Monday, March 8, 2010


Siem Reap has recently become one of the most exotic tourist hot spots. It is home to the most famous mother of all temples, Ankgor Wat, which was discovered in the early 1920s.  Thousands of tourists flock to this small town every year, thus, a multitude of hotels have sprung in the last 3 decades.

We decided to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Siem Reap. The airport is small but very charming, clean and definitely exotic.
Our plane

A marble elephant stands guard at the entrance towards the immigration booths

 The exterior


The ride to our hotel was fascinating. We saw a loooot of motor bikes, tuk-tuks, and locals walking on foot going about their business. And of course, rows and rows of hotels from the lowest to 5 stars with impressive driveways and fountains on their front lawns.


Our hotel was simply breath-taking! My husband got a very good deal for this accommodation. Angkor Palace Resort & Spa 

 It was green everywhere

The best part was that there were not a lot of guests so I had the pool all to myself at certain times.

Our room was huge. The bed was too firm for my taste though.

It had a little porch that can take you straight to the pool. Nice!

First thing we did was go to the Old Market. We rode a tuk-tuk and it was such a fun ride- all bumpy and dusty but who cares? It reminded me of my home town :) The market was crowded. You can buy anything there: clothes, jewelry, food, paintings, etc.

This reminds me of our wet market back home.

Can you guess what these are? 

That night we went to Koulen Restaurant which is very famous for good Cambodian food and cultural dance shows (including Apsara dances).

Apsara dancer

Siem Reap has so many temples and ruins that it was literally impossible for us to visit each and every one of them. So we decided to visit the Angkor Archeological Park near Siem Reap and chose 3 temples to visit. Angkor Archeological Park

Getting our tickets. $20 for a one-day pass

Entrance to the park. 

Our first temple was the Bayon Temple. This temple is known for its huge stone faces of the smiling Avalokiteshvara. Also carved on the walls are apsaras and warriors.

Bayon Temple


We then walked to our next temple. Along the way we saw more ruins, interesting walls with beautiful carvings and elephants!
A huge wall with hundreds of carved images

Ride the elephant for $10. It was so much fun!

Our next temple was called Ta Prohm. This temple is known for giant tree roots springing from the temple ruins. Oh and you can also see shots of the temple in The Tomb Raider. Close to the entrance of the temple was a group of handicapped men playing some Cambodian instruments. These men were tragic victims of landmines that were left by the Khmer Rouge. 

Please donate...

Look at those roots!

Some parts were being renovated

Saving the best for last- Angkor Wat. It was built in the 1200s for Suryavarman II. It was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu and later converted into a Buddhist temple. The temple has an outer wall surrounded by a moat, an inner wall that serves as a fortress then finally the temple itself.

The moat surrounds the walls

Angkor Wat. Some parts are being renovated

Galleries inside the temple

Buddha with lots of offerings

Rear courtyard

Monkeys around the temple walls

Ancient architecture and archeology are 2 things that really fascinate me. This trip was definitely a very memorable one. It was hot as hell but I enjoyed every single minute of our stay in Siem Reap. We're thinking of making a second trip. Still have lots of temples left to see.....

Monday, March 1, 2010


Niagara falls is located in Ontario, Canada and considered to be one of Mother Nature's most precious possessions. The falls actually lies on the border between Ontario and New York. Therefore, you can catch a glimpse of this magnificent cascading body of water from the US or Canada side. I prefer the Canada side. The view is better ;)

We decided to take a road trip as this was more fun and of course, economical. Took us 6 hours to get to the border then we spent the night at a friend's house in Milton, a suburb of Toronto.



Then from Milton it was about an hour's drive to get to the Falls.When we got there I was amazed by how touristy the area was. Lots of fancy attractions, restaurants, hotels, mini amusement parks and casinos. 

We only had a day to spend there so we did not waste too much time. We headed straight to the bank to get our first view of the falls. And boy oh boy was it a sight to see!

The best way to get the most out of your Niagara experience is by riding the Maid of the Mist. It is a ferry that can take you so close to the falls that you can actually almost touch the falling water. Of course you need to don the very fashionable blue rain coat otherwise you'll be soaked from head to toe. We still got wet though but who cares! We got so close that we could hear the rumbling sounds as the powerful weight of the falling water hit the rocks on the bottom. It was a a very exciting moment. Kinda scary too since I kept thinking our boat would strike the giant boulders but nothing like that happened. Thank God! Maid of the Mist

After that "thrilling" ride we walked around the touristy area and just decided to act like tourists. We went into a haunted house, ate at a fancy colorful overpriced restaurant, went into some mini amusement parks and even the Lego exhibit.

Most people consider Niagara Falls as a romantic spot (not me). And we did see a lot of people getting married there. How sweet! Hope they don't decide to get married on the ferry. The bride's gown would be soaked. But then you can always don a fashionable white rain coat ;)

Overall, the trip was ok. The falls was absolutely phenomenal. I wouldn't spend more than a day there which is what we did. It was a quick weekend getaway for my husband and me. Just to get away from the bustling city and appreciate what Mother Nature has to offer....