Posted by: Waheeda Harris | January 21, 2010

Five faves of Cambodia

Elizabeth Kiester of Wanderlust kindly offers her current five faves of Cambodia:

1. Hotel de la Paix in Siem Reap – a gorgeous, super chic hotel that has embraced the local community. They have created an arts lounge which features revolving art shows by local, emerging talent. Everyone’s invited to hang out in the gallery, have a drink, stretch out on a couch, check your email, drink in the gorgeousness of the art work and celebrate the movement forward of local talent and creativity.

2. Ta Prohm Temple at Angkor Wat. This is also called the ‘tomb raider’ temple, as this is where Angelina Jolie worked on the movie. I love love love this temple. To me, it looks like a set from The Land of the Lost. When I go there, I feel like I need a magnifying glass, a pith helmet and a compass, like I’m an explorer from the turn of the century. It’s mysterious, fascinating and extremely cool.

3. Kulen Mountain: this is off the usual tourist routine – I like that it’s my little secret. A reclining Buddha is carved into the mountain, overlooking the jungle. The river runs down the mountain and laps over ancient Angkor-era carvings in the river bed, and ends at a huge waterfall, in which you can swim underneath.

4. The markets in Phnom Penh: not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. They’re all maddening, crazy, chaotic, smelly and overwhelming–all the reasons I love them. It’s a window into life in Cambodia, and I find them fun and intoxicating.

5. I’m into a new restaurant in Siem Reap – Irrawaddy. It serves Burmese food, made by a Burmese family. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it is. I uam obsessed with the tea leaf salad, which is flavourful, nutty, yummy and delish. All entrees are $1.50, so it’s an inexpensive and yummy night out. 

Elizabeth says about her beloved Cambodia: be patient, be empathetic, be generous with your spirit. Please do not give money out to children–it’s difficult to say ‘no’ to an adorable face, but it sets a foundation within these kids that hope and the future is dependent on tourists and not education. Give money to a good NGO where your money is spent to better people’s lives through quality healthcare, good education and job skills.

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