All posts tagged: Cambodia

“Can you take my picture?”

Because I was feeling inspired, I give you the first of my Snapshot Stories—encounters that stayed with me through my travels. Enjoy! Siem Reap, February 2013 The sun burned hot and bright against my back, sending trickles of sweat down the thin cotton of my shirt. The occasional breeze rustled my hair from its bun. My leggings had long said goodbye to their pristine black state, standing no chance against the fine orange dust that coated the ground. Like the finest of powder, the dust jumped at the slightest movement, swirled at the slightest whisper of wind. I’d been warned about it, but it had still shocked me when I arrived in that small but mighty town. No longer. I stood smiling as my friend struck a pose in front of the ruins of an ancient Hindu temple. Structures of red stone rose above him, battered by time, yet still glorious in the intricate details and the graceful curves and curlicues that brought life and depth to those solid walls. As though there wasn’t a crowd of …

Banteay Srei, Cambodia

I just realized that I never got around to continuing my posts on Siem Reap—and what’s worse is that I didn’t cover my favorite temple of them all. Since it’s about time that I revive my Flashback Friday series, I decided to give this gem the spotlight it deserves. So without further ado, I present to you the beautiful Citadel of Women, Banteay Srei. Banteay Srei is located in the Angkor Archaeological Park, but since it’s a long ways out from the main cluster of temples that includes the Angkor Wat, it’s often passed up for its more popular counterparts. But if you’re staying in Siem Reap for more than a weekend, you should definitely add this to your itinerary. You don’t even need to worry about the admission, since it’s covered by the Angkor Pass. The trip from town takes about an hour via remork, and it’s a great way to see more of the fields and small settlements housed in the park. It’s best to go here bright and early in the morning, so you can get the farthest destination …

Angkor Cafe / The Blue Pumpkin

One of my favorite things to do when traveling to new places is to try their local coffee shops. Doesn’t matter if the country isn’t particularly known for coffee, or if their offerings don’t differ from those back home. There’s still bound to be something different about the way they prepare their drinks, the ingredients they use, the presentation. Different may not always mean good, but like I said in my confession, coffee’s an experience — one that I definitely cannot pass up on when traveling. During my trip to Siem Reap last month, my friends and I discovered The Blue Pumpkin, one of Cambodia’s most popular cafes, and liked it well enough to visit it twice (actually, thrice, but it turned out to be closed that other time). TBP has several branches all over Cambodia, and eight in Siem Reap alone. So if you visit Siem Reap and fail to spot it even once, I’m going to doubt that you were there at all, especially since they have a branch in the airport and …

Siem Reap Day 2 (Part One): Sunrise @ Angkor Wat

Early mornings aren’t my cup of tea, but considerations must be made for special cases. When faced with the opportunity to witness the world’s largest religious moment come alive in the first light of day, is there really any need to think twice? For us, there was only one answer. The night before, we’d made arrangements for Vannet to pick us up at 5 AM to give us enough time to get ready for sunrise, which was expected at about 6:20 AM. Now, I usually have a hard time waking up, but it seemed so easy that morning. Funny what anticipation does to you. We found out that Vannet couldn’t make it, but he sent over a replacement driver, Shen. That particular drive was memorable because it was so dark, and suddenly, we’d see a remork or a van appear behind us. It wasn’t until we neared the park entrance that we really got an idea of what an event it is to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Despite the early hour, the entrance …

Siem Reap Day 1: Angkor National Museum, Bayon, Ta Prohm & Pre Rup

My first impressions of Siem Reap were: 1) there were no people; 2) they had a whole lot of hotels / guesthouses; 3) it was hot and dusty. Later on I’d find out that #1 was not true at all, but both #2 & #3 were right on target. We arrived in Siem Reap well past 10:30 PM last February 7. It’s a little under a three-hour flight from Manila, but Cambodia is an hour behind our local time. Upon exiting our plane, we were greeted by a gust of warm, dry air. I remember thinking that it wasn’t so different from back home, at least in that regard (it’s just more humid-hot in the Phils). Though their airport is small, I loved how they utilized traditional architecture to make it unique. I think it’s the only airport I’ve been to that isn’t modern and isn’t interchangeable with any other airport. It’s a good introduction to the small but definitely memorable city of Siem Reap. We headed straight to Ta Som Guesthouse, where we were …

SIEM-ply amazing: REAP-ing adventure in Cambodia

There are places that leave you in awe of God’s power and majesty — like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA. Then there are those that leave you marveling at man’s vision, inspiration and determination. Angkor Wat is one of those places. If you had told me a week ago that I’d fall in love with a place that’s even hotter and a WHOLE LOT dustier than my beloved hometown, I would’ve called you crazy. I did just that, though — I lost a piece of my heart to Siem Reap. The ironic thing is that I consider myself a city girl. I love the convenience of one-stop shops like malls and massive grocery stores (don’t forget the ever-important A/C), the dependability of having a Starbucks or McDonalds (or both) around the corner, the quick transportation that the MRT offers. Siem Reap doesn’t really have those. The only mall I saw was Lucky Mall (we did most of our shopping at the night markets and local convenience stores); the closest thing to McDo was one …