Archive for the ‘cambodia travel’ Category

A Luxury Escape to Cambodia with a Great Cause Too

Hotel de la Paix - Cambodia's Gem

With over a hundred stunning rooms (and suites) and its award-winning spa, this top five-star luxury Cambodia hotel, Hôtel de la Paix Siem Reap may cater to the discerning traveler seeking style and relaxation, but there’s more than meets the eye to this best of the best Siem Reap hotel. With a stunning fusion of Ancient Khmer design and a hint of art deco, the hotel has become one of the most stylish hotels in Siem Reap.

A Room at Hotel de la Paix Siem Reap

The onsite restaurant, Meric, recently named by The Miele Guide as one of Asia’s top restaurants, offers world class dining and the stylish artistic lounge showcasing exhibitions of emerging artists. Within walking distance of the shops and restaurants in Siem Reap – and close to the ancient temples of Angkor (Siem Reap’s most popular tourist destination and a UNESCO world heritage site) – Hotel de la Paix also has something else to bring the oh so chic traveler closer to the people of Cambodia – and, really, closer to themselves.

Green Gecko's Cambodian Attendees

Encouraging responsible tourism, they’re helping guests gain a true understanding of Cambodia. Over the years, Siem Reap’s Green Gecko Project ( has done an outstanding job at sheltering and educating over 70 former street kids. As a homage to the people of Cambodia, and the children that bring life and humility to the land, Hôtel de la Paix Siem Reap, one of the Green Gecko Project’s sponsors, kicked off the New Year by hosting a special presentation by the Green Gecko kids on New Year’s Eve: an exhibition of the ancient Khmer martial art of Labokator at the hotel’s Arts Lounge with the hotel’s spectacular ice display to welcome 2012. 

The Hotel de la Paix's Deco Lobby (with white feather Christmas Tree)

As the hotel’s ongoing commitment in respecting the past and embracing the future, this special arrangement allowed guests to learn more about Labokator.  Once used on the battlefield by the Khmer kings and warriors centuries ago, carvings can still be seen on some of the temples in Angkor Wat. The best part? The Green Gecko kids were thrilled to have been part of this celebration, to bring the ancient tradition into the new year and promote their proud culture to visitors around the world. If you want to check out the festivities, there’s also a special video clip here:
Hotel de la Paix Siem Reap
Rooms around $199/night
PS. While you’re in Cambodia and lapping up the luxury of Hotel de la Paix and the history of Angkor Wat, pay a visit and some funds to my friend, the amazing Scott Neeson, who left a lucrative Hollywood job to found Cambodian Children’s Fund. For six years, Cambodian Children’s Fund has provided life-changing education, nourishment and healing to vulnerable children from some of Cambodia’s most destitute communities. In the beginning, they cared for the health and well-being of 45 youngsters. Today, we care for more than 700 children, and have extended their services to provide for their families and communities in crisis.

Voluntourism Cambodia

Project Abroad's Cambodia Beach Clean-Up

Conservation and Environment Volunteering in Cambodia

This week we wanted to highlight one of our favorite Voluntourism companies, Projects Abroad.  Pioneering conservation and research activities are at the forefront of protecting and researching diverse marine environments and Project Abroad doesn’t just stop at the well known diving locales, but also at the smaller lesser known beaches… like those in Cambodia.

Located on the tropical Gulf of Thailand, Cambodia has pristine uninhabited islands and over 200 miles of coastline. Their project is the first of its kind in Cambodia and supplies the Cambodian Fisheries administration with much needed data to help in their marine conservation efforts. The Conservation Project base is situated on the stunning island of Koh Rong Samleom, a two hour boat ride from the lively coastal town of Sihanoukville. The island, home to a small fishing village, stunning beaches and a lush jungle, is just one among several Project Abroad options that provide a feel good bonding experience that actually leaves something valuable behind… a cleaner coastline… and data.

A walk on Cambodia's (cleaner) beach...

Diving & Marine Project

Volunteers are also involved in a wide range of current projects including:

  • Diving-related conservation work that focuses on both marine surveys and salvage diving. The investigative survey projects include seahorse surveys including video and photographic behavioral and ID studies, coral & fish biodiversity surveys, and habitat & mapping surveys.
  • Community Projects that operate in full cooperation with the local village on the island. Volunteers get involved in important community work which includes environmental awareness activities with local children such as beach clean-ups and education classes.
  • Beach Clean-ups, which are regularly carried out, often with the help of the local community.
  • Fisheries Projects, where volunteers are involved with fishing surveys and catch-monitoring with the local M’Pai Bei fishing community.

Prices for the Diving & Marine Conservation: 2 weeks – $2,895; 1 month – $3,495; 2 months – $4,495; 3 months – $5,545; Extra month – $1,445


Cambodia’s Feel Good Gem

Sarah Ivens, Founding Editor-in-Chief of OK! Weekly in America, is the best-selling author of the lifestyle guides, ‘A Modern Girls’ Guide to…’ and the travel and adventure book ‘No Regrets’ (Broadway Books, $14).  A born and bred Londoner who now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, she’s wearing ‘dem holes in her shoes (and eating copious amounts of Pad Thai) all for the love of diehard fans of!

Cambodia is slowly catching on to the tourism trade that has seen its neighboring countries flourish over the last decade. It has a long way to go before it can compete with Thailand or Vietnam but that’s more of a reason to go. Now!

The kingdom of the Khmers is truly heaven and hell on earth. Beautiful temples and beaches spring up all over the place, but so do decaying buildings and tragic tales of personal loss. Visitors can make the most out of their trip by embracing both sides of the Cambodia’s history – some info and a conscience will make all the difference. Ripped apart and left poverty stricken after years of war and the horrific genocide of 1975-1979, Cambodia needs your dollars and it needs you to spend them wisely. A few wonderful businesses have been set up around Siem Reap, the place to stay and eat while visiting the nearby Angkor Wat, the magnificent 8th wonder of the world and a truly remarkable series of temples.

If you need some clothes during your trip, head to Circle – a new boutique run by two Americans who hire local women to make their stunning designs. Eco-friendly, the underprivileged young woman, some with HIV and AIDS, make the dresses and tops from vintage and 2nd hand fabrics, receiving a fair salary and sometimes being allowed to work from their homes if they need to look after their children.

52 Aeo, Street 240

If you need a massage during your tour, make your way to Seeing Hands. You will be pummeled and pushed by blind masseurs, and part of your $5 fee will go to help the city’s visually impaired. Communication isn’t easy, and the rooms aren’t up to a sexy spa standard (expect cobwebs and flickering lights) but you can’t resist these charming people – and you don’t have to worry about what they think of your wobbly bits!

324 Ph Sivatha (phone: 012 836487)

If you want to seat something good while doing good, chow down at the Singing Tree Café, a cute café famous for its delicious health food and juices…and for helping a good cause: a percentage of its profits go to helping street children. There are many other places like this in SIem Reap so keep your eyes open.

Cambodia: Sustainable Adventures

Cambodia Eco-Travel Children Wells“Guests are able to see Angkor Wat in the morning and change a life in the afternoon.  It doesn’t get much better than that,” says Andrea Ross, part-owner of Journey’s Within Our Community, a Cambodia-based non-profit, tour company, and B&B, that offers scholarships for university students, holds free English classes for children and adults, and provides micro-finance loans for small businesses.  What began as a dream to start a tour company and bed and breakfast in Cambodia with Brandon, her husband of seven years, has now become a way of life for herself and so many others.

Eco-Travel Cambodia Children WellInstead of hiring volunteer tourists to build wells, she uses monies raised to hire locals. With 180 wells and counting around Siem Reap, their non-profit has helped provide water for almost 4,000 Cambodians.

FYI – For only $300, you too, can pay to have a well built that will supply 20 people with water and then visit the families and community it benefits.

It doesn’t get much better than that, indeed.

Journeys Within B&B

Journeys Within Our Community

Cambodia: From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia

Part II of Jaunt Contributor, Victoria Yanakos’, trip to South East Asia has landed her at the top of one of the world’s most popular temple destinations… Angkor Wat. Now, if she could only figure out how to get down.

Fear of Heights
By Victoria Yanakos

Turns out I’m afraid of heights. Well, not so much “heights” as the falling very fast from them. I realized this about half way up the 70 or so “steps” to the top of one of the Angkor Wat temples.

It seemed like a good tactic for getting away from mobs of Japanese tour groups and their incessant picture taking (of which my climb – in a skirt- is now part of at least a few albums). Now at the top, apparently unmoved by my mid-way epiphany, I have a whole new perspective of the situation. I’m actually much higher than I realized, and the “steps” are only about 6″ deep and covered in sand. This wasn’t a problem going up, but add gravity and flip flops and the descent feels much less safe. So here I sit, writing a journal, reflecting on Cambodia, and slowing devising a plan to get down…

Even in comparison to other parts of SE Asia, Cambodia has an irrationality that is wholly its own. Tuk-Tuk (rickshaw) from the bus station to hostel, $3. Tuk-Tuk for the whole day? $5. Thousands of people trying to sell me pineapple, no one able to sell me bug spray. Whiskey Sour is a vodka drink. Happy Pizza is a drug (pot). “Local specialty” on the menu: tarantula. No safety regulations for anything (hence why I am now stuck at the top of one of the temples).

For a country that has endured such devastation, oppression, torture, and is in a perpetual quest for genuine rebirth, it is no wonder that things in Cambodia may feel a little off. But the people are warm and laid back and the country beautiful, even amid the lingering scars of war.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia


OKAY Guesthouse
#3BE, R# 258, S/K Chaktomuk, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
Tel: 855-12 300 804
Clean, very helpful staff, predictable hot water (for Cambodia budget lodging this is saying a lot!)

Sunday Guesthouse
Tel: 211623
97PH 141
Very helpful, friendly English speaking staff, good deal for the price


Camory Cookie Boutique
#167 Sisowath Quay
Amazing cookies! Proceeds go to Cambodian orphanages

Amara Spa
Corner of Sisowath Quay and Street 110
Great drinks and cafe outside, posh spa inside

At the Quay along Sisowath
Chic bar, modern vibe, smokers welcome

Kmer Saravan
No. 16Eo, St Sotheraros (3)
Best Kmer food I’ve had! Try the curry dishes and banana flower salad – wonderful!

Happy Herb Pizza
#345 St Preah Sisowath
Tel: 023 362 349
It is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Make sure to specify if you want your pizza Not Happy, Happy, or Very Happy.

SIEM REAP HOTELS (the town serving Angkor Wat Temples)
FCC Hotel, Siem Reap
If you’re looking to splurge:

The FCC properties in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh are design-driven and luxurious.

The Hotel De La Paix
The perfect place to indulge in a weekend of decadence or even just a mixed drink at the sexy bar downstairs.
$330 – $750/night

For budget-conscious digs:

Shadow of Angkor Guesthouse
Tel: 964774
353 Pokambor Ave
This is where I stayed. A great location overlooking the river

Or check out these websites for more guesthouse/backpacking suggestions:


Le Tigre De Papier Cooking School
Bar St
Courses $12
A great way to get in touch with the culture, courses include a trip to the market

Kmer Kitchen Restaurant
The Alley
Tel 964154
Visited by Mick Jagger and with one of the best pumpkin coconut soups on the globe, this place should definitely be part of your visit to Siem Reap

Of course, while in Siem Reap, the main attraction is the Temple of Angkor Wat. They sell 1-day, 3-day and 1 week passes. Don’t bother with a tour, hire a tuk-tuk for about $10-$15 a day, buy a book, and go at your own pace.

Next stop… well, when I was originally writing this, it was “land” but now? Looks like it’s Hong Kong, baby.

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