siem reap province

Siem Reap Province A Brief Guide

Siem Reap Province

In Khmer, the Siem Reap in Siem Reap Province means “Siam Defeated”, or more accurately “Siam Kneel”. Not a happy entry point into Cambodia if you are Thai. Siem Reap is also the name of the province the town is located in. Siem Reap Province is famous for the ancient city of Angkor; however, the province is full of places to visit. After all, this is the centre of the former Khmer Empire. So, let’s start with some temples.



The big draw card to Siem Reap Province is the World heritage centre of the ancient city of Angkor and its temples. The sheer size of the place can make it a bit overwhelming. However, there are two main routes you can follow which will take you to a lot of the better-known places of interest. Conveniently known as the small loop and big loop.

You can start on either side of Angkor Wat, but most people visit Angkor Wat first, especially at sunrise. It can be a bit crowded with all the tour buses that descend on the temple, and there so much to see that you’ll want a return visit to Angkor Wat. You can opt for a 3-day pass which you can use over a 1-week period. You do not need to use the Angkor Wat pass on consecutive days; allowing you time to reflect on what you have experienced.

Oh yeah, make sure you enter the park via the main road. This is where you buy your tickets. However, there other ways to get in and avoid the park’s minders. Park rangers will ask to inspect your Angkor Wat Pass, so you might be as well to buy a proper ticket. By the by, Khmers are allowed in free of charge.

Angkor Temples Big Loop

There are two loops you can follow: the big and small loops. First, let’s follow the big loop. This will take you past Phnom Bakheng and through Angkor Thom’s South Gate. Eventually, you’ll come to the Bayon.

After the Bayon you can visit places such as the Royal Palace, Terrace of the Leper King and Terrace of the Elephants. Onwards you go passing through the north gate.

Other temples on the big loop include Preah Khan and Ta Som. The path cuts across the East Baray, past Pre Rup then back to Angkor Wat.

Angkor Temples Small Loop

Preah Khan

The small loop starts like the big loop but after the Bayon turn right and head through the Victory Gate. This path takes you past Ta Keo, Ta Prohm and Banteay Kdei. It eventually joins the Big Loop and back to Angkor Wat.

This is a small list of places to visit. It is exhausting trying to see everything, but there is a lot to see, so much in fact, that many people return.

In addition, if you already have your ticket then enter Angkor via the smaller road to the west of the main entrance road: less traffic and cooler.

Roulos Temples

The Roulos temples are about 14 kilometres east of Siem Reap. The Roulos Group is some of the earliest Khmer temples and marks the beginning of classic Khmer civilisation. The three main temples are Bakong, Lolei, and Preah Ko, along with the tiny Prasat Prei Monti. Entrance to Roulos is also included on your Angkor ticket. It is rarely crowded and a different take on Khmer civilisation. This is an often-missed area of Siem Reap Province and we believe that you will find the area enchanting and relaxing.

Banteay Srei

The extraordinarily beautiful Banteay Srei tenth-century temple is in the norther part of Siem Reap Province. Located about 30 kilometres northeast of Siem Reap you will need to hire a taxi or mini bus to get there. For the more energetic you can join in a Cyclebodia group from Siem reap city

Banteay Srei has many intricate and exquisite carvings and the red sandstone is stunning in the early morning or late afternoon sunlight as it takes on a rose-pink hue.

The name Banteay Srei means “Citadel of Women” or “Citadel of Beauty” and is probably related to carvings found on the walls. The temple is small by comparison to most other monolithic Angkorian structures.

Visitors often drop by this temple on their way to Phnom Koulen. It is easy enough to organise transport for the trip, and your hotel will be able to assist you with this.

Phnom Koulen

The enigmatic Khmer Empire had such a profound impact on the region, yet, in comparison to this impact, so little is known about the Khmer society.

After you visit Banteay Srei, head to Phnom Koulen which is about 50 kilometres north of Siem Reap. Originally a sandstone quarry for building Angkor, this mountain is rightly considered the birthplace of the Khmer Empire. It is also a sacred site for Cambodians: no littering.

Here you will find the Chup Preah and a giant who is reclining. Nearby Kbal Spean’s waterways have more than a thousand carvings on the riverbed. You can go swimming at a nearby waterfall. A refreshing way to wash off the heat of the day to meet fellow adventurers or volunteers on their day off.

Beng Mealea

The Beng Mealea structure is very impressive and if you only visit one other place outside of Angkor then this should be it. It is about 65 kilometres from Siem Reap. Book an early taxi to get there early to avoid the tour buses.

Beng Mealea is an Angkorian-era temple believed to have been built the same time as Angkor Wat. However, like so much about the Khmer Empire, little is known about Beng Mealea.

There are balustraded causeways leading into the temple. You can wander through galleries and passageways, or scramble over the many piles of sandstone.

If you go, try a side entrance to avoid the expensive entrance fee.

Tonle Sap

For many people the Tonle Sap and its busy and grimy port of Chon Cheas is their introduction to Siem Reap Province. However, beyond the port, which is 15 kilometres from the Siem Reap, the lake has quite a few places to visit.

Of course, if you are leaving Siem Reap by boat to Battambang or Phnom Penh then you will use Chon Cheas. Travelling by boat gives you the chance to see Cambodian life and wildlife along some of its waterways.

kompong phluk village siem reap

Hire a boat and visit ethnic Vietnamese or Khmer houseboats. You can go further and visit the impressive Kampong Phluk floating village. There is also the Preah Toal bird sanctuary. It is popular to take sunset boat trips. Perhaps take a bottle of Sombai with you.

Sombai is a popular local beverage. There are many flavours, such as lemon-lemongrass, green tea-orange, ginger-red chili, and pineapple-lime. The wine comes in hand-painted and scarf-wrapped bottles.

Another way to see the Tonle Sap lake is hire a Tuk Tuk and get the driver to take you along the shores and visit places less travelled.

Siem Reap Province

This is by no means an exhaustive list of places to visit in Siem Reap Province, but it will get you started and along the way you will discover other places to visit, especially the less visited ones. And remember, at the end of the day you can try the famous rice wine that is produced and widely consumed in the Siem Reap Province.

pol pot is now in anlong veng camboda

Anlong Veng | Last Bastion of a Dictator

Anlong Veng And Pol Pot

anlong veng cambodia

If you visit Preah Vihear, an alternative route back to the hustle and bustle of the real world is via the town of Anlong Veng. this is a big detour along Cambodia’s northern border, travelling across Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces. Now, this dusty off-the-beaten track town is not exactly on the tourist trail, but it is a place to visit and see where one of the twentieth century’s most notorious tyrants and butchers saw his last stand.

Another private taxi, another ride blazing along the roads of northern Cambodia, and another fighting cock, which if you are lucky will get plonked on your lap for part of the ride. Private taxis are one of the few ways to get to the town, as regular bus services are erratic and problematic. Of course, you could hire a motorcycle to get you there.

One other fact: for a more comfortable taxi ride it is possible to get the front passenger seat to yourself. However, the price is twice as much as you occupy space for two people. At first thought this may seem unfair then you think “you should feel lucky that you’re not charged for four or five people”.

Anlong Veng

The taxi pulls up in the centre of town, which is handy. Anlong Veng is a bit short on five-star hotels, but, apart from a few beaten up guesthouses along the main drag, there is a comfortable-looking guesthouse on the road into town, which you can see on the way in. It is on the right as you walk out of town. It isn’t the place on the left, with the nefarious name of October Guesthouse, which might allude to a certain revolution and some other more ominous connections.

The town isn’t big, in fact you could throw a stone across its width. However, it packs a wealth of history and has earned a rather dark place in the annals of history.

No matter which way you come into Anlong Veng it will have been a long trek. Stay a couple of nights and take in what the town has to offer. While sleepy during the day, at night the shops along the main street come alive and there is a lot of food to be had. All kinds of pork and chicken dishes along with rice or noodles. Most of the shops even open for breakfast. Anyway, tomorrow it’s off to see what Anlong Veng is about.

The Dictator’s Grave

resting place of pol pot in along veng

First thing in the morning was a trip to why this place is notorious. The motorcycle heads up the Dangrek Range, just out of town, into the forest of casinos that marks the Cambodia-Thai border, around a corner, down a road and nestled in a clearing is a rusty corrugated iron roof; a mini-shed with no sides. At the entrance is nobody, but as you make your move to enter this sanctuary an old lady, ninety if she’s a day, springs out of nowhere ninja-like with her hand outstretched demanding an entrance fee.

Inside there is a grave obscured by weeds and there is no indication of the activities of Saloth Sar, better known as Pol Pot. A shrine has been set up nearby and the grave has flowers in front of it. Here lies Brother Number One. Once the leader of the Khmer Rouge and now dust in the wind. But why would somebody place flowers at his grave.

After staying in town for a while, you start to think where people’s loyalties lie. The Khmer Rouge occupied the town for so long and the thought may cross your mind that on the surface the people are glad to be rid of the Khmer Rouge, but how many supported them and miss them. Probably few, maybe this will never be answered. Although you can bet that some of the old guard are still lurking.

Pol Pot Fell Off The Perch In 1998.

His body was torched, and the remains thrown in this shallow grave. A rather inglorious end for the former leader of the Angkar and the ‘revolution’. Even in death there was controversy. Some say he committed suicide rather than be handed over to the Americans. His second, Ta Mok, denied the allegations claiming he died of a heart attack.

Apparently, there is a Killing Fields not far from grave. However, the motorcycle man was reluctant to go there, indicating there were still mines in the area. Later on, a Cambodian said that probably the real reason for his reluctance was the man’s fear of spirits that he believed haunted the area. Who knows, maybe there isn’t a Killing Fields.

The Butcher Ta Mok

Another notorious figure who lived in town was Ta Mok (Uncle Mok), or Brother Number Five. He also went by the moniker the Butcher. The reasons for the latter become obvious when you visit his abandoned Anlong Veng house.

As you pull up in the house of Ta Mok’s front yard, there is an old wrecked truck. It is a wireless truck that has been left to rot. Maybe he used it to listen to enemies or the Voice of America.

More telling are some cages that can be seen outside his house. They were probably originally used to house pigs but then used for another function. How many people could be squeezed into these to await their fate is anyone’s guess. Most likely poked, prodded and yelled at while they cooked in the sun.

The interior walls of this house are painted with images of Angkor, a map of Cambodia, and other temples. He was reportedly likened to a little Napoleon. Perhaps these images were his thoughts of being an Angkorian king ruling over Cambodia.

One room has a hole in the floor. Apparently, Ta Mok would torture prisoners then throw them down this dark hole into a room with no windows. Using a ground-floor door to enter the dark room is eerie. It is not a place a person would want to stay in for too long.

Go out to the balcony and a great expanse of water presents itself. The flooded areas were to prevent enemy forces invading the area. The dead tree trunks that pepper the water give it a surreal and eerie quality.

Eventually, Ta Mok was caught then imprisoned in his home town of Takeo; justice was cheated by his death. Curiosity satisfied, and some questions answered it was time to leave the town.

From Anlong Veng it is possible to cross the border into Thailand at a couple of crossings. It is also possible to travel onto Siem Reap via Phnom Koulen and Banteay Srei.

siem reap province

Phnom Chisor Cambodia

Phnom Chisor Cambodia Mountain View

Phnom Chisor mountain cambodia

At its height, the Khmer Empire stretched far and wide across mainland Southeast Asia. In contemporary Cambodia, its former magnificence can be seen everywhere, and this is true for Phnom Penh and the surrounds. Near the capital are a number of Angkorian, and earlier era, monuments. Just south of Phnom Penh is one such place, Phnom Chisor.

How To get to Phnom Chisor

To get to Phnom Chisor is straightforward by tuk tuk or taxi from Phnom Penh. The more intrepid traveller could hire a motorbike. But remember to take into account that it can be a dusty trip.

This mountain-top temple is located in Sia village, Rovieng commune, Samrong district, about 50 kilometres south of Phnom Penh or 27 kilometres north of Takeo town. The way from Phnom Penh is well sign-posted. To reach the temple, take National Road 2 to Bati district and Neang Khmao temple, or the temple of the Black Virgin, which is inside Wat Neang Khmao: it is easy to spot as it is next to the highway. This is an Angkorian temple, so stop and take a look.

Nearby, turn left at the sign for the site and head down the dirt road for about five kilometres. On the wat, stop at the monk training centre which is at the bend of the road as you make the final turn to Phnom Chisor.

The temple is perched on a 130-metre-high solitary hill. So, when you visit be prepared for a long climb to the top. People usually climb the staircase on the west side of the mountain, which has about 400 steps and descend by the south-side staircase. The original set of stairs in front of the temple links the temple to an avenue which leads to the baray of Tonlé Om. The west staircase starts with a broad 7.5-metre entrance and narrows to 5 metres at the top. Look for etchings of rabbits, elephants and other animals in the concrete as you climb the long staircase.

Also, try to get to Phnom Chisor early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as it is a sweaty climb in the heat of the midday sun. As you scale the mountain, you’ll pass other visitors taking a breather on the ascent to the temple, in fact, quit a few. Once you get to the top take a deep breath, there is a lot to take in for a smallish temple.

At the top, you’ll be hit with a $2 entrance fee for foreigners. Phnom Chisor is also very popular with locals, especially during festivals and on weekends when it gets very crowded. So, it is best visited during the week.

The main temple stands on the eastern side of the hilltop. It was built in the early 11th century by King Suryavarman I, who ruled from AD1002 to AD1050. This king practiced Brahmanism, and he dedicated the temple to the Hindu divinities Shiva and Vishnu. The original name of the temple was Sri Suryaparvata, “The mountain of Surya” or “The mountain of the Sun”.

Phnom Chisor is constructed of sandstone, laterite and bricks with carved sandstone lintels. The complex is surrounded by partially ruined walls and a 2.5-metre-wide gallery with windows. Inscriptions found here date from the 11th century.  The temple is 60 meters long and 50 meters wide and the surrounding is in fact two galleries. The first gallery is 60 meters long on each side. The second, smaller gallery, is in the middle, where there is the main worship place with two doors and a wooden statue. There are exquisite sculptures on the lintels and pillars.

Apart from three entrances to the East, and three to the West, the outer walls are closed. The principal entrance is to the East. Inside are six towers, a mandapa, and two fire shrines. The towers open to the east, the fire shrines open to the west. It was built on a typical Angkorian east-west axis.

In front of the temple, a set of stairs link the temple to Sen Chhmos temple, Sen Phouvang temple and Tonlé Om, a lake considered sacred by Brahmans and used for washing away sins. All three of these form a straight line from the pond to Phnom Chisor in the direction of Angkor. During rituals held 900 years ago, the king, his Brahmans and their entourage would climb the steps to the hill-top temple from this direction. These original steps are rarely used these days. It is possible to visit these places, and this is where a motorbike or tuk tuk come in handy.

From the top of the mountain there are superb views of the countryside. Stretching out in front of you is Takeo Province with its rice fields, rivers and lakes. The view is best during the rainy season when the rice fields are green, there is a lot of water and clouds.

After descending the steps from the temple, local vendors have stalls, complete with mats and hammocks, set up and ready to serve food. A favourite dish is lean free-range fried chicken or the light and lemon-grassy soup.

There is also a mountain cave, Vimean Chan, located about 150 meters south of the temple. It is a quiet place for Brahmans or ascetics to meditate. During the Vietnam war, the USA bombed the site, dislodging several large rocks that have blocked the entrance to the cave.

If after a visit to Phnom Chisor you feel like visiting some other places then head to Takeo town. This out-of-the-way place is rarely visited by foreigners but has a surprising number of places on interest: Khmer Rouge’s Ta Mok’s prison, Phnom Da and you can try the delicious freshwater prawns. There are also other places of interest in the area such as Yeay Peau temple and a wildlife sanctuary. Check it out.

cycling in cambodia during corona virus

5 Cycling Facts | An Introduction from Cyclebodia

5 Cycling Facts | An Introduction from Cyclebodia

cycling in cambodia

We are dedicated to maximising the benefits of cycling. In this document we give general information.

Cycling, also referred to as bicycling or biking. We can use cycling for so many purposes such as for transport, for exercises and as a sport. Cycling was first introduced in the 19th century and it is used as a primary means of transportation in most part of the countries or in developed countries. Cycling also prevent us from any health issues and keep us healthy. According to some research and some doctors, cycling is preferred way better than running exercise. As we can use cycling in so many different ways, it provides us so many advantages. Some of these advantages are as follows.

Cycling Is Transportation

Cycling is used as transportation in so many countries as it has so many advantages. It can save a lot of money, instead of buying a car, at the same price we can buy a first-class bicycle which can last up to so many years. It does not use any kind of petrol or gasoline, so it does not create air pollution and it is eco-friendly and good for the environment as well. Cycling is the best option for those who cannot afford cars and it is good for them to use a bicycle as it also reduced health issues. So many studies prove that bicycle commuters are way more productive and way more active than an average person and require less time off at work.

Health issues | Cycling Health Benefits

Cycling is greatly beneficial for those who have health issues and health problems. If we want to be fit and healthy then we must do a few exercises daily and cycling is one of the easiest exercises to do it does not require too much stamina or physical activity people of all ages can enjoy cycling. Here are most of the points about how cycling helps us to prevent us from various diseases and how it advantages us. It is better to do cycling every day rather than visiting a doctor for health issues

Cycling As An Exercise To Be Fit

Cycling is one of the easiest exercises to do it can be done by everyone it only consumes your 3 to 4 hours or sometimes only an hour to make you healthy and fit. Here how  cycling helps you, as it is the easiest exercise to do there is also less chance of any injury or harm in cycling all of our muscles workout so it does not require that much physical skill like other exercises do and benefit our whole body cycling also increases our body stamina and strength to do work it is also a fun way to do the exercise you can go to the hills and enjoy the environment and beautiful sceneries

Health Benefits Of Cycling

Cycling is also beneficial for those who have health issues or health-related problems it reduces health problems ,it is also beneficial for those who have  recently gone through the bone injury by doing cycling one can recover from bone injury as it is the best to exercise for them and also recommended by the doctors those who have cardiovascular issues cycling increases the cardiovascular strength and  decreases the chances of heart attack.

Cycling is also helpful for those who have a mental illness like depression stress and anxiety by doing cycling it decreases stress levels and keeps you calm it also increase the strength of bone also helps to prevent body fat those who have obesity and want to lose weight this is the best way to get rid of obesity

Cycling As A Sport

Cycling was first introduced as a sport on May 31, 1868, with a 1200 metre race between the fountains and the entrance of Saint cloud park near Paris there are so many races organised across the country but the most popular one is touring de France it started in 1903 this is the most popular one cycling sport which held every year and it is played on an international level too as a world championship the tour de France can be worth of 2.3 million and the person who won this race gets the whole price there are many types of cycling which are used as a sport such as a road cycling track cycling and mountain cycling are the most common one others are unicycle cycle ball artistic cycling bicycle polo snow cycling and much more.

Used for work

Cycling is also used for so many working purposes. Most of the people consider cycling on cars because they are way cheaper than cars and can be afforded by everyone and sometimes it can be tax-free and consume less tax than d cars so many people use cycles for their work purposes. It is used by mail carriers for mail delivering it is also used by most of the police officers mainly in parks. It is widely used for general delivering services such as for food delivery, newspapers delivering and much more. Many other works like delivering something with short distance some people considered cycling instead of using a car. Cycling is also used mostly by the students to go to schools as they are not allowed to use cars


As there are so many advantages of cycling, we can use cycling for so many things and take advantage of it. In this modern technology world, it is hard to resist our comfort but using things apart from our comfort can prove to be beneficial for us. Most of the people considered cycling is just for kids and deny the advantages of cycling. Cycling is not just a  sport or transportation or doing exercise, it also refreshes our mind, by doing cycling we explore the calmness of the environment and for some time we forget all of our worries and things that irritate us. So, dust off your bicycle in your garage and use it for your benefits and make your life healthy and beautiful. Cycling has so many advantages we should use them and try to keep them on a daily basis.

Cycling in Cambodia

We at cyclebodia look forward to seeing you all in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. Although Cambodia is not seen as a cycling destination you will be surprised. In addition, we have some great attractions, spas, and a few temples! We can meet you and organise your complete adventure.

Teaching English In Cambodia

Teaching English In Cambodia

Teaching English in Cambodia

Teaching English In Cambodia

I had just graduated from university and was interested in travelling and working abroad. I had spoken to a person who had been a volunteer Teaching English in Cambodia, and he was very upbeat about the experience. In fact, he had plans to return and continue teaching English in Southeast Asia. This, and an interest in region, laid the seed for my eventual journey to Asia and teaching there.

I decided to go to Cambodia because of all the countries in that area it was, for me, the most enigmatic. I had also read a lot about its history, both ancient and recent, and was hooked.

Do I Need a CELTA?

My first task was to get my CELTA to become a volunteer English teacher. This would put me in good stead with most schools as I had noticed that teaching jobs being offered usually wanted a CELTA or equivalent. I should note that CELTA isn’t always a prerequisite for a school. In fact, some schools don’t require a degree. There are many requirement options.

After the one-month CELTA course, I started applying for jobs in the country. Finding available teaching work or to become a volunteer English teacher is straightforward. All you have to do is put Cambodia work, Cambodia teaching work, Cambodia English teaching work, or volunteer English teacher into Google Search and 100’s of results appear. Before I knew it, I was made an offer. The next thing I knew I was on a plane heading to Phnom Penh, Cambodia: the enigmatic “Pearl of the Orient”.

Getting To Cambodia

I flew with JetStar as it was cheap and had the best connections. Another option was AirAsia, but the connections weren’t great. I looked at Thai and Malaysia, but the price put me off.

Arriving in Phnom Penh presented a real culture shock: noises, smells, traffic and the heat; but the people were friendly and eager to offer assistance. At first it was all a bit overwhelming, but after a while I become accustomed to local ways, well most of them.

Teaching English In Cambodia | Volunteer or Paid

I worked for a big school in Phnom Penh but during my time off, I would meet other teachers and we chatted about our experiences. Some had paid work while others were volunteer English teachers in Cambodia. They worked at many different schools all over Cambodia. It was surprising to learn how much work and the type of work available, and the different types of people who had decided to teach English. Interestingly, I never met anybody who was disgruntled with what they were doing. Oh sure, there were gripes about travel, the heat or some other minor upset but never about the work or the people.

At my school, I worked about 20 paid hours a week. Sometimes, I would be asked to cover a class for a teacher who was sick or had another commitment. On top of that there was preparation for the classes. Classes were 90 minutes, but some schools have 45-minute up to two-hour classes and sometimes more.

What I had to prepare for a class would depend on the level and skill that I was teaching. A lot of my classes were young learners, 10- to 15-year-old students. I also had older students, mostly university students and a smattering of office workers, police officers, soldiers and monks.

At first, I would probably have had to put in 10 to 15 hours of preparation. The longer I was at the school the bigger my stockpile of resources became, and the amount of preparation time became less. Usually, preparing for the young learners took more time because it was necessary to prepare more activities for them.

Teaching IELTS In Cambodia

I also had to prepare students for the IELTS exam because many Cambodian students have plans to study abroad. Some of these students were planning to finance studying abroad themselves while there was a group of students who were planning to apply for scholarships.

There were four skills I had to teach: speaking, listening, reading and writing. Of these, speaking was the most fun. In fact, speaking flowed into teaching all the other skills. Grammar was involved in all the skills, so it wasn’t specifically a separate skill. For example, a speaking lesson would focus on a particular tense. You would teach the grammar and model sentences using the grammar then students would practice through activities.

Teaching students for the IELTS exam was more about providing tips and tricks on how to increase your IELTS score. For listening, I would show students how to listen for all the tricks the speakers would use to throw you off the answer, or with speaking teach students about what the examiner is looking for.

The Students

Cambodian students are great to teach. Of course, you get your ones who are, how should I put it, different: they come late to class, talk in class, don’t listen or are a bit cheeky. Generally, it isn’t difficult to pull them into line. The bottom line is that none of the students were problem cases. With Cambodians, there is an eagerness to learn and they respect the teacher.

Cambodian students also love games and activities and the livelier the better. If you are going to be Teaching English in Cambodia, your going to want to join in.

The Local Cambodian Teachers

The Cambodian teachers that I worked with were fantastic. In fact, I used to observe their classes and was impressed at the way they managed classes and taught the students. It was an important learning experience. They were also very helpful if I had a problem, in fact, any problem with my classes. There were times when I didn’t understand a student’s reaction, or a problem would pop up that I didn’t understand, and the Khmer teachers were very good at explaining what to do.

Teaching English in Cambodia is not just about teaching students, you are going to need to be part of the larger team.

Living in Phnom Penh

I found living in Phnom Penh to be fine. I was fortunate that I found a comfortable apartment near the Oreussey market and not far from the school. It was a single bedroom apartment and the rent was only US$200. My bills were only US$25 to US$30 a month. If I used the air-conditioner then my electricity bill could be more than $US100. Other people in the building had internet, which I was allowed to use for US$5 a month.

There were plenty of restaurants, supermarkets and mini-marts in the area and a fantastic breakfast place where I often bought the traditional Cambodian pork and rice breakfast, or bai sach chrouk. It comes with pickled vegetables, an egg and soup and all for only 4,000 Riels, US$1. To get about town I bought a bicycle. It only cost me US$30 and was a great way to travel.

If you are volunteer English teacher, you will need to have funds to cover your first 3-6 months. Paid work will turn up to supplement your living costs.

If I had a complaint about living in the capital, then it would be the roosters. They must start crowing at 4 am. Luckily, I am an early riser, so it wasn’t that big a problem.

I ended up staying in Cambodia for two years. Originally, the plan was twelve months, but I enjoyed my time there so much that I extended my stay.

Anyway, I’m back in my home country now to further my studies, but I will go back to Cambodia. My time there was an extraordinary experience. I will become a volunteer English teacher and then find paid work quite quickly.

ta prohm siem reap

Explore Siem Reap With Cooee And Sotin

At the time of writing it is virtually impossible to visit Siem Reap. However a New Zealand company have come up with an awesome solution that we have tested. You can explore Siem Reap and the surrounding area with Sotin (highly experienced and licensed tour guide). We might have been one of the first to stumble upon this, but we will not be the last to use Cooee.

Our video tour did not go as exactly as planned – however, it turned out to be truly worthwhile chatting with Sotin. His English is excellent and he has a wealth of knowledge that would be useful to a newcomer or anyone checking up on how things are in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

You can chat with Sotin and see the usual things. Though mobile intenet is not always great in Cambodia. Or do something different: discuss coffee growing or the Tonle Sap. Maybe a discreet visit to your hotel to see if it resembles the picures in their brochure. Or ask about eco tourism in Cambodia – it does have some great eco tourist destinations. Alittle time and monet spent now guarantees you the adventure you desire. UP TO YOU.

You can see more suggestions on our live tour of Siem Reap page.

How To Book Your Personal Cooee

The following section is a direct link to Cooee. It gives a full description of how your Cooee will work. We do not recieve any commission from Aspiring Adventures nor Sotin. We are willingly promoting this as a service to you, our readers, who want a taste of Cambodia before you start booking your holiday.

Enjoy your virtual trip and we look forward to seeing you on your real trip.


How To Find The Best Golf Course In Cambodia

We are going to inform you how to find the best golf course in Cambodia to suit your experience, expectations, and budget. No matter what type of holiday or adventure you are having, you will be able to slip in a great game of golf.

Some FAQ About Golf In Cambodia

Are There Any Great Golf Courses In Cambodia

Yes there are. They are mainly in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. You will find 2 golf courses in Siem Reap worth a visit. There are 5 golf courses in Phnom Pehn that will give you a warm welcome – no matter your handicap

How Much Is A Round Of Golf In Cambodia

To be honest a round of golf in Cambodia is not cheap compared to other tourist activities. One assumes it is going to be cheap; however, the cost of keeping a golf course in tip top condition is expensive. Expect to pay $100 upwards for a round.

Can I Hire Golf Clubs

Yes you can. I would let the golf club know in advance your requirements. This will mean that you have clubs that suit your build and style. Certainly at Angkor Golf Resort they have an extensive range of hire equipment.

How Do You Get To The Golf Course

Very simple. The club or your hotel will arrange suitable transport at a very reasonable cost. We suggest open air transport so that you are accustomed to the heat by the time you arrive for your tee off. It is a great way to start off your days golfing.

Are There Hotels Near The Golf Courses

You will find no shorhtages of local hotels close to the golf courses. From 5 star palaces to homely budget accomodation. There is no doubt that the course will give you suitable advice.

Do The Golf Courses Have Professional Golfers For Instruction

Most of the courses have their own golf professional. Be sure to book in advance. We recomend David Baron at AGR. He has been in Cambodia for many years and the course is stunning.

Do You Need A Caddy

Cambodia is hot. It can be very hot. If there is a caddy available, be sure to hire one. Enjoy your day on the course. The cost is very reasonable.

Our Recomendatio For The Best Golf Course In Cambodia

We believe that Angkor Golf Resort is the best golf course in Cambodia (and the top 10 in Asia). Here is what the internationally recognised designer and layout developer had to say.

Our fairways are typically generous, but our bunkering style is impressively bold. The greens have plenty of subtle undulations and they reward and encourage a variety of approach shots.” 

Sir Nick Faldo

Awsome Water Features Abound

In addition to being wonderful to look at, our water elements help lessen heat whilst playing and keep the course in exceptional condition.


Awards, Awards and More awards

Year after year, after year, the course and it’s facilities are recognised by the global golfing fraternity. We do not recieve these awards for nothing – they are earned.

  • 2020 Worlds Top 100 Course, Golf Digest
  • 2014/15/16/18 Best Course in Cambodia, Asian Golf Awards
  • 2016/17 Best Course in Cambodia, World Golf Awards
  • 2015 IAGTO Excellence Award
  • 2014 Top 3 Maintained Course in Asia Pacific, Asian Golf Awards
  • 2011-2016 Trip Adviser Certificate of Excellence 
  • 2012 Best Golf Course in Cambodia, Golf Digest USA
  • 2011 Top 10 Best Maintained Course, Asian Golf Monthly
  • 2011-16 The Rolex World Top 1000 Golf Courses
  • 2009 Audobon International Certification
  • 2008 Best New Course, Runner-Up, Asian Golf Monthly


The course is stunningly quiet with the mere hint of bird song. Take your time – there is no need to rush the course.


Course Size

The course if a exciting 18 holes with a length of 7279 yards. Buggies are available. Have a 3d preview of the course.


Panoramic Views

Angkor Golf Resort is constructed on what were enormous rice paddies. This gives the course uninterrupted views of Krong Siem Reap.


Challenging Bunkers

As you can see, the bunkers are ominous. However, with expansive and generous fairways you should be able (confidently) to avoid them. With not much rough, you will generally have a good lie.


Impressive Greens

You will need decent putting skills on our undulating greens. Take your time and think it through. Knowledgeable caddies are on hand to give advice when required.


Contact Us

You can fill out the contact form on our golfing page that goes directly to the resort. It has a few questions that will help Angkor Golf make certain that your trip is exceptional.


Need To Book A Hotel Near The Course

There are many modest hotels and incomparable hotels close to the resort. If you intend to play on the best golf course in Cambodia you can get a great deal for the best hotels in Siem reap. Here is a hint: Place them in customer review order. Siem Reap has an extraordinarily high number of hotels with scores in excess of 9.0 (exceptional). In addition, has an office in Siem Reap should you have any cause to complain.

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cambodian ceremonies

The Complete Adventure Travelers Guide To Traditional Cambodian Ceremonies

cambodian ceremonies

Cambodian Ceremonies | Matches, Hatches and Dispatches

Of all the Khmer ceremonies; births, weddings and deaths are the ones a visitor to Cambodia is most likely to bump into or participate in; for better or worse or death do you part. Cambodian ceremonies sometimes have tents thrown up on streets; not to be confused with a mobile phone sale. Some ceremonies have raucous music and chanting lasting for days where other traditional Cambodian activities can simply be observed. Be prepared, as these events have longevity, even in death.

cambodian ceremonies

Cambodian Ceremonies | Hatches

Traditions and customs begin early in the game in Cambodia; even babies are included. Superstitions abound after delivery and they start on the first day of pregnancy. Mothers and traditional healers play a pivotal role in maintaining traditional practices in Cambodia and are considered the true experts by many women who deliver at home. Traditionally, giving birth is a very convoluted affair with three parts to the process: before birth, during birth, and after the baby is born.

During Pregnancy

Before giving birth, a Cambodian mother will always make sure that she is in top shape and ready to give birth. To this end, a mother follows many traditional practices that adhere to specific instructions and prohibitions. For starters, a pregnant woman should avoid eating spicy food because locals believe it puts the infant’s survival in jeopardy. Porridge is off the list as the superstition is that eating porridge during pregnancy gives the infant a bad complexion: dull not bright. Milk is another no-no as the belief is it will make the baby “fat” and problematic to deliver.

No tight clothes for the expectant mother or attempting to remove something from a high shelf. Lunar and solar eclipses are a problem and if they occur, the mother must rub calcium carbonate on her stomach to narrow the baby’s eyes and prevent it from seeing Rahu, an evil ugly-faced Hindu demon. Failing this, her baby is born lacking intelligence because the demon frightens the baby, resulting in a loss of intelligence and memory. Many pregnant women refuse to sleep on their left side as they fear the baby will have a “flat” face or nose.

But it Doesn’t Stop There.

The mother is forbidden to take a nap or bathe at night because the baby will grow bigger, which could mean a difficult delivery. Additionally, a pregnant woman must get up before her husband, otherwise the baby will be lazy and not have the energy for delivery. Instead, the mother must push harder making birth difficult.

Many women still believe that drinking beer during the last months of pregnancy will “lighten” the baby’s skin. Some even drink rice wine to have “smaller” babies that are easier to deliver. Cheers!

After A Birth

After the delivery, a mother is usually kept warm from three to seven days. But, it really depends on the money available to buy charcoal. A custom, named Ang pleung, is performed where a small fire is placed under the mother’s bed to keep her warm. “Hot” food–lots of salt, peppers, and almost no fruit – is prescribed, and every family has its own magic recipe. The mother stays at home for at least a month.

Cambodians call post-delivery sor sai kchey, which literally means “weak blood vessels”.

The Cambodian idea of maternal health is based on restoring the ‘hot’ state of the mother, who is believed to have lost heat during delivery; suddenly left in a weak state. Failing to regenerate the mother’s heat in the following weeks exposes her to health problems known as toa in Khmer.

Post Natal Wine Drinking

It is not uncommon for women to drink up to ten litres of rice wine in the month following delivery, even when they breastfeed. Many are simply drunk for weeks and, since there’s no quality control of the wine, severe intoxication is frequent.

And the custom of Ang pleung also leads the mother to drink more wine.

The baby’s first hair is cut or sometimes its head shaved to symbolically remove all the bad luck from the previous life. A small holy red string is put around the baby’s arm to keep the mother from the baby’s previous life from returning and telling stories about that life.

Last but not least, the midwife has to be paid. If the family doesn’t pay, then the mother will become the midwife’s assistant in the next life. A grim end indeed.

Cambodian Ceremonies | Weddings

Weddings are also elaborate affairs, and they typically last a couple days. The wedding season accompanies the dry season. But more obviously, you know it is wedding time by the tents that pop up around town. Weddings are accompanied by loud music and a crowd of hungry people, there is a festive atmosphere to this event, and an elaborate event it is.

The wedding begins with the groom and his family traveling to the bride’s home with the bride’s dowry. Relatives and friends are introduced, and wedding rings exchanged.

The first part of the ceremony is three traditional songs. The first song announces the arrival of the groom, the next is the giving of the dowry, and a song to invite elders to chew betel nut. This is followed by the Tea Ceremony, where bride and groom offer tea to the spirits of their ancestors.

Wedding Hair Cut

To prepare the bride and groom for married life, their hair is symbolically cut to represent a fresh beginning to their life together. The MC makes the first cut, then the couple’s parents, relatives, and friends take turns to cut the couple’s hair and give them blessings and good wishes.

The finale is where family and friends take turns to tie the couple’s left and right wrists with “blessing strings”. After this, people wish the couple good health, prosperity and a long life. This is accompanied by a loud gong and cheering. Guests then throw palm flowers over the couple accompanied by another traditional song. After the couple is pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds go into a bridal room while a traditional song is sung.

Then the party begins. Usually many round tables have been set up for guests. As guests arrive they hand over their envelope with cash inside. The amount is recorded, and an account made.

Some weddings will go for days. Typically, day one is for the immediate family, relatives and rich friends who cough up fat envelopes for the newlyweds; day two is for those with smaller bank accounts and day three and beyond, well, it’s for the rest.

Cambodian Ceremonies | Funerals

Funerals in Cambodia, like most ceremonies, involve a lot of preparation and ritual. The first sign of a funereal is the black and white tent and accompanying kitchen tent being flung up on your or a neighbouring street. That street is usually blocked to cars with traffic congestion ensuing for the next couple of days. Tables and chairs are set up, a picture of the deceased placed out front of the tent, and a stack of beer cans put in place. But there is more.

To Begin With, Somebody Dies.

Superstitions abound. One critical superstition is about keeping the body away from animals because if the deceased hears an animal cry, their soul attaches to that animal. It gets worse. Don’t let a cat jump over the body. If it does, the deceased’s soul becomes an evil spirit and doesn’t enter the rebirth cycle.

Having sorted that out, members of the immediate family wash and dress the body then place it in a coffin surrounded by flowers and photos of the deceased. White flags, called “White Crocodile Flags”, are usually hung outside the home to show a person has died.

The body is left al naturale, as any disfiguration could negatively affects the rebirth. Traditionally, the body stayed at home for seven days or longer, but now it’s usually only three days. While the body is at home, monks visit during the evening to chant by the body. Mourners, usually the deceased’s spouse and children, may shave their heads to symbolise their grief. Other mourners may wear white clothing as a sign of grief.

Often chanting can go on for a couple of days. Chanting even begins very early in morning.

People often send flowers to the funeral or donate five up to one hundred dollars. The amount depends on the relationship to the deceased. It is not appropriate to give food or a bottle of wine as gifts.

Cambodian Funeral Procession

After the chanting and the acceptance of offers of respect, a funeral procession takes place. A Cambodian funeral procession is made up of a priest; also known as an achar; monks and family members, who take the body to a crematorium in a local temple. The family carries the coffin around the temple three times during the third to seventh day of the funeral. The oldest daughter drops coins behind her back and doesn’t look back during the procession.

After the cremation, everyone collects and cleans the ashes and bones. They may be put in a stupa inside a temple that’s close to Buddha and the monks to help begin the rebirth cycle, or the family may choose to take the ashes home.

Final Honours After Funeral

On the 7th and 100th day after death, other Cambodian ceremonies take place to honour the deceased.

Cambodian Ceremonies Our Final Say

It is an honour to be invited. You should accept and rejoice at being at a unique celebration. The memory will be a lasting one that will bring you back to this remarkable and breathtaking Kingdom.  

street food in Phnom Penh

How To Find Cheap Awesome Cambodian Street Food

street food in Phnom Penh

Cambodian Street Food

We will delve into Khmer cookery and Cambodian street food. 1st we will visit Cambodia’s capitol Phnom Penh. After whetting your appetite, we will have a look at the different type of street food you should sample. And finally, a venture into Khmer cookery.

This is a big read so we have split it into 3 sections

One thing you will discover throughout Cambodia are places where you can eat well for not a lot of riel. There are European restaurants and global chains. However, when in Rome – eat Cambodian Street food! No big Macs or pasta or Sunday roasts in this voyage of adventure into Asian culinary delights.

Phnom Penh’s Best Cheap Eats

Cambodia is awash with great places to eat. Not only local cuisine, but food from all over the world. You name it, it is here. However, what is on offer in terms of cheap eats? This is typically street food served up by vendors lugging their fare around on carts laden with great food. It is also readily available 24/7 and tends to be kind on the pocket. So, swing into action and give it a go; you will not be disappointed. You will delight your taste buds.

Chul Mouy

Cambodian street food also offers unique and surprising delicacies that can be foreign to the eyes and stomachs of most visitors. And sometimes, it is not for the squeamish.

That said, street food will give you an amazing experience, a real culinary adventure. As you dive deeper into the Khmer street food culture, you will find rare treats and wonderful delicacies.

Street food is everywhere across Cambodia.

Num Pang

Probably the most ubiquitous treat is Num Pang or the Cambodian sandwich. This is a baguette typically packed with meaty ingredients such as pâté, ham or pork with cucumber, carrots, chives, onions, or a salad. And it really hits the spot. The num pang carts are everywhere. Simply find one and ask for “muoy”, one, and you can watch the sandwich being made. Within five minutes you have one of these delicious sandwiches all for the princely sum of 7,000 riels to 8,000 riels. Less than $2 or £1.50.

Sometimes the street vendor has a couple of chairs and tables available. However, many people grab a sandwich, buy a few beers, and sit out front of a mini mart to enjoy their snack.

You will typically find Num Pang street vendors outside of markets or near office buildings. The carts are easily identifiable with the baguettes clearly visible through glass windows on the cart.

A Num Pang can differ in flavour and content depending on where you buy one. Point or shrug your shoulders.

Lort Cha

Another dish is short stir-fried egg noodles. Lort Cha, as the locals call it, is one of the most popular street foods. Lort Cha is a stir-fried dish consisting of short fat rice noodles with bean sprouts, Chinese broccoli, and chives.

It is typically cooked with beef and topped with a fried egg. This food is usually prepared in a large stir-fried pan. The dish is served with a thick red sauce, which is sweet and spicy. If you want more spice, you can add red chilies to taste.

Lort Cha vendors can be found pretty much everywhere on the streets but especially at markets. The local market variety tend to be the best. Vendors are easy to spot and hear as you see them cooking with the large stir-fried pan while the metal spatula clacks on the pan’s surface.


Cambodian bamboo sticky rice is a type of rice roasted in bamboo sticks. It is mixed with black beans, grated coconut, and coconut milk. The mixture is packed into a bamboo stick and slowly roasted over a charcoal fire until cooked. The rice used is a special kind of fragrant rice from the terraced rice fields of Battambang and Kratie provinces.

The taste is sweet, slightly salty with a hint of a smoky flavour. Unbelievably delicious and a filling snack any time of the day.

The city of Battambang in the Northwest region of the country is the bamboo sticky rice capital. It is Cambodia’s second largest city and a leading rice-producing province in the country. The sticky rice from here comes highly recommended as the area is referred to as ‘sticky rice villages’ by locals.

Sticky rice is sold in three sizes, small, medium and large and the costs about 2000 riels to 4000 riels.


How about freshwater snails! This might be the most prolific cambodian street food cart you will find in the Kingdom. From Phnom Penh to the smallest village.

When you first arrive in the capital, there is one type of street food you will quickly notice. Street vendors with long flat carts on wheels are placed under the burning sun loaded with freshwater snails. The snails have been seasoned and are pre-cooked before being dried under the sun.

The snails are spiced either with red chili sauce or with garlic and salt. Sold by the bucket or the cup, it makes for an interesting treat.

A word of warning, as with any street food, make sure the snails are thoroughly cooked: nothing worse than a rumbling stomach after a meal. Try a sample and decide if you ready for more.

There are plenty of carts loaded up with snails around the towns, so it is an easy snack to find. Prices are about 2,000 riels per cup of snails. Princely sum of 50 cents.

You could also try Amok Chouk. This is Amok with snails and made with the traditional curry.

Num Kachay

These Cambodian chive cakes are fried in shallow pans. Made with glutinous rice flour and served with a sweet spicy fish sauce, also known as Num Kachay, are a popular street food in Cambodia.

They are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. When dipped into the sweet spicy fish sauce, the flavours blend together deliciously. This is a favourite street food amongst locals as well as visitors.

Street vendors usually sell the small chive cakes on bicycles. You will find mobile street vendors with chive cakes nearly everywhere. Look for the vendors at busy street corners in the afternoons. You may also find chive cakes at a local market.

They are sold hot, which reduces the risk of stomach troubles. And you can buy them for about 500 riels per chive cake.

Noum Ka Pong

At markets, you see vendors at various stalls bending over the hot flames to produce golden, crispy French bread topped with delicious fried shrimp. They are cooking deep fried bread and shrimp cakes, also known as Noum Ka Pong. It is Cambodian street food must!

The cakes are delicious and with the bread soaking in fat, you are left with the taste of perfectly spiced shrimp. After that first cake, you will simply just want to buy the shrimp cakes many more times.

When searching for this tasty food, look for the vendors with large deep fryers at the outdoor food stalls at markets. Freshly cooked, a cake will cost between 500 riels and 1000 riels.

But the treats do not stop here. Read more about Cambodian street food.

Cambodian Street Food: The Lowdown

So, you have jumped into Cambodian street food. You have tried a sandwich or some noodles perhaps some snails, let us plunge a bit deeper and see what additional eats are available, perhaps a little more exotic flavour.

Bai Sach Chrouk

This breakfast special is easily spotted. Just look for the places grilling pork in the morning. The smoky grills are usually surrounded by people planning for a sit-in meal or a takeaway. These places open early and typically finish once the morning crowd has moved on.

Pork rice, or Bai Sach Chrouk, is a simple dish of thinly sliced, charcoal-grilled pork (sach chrouk) served with rice, pickled vegetables, and a soup. Most vendors will include a spicy sauce with garlic. If you sit down at the vendor’s venue for a meal then there will be bottomless cups of tea, a broth, and spices and sauces to enjoy this local favourite.

A pork rice will set you back as little as 4,000 riels. Not a bad way to start the day.

Bobor Sach Trey | Borbor Sach Mouan

Another breakfast food is fish or chicken congee. If you’re feeling under the weather, this dish is believed to do wonders for the immune system.

This full, balanced meal will cost you just 4,000 to 5,000 riels in markets. Bobor, or rice porridge, is a national institution.

When you order your Bobor with either fish or chicken, the meat will be shredded into the bowl before the vendor adds porridge. Normally you should get a couple of cubes of congealed pork blood in the porridge as well as thin-sliced root ginger, bean sprouts and a squeeze of lime.

If you choose to sit in, then the table condiments are there. Try adding fermented cabbage to the porridge, and of course lashings of ground black pepper.

Usually on the table are long, straight oily bread sticks for this dish. They are called Chakquai and are a light, airy batter that has been deep-fried. Dip one into the porridge, and they become soft and tasty. Not bad at all!

A quick mention of some other breakfast treats. There are also several other options such as chicken leg, or Bai Sait Moan. You can also order rice with fried duck egg, known locally as Bai Sait J’ruuk Nang Pohng Tia Jien. And there is fried rice, Bai Chaa, and fried noodles, Mee Chaa.

If you order fried noodles, there are two kinds:  one is the inferior instant kind named after a brand called mee Mama, but the better kind is Mee Dm, which is a long, fresh, yellow noodle.

Nhoim Troyong Chiet

Cambodian banana flower salad includes the tasty banana flower, or Nhoim Troyong Cheit, accompanied by loads of fresh herbs, chopped vegetables, chopped nuts, lemon, and a light sweet-salty-spicy-sour dressing. Of course, it has fish sauce. The salad includes many wonderful flavours. It is crispy and fresh. This dish can also be prepared with pork or chicken depending on your preference. However, it can be prepared without meat. Just the thing if you are trying to lay off the meat.

Whatever it is, Nhoim Troyong Cheit is an incredibly refreshing and quite a festival to eat.

The salad is available at markets. Typically, the price for one salad starts at 7,000 riels.

Ang Dtray-meuk

Street food BBQ is quite a common Cambodian street food and quite popular. At dusk, vendors appear near markets and on busy streets, grilling various dishes.

For seafood BBQ then grilled squid, Ang Dtray-meuk, served with chili sauce is a tasty choice.

Grilled squid is a popular street snack. It is prepared with lime juice or fish sauce before being grilled or skewered and served with a local sauce made of garlic, fresh chilies, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.

Grilled squid can be found at many street vendors or walk around any of the local markets. These street vendors also set up shop after the markets have closed.

Kwah Ko

Khmers like their pork. The locals especially like to use it when making sweet Khmer sausages known as Kwah Ko. On street carts around local markets and on the streets, you will find vendors with different kinds of pork sausages hanging off their carts; amazingly easy to spot.

The sausages are sold either on skewers or as small sausage balls. Their red colour makes them easy to identify in your search for these tasty snacks. The taste is special as the sausages are extremely sweet and quite fatty.  In fact, the sausages are made with palm sugar and consist of half pork and half fat.

Locals enjoy them a lot and like to eat them with a cold beer.

Expect to pay about 500 riels for one sausage. Be careful not to overdo it as these tasty morsels are addictive. 6 or more for 1 USD. Ideal food if your cycling in Cambodia and need some energy reserves. Actually, a cycle food tour is available. From breakfast through lunch and evening meal.

Kuy Teav

This is a classic Cambodian noodle soup featuring a complex beef or chicken bone broth, vermicelli noodles, and slices of meat and/or meat balls. This dish can also be found at markets.

This dish starts at 4,000 riels.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of Khmer street eats It is literally the author stumbling on a street vendor when out and about looking for a meal. Nonetheless, this list is a good start. Begin with some of these then explore further and start to enjoy the wonders of Cambodian cuisine. And remember, if you utter the words Knyom Khleam, you’ll be ushered to the nearest street stall.

Cambodian Cookery

For most visitors to the Kingdom, chicken, or pork Amok and Lok Lak are their Cambodian cooking experience. However, Cambodia cookery has a treasure trove of dishes on offer. Khmer food has influenced its neighbours and in return, Cambodia’s neighbours have influenced Khmer cooking. Add to that the French connection, and you have a recipe for delicious eating. In addition, Cambodia’s food is often all about contrasts: sweet and bitter, salty and sour, fresh and cooked. For those of you unfamiliar with Khmer cuisine, read on as you will be surprised and delighted by the variety of dishes available in Cambodia.

Khmer Style Cookery

Mealtimes have more than one dish with contrasting flavours, textures and temperatures. Meals use plenty of herbs, leaves, pickled vegetables, dipping sauces and other garnishes and condiments. Water, rice, and freshwater fish exert the most influence on the Cambodian style.

Rice is the staple food in Cambodia, and it is part of every meal, both as a side and as an ingredient. Cambodians prefer either jasmine rice or sticky rice. It is eaten throughout the day as street-side snacks, such as deep-fried rice cakes with chives and spinach; for breakfast, as in Cambodia’s famous rice noodle soup kuy teav or rice porridge; and in many desserts. Meals are also typically served with grilled freshwater fish, a samlor or soup, and an assortment of herbs and vegetables.

Coconut milk is the main ingredient of many Khmer curries and desserts. It is also used in desserts with fruits, such as durian.

Cambodian meals ensure that the diners get a bit of every flavour to satisfy their palates.

Regional and local Cambodian Dishes

Cambodian cooking shares similarities with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines. Khmer cooking uses fish sauce in soups, stir-fried dishes, and as a dipping sauce. The Chinese influence can be noted in the common chha, or stir-fried dishes, and in the use of many variations of rice noodles. One popular dish of Chinese origin is “pork broth rice noodle soup”. It is similar to Vietnamese phở and is called kuy tieu.

Indian influenced dishes include many types of curry known as kari that use dried spices such as star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg and fennel as well as local ingredients such as lemongrass, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, shallots and galangal that give dishes that unique Cambodian flavour. Banh Chaew, the Khmer version of the Vietnamese Bánh xèo, is also a popular dish. Curries are a common staple of Khmer food, although they tend to be less spicy than their Thai counterparts. Khmer food also has a larger variety of stir-fried vegetables and uses more garlic than its neighbours.

Cambodian Street Food Breakfast

One of the most popular Cambodian breakfast dishes is bai sach chrouk, or pork and rice. This simple dish comes with plain rice and an egg on top, sliced grilled pork, pickled vegetables, and soup. A great way to start the day.

Cambodia’s Most Famous dish

Amok is another popular dish in Cambodian cookery, especially with foreigners. This dish is a thick soup cooked with fish or meat, vegetables, eggs and coconut milk. It is available at most eateries.

Cambodian Stir Fry

There is also loc lac. What could be more authentically Cambodian than beef stir-fried with ketchup and soy sauce, set on a bed of lettuce, onions and tomatoes then served with fries?

Then there is prahok which can be smelt long before it is seen. This secret ingredient – a salty, pungent paste made from fermented fish – is used in many dishes as a distinctive flavouring. Prahok is fried and usually mixed with meat and chilli. It can be eaten with dips, vegetables like cucumbers or eggplants, and rice. When prahok is not used, it is usually replaced by kapǐ, a kind of fermented shrimp paste.

Regional Cambodian Cookery

Regional Cambodian cooking offers some unique dishes influenced by the traditions of local ethnic groups. In Kampot and Kep, known for its Kampot Pepper Crab or Kdam Chha Mrich Kchei in Khmer. This dish is prepared with a local crab fried with the black pepper from local pepper fields. Kula people, an ethnic group of Pailin Province, created Mee Kola, a vegetarian rice stick noodle dish.

In Southeastern Cambodia, the influence of Vietnamese cuisine is strong, evidenced by Bánh tráng which is everywhere in the region but virtually unknown elsewhere.

The Siem Reap and Kampong Thom regions, areas with many Chinese Cambodians, has Khmer versions of many Chinese dishes.


Soups are popular with Cambodians. Popular ones include Kuy teav or Kway teow, flat rice noodles with pork stock and toppings. Ko Kho, which is caramelized rice noodles, is created from the stewed/braised flavours of beef combined with flat rice noodles. It also includes potatoes and carrots topped off with chives and cilantro. Num banh chok is a typical breakfast food and was originally a speciality from Kampot. It consists of rice noodles topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime. Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are put on top.

Fruit in Cambodia

Fruit in Cambodian cuisine is so popular that they have their own royal court. The durian is considered the “king”, the mangosteen the “queen”, sapodilla the “prince” and milk fruit the “princess”. Other popular fruits include jan, kuy, romduol, pineapple, star apple, rose apple, coconut, palmyra fruit, jackfruit, papaya, watermelon, banana, mango and rambutan. Although fruit is usually considered a dessert, some such as mangoes and pineapples are eaten with heavily salted fish and plain rice. Fruit also comes as beverages called tuk krolok, mostly shakes.

Cambodian Desserts

Dessert in Cambodia is typically a simple fare such as sticky rice or just fresh fruit. Mango, coconut milk, banana, and other ingredients are sometimes used to make puddings, tarts, or sticky rice: Cambodians have a sweet tooth. As with the rest of Southeast Asia, the durian is king.

So, when in Cambodia here is a list of some other local dishes that are a must try:

  • Fiery black pepper chicken
  • Green peppercorn prawns
  • Chargrilled eggplant with pork
  • Prahok with port belly
  • Chicken coconut soup
  • Stuffed Kampot squid
  • Claypot cola chicken
  • Tamarind crab
  • Royal seafood amok
  • Wok-tossed squid with Kampot pepper
  • Kampot cold noodles
  • Khmer beef skewers
  • Pan-fried prawns with prahok rice
  • Water spinach and fermented soy beans
tonle bati lake

How To Explore Awesome Tonle Bati Lake And Temples

tonle bati lake

Amazing and Alluring Tonle Bati

Not far from Phnom Penh is Tonle Bati, which is a lake popular with locals who go there to enjoy a day out by the water and for a couple of twelfth century Angkorian temples in the area. This adventure can be achieved on a day trip from the capital by bike, Cambodian bus, or taxi.

Getting to Tonle Bati By Bus

phnom penh to tonle bati

To get there is straightforward. There are buses that depart for Takeo every hour from the Phnom Penh Sorya bus station, which is near Central Market. Get off at Tonlé Bati at the 35km road marker then take a motodup to the base of the temples. Getting back, well, be patient as you try to hail a passing bus. Or, with your own transport, take National Highway 2 from Phnom Penh and follow the signs to Phnom Chisor: the way is well sign-posted.

Ta Prohm

The Tonlé Bati countryside is a lively area that attracts Cambodians to fish, relax and, of course, visit the Khmer temples of Ta Prohm and Yeay Peau. Both temples were built under Jayavarman VII in the late 12th century during the same period that Siem Reap’s Bayon and Angkor Thom were constructed. The area has been occupied and temples present since the pre-Angkorian Funan period.

Ta Prohm is the more extensive and impressive of the two, displaying a number of very well-preserved carvings. Ta Prohm was built on the site of a 6th century Khmer shrine, and the main sanctuary consists of five chambers, each with a lingam inside, and there are trees that grow on and around the temple. The temple was modified and extended as late as the 16th century.

The temple is very well preserved and covered with beautiful bas-reliefs. It is one of the best preserved and most intricate temples between Siem Reap and the Vietnam border to the south.

Worshipping at Tonle Bati

Tonlé Bati is also a place of worship and, apart from the two ancient temples, also has a pagoda, Wat Tonlé Bati, which was built in 1576.

Yeay Peau is a single sandstone tower situated next to the pagoda and has a display of carvings. It is behind Wat Tonle Bati, about 100 meters from Ta Prohm temple. Constructed of sandstone in the twelfth century, it is seven metres square and faces east. Apart from the temple is a house on the bank of Tonle Bati, about 200 metres from the temple, that once was used by the royal family as a residence during holidays.

The small Yeay Peau temple has been integrated into the modern pagoda that now stands in it’s place. Look for the Buddhist lintel on the eastern door, and the beautiful pediment depicting the Hindu god Vishnu in the rear.

Yeay Peau temple has a legend attached, and is named after King Ta Prohm’s mother. Legend has it that Peau gave birth to a son, Prohm. When Prohm discovered his father was King Preah Ket Mealea, he set off to live with the king. After a few years, he returned to his mother but did not recognise her. The King was taken by her beauty, and asked her to become his wife. He refused to believe Peau’s protests that she was in fact his mother. To fend off his advances, she suggested a contest to avoid the impending marriage.

Cambodian Silk Weaving

After you have seen these temples, visit a silk weaving village where you can see how silk is produced. A bit further down the track, where the turn off to Phnom Chisor is found. There is the temple of Prasat Neang Khmao, the temple of the Black Virgin, which you can visit.

Apart from the temples; you can hang out by Tonlé Bati where there are bamboo picnic stands with mats and small floating wooden pavilions. The lake is a great place to escape the city for a day and go for a swim and relax. At weekends and holidays the lake is popular with locals. So it is best to go on a weekday to avoid the crowds.

Rent a Cottage Near Tonle Bati

Renting a water cottage is $3 for the whole day but more on holidays. There is also food for sale. A pleasant place to go with your friends and family. Bring along small amounts of Riel and dollars and check the prices beforehand on everything. The touts here are notorious for dishing out outrageously high checks when you depart. And, of course, enjoy a swim in the lake.


You can order food from the sampan ladies floating by or a waiter will come to you. There are also pedal boats and boat rides. The floating pavilions are a relaxing way to spend an afternoon where you can enjoy beautiful sunsets and great food. However, beggars can be a problem; they just will not go away, and the salespeople tend to be very pushy.

Takeo and Phnom Chisor

If after a visit to Tonlé Bati you feel like visiting some other places, then head to Takeo town or Phnom Chisor, which are both just down the road. These out-of-the-way places are rarely visited by tourists, but both are surprising, you know, those little gems everybody mentions when talking about their overseas adventure: fascinating hill-top temple with unbelievable views, Ta Mok of Khmer Rouge infamy’s prison, Phnom Da and you can try the delicious freshwater prawns in Takeo town. Check it out.