When I came back from Cambodia, a lot of people asked me how I liked it and, likely surprising to most, I had a hard time articulating my feelings. I know lots of people absolutely love Siem Reap and for good reason – there was certainly many things I really enjoyed while I was there; the temples are beautiful, the history is rich, the food is great, and the people are lovely. But, as with any area (especially here in Southeast Asia), once it becomes popular with tourists, it tends to lose a lot of its authenticity. Essentially, the reasons why people originally fell in love with that place have been stripped away and replaced (ie westernized). This is how I feel about Siem Reap.
When I travel, I love to immerse myself in as much of the local culture as possible. One way I do that is through my stomach. I love local food and always look forward to trying regional dishes throughout the countries I visit. Everyone knows a handful of Thai and Vietnamese dishes, but I was less familiar with what Cambodian food was all about before my flight to Phnom Penh. I certainly ate my way through the country at various night markets, little hole-in-the-wall shops, and street stalls, and really came to appreciate the local food scene here. Though not necessarily my top choice for Southeast Asian food, I really loved all the local food I ate in Cambodia while I was there. If you’re wondering what to eat in Cambodia, here is a list of my 10 favorite dishes. Continue reading What to eat in Cambodia: My top 10 picks
The first thing people said to me after I told them I would be travelling to Phnom Penh was that I had to visit the Killing Fields. My response: a concerned look followed by a mumbled, “I’m not so sure I want to visit somewhere so sad on my holidays”. Most people followed up by telling me that, despite it being difficult, the whole experience was exceptionally well-done and moving. After getting a similar response from so many other travelers, I knew that I should stop Googling “should I visit the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh?” and just experience it for myself.
Rambutan Resort Phnom Penh is located in the BKK1 district of the city; about 4 km south of the Night Market. The resort is gay-friendly, and exudes a mix of modern and local Khmer design with bright colors that really make the place pop. The staff are incredibly friendly and the rooms are large, equipped with beds so comfortable you’ll have difficulty getting up in the morning. Overall, the resort is quite quaint and there’s a certain charm about the whole place that I still can’t quite put my finger on.
If you’re looking for a hotel that’s in the heart of Phnom Penh, but doesn’t come with the crowds and loud noise, The Pavilion Hotel is your perfect spot. Nestled just off a friendly street, this hotel exudes French colonial charm and an incredibly welcoming environment. The staff are wonderful, the value for money is exceptional, and the atmosphere is a whole is hard to beat. Overall, The Pavilion Hotel Phnom Penh was the perfect place for me to start my holidays in Cambodia; I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.