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Cambodia, Travel

Angkor National Museum

August 11, 2016

The first time I’ve been to Cambodia, my family and I didn’t get the chance to visit Angkor National Museum. We focused on the temples and our tour guide instead. I came back to Siem Reap with my cousins last July 26. To visit Angkor National Museum was worth it.

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The cousin trip was purely DIY (Do It Yourself). We were on a budget and we didn’t have enough funds to get a tour guide. We decided to visit Angkor National Museum to learn more about the Khmer culture and the artifacts that was found in the temples.

We got our tickets in the hotel and paid $12/person. In order to avail of the Audio Tour Guide, you have to shell out another $5. Even though we were not able to purchase one, we were able to learn a lot about the Khmer culture. There were descriptions written on the walls and you can read it as you go along. There are video presentations where you can watch and know more about their culture and the temples.

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The museum is perfect for those people who are into the arts, history and design. The galleries gave justice on the artifacts of the Khmer culture. If you are not busy, I would highly recommend you to stay long in the museum and grasp facts. There are not much pictures since visitors are not allowed to take photos. You are only allowed to take photos outside of the galleries.

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The museum is open from 9am til 6pm daily. It is located at Charles de Gaulle road and quite near the temples. To know more information about Angkor National Museum, you can visit their website which is  http://www.angkornationalmuseum.com/index

Cambodia, Food, Travel

Gelato and Coffee Lab – A Must Try Cafe in Siem Reap

August 9, 2016

There are actually a lot of hidden restaurants in Cambodia. Due to my cousin’s constant research on finding good cafes to go to, we finally discovered Gelato and Coffee Lab!

Gelato and Coffee Lab is located in Alley West, within the Pub Street Area. The cafe is quite hard to find since you will have to get in a small pedestrian. Just check the map and for sure, you won’t get lost.

Gelato and Coffee Lab has a wide selection of gelatos and coffees to choose from. You can choose either the ice cream or sorbet typeTheir ice cream consists of traditional Italian flavors whereas their sorbet is more on the flavors of fruits. Their ice creams and sorbets are all made from scratch. You can truly say that there is no additives or chemicals placed – 100% original flavors. Their coffee, on the other hand, is oh so good! Their coffee reminds me of a third wave coffee place that I’ve been to in Metro Manila. According to my cousin, their coffee tastes like Toby’s Estate. Gotta try this one soon!

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The ambiance has this rustic vibe and a perfect place to chill. My cousins and I love to hang out by the sofa facing the windows. It could have been better if they can make the place a bit bigger so that more customers can enjoy the place.

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We were welcomed by attentive and presentable staffs. They always have a smile on their face and they made sure that their customers will have a good time. Because we love the place too much, our group was well known by the staffs. We felt at home and we were lucky enough to meet the owner! Since we were able to meet the owner, we had a quick chat and discovered that he actually likes the Philippines!

Gelato and Coffee Lab is the type of cafe that you will surely want to go back to – their delicious gelatos and relaxing coffee sets the perfect mood. When I go back to Siem Reap, no doubt that I will go back to Gelato and Coffee Lab.

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Cambodia, Travel

Siem Reap, Cambodia – A Beauty Within Chaos

April 7, 2015

Another South East Asian country ticked off my bucketlist : CAMBODIA

Everytime my aunt and uncle would visit the Philippines, they try to fit in their schedule a short trip to another south east asian country. This time, they decided they wanted to go to Cambodia. My mom and I went with them because we don’t get to travel a lot back when I was still studying and the must see temple Angkor Wat, is part of the 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site! It is all thanks to Travel Guru for setting up our itinerary in Siem Reap.

We booked our flight via Cebu Pacific since they are the only airline in Manila that has a direct flight to Cambodia. We left on March 21 and the only time that was available was 7:30pm and our expected time of arrival would be around 10:10pm. Upon arrival, Narong our tour guide picked us up in the airport and brought us to Tara Angkor Hotel. (Take note that there’s a time difference. Manila time is advanced by 1 hour.)

For people who want to find comfort despite the busy activities one will experience under the scorching heat, I really recommend this hotel. This is a 4 star hotel located along the streets of Siem Reap and it is an easy drive to go towards the temples. The staffs are very welcoming and friendly towards the guests. They always show a smile on their faces and they make sure they get to accommodate the needs of visitors.

cambodia1Welcoming drink + wet towel for the visitors

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cambodia3Our comfortable room <3

So this is where our tour will officially start!

Our Day 1 tour consists mainly of the big temples found in Siem Reap. The big temples are where the kings and queens would stay before during the 10th century onwards. Before you can actually go through the temples, you will have to pass by the Angkor Archaeological Park Ticket Fee. This is where you will have to get your ticket and you can pick among the following : 1 day pass for US$20, 3 day pass for US$40 (tourists can view the sites for 3 days but it does not necessarily need to be consecutive. Just as long you are able to do it within the 1 week period of the ticket given) and 7 day pass for US$60 (tourists can view the sites for 7 days but it does not necessarily need to be consecutive. Just as long you are able to do it within the 1 month period of the ticket given).

The very first temple we went to was Angkor ThomSince this temple has 5 gates, the gate that tourists would usually pass by first is the South Gate where you can see the statues of angry Buddhas.

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Along the way, we saw these cute monkeys. They may be cute but these are the ones you have to look out for while taking a walk. They can be pretty sneaky. We saw one baby monkey who sat by the motorcycle and the reason the monkey sat there was because he got the chopsticks! There were even stories that they would also get the cellphone of tourists.

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cambodia14Baphoun Temple

cambodia15My mom and aunt, very tired from climbing these steep stairs

cambodia16“The pathway to heaven”

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We saved the best for last – Angkor Wat Temple! Many backpackers would usually wake up early & go to this temple before sunrise & see the silhouette of the temple on the lake. I wasn’t able to experience this event but I now have another reason to go back to Siem Reap!

Our Day 2 tour consists of temples again but this time, these were the smaller versions. These temples were made by the teachers during the 10th century. That was why it was smaller and easier to go up to compared to the first temples we went to.

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On our way to the 2nd temple, we passed by this place where they sell local cambodian sweets. I actually forgot what it is called but this certain food (made out of sugar) can be found in the Philippines as well!To note, they also look like Filipinos!

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For our 3rd day tour, we decided to cool it down by taking a good rest and just attend the Artisans Angkor since we were leaving Cambodia on that same day as well. Artisans Angkor is where you can see locals showcase their traditional skills in accordance with the Khmer culture. We found out that the one who started this organization is a European NGO company and their main reason of putting up this kind of business is to help young local people in the rural areas and for them to be closer to home. It is actually hard to be fully considered as a staff. One has to take classes and master the craft. Basically you are the creme de la creme. 

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Creme de la creme

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TRIVIA : It takes more than 2 months to finish this whole work

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Different kinds of sandstones located in Cambodia

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The process on how they turned a stone into any kind of design

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Finished product

Aside from the places that Travel Guru gave us, you can opt to visit the other places in Siem Reap, Cambodia. The following places I placed here were the other places we visited. I do hope to visit museums when I plan to go back to Cambodia.

Night Market (it’s a mixture of Greenhills & Divisoria)

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Pub Street (where you can find the nightlife and party with other people)

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The next blog will all be about the restaurants that Travel Guru placed for our lunch and dinner + tips to fully enjoy Cambodia !

CAMERA : LEICA DSLR & ITOUCH 5