty of food stalls that serve delicious and cheap local food. You can get a plate of fried noodles or grilled kebabs at a very unbelievable price. However, if you are looking for some authentic food in a nice and cozy atmosphere, you have to opt for expat restaurants in Phnom Penh. Almost all the high-end ex pat restaurants in Phnom Penh provides tantalizing food, drinks and amazing atmosphere to set your mood. I have visited several ex pat restaurants in Phnom Penh. Some of the memories which I continue to cherish are given below


Latin Quarter Restaurant

One of my favorite and one of the best ex pat restaurants in Phnom Penh is the Latin Quarter Restaurant. You should not miss the chance of enjoying great food in mesmerizing atmosphere. This one comes up with exciting menu card offering loads of food items in tapas, starters, main course, dessert, wine, cocktail and more. This ex pat restaurant in Phnom Penh is eminent for its Spanish, Italian and South American dishes. The charming set of the restaurant is situated in between the few remaining historic villas in Phnom Penh. You may need to reserve your seat in advance to avoid disappointment. You can even arrange any event or party in the Latin Quarter Restaurant.

Tepui

This restaurant housed in a 1940’s villa of a wealthy merchant. The picturesque beauty might allure you at the first sight. This one mainly serves Latin-Mediterranean food.

 

Gastrober Botanico

 

It is a well-known Latin American expat restaurant in Phnom Penh. The excellent food and drinks item of this place are cocktails and tapas. The environment of this restaurant is quite natural as it is set in a wonderful garden. The moment I entered there, I felt comfortable with its seating arrangement, music and food of course.

 

Armand’s Bistro

This one is famous for its private kind of atmosphere with three table facility, unique music and mind-blowing tenderloin Rossini topped with Courvoisier.

The above-mentioned information about ex pat restaurants should come handy if you decide to visit Phnom Penh.

Visiting the Killing Fields Phnom Penh

For the tourist interesting in getting around during their vacation and viewing the local sites Phnom Penh has a lot to offer. One of the places of interest that most tourists visit is the Killing Fields of Phnom Penh. This site is one of the most prolific sites in Cambodia and has left a mark on the history of the country. The Cambodian government urges tourists to visit the site when in Cambodia and has subsidised the prices of the visit to the site for a mere $6. 

The tour to the Killing Fields are led by Audio guides. Tourists were headsets and are guided through the fields while they listen intently to the story of the massacre of the innocent women, men and children. Tourists are also allowed to record the session. The tour guide will start by telling you to put on your headphones as he starts to relay the horrific details of the massacre. The tour is led down a pre set path. The tour leads to a central pit where bones of those tortured and killed are still visible. The next stop is at a tree of equal significance to the massacre. Lastly the tour guide takes the group to the final stop where the civilian villagers were put to their end. 

killingfields

 

A tour to the Killing Fields is definitely not a tourist attraction in true sense of the word "attraction". The tour to the site is definitely not for the faint at heart or for young children on tour with their parents. history buffs will gain a lot from the tour though. The tour is unlike others with a walk through a sanitized museum with artifacts on display. A tour of the Killing fields is walking through actual skulls and remains of innocent people who lost their lives. 

While on the audio tour in the Killing fields one can also enjoy the signs put up at each place of importance. Though these signs do not give too much of an insight into the history they compliment the narration of the tour guide. Tourists are also allowed to take pictures of the pictures put up at the tour sites. 

Tourists are known to have had emotional meltdowns when at the grave sites or as they go through the tour. The entire scene is horrific and if you are faint of heart ensure that you have tissue paper with you. At the grave site tourists are permitted to leave momentos like bracelets and friendship bands or tokens of love as an offering to those who lost their lives. Flowers and incense is offered at the grounds by most tourists as a peace offering. 

Booking a tour of the Killing Fields can be done at most hotels. Inquire at the Front Desk or Reception of the tours offered. Most hotels have associated with this tour and will be able to offer guests a great deal. Alternatively, one can book a tour at the site itself. The tour grounds are a mere 30 minutes ride by tuktuk from the city centre (where most tourists hotels are located). Once at the site book a tour with the guide or with at the booking office. 

While at the site beware of locals who often beg at the grave sites or at the fence. While this does take away from the tour it also is a reminder of the lives of the locals and the poor lifestyle prevalent to date. The entire tour lasts for 1.5 hours to 2 hours for those who choose to go through the entire tour and soak in all the details. The tour is offered in several different languages so one can rest assured that they can enjoy the narration of the tour in the language they are most comfortable in. 

The tour of the Killing Fields though one of the most common and popular tours booked by tourists is not a typical tour that leaves one in high spirits after; however it is one that offers an insight into reality of the recent past. Tourists travelling from the Americas and Europe and those who live generally sheltered lives surrounded by non violence tend to have a deeper sense of depression and apathy for the massacre and loss Cambodia suffered.

Visit S21 in Phnom Pehn

The S21 museum in Phnom Penh is like no other. It stands as a symbol of torture and terror to over 17000 persons who lost their lives with no reason. In 1975, a high school in Phnom Penh, the Svay Prey High School was taken over by the Khmer regime and turned into a prison known as Security prison or S21. The S21 is now turned into a museum named the Tuol Sleng Museum. It is open daily from 7 am to 1130 am and then from 2 pm to 530 pm. Entry to the museum is a mere $2 per person. 

S21

 

The Khmer regime was meticulous is documenting the interrogations of each of the 17,000 prisoners and even photographed each and every person before and after the torture session. One of the rooms in the museum pays tribute to these victims by displaying the pictures from the ceiling to the floor. Amongst the locals several American, Australian and French tourists were also detained at the site and their documents are displayed on the walls. While in the torture rooms pay close attention to the devices used to torture the living and eventually being them to their death. Also, put yourself in the photographers shoes and picture him taking pictures of those being tortured, young children being slaughtered, women with children in their arms being nailed and poked with torture devices and men being tortured for hours all while being photographed. 

Its amazing how a simple set up as a regular school with a play area turned to be the end for so many persons. What adds to the depression of the museum is the regular lay out, a regular suburban setting that was converted to a torture chamber. A visit to the location while in Phnom Penh is a great experience however it is not for the faint at heart. History buffs and those who have lost their loved ones in this massacre stand to gain a lot fro a visit to the site; however it leaves a sense of depression and uneasiness. 

Getting to the S21 can be arranged by most hotels. Speak with the front desk at the time of reservation or when you get there. Most hotels have arrangements with the locals tour guides and can make quick arrangements. For those looking to venture out and explore the city on their own one can do so by making arrangements with a tuk tuk. An average cost of $15 should get you from the city centre to the S21. Book a guide at the gate for a personal tour. Most guides have lost family in the S21 and they will not share personal information unless they are asked. Most will share the details of the tragedy and even point out the pictures on the wall of their family members. Though it is a loss close to their heart they prefer to share as they believe it is their way of ensuring the such tragedies are not repeated anywhere. 

For a complete experience get to the S21 by either 11 am or 3 pm . A film is run at these times with an in depth narration of the history of the S21. Tourists may also meet with the survivors of the tragedy at the site. It is a difficult ordeal for them to relay their stories on a daily basis, one can only imagine them having to relive the torture. While there is no official dress code for the visit dressing up respectfully will honor those who lost their lives. Speaking in lowered volumes and avoid laughing and banter while on site would be deemed as appropriate behaviour. 

A visit to the S21 is definitely not for all but it tells the story of the inhumane behaviour of the then leaders in Cambodia. To make the most of your tour it is important to get there for video time as well as get a guide for the tour. The guide will charge a mere $6 per group and it one of the best ways to make the most of your visit. Do a bit of personal research before you head to the site. Read of the history briefly before you go to the site or ask the hotel for any literature they may have on the history of the S21. Getting familiar with the events that occurred may help you to decide if this is the tour for you. 

The Phonm Penh National Museum

While touring Phnom Penh a visit to the national museum is a must. Inaugurated in 1920 the museum is home to archeological finds of early Cambodia. With traces of the Christian era and the 2 main dominant religions of the land; Hinduism and Buddhism, the country has a wealth of artifacts that were preserved by the Khmer dynasty and these are now on display at the national museum. The Phnom Penh National Museum is located in central Phnom Penh on Street 13 next to the Royal Palace. Visitors may purchase tickets and enter through the corners of street 13 and 178. 

The Museum is open daily from 8 am until 5 pm and tickets are sold at both booths until 430 pm. Arrive early to enjoy the beauty of the exhibits as a walk through would take about an hour and a half for 2 hours. That being said one must note that the museum is not huge but the large number of exhibits on display tend to attract ones attention and hence one may loose track of time. Admission costs for locals and tourists differ. Tourists pay an entry fee of $5 however locals pay 500 riyels. Children enter free into the museum as do school groups. 

national-mueum

For those looking to get further insight into the exhibits guided tours are available onsite. A guide can be booked for a mere $3. Guides speak English, French, Japanese and Khmer. Choose a guide to take you on a tour in the language of your preference. A guide also helps answer any questions you may have while inside the museum. 

Photography is strictly prohibited while onsite. Those looking to get pictures of the exhibits for research or study may do so by speaking with the staff onsite. Alternatively the guests are also welcome to email the museum and request for photographs and those will be provided. Photography is prohibited as the flash of the camera tends to react negatively with the artifacts. It is also prohibited to prevent misuse. 

The Phnom Penh has an amazing gift store at the entrance. Post cards displaying the exhibits, replica sculptures and books are sold at the gift store One will also note donation boxes located at the entrance. All donations are used to support the functioning and day to day maintenance of the facility. 

A walk through the museum will give you and indepth understanding of the Buddhist and Hindu cultures. Inside the museum is a pond with Koi fish. Guests can enjoy feeding the fish while at the pond while also using it as time to rest after several paces through the museum. This location tends to gather the interest of the adults and children alike. The pond adds to the serenity and peace of the museum. The original statures of the ruins of the Angkor Wat temple lie in the museum as to the ruins of Siem Reap. 

The courtyard at the National Museum is Phnom Penh is a great place for tourists to relax. A number of locals sell Jasmine flowers to the tourists to offer to Buddha for good luck. The courtyard also sells cold beverages and snacks thereby making it an ideal place to rest after a visit to the museum. 

In the evening the museum hosts skits and dances depicting the culture and lifestyle of the land. This is of great amusement to children and adults alike as both tend to learn different aspects via these skits and dances. 

The National Museum in Phnom Penh is a major landmark and a tourist attraction. Booking a tour to the museum is extremely easy. Most tuk tuks will gladly passenger tourists to the location for a minimal cost. Once at the museum book your ticket at the entry gate and a guide if you like. While some tourists would state that the visit may not be suitable to younger kids others would state that children learn a lot from the tour and hence recommend it. One will see several children asking tour guides intelligent questions about the artifacts and history. Archeology buffs and history fanatics gain a lot from the tour. A visit to the museum either before or after a visit to Siem Reap ruins or the Royal Palace helps to put the artifacts in perspective. 

The History of the Mekong River

South East Asia has one river that runs through several of its countries, the Mekong. The 12th longest in the world and the 7th in Asia, the river runs through the Chinese province of Yunnan, Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. The history of the river is deep; however unfortunately the river has divided the people of the countries it runs through rather than brining them together in unity. 

The earliest noted historic settlements dates back to 2100 BC. During this Iron Age the Ban Chiang clan was settled along the river bed. The next noted settlement listed to be located at the river bed is the Indianized Khmer clan known as the Funan. This was during the 1st century. This clan was settled on the Mekong Delta. 

mekongriver

Several sites along the river have been excavated over the years and one in particular conducted at the Oc Eo, near An Giang dug out coins dates to the Roman Empire indicating either trade with the empire or the Roman Empire having some settlement along the river. 

The Khmer clan Chenla was known to have settled along the Mekong river around the 5th century. Post the fall of the Khmer Empire of Angkor, the Siam and Tonkin states emerged and situated themselves on the coast of the river though torn between their influences. 

In 1540 the Mekong River saw its first European visit. Antonia De Faria put the Mekong river on the map with a few notes to the upstream delta. The Spaniards and the Portuguese thereafter used the river for trade expeditions and missions. Though the European visits were sporadic they left a mark on the historical significance of the river. 

In the mid 19th century the French invaded and captured Saigon and established control over Cambodia. They led and expedition which started from the mouth of the river in order to understand the course of the river and established that the Mekong had several dips and valleys, falls and rapids and therefore was not useful for trade as navigation was a task. in 1893 THE French took control of the river bed in Laos. 

During the Indochina war in the 20th century the Cambodian section of the Mekong river sank due to use of heavy explosives. Till this dates there are traces of live explosives in the waters of the Mekong along the Cambodian sector thereby making it impossible for fishermen to do through the waters and the construction of irrigation and bridges. 

From the several clans and Empires that controlled the Mekong river and the fact that the river runs through several countries it has several names in the local language of each country. In Thai the river is called Mae Nam Khong, Mae means mother and nam translates to Water in English. 

The Mekong river is known as Lancang in China and it is the source of water and livelihood to over 60 million people. The river is also used as a means of transportation in China and thereby is a part of daily life. It is also the main fishing location in China thereby acting as a source of livelihood to the country as well. 

The waters of the Mekong river is home to over 1200 species of fish thereby making it a great location to support the fishing industry; however the river bed has rocks as sharp as razor teeth and come all the way upto the top of the river. Thus it is important for fishermen to know the river well before venturing out. The Lower Mekong basin is home to fresh water dolphins however they are a rare commodity these days. 

Tourists visiting Cambodia or any country that the river can enjoy the beauty of the river if they are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and city attractions. Though there are traces of commercialization along the river beds most of them are associated with creating towns and beach settlements for tourists in order to help them enjoy the beauty of the river bed. Along the river bed one will note that the locals have pagodas (homes) however these are not visited by the tourists. Boat cruises along the river are a common site and most boats allow their guests to enjoy some leisurely fishing while on the river. Alternatively visitors can also relax and enjoy fishing from the river bed. 

Phnom Penh Post

The Phnom Penh Post is an English language newspaper printed daily in Cambodia. It is the oldest English language newspaper in Cambodia and was founded by Michael Hayes, a publisher, in 1992. The paper is also published in the Khmer language.

The newspaper does not only report the daily news, but also features specific sections focusing on sports, business and lifestyle.

phnompenhpostdailyThe newspaper was founded in 1992 and is written by Cambodian as well as foreign journalists. At the start in 1992 the paper was published fortnightly and read by more than 20,000 people spread out over more than 40 different countries. In 2008 the Phnom Penh Post became a daily publication on August 8th. The newspaper can also be read online at a constantly updated website. The phnom Penh Post has a lively online community with many readers on social media sites such as Facebook. Readers are encouraged to comment on stories and daily events, with the newspaper reserving the right to publish any readers' comments placed on the forums. The Phnom Penh Post is of interest to those wanting to visit Cambodia to get an impression of events and current news in the region.

The newspaper was changed to a daily publication with the help of Australian investors. Ross Dunkley, the then chief executive officer of Myanmar Consolidated Media (publishing the Myanmar Times) and Bill Clough (an entrepreneur in mining, oil and gas in Australia) took a controlling stake in the newspaper. This investment boosted the funds and made it possible for the paper to become the biggest daily published paper in the English language in Cambodia. The group of readers grew significantly after this investment and after making the newspaper available on a daily basis. The focus on new outside of Cambodia increased after the investment, which prompted local readers to comment on this fact. Currently the main focus is local news with smaller segments dedicated to the news from abroad.

Key figure at this time in the writing of the Phnom Penh Post was Australian journalist Peter Olszewski as bureau chief in Siem Reap. He worked to help out with the launch of the daily edition of the Phnom Penh Post. Previously he was the editor of MediaBlab news service and had worked as a journalism trainer. Olszewski is also known as the author of a book about Myanmar titled ' Land of a Thousand Eyes'.

The Phnom Penh Post is currently read by a wide audience of Cambodians and foreigners throughout Cambodia as well as by subscribers in 35 different countries. The paper prides itself on being the main paper to record Cambodian current news and providing its readers with clear information and current news analysis. The group of Post readers are seen by the paper as the most educated members of society, demanding quality information. The Post aims to not just provide its readers with information, but focus on analyzing the facts and translating them into an explanation of how these facts will affect people's lives.
The 7Days supplement sums up the main events and local facts of interest and is a popular addition to the daily published edition.

 

Phnom Penh Weather

phnom-penh-weather-740

Phnom Penh is the largest city of Cambodia and a popular holiday destination for travelers to Southeast Asia. Situated only around 10 degrees from the equator, the weather here is basically warm all year round. Travelers can be concerned about the fact that the Cambodian climate is affected by the monsoon cycle. This annual cycle has alternating seasons of very wet and dry weather. The air pressure drops from June through to October causing moist air to travel over the land from the ocean. This brings the monsoon rains to a large part of Southeast Asia.

Most visitors try to avoid Phnom Penh during the rainy season, but there are plus sides to traveling in this season. It's a great time to take photographs of the temples, there is no dusty haze like in the dry season. The vegetation looks green and lush and boat travel is easy on the rivers and lakes.

In the winter months (from November through to May) the air pressure rises again bringing back cooler and dry air and a dry season. There are four main weather seasons in Cambodia. These are important to take into account when traveling to Phnom Penh:

November, December, January and February

The day temperature lies around the 20s and below the20s at night. The monsoon rains tend to stop around the middle of November. December and January are considered to be great months for a visit with warm days and a light breeze. This is ideal weather for a beach trip and in February the temperatures start to rise again. There may be very short and sudden showers in February, mainly in the afternoons.

March, April, May

This is mainly the dry season with very occasional short showers in the afternoons. These showers increase throughout these months. Travel may be affected during these months due to the fact that the rivers and lakes are very low. The temperature rises from February through to March and is at its warmest in April and May. In April and May the day temperature are around the mid 30s inland. The high humidity and hot sun can feel quite intense.

June, July and August

The warm weather continues and is cooled only slightly by the humid warm air and monsoon rain in June. The rains are usually predicted and occur mostly in the afternoon or evening. The rains last for a couple of hours in general. These months are very hot and wet.

September, October, November

The air is cooler than in the hotter months and in September the usual temperature lies around the 30s. In the months to follow the temperatures slowly drop. In October the temperature lies in the 30s and in September the rain season is passing its peak. In October the frequency of the rains is dropping and by the end of October the rains should have stopped. After October the best time to visit Phnom Penh begins.

Depending on your personal preference temperature-wise it is good to take the weather into account. As said before, don't let the rain stop you from visiting. The rain tends to bring out a beautiful side of Cambodia.

 

Sihanookville

sihanoukville-740

 

In 1954 Vietnam gained independence from France and the Mekong river was under the control of the Vietnamese. This situation cut Cambodia off from its main access to the sea. A new access point to the sea was needed and a new port had to be constructed fro Cambodia. The location chosen for this port was Kompong Som, situated on the south coast. The main reasons for this decision were the water depth at this location and its accessibility. The new town was named Sihanookville after King Sihanouk.

A construction team worked on creating the port from 1955 to 1960 and a road to and from Phnom Penh was funded by the USA. At first the town was a settlement for those working on the new port.

Sihanookville is built on a small natural peninsula and can be reached by bus, plane and car. Most tourists visiting Sihanookville travel to the port via Phnom Penh. A bus trip from Phnom Penh to Sihanookville takes about 4 to six hours depending on the traffic on the fairly busy road from Phnom Penh. This makes Sihanookville a great place to take a break from a busy travel schedule. Most visitors stay for an average of 3 to 4 days in Sihanookville, which is a good number of days to relax, eat, drink and soak up the sun. Those who enjoy water sports will probably want to stay a while longer to make full use of all the possibilities available to visitors in Sihanookville.

Sihanookville is now known as Cambodia's best beach town to visit. There are white sand beaches and the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. Sihanookville is a great place for those who love fresh sea food, the beach, snorkeling and diving or chilling out on the beach. The beach town feels and looks new and different from other Cambodian cities, as most of it was constructed around or after the 1950s.

Finding a place to stay in Sihanookville is never difficult. There is a 5 star resort on Sokha Beach and there are plenty of 3 star hotels as well as guesthouses and smaller hotels for budget travelers, mainly located around the Station Hill area. Sihanookville is not small and renting a motorbike is one of the best ways to travel around and take in the sights. Sihanookville is close to the Ochatial Beach and south of the center is the small Ko Pos Beach. The beaches remain relatively unspoiled and not too crowded (the weekends are busier due to the influx of visitors from Phnom Penh). The nightlife offers plenty of places to visit for a drink and entertainment. There is a wide range of bars that are open until late every night. There are plenty of beach bars, especially around the Ochheuteal, Serendipity and Victory beaches.

Sihanookville is a great destination for those who want to be well connected to transportation to explore other places in Cambodia (or around Phnom Penh), but need a relaxing beach break. This makes it a good place to soak up the sun and the atmosphere before you leave Cambodia at the end of your holiday.

Phnom Pehn Airport

 

CAMBODIA AIRPORT 091

The Royal Government of Cambodia entered an agreement with the Société Concessionaire d’Aéroport (SCA) to start operating the Phnom Penh airport (PNH) on July 6 1995. The former name of the Phnom Penh airport was Pochentong airport, and PNH stands for Pochentong International Airport. In return for a 20 year concession agreement the SCA entered an improvement program pledging $100 million. 

This money made it possible to build a new runway, a new terminal and hangars and cargo buildings. An Instrument Landing System (ILS) was installed as well as approach lighting. The investment improved the airport greatly and made it possible for more flights to land and take off from the airport.
Of course the investment and increased traffic created more jobs for locals as well.
PNH airport is the largest Cambodian airport covering over 380 acres of land. It is situated at 10 kilometers from Phnom Penh.

During the concession the RGC contracted the Berger Group to take care of engineering services. The group tested the designs on practicality and supervised works to make it possible for wide body aircraft to land and take off from the airport. Examples of improvements are asphalt concrete runway coverings and meteorological equipment. Power systems were improved and a new fire station was built, as well as new taxiways. The main task was the construction of a 20,000 square meter terminal building to facilitate ever increasing tourist traffic. The airport can be quite busy and crowded and not all shops and restaurants are open 24 hours. I you wish to use specific facilities at the airport it is a good idea to check the opening times before your arrival.

Currently the airport has two different terminal buildings. One building is dedicated to domestic flights and the other is used for international traffic. Recently a new facility was added to be able to provide a high standard VIP service for business and VIP travelers. The airport capacity is designed to cater for 2 million visitors per year. Visitor number are growing every year and the airport is a commercial success. Visitors have marked the airport as a pleasant airport to visit with speedy processing times, plenty of facilities and a good connection to other destinations.

Over twenty different airlines operate flights from the airport, offering both inland flights as well as international flights. The main international destinations offered from Phnom Penh airport are Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. The airport can be reached by car as well as public transport and offers plenty of (long term as well as short term) parking facilities and cab facilities for travelers. There are 20 check-in counters and visa counters to ensure speedy processing of travelers. The airport has ample food and beverage facilities as well as a tax-free area.

A visa on arrival can be obtained at the airport from the Visa counter. It is important for foreign visitors to know that not all foreign visitors are able to apply for a visa on arrival, those travelers have to check with their closest Royal Embassy of Cambodia to find out about the specific visa requirements for their country.

Setting up a business in Cambodia

The great tourist industry and the fact that you can fully own your own business in this country make Cambodia a good place to start your own business. Most new businesses owned by foreigners are those providing services in the tourist industry. Setting up a new business is a relatively simple process, but of course there are fairly clear rules and regulations to follow. 

The average duration of a tourist stay in Cambodia is five days. During these five days the most visited businesses are hotels, bars and entertainment businesses. Setting up a business providing diving lessons or guided tours for example, is popular with foreign entrepreneurs. Find out what the necessary steps to take are on your way to owning your new business in Cambodia.

bizThe first step in setting up a business in Cambodia is depositing some startup capital in a bank. You will need evidence of your deposit in the form of a bank statement. The capital must be at least 4 million KHR. The size of your company is not relevant to the amount of money that has to be deposited. After making sure that you have set up a business account with your bank, holding 4 million KHR.

The next step in the process of starting a business is a simple one. The proposed name of the new business has to be checked on uniqueness. This is usually done at the Department of Business Registration. This is also where the new original name has to be registered eventually. The company organization details (citing the business name, form, directors and address, must be published in a recognized newspaper. After this the new business has to be registered with the Commercial Register. The Ministry of Commerce issues a company seal.

The Phnom Penh Tax Department will verify and stamp all necessary documents before the business can actually become operational. The Real Regime Tax Office is where issues a tax registration form that can be completed with help from the staff. Now the next step is to notify the Ministry of Labor when you are ready to start hiring staff. The entire process costs around $500 in total. In theory the director of the new business should have visited Cambodia, but this rule is hardly ever enforced. As mentioned before, local knowledge is an important factor in creating your own new customer base.

The process of registering a new business as explained in this text is relatively straightforward and may take between one and four weeks to complete. Of course it is very important to do market research before you take the first steps. Most experienced business owners who started out in Cambodia will tell you that setting up a new successful business without any local knowledge is near impossible. Take the time to get to know the people, culture and 'feel' of a place. This will enable you to work with the local community, which helps to create a buzz around your new business when it starts.

Cambodian History - Lon Nol & the Khmer republic

sihanouk-timemagazinecover2The Khmer republic was officially declared on October 9, 1970. This republic can be described as a government led by the military and was based on pro-US thoughts. This right wing government was headed by two men; general Lon Nol and prince Sisowath Sirik Matak. They took the power after a coup against prince Norodom Sihanouk on March 18, 1970. He had been head of state of the country until then.

Sirik Matak had been the Prime Minister during the first year of the Republic. Lon Nol fell ill and when he returned from his stay at a hospital he resigned during a cabinet crisis. This caused the government to dissolve and on 16 October 1971 Lon Nol took away the power of the National Assembly. He ordered fro a new constitution to be written as the National Assembly had no legislative power anymore and claimed that having a new constitution had to be written to prevent anarchy. This action was followed by a protest by 400 Buddhist monks.

The reason for the coup in March 1970 was the fact that Sihanouk had tolerated North Vietnamese activity inside the borders of Cambodia. This resulted in armed Vietnamese communists taking control over large parts of eastern Cambodia, which of course created a lot of unrest. Another reason for the coup was Sihanouks policy of pursuing a neutral position with his anti-American policies. Due to this policy the Cambodian economy suffered greatly.

The Kingdom of Cambodia turned into a republic after Sihanouks reign had ended (even though officially the throne had not been occupied officially since the death of king Norodom Suramarit). The intention and character of the new reign over Cambodia was very different. The new regime was based on nationalist politics and could be called right-wing. The period of time during which Sihanouk had cooperated with the North Vietnamese regime as well as with the Viet Cong came to an end. This caused Cambodia to align itself with South Vietnam and the second Indochina war that was taking place at this time.

Inside the Cambodian border the Khmer republic was met by the FUNK ( Front Uni National du Kampuchea). FUNK was made up of an alliance between supporters of Sihanouk and the Kampuchea Communist Party. The Cambodian People's National Liberation Armed Forces (CPNLAF), backed by the People's Army of Vietnam and the Viet Cong (also known as the National Liberation Front) conducted the insurgency and managed to occupy areas of Cambodia as part of the war with South Vietnam. Eventually the army of the Khmer republic was defeated by both the CPNLAF and the Vietnamese forces. The republic fell on 17 April 1975. The reason for this was the fact that the Khmer republic, backed by military and financial help from the US, was not strong enough to beat its enemies due to a lack of training. After the republic finally fell Phnom Penh was taken over by Cambodian communists.

Same sex marriage in Cambodia

More and more countries are currently looking into making same sex marriage legal. Gay rights and same sex marriage were discussed by Norodom Sihanouk (the king-father at that time). He appeared to be interested in the developments around same sex marriages in San Francisco and spoke about this topic on his internet site. He also stated that, should the population (or the majority) be in favor of the possibility of same sex marriages in Cambodia, he would legalize the option. Sihanouk also mentioned that it was his belief that God views all people as equal, including transvestites and homosexuals. Since this statement on the internet no effort has been made to legislate same sex marriages. 

gay-marriage-rights

The Cambodian constitution says that marriage is legal when the partners to be married are a man and a woman. One exception has apparently been made for the same sex marriage and partnership recognition of Khav Sokha and Pum Eth. They were married in a village called Kro Bao Kok, situated in the Kandal province. Both partners are from this village. The authorities appear to have condoned the marriage because one of the two partners had three children already. If this had not been the case, both people could not have been joined in a same sex marriage because of the fact that no children could be produced. The marriage was fully acknowledged and approved and 250 people (including province officials) joined in on the ceremony and celebrations. There were no legal repercussions after the event. The wedding held place on 12 March 1995. Buddhist monks also attended the wedding.

The Theravada Buddhist monks and community in Cambodia are mainly staying out of the debate on same sex marriage. The monks have not spoken out about gay or lesbian union in the media and will not actively enter the debate. In Buddhism one of the fundamental 'rules' is that all humans are equal and to most Buddhists same sex marriages are acceptable. The monks usually refrain from commenting on the matter any further as marriages and legislation are seen as worldly questions that they will not debate. Another reason for staying out of the debate is the belief that lay people (non-Buddhists) can enter into sexual relationships and it does not matter whether both partners are of the same sex or not. In Buddhism sexual intercourse is not seen as primarily necessary for pro-creation, unlike in Christianity.

Whether same sex marriages will eventually become legal in Cambodia is still a question that needs to be answered. The Buddhist community is not entering the debate and it is up to the political rulers for Cambodia to decide whether the option will become legal and possible for those living in Cambodia. The gay and lesbian communities seem hopeful now that more and more nations around the world are changing the legislation around marriages in favor of same sex marriages. In Cambodia homosexuality is legal if both partners are over the age of fifteen and in consent. The activities of both partners have to be non-commercial and private.

Green hotels in Cambodia

4-riversSustainable tourism is on the rise in Cambodia and around the world. The main thought behind sustainable tourism is the concept of taking responsibility for your own business activities and results. This of course mainly applies to the impact of travel and hotels on the environment of the area where a hotel is established. Eco-tourism is a much used phrase, but the exact definition of it is not clear to many people. In eco-tourism tourists travel to destinations where as much as possible is done to improve the environment and act with respect to the environment. 

Cambodia is a place where the environment has suffered greatly over the years. Polluting vehicles leave cities covered in a thick layer of fog and waste is often just left in the streets. There are heavily polluted areas and the rainforest that once covered a large part of the country has been diminished by logging activities. By 2007 only little over 3% was left of the 70% rainforest coverage that was noted in 1970. More attention to sustainable living and business activities is not only necessary, but is vital to improve the local environment. This can be done by using less energy, less vehicle pollution, limited the amount of waste that people dispose of and using renewable sources.
One great example of the impact made by an eco friendly hotel is the sustainable Bambu Battambang hotel, in Battambang. This hotel has gone to great lengths to source its materials locally. The floor tiles, roof tiles and most of the furniture used in the hotel, were sourced locally. This of course created more work for the local community, but at the same time time and money was saved on polluting transport of materials across the country. The hotel made the effort to use only locally grown trees, plants and shrubs in the gardens belonging to the property, which ensures that the chosen plants will thrive in the local climate. Perhaps one of the best features of the Bambu hotel is the salt water pool, making the use of chemical agents to the pool water unnecessary. This lowers the negative impact on the local environment, and is better for the guests too! The hotel makes a great effort to support local charities and school and hired only local employees.

The 4 Rivers resort is another fine example of a luxurious yet eco-friendly place to stay. The guesthouses and rooms are part of the beautiful surroundings and were constructed in an environmentally friendly way. The use of materials such as wood was limited in the construction of the apartments and composite materials were used instead. The resort features a specially designed water treatments system, reducing the use of chemicals and placing less stress on the environment. The resort is operated by people from the local community, creating a better economical climate locally.

Choosing to travel to (and stay at) hotels and resorts that value the environment helps to strengthen the local economy. Respect for nature and the environment in general should be paramount when choosing an amazing place to stay in this great location!

 

The Best first class flights to Cambodia and Bangkok

first class flights to cambodiaAsiana airlines offers the best there when it comes to on-board luxury, privacy and service. There is a first class service and a first suite class option for passengers who wish to travel in comfort. Most of their B777 aircraft are fitted with perfect amenities for the luxury traveller. There is a 210 cm long full flat bed to relax on and you can create your own space by closing the doors on your two door seat. The result is an exclusive space just for you. The star lighting system enables you to adjust the lighting to suit your mood and needs. Individual passengers can enjoy the worlds largest on board 32in screens, perfect for your own entertainment. Enjoy a drink from your personal mini bar and enjoy a chat or your dinner with a companion with the comfortable side seats.

Korean air, also offering flights to Cambodia, offers Kosmo suites to first class VIP passengers. Your seat folds into a full bed and a 23in screen provides you with first class on board entertainment. There are private offices on board and you may expect the comfort found in a 5 star hotel. Traveling with these airlines is a great choice if you want to be able to work, relax and enjoy fine dining and rest on your flight to Cambodia.

The best first class flights to Bangkok are offered by airlines such as United, American Airlines and Thai Air. If you prefer to travel to Bangkok with a transfer to Cambia, Bangkok Airways and Cambodia Air offer excellent first class seats. American Airlines offers two types of first class comfort; depending on your destination you will be traveling in Flagship Suite first class or Domestic first class. The Flagship Suite offers privacy by the use of dividers and swivel seats, making it easy and comfortable to have meetings during your flight. There is a six foot fully flat seat with drop down armrests to help create a great sleeping space. Of course you may expect gourmet meals and snacks on board as well as a wide range of drinks to choose from during your flight. The Flagship Suite first class is available on American Airlines boeing 777 aircraft.

If you are traveling to Cambodia or Bangkok is is worth investing in the luxury of a first class seat. The benefits go further than just having more leg room and you have the option to enjoy a good rest during your trip. Use your flight time by doing business or by holding meetings, and relax before you touch down at your destination. After arriving at the airport you can choose from a wide range of options when it comes to transport. Hire a chauffeur driven car or drive yourself, or use a shuttle bus or train connection to get to your next destination. Depending on your airline of choice, your airline may offer a transfer at the airport so that you can continue your journey in comfort and luxury. The Quay hotel offers a shuttle service that can be booked if you use our own booking form. Click on the button at the top of the screen to check room availability and you will see the option when it comes to confirming your reservation.

Elephant trekking in Cambodia

In cambodia elephants once served kings and queens during their travels throughout the country. Elephants were used to travel to and from their temples and were used to help in the construction of these temples. Sadly elephants were also put to use during wars and were part of the army, with soldiers riding them and using them in their battles. Most of the elephants that you encounter in Cambodia are well cared for and there is a big focus on the welfare and the quality of life of these wonderful animals. 

elephant-trekking in cambodia

Most travel agencies and tour operators offering elephant encounters and rides focus on this. Making an elephant trek part of your trip to Cambodia provides you with an unforgettable experience. These majestic animals are trained to work with people and are happy to walk with you. An elephant trek in Siem Reap is one of the most amazing ways to get a feel of the atmosphere.
Enjoying a ride under the shade of the trees right to the famous temples is a good way to catch the wonderful views. There are elephant treks that start in the early morning, around 08:00, setting off from the South Gate of Angkor Thom, to the Bayon Temple. The last ride around the Bayon Temple starts at 10:30, from Bayon to the South Gate.

There are elephants stationed next to the Bayon Temple for tours around the temple. The Bayon Temple is considered to be the most impressive temple in Ankor Thom city. These spectacular ruins feature huge smiling faces focused at different directions. This means that an elephant ride provides you with an interesting ride exploring the views on the faces from the outside.

Of course there are more options when it comes to enjoying an elephant trek in Cambodia. The most popular places for an elephant trek are the villages of Pulung and Snmonorom. You can arrange for a one or two day elephant trek here, during which you will spend the night staying in a Phnong village or near a waterfall. Another popular ride is a Banlung elephant trek from Kateung village to the very spectacular waterfall of Katieng. This ride takes approximately on hour and features views on the rubber plantations. During this ride you and your elephant will cross the river above the Katieng waterfall.

In the farming village of Mondulkiri you can book elephant treks and tours from most restaurants and bars. There are options for an overnight trek during which you sleep on a hammock in the rainforest. This is a great experience in itself, if you are happy to go without a lot of comfort for a night. Transportation, food and water are included in the trek prices ranging from around $40 per elephant on average.

Make sure to book an elephant trek or ride with operators providing the best level of care for their animals. There are some operators that use animal-unfriendly methods to jolt their elephants into walking. Please make sure to avoid these at all cost.

The best boutique hotels in the world

A boutique hotel is a hotel that usually offers no more than 100 rooms and the focus is on ambiance and luxury. This type of hotel appeals to the luxury traveller as it provides you with the level of care and attention to detail that you may expect from a large hotel. The urban setting and contemporary feel of a boutique hotel is a unique feature and this type of hotel may be part of a larger hotel chain or brand. Often the hotel features rooms that have been designed with an eye for exceptional detail and an exceptional and personal type of service awaits you. Boutique hotels can be found all over the world.

One example of a great boutique hotel is the MGallery Hôtel deBurdigala, a hotel situated in Bordeaux in southwestern France. This hotel offers 83 rooms and is privately owned. Attention to detail and a wonderful design of the accommodation stand out. The hotel is a member of Accor hotels and commits to quality that is evident from the design of the interior and rooms as well as from the food offered by the in house restaurant. With king mattresses, black lacquer tables and high quality towels and robes, toiletries of the Annick Goutal brand and a large plasma TV in your room, your stay will feel luxurious and more than comfortable.

the best boutique hotels in the worldThe Phulay Bay Ritz-Carlton boutique hotel is a great beach resort in Thailand. This is the first of the high-end Ritz-Carlton reserves and opened in 2010. You can expect a 5 star hotel with 54 individual villas decorated in a palatial opulent style. There are villas with a hillside view as well as villas situated close to the shore and every single villa has a unique and individual quality. The jade colored water and the picture perfect beach make up the perfect setting for a luxury break. Private butlers are available.

The Hyatt 48 Lex hotel in New York offers its guests a unique experience in this happening city. With rooms designed as typical New York studios you can fully emerge in the New York experience by staying here. The hotel is situated close to Times Square and Central Park. American cuisine and original designer furniture as well as a mini butler bar and food available around the clock make your stay unforgettable.

The Rosewood Inn of the Santa Fe Anasazi hotel is a luxury boutique hotel counting 58 rooms. This is the place to be if you want to visit Santa Fe in New Mexico and opened in 1990. The hotel has a reputation for making every guest feel like a celebrity and the inn is a big favorite with the Hollywood in-crowd. With the best in service and luxury and a traditional Mexican design, there are traditional and superior rooms and suites to choose from. Fine dining and pinion wood fires burning throughout the hotel, you will truly feel like you have stepped into another luxury dimension.

Phnom Penh during the second cold war

 

cambodia in the second cold warIn 1975 the Khmer Rouge had won the violent civil war and took over power in Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge was led by Pol Pot. He was educated in France and had a deep admiration for Chinese communism. He and his party thought that intellectuals could be a threat to communism and needed to be eliminated. The Cambodian genocide started with the Exodus. All people were forced to leave their cities. Those that were too slow or those who refused to leave were murdered. Pol Pot wanted to turn Cambodia into an organization of farms, and the citizens were to be laborers. All civil rights and liberties were immediately taken away. Factories, schools and hospitals were shut down and intellectuals were a threat to the regime. Lawyers and doctors as well as teachers and those in the army were killed. Extended family members of these people were often killed as well.

During the Khmer Rouge regime temples were destroyed and thousands of monks lost their lives. People were forced to become workers and the lack of food, rest and long days of tough work were the reasons why many people perished. People were held in camps under harsh conditions. And internally many Khmer Rouge members were murdered for betrayal. The Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia on the 25th December 1978and ended the reign of terror imposed by the Khmer Rouge. Pol Pot hid in the west during fights that continued for twenty years. He was put in prison in 1997 and died in 1998. More than two million people had been killed during this episode of genocide in Cambodia.

This reign of terror has left the Cambodian people scarred. Monks had to rebuild their temples and find new places for their worship were possible. Slowly the nation became used to having back their rights again and woke up to a time in which it was possible to lead a normal life again. New businesses were established and the country is now a great place to visit. The people of Cambodia are welcoming and the true Cambodian spirit can be found in the open and friendly gestures of its people in the villages. After a horrendous experience during the cold war it is astounding that a nation was able to fight back and find back its resilience. Visit the amazing temples and landscapes of Cambodia to see what has survived the terrible ordeal during the time of the Khmer Rouge.

 

Visiting Wat Phnom in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has a lot to offer when it comes to temples and their history. Religion is very much alive here and the amazing buildings that can be found all over the region are landmarks that attract many visitors from all over the world.

One of the temples that cannot be missed when visiting Phnom Penh is Wat Phnom, a sacred Buddhist pagoda. This temple is known as a central place in the city of Phnom Penh, where prayers and offerings have been made since 1373. Wat Phnom is situated at the top of a hill and is the tallest religious building in the capital. Wat Phnom means “pagoda mountain” and is 27 meters tall. The temple plays a very important part in the celebration of the Khmer new year when the location is the place where traditional games are played in front of the temple. During the Pchum Benh festival, the festival of the dead, Wat Phnom is visited to make offerings and to worship ancestors.

wat-phnom2Legend tells of Daun Penh (the Lady Penh), a rich woman who one day discovered a koki tree trunk on the banks of the Tonle Sap river. Daun Penh examined the tree trunk and saw that the trunk was hollow and had something hidden inside it. Inside she found four bronze buddhas, which she took as a sign that she had to build a shrine to Buddha.

Near her home she created a hill out ofsoil from which she would make a shrine to protect the buddhas. This hill was to be the place that people could come to for prayers and blessings from Buddha. The hill was called the “mountain of Daun Penh” or Phnom Penh. By the year 1432 the area was known as Phnom Penh and had been declared capital city. After Angkor was invaded king Pnhea Yat added to the building of Wat Phnom and declared it to be an official sanctuary. Around the same time the monasteries of Wat Koh and Wat Lanka were founded. Wat Phnom was and still is the most prominent main holy pagoda of Phnom Penh.

To access the mountain and the pagoda you can buy a ticket from the booth at the bottom of the hill. The money from the ticket booth is used to pay for the security guards and cleaners working on site. The scenery is amazing and the area still has a mesmerizing atmosphere. There are local guides available who can give you a tour of the hill and the temple, but of course it is also possible to look around without a tour guide. Wat Phnom is definitely worth a visit and should be on the itinerary of any tourist visiting the Phnom Penh area. When visiting there is a chance that you will encounter the group of macaque monkeys living by the temple. They are used to stealing food and drinks as well as items from tourists and should not be approached for photos. Enjoy your trip to Wat Phnom!

The best golf club brands in the world

Choosing the best golf clubs to play with is a matter of comparing the best club manufacturers. There is a big difference between club brands, and the steel used in the manufacturing process and the handle fit, to name but a few factors, can make a certain club your favorite to play with. The five best golf club brands have something to offer to both the amateur as well as the professional player. These clubs are often used in tournaments with great results.

Taylor Made, founded in 1979, has made a great name for itself in the world of golf club brands. The founder and owner of the company Gary Adams, was the first manufacturer to introduce the use of metal woods in clubs. Taylor Made creates woods with a new technology called FCT. Flight Control Technology makes it easier for players to shape their shots because multidimensional adjustments can be made to the R9 metal woods produced by Taylor Made. The brand is often used by professionals such as Paula Creamer, PGA champion Martin Kaymer and Dustin Johnson.

bermuda-golf-1The Callaway company was founded with the wine selling profits made by Ely Callaway. With the money he bought Hickory Stick, a club manufacturer. The brand grew stronger and stronger and is now known as one of the biggest brands in golf. Callaway has branched out into other golf related products such as apparel, golf balls and the well known Odyssey putters. Callaway is a golf club brand used by big names such as Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

One of the best known golf brands today is Ping. The company name was inspired by the sound made by the original putter when it was struck. The clubs manufactured by Ping are known to leave a large sweet spot. The best selling Ping Eye 2 club was made with a square club face with grooves, manufactured from 1985 to 1989. The groove format of this club has been ruled as illegal on the PGA tour and no square grooved clubs are manufactured anymore nowadays. The Ping club brand is often used by long hitters such as Hunter Mahan and Bubba Watson, and the brand is a PGA favorite.

The Mizuno company manufactures irons, woods, putters and hybrids, as well as apparel. Mizuno prides itself on creating products of the highest standard and quality. The company was involved in the Japanese Olympics; the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Sapporo Winter Olympics in 1972 and the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998. Mizuno is a very popular brand used by experienced players.

Nike produces quality golf clubs and the range starts with the slingshot clubs that are considered to be great for beginners as well as seasoned players. With iron to sand wedges and the specially developed Slingshot cavity back, the clubs are easy to handle and provide a steady shot. Of course Tiger Woods has done a lot to make the world see Nike as a club brand to be reckoned with.

Cambodian Buddhism

Buddhism has been a part of life in Cambodia since the 5th century. This religion is still very strong at this time. The type of Buddhism that is practiced in Cambodia is called Theravada Buddhism. Theravada is the oldest branch of Buddhism and can be translated as the “teachings from the elders”. Theravada is often seen as the most authentic type of Buddhism that is closest to the essence of the religion and to early Buddhism. There are over 150 million Theravada Buddhists worldwide, called Theravadins. Theravada Buddhism has been the religion of the Cambodian state since the 13th century, but was not practiced during the Khmer Rouge period.

Currently Theravada Buddhism is the faith of 95% of the Cambodian population. The earliest from of Buddhism was introduced in Cambodia by the Hindu merchants, during the Funan kingdom period. Another stream of Buddhists entered Cambodia during the time of the Angkor empire. There have been Buddhist kings such as Jayavarman and Suryavarman, but during the reign of Hindu kings the Buddhist traditions co-existed with the Hindu religion.

Cambodian-Buddhist Most of the celebrated Cambodian religious annual festivals are closely connected with Buddhism. The chol chnam festival (New Year ) takes place in April. This was one of the religious festivals that were allowed to be celebrated during the Khmer Rouge regime. The Meak bochea festival is celebrated in January or February to remember the last sermon of the Buddha. Vissakh bochea is celebratedin April or in May, and this is the triple anniversary of both the birth, death, and the enlightenment of the Buddha. There is the chol vossa festival in July, which focuses on the beginning of the period in the year during which monks must remain within their own temple compounds.

The kathen festival marks the end of this period. This is celebrated in September and offerings are made to the monks.

Nowadays Cambodian Buddhism exists together with (and mixes with) Brahman practice and religion. Many Cambodians have a strong belief in the supernatural world and see treatment supported by the realm of the supernatural when ill. Local spirits are very much kept alive in shrines and Buddhist temples that can be found by roads and in forests.

There are no administrative or otherwise formal ties between the Theravada monks and other Buddhist bodies. It is possible for Theravada monks from other countries (such as Thailand) to join in with ceremonies and celebrations. Regulations dating from 1943 organize Cambodian Buddhism and during the monarchical period the kind would automatically be the leader of the Buddhist clergy. After this period the head of state would appoint leaders of the clergy and the monastic orders.

Since the 80s the number of active Buddhist monks and students has grown from 5000 to 50,000. This big revival of Buddhism was mainly caused by villagers who want to claim back their own Khmer Buddhist way of living. Temples were rebuilt and restored and new monks were ordained every year. Cambodia's Buddhism is alive and doing well, as can be experienced and witnessed by visiting the many Buddhist temples and monasteries.

 

Jamon iberico

Jamon Iberico is a culinary delight that ranks amongst delicacies such as champagne and caviar or truffles. This cured ham originates from Spain and is officially called jamon iberico de bellota. The bellota part comes from the acorns that iberico pigs feed on, whilst grazing under Emcina oak trees. These acorns give the meat a very rich and smooth texture, which causes a true taste sensation. The ham is cured and aged like a good wine. Iberico ham ages for three whole years and is cured with the finest salts. Only the best and purest ingredients are used to create this amazing ham.  Of course this amazing product is also available at both The Quay Hotel in Phnom Penh and The Latin Quarter restaraunt in Phnom Penh!

In the province of Extremadura, close to the Portuguese border, the iberico pigs prosper in the Dehesa climate. Iberico pigs lead a relaxed life wandering freely and grazing on acorns, grasses and herbs until they have grown heavy enough. No more than two pigs live on a hectare of land, ensuring that each pig has plenty of food to feed on. Because of their black hooves iberico pigs are often referred to as pata negra. The pigs legs are covered in sea salt to drain out any moisture after which the meat is hanged until the meat has matured and is ready to be sold.

amonJamon iberico is an often used ingredient in haute cuisine and features on most menus of established restaurants. Cooking at home with the best ingredients such as this ham can be inspiring as well as challenging. The key to cooking with jamon iberico is to keep it simple. The strong flavor of this ham can get a little overpowering if you try to combine too many strong ingredients. An example of a great yet simple dish is to combine melon and iberico ham. Mushrooms are great with iberico and a rustic home baked loaf of bread becomes a culinary delight when served with this ham. Avocado and figs are great accompaniments to iberico and a luxury breakfast of scrambled eggs, iberico and tomatoes will leave you wanting more. Experiment with fresh flavors and any dish will be amazing with this high quality ham.

Contrary to popular belief, jamon iberico is not necessarily unhealthy to eat. The acorns that the pigs feed on contain a high level of oleic acid, also found in olives. This acid is held in the ham and research has shown that the acid in the ham can lower cholesterol. This is a well known fact in Spain and its the reason why iberico pics are often referred to as olives on legs. Iberico ham is great to enjoy with a good wine and can be used in tapas or pasta dishes. Its full flavor is a taste that should be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys great food.

The best jamon iberico is of course available in Spain but can also be bought from gourmet deli's. There are specialist hops that offer quality iberico ham on the internet, which can be a great solution if you are not able to travel to buy some iberico.

The Best Wines In Phnom Penh - 2012

Choosing the best wine that suites your own taste is a difficult task. Whether you are looking for a specific wine to accompany a certain dish, a dessert wine or a wine that is easy on the pallet and can be enjoyed in any situation, there are many quality wines on the market. In 2012 over 15,500 wines were tasted by a tasting panel, deciding on the best 100 wines from around the world. The Enthusiast 100 wine selection focuses on quality wines judged on regions, uniqueness and drinkability. Wines can be judged on many factors but selected wines all have to have that certain X-factor. There is no difference made between established and new wine producers or specific factors when it comes to wine regions. The average price of a bottle of wine is $46, which is only $2 more than in the year 2011. The selection makes a great starting point for those who are interested in fine wines, but simply do not have the time or the knowledge to explore all the available top wines to find that right one to drink for a specific occasion.

Best wines 2012The Riglos 2009 Gran Corte Las Divas Vineyard Red was chosen as the best wine in 2012. This light wine features the aroma of blackberries, espresso and black spices and consists of a blend of Malbec and Cabernet.

The Domaine de Cause 2009 La Lande Cavagnac Malbec (Cahors) is a dark and rich Malbec wine. Made from old vine grapes this wine combines a concentrated flavor with a considerable amount of tannins and should be allowed to age for seven years.

The third selected wine is the Failla 2010 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast.

This exceptional wine with a good acidity level features tones of green apples and sweet pears, citrus and honey and is a true taste sensation. This wine is easy on the pallet and can be combined with a light dinner or can even be considered as a dessert wine with a selection of cheeses at the end of your evening.

The Casanova di Neri 2007 Tenuta Nuova Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello di Montalcino) offers a very rich and opulent flavor. With heavy rich tones of cherry, chocolate and leather this deep wine is a true conversation piece.

The fifth best wine is the Merry Edwards 2009 Klopp Ranch Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley). This rich wine offers tones of black tea and orange, pomegranates and biscotti as well as cloves, pepper and cinnamon. With a silky taste and pronounced tannins this wine holds an excellent fifth place in the selection of best wines for 2012.

There is no better excuse to buy and taste great wines than this top five list of wines that can be obtained from quality wine sellers around the world, or can be ordered on the internet. The Estate Vineyard Chardonnay from this selection is considered to be one of the best wines to taste for a first time wine buyer.

Gay and Lesbian Friendly Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has a very lively gay and lesbian scene. There is a lot of acceptance and there are great options when it comes to gay and lesbian friendly bars and places to stay, of course The Quay Hotel is a gay friendly hotel and we welcome every one of our guests independent of lifestyle preferance. There is a large gay community and an open mind when it comes to gay entertainment. From a trip to the beach to a great cocktail, here are some suggestions!

Gay and lesbian friendly places

The Salt Lounge in Phnom Penh is considered to be one of the best gay friendly bars in town. With a very original interior design and quality drinks, this bar attracts a mixed public. Enjoy the music, surroundings and beautiful people and chat or party the night away here. The Fly Lounge is a very special bar, offering a bar, dance floor and even a swimming pool! Beautifully designed this place will leave you impressed and wanting to come back. Make sure to visit the Fly earlier on in the evening as this popular place can get quite busy.

Gay Friendly HotelsThe Blue Chilli bar has a very friendly atmosphere, a great dance floor and booths. The bar attracts both gay and heterosexual guests with an open minded attitude. This is a great place for good drinks, great music and some late nights snacks. If you are looking for a gay friendly place to stay, the Quay Hotel is a high standard option. Situated by the banks of the Tonle Sap river, you find the haven of tranquility known as the Quay Hotel. Staying here means being close to the National Museum, the Silver Pagoda and the bustling area with shops, bars and galleries. The hotel offers quality rooms with a modern and relaxing interior featuring a lot of white.

The Rainbow Bar is a relatively new bar under gay management. The bar can be found near the National Museum and offers both indoor and outdoor seating. This is one of the places in town where there is almost always some kind of entertainment going on. The Rainbow Bar has its own small stage for drag performances and weekly competitions. This is the place to go if you want to sit down for a drink and a chat with an interesting mix of local people, expats and tourists.

The Empire is one of the most popular restaurants and bars catering for a gay and lesbian audience. Located close to the Phnom Penh riverside this bar is a small but unique place to go for a fun evening. Khmer food and western specials can be enjoyed here as well as a wide selection of wines, coffees and cocktails. The Empire even has a small movie theater at its top floor, in which movies can be watched from the comfort of a cinema bed. Food and drinks will be brought to you if you send a text message to the downstairs bar! The combination of movies, drinks and food makes The empire one of the best places to check out if you want to relax in a gay and lesbian friendly atmosphere.

Phnom Penh Fashion Shopping

Cambodia is a place where fashion design is of a high standard and there are plenty of designers and boutiques offering the best there is in haute couture. Ranging from cotton dresses and bags by Sisowath Quay right next to our hotel, to more casual wear like the designs offered by Wanderlust, there is something to be found to suit anyone's taste. SCT (Sar Cantho) is based in Phnom Penh and has made a business of dressing locals as well as expats. Their clothing range offers garments that can be worn at any occasion and finding a completely new wardrobe is an easy task when choosing from their range. Luxurious Cambodian silk clothing is one of the focal points of the Eric Raisina label. The Cambodia fashion week exhibition features Cambodia-based designers as well as labels from abroad.

phnom penh-fashionKeoK'jay in Phnom Penh is the name of a fashion label with a conscience. Stylish fair-trade designs feature in every new collection released by the label based in Phnom Penh. Providing a work place for HIV-positive women Keok'jay has not only been praised for its great garments but also for its sustainability and women-empowering ethics. The label has received much praise for its awareness-raising campaigns.

Elsewhere is a fashion label offering the best there is in classic designs that will be part of your wardrobe for a very long time. Quality garments are made from the best fabrics and designs are long lasting. Last but certainly not least, check out Jasmine Boutique for feminine dresses and garments with a sensual touch. You will not be able to leave empty handed. Alley West and Pub Street are good places to start your fashion hunt. Here you will find many of the labels mentioned. Prepare for a fun day of fashion shopping and make the most of what's on offer in Phnom Penh to return home with some great new pieces and a lasting reminder of your trip. Cambodian designer wear made from cotton or linen can serve as great summer wear if you live in a less exotic location.

There are plenty of women's fashion stores in Phnom Penh, carrying European style clothing and brands. Wexport, with shops spread across Phnom Penh, carries brands such as Levis and H&M as well as Banana Republic. The shop at Sihanouk Boulevard offers the most colorful items marketed by these brands. Another option is to have clothing tailor made in Phnom Penh. Make sure to bring a clear design and your fabric of choice and visit one of the many tailor shops, where most items can be made for you in only a few days. If you are visiting Phnom Penh it can be a good idea to bring that favorite evening dress and have it replicated in another fabric. Make sure to discuss options and designs before ordering your garments!

Phnom Penh has a lot in store for any dedicated fashion shopper. Combine more traditionally designed items with designer wear to create your own modern look and bring a little bit of Cambodia back home with you.

 

 

Playing Golf In Phnom Penh Cambodia

 

Playing golf in Phnom Penh is possible in a wide number of locations. The amazing surroundings and flora of the region adds to the design of the courses and helps to create a relaxing game experience. Taking a break from the busy city is easy amidst the green courses of a quality golf club, with a relaxing atmosphere making it possible to fully focus on the game.

The Quay hotel provide a number of golf and stay packages in from our luxurious Quay Hotel in the heart of the city. 

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One of the best known golf clubs is the Royal Cambodia Phnom Penh Golf Club. The club has a popular course (18 holes) that is frequented by the local dignitaries.  The Royal Cambodia course is situated in wetlands and the surroundings help you forget how close you really are to the city. This club can be found at an 8km distance from the international airport, making it a great option for an after-flight visit to stretch the legs. There are four tees per hole suitable for all player skill levels. This is an easy to reach golf course for a game during a busy day, offering plenty of challenges for an enjoyable game and some fresh air.

The Siem Reap Booyoung Country Club is an international standard course and is situated close to Angkor Wat. The club proudly features a course designed by Japanese architect Kentaro Sato, lined with palms and opulent flora. The lawns are pristine and the course is immaculate at all times. On top of the best game conditions, the club has sauna facilities and a restaurant specialized in Korean cuisine of the highest standard. The course features five tees on each hole to choose from.

The Angkor Gold Resort at Siem Reap was designed by Nick Faldo and opened in 2008. This golf resort is considered to be the best course in Cambodia and is kept in a great condition at all times, offering great views and impressive greenery. The course is a challenging one, with water hazards and bunkers obstructing the course, posing a real challenge for any player. Those who enjoy a great game of golf should visit this course at least once to make the most of the course and the facilities presented at this fine golf club. Make the most of the possibility to practice your swing and end the day with a meal in the tastefully decorated restaurant belonging to the resort.
 
The Grand Phnom Penh International City is the largest and latest township development in Phnom Penh, situated at about a 20 minute drive from the bustling city center. The Grand Phnom Penh Golf Club is part of the township. The golf course has been designed and developed by Nicklaus Design and features an 18 hole golf course with plenty of challenges at every hole. The designers responsible for this course are considered to be the best in the world. This shows in their designs for over 340 courses. There are luxurious locker rooms for personal belongings as well as a VIP room, a restaurant and a spa and sauna to relax in after a game of golf.