Cambodia was on my ‘must travel’ list for quite some time, so I finally flew there with some close friends couple of days back. In fact the locals said that the best time to visit is between Jan to March, the weather being quite pleasant then.
A land known for its ancient temples, stunning architecture, beach parties, amazing seafood & Khmer cuisine and of course simple innocent people, Cambodia should definitely be on the must see list for any travel enthusiast. The sheer variety on offer is impressive enough to spend few days soaking up the local culture.
I have some lovely memories captured in photographs and in today’s blog, I am going to let these pictures do all the talking.
Presenting a photo-blog (of sorts) of my visit to Cambodia:
Tuk Tuk: the preferred mode of conveyance in Cambodia
Central market, Siem Reap, selling local handicrafts
From handmade jewelries to wooden home decor items & souvenirs
Some beautiful armbands up for sale!
Fresh & juicy prawns at the local market
Wat Preah Prom Rath, Siem Reap
Typical Cambodian handcrafted basketry on display, in front of our hotel Sekla Villa, Siem Reap
Angkor Wat in its full glory!
The quintessential shots of Angkor Wat at sunrise..in one word Magical 🙂 You have to be at the site as early as 5am and take your ‘spot’ to get the best shot, but the amazing view is worth all the efforts of waking up early.
Bayon Temple, Angkor: 4 faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara everywhere
I have become a huge fan of Khmer cuisine after sampling some of their lip-smacking dishes in my week long stay. I can now safely say that Cambodian food is my second most favourite after Indonesian cuisine. There are some similarities with Thai cuisine in their use of spices like lemongrass, shallots and galangal and also generous use of coconut milk in some of their dishes. Fish sauce is widely used in stir fries and soups but one can find a lot of contrasts in their flavours, from sweet to salty, sour and even bitter!
Khmer Chicken Fried rice
Fish cakes: The best I have ever had
Khmer Chicken Curry: light, bursting with flavours and juicy succulent chicken pieces
Fish Lok Lak with Black Pepper Dipping Sauce: a stir fried chicken marinated with salt, sugar, pepper, soy sauce & other spices. The highlight of this dish is the fiery dipping sauce which complements the dish.
Fish Amok: My favourite among all. This classic Cambodian dish is a concoction of coconut milk and Khmer spice paste resulting in a creamy, fragrant sauce. Traditionally it is steamed & cooked in banana leaves and served with rice.
A thin runny gravy version of Fish Amok
Golden Lions Circle, Sihanoukville: The iconic roundabout in the beach town
Otres Beach II, Sihanoukville: soft white sand, crystal clear water, very few people and constant gentle breeze makes this the best beach to relax in Sihanoukville.
Scrumptious Sea-food platter from one of the shacks at Otres II
Koh Rong: A speedboat from the main pier of Serendipity beach took us to Koh Rong island (took us about 45-50 mins). The beach is stunning, clear water like Otres, which makes swimming a lot more fun, although it was pretty crowded. The island had a very laid-back vibe to it which I loved and I had the best fish amok at one of the shacks here. Just take a big towel and a book/ music along, lie down with a drink and all is bliss 🙂
The Mr. & I
You can see for yourself how clear the water is!
Just avoid Serendipity main pier. Its too crowded, dirty and locals constantly trying to sell things by almost breathing down your neck and not letting you eat/ drink peacefully.
One of our favourite shacks in Sihanoukville
Don’t miss visiting Pub Street, Siem Reap to experience the vibrant night life. Its a long stretch of road teeming with restaurants and bars and people making merry. The food and drinks are very affordable and after a long day of sight seeing, this is where everyone wants to go to and unwind. My favourites were the Angkor What? Bar and Temple Club.
A very unique concept of an open bar. Loud music playing on laptops behind the counter, some bar stools and a makeshift stall selling alcohol. Voila!
Yummy fried ice-cream
National Museum, Phnom Penh: To get a glimpse of the cultural history of Cambodia
S21, Phnom Penh: The dusty old high school which was turned into a torture and execution center during the regime of Pol Pot
Okay Boutique Hotel: Our stay at Phnom Penh was made memorable thanks to this lovely hotel which was more like a beautiful palace with the majestic Mekong river as a backdrop. The interiors were spectacular, each corner was resplendent with gorgeous Cambodian craftmanship. The rooms were quite spacious, awesome breakfast buffet and great service. I would highly recommend this place to anybody looking for a hotel close to the city center in Phnom Penh.
Overall, had a very eventful trip in Cambodia and before I forget I must mention how lovely the local people were, especially in Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. They were so full of warmth and affection and genuinely took interest in making our stay memorable.
Till we meet again