Cambodia Travel Guide

Apr 24, 2009

Staff Trip to Sihanoukville

Last time we had a frizz staff trip was already a long time ago. I think it was in 2005 when we went to Kirirom National Park. So, it was time for another trip and a bit longer as well. I asked the staff whether they preferred to go to their families over the Khmer New Year or have a staff trip to Sihanoukville. Well, to my surprise they all liked the idea of going to the beach.

And there we went, on Tuesday April 14th in a hired bus with driver from Lyna Car Rental (highly recommended by the way, very friendy and good driver, good service, reasonable price). Unfortunately, without our manager Kear who was suffering from a migraine attack. Quite sad, as he was most looking forward to the trip and I really wanted him to come along.

The highlight of the trip was our boat tour to Koh Ta Kiev, a larger but much quieter island then Koh Russei (Bamboo Island) which is next to it. We had a very good lunch at the only small restaurant and we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. As I'm not too much of a beach and sea person, I mostly enjoyed the swimming pool at Orchidee Guesthouse back in Sihanoukville. And... the breakfast there! The fresh, crispy whole-meal bread! Wow!

At night we attended the concert on Ochheuteal Beach. Well, what can I say. Ummm, let's just say the Khmers fully enjoyed it, which it what counts...

Next day it was back to the capital and when we arrived in Phnom Penh it was raining cats and dogs. The rainy season has definitely started with a very welcome, refreshing shower every afternoon.

From left to right on the picture: Koshal (cleaner and kitchen help, she's very talkative and funny), Phalla (cleaner and help at the cooking school, bit shy but nice and friendly), Mau (new cook at frizz and I suspect a bit of a 'wild girl'), Somaly (kitchen help, although I think she by now is a full cook, she herself thinks differently), Mom (quite shy, but she developed from kitchen help to first chef), Sopheak (our youngest waiter who was very shy in the beginning but has evolved as a funny, good waiter), and Yoni (brought in by manager Kear, they call each other 'brother' as they grew up in a pagoda together). Not on the picture: Sophi, our chef (she just delivered a baby), and Kear, our manager (who was sick).

What I most like about my staff is that all of them get along really well. That had been different before with some staff that are no longer with us.

Feb 21, 2009


Our manager Kear and his wife are fresh parents of a wonderful girl, named Socheata. She was born last Sunday around 1pm. The deliverance was a really quick one. Kear told me he didn't even witness the event himself as he was out of the clinic for some 5 minutes to get some stuff and when he returned his daughter had already arrived.
I think Socheata is a really cute baby:

Today mother and child have gone to their 'home village' on an island in the Tonle Bassac, some 15 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. There they will stay for one or two months, and the whole family will take care of the baby. I suspect I will miss my manager quite a few times in the next months when he is going to see his daughter. Well, as a proud young father he is allowed:

I'm already bombarded 'Taa', which means 'Grandpa' in Khmer. Well, I might be a bit young to become Grandpa but I'm quite happy with this little wonder:

Can't wait to see Socheata take her first steps... ;)

Jan 16, 2009

Cooking Class on China Television

Right, a little bit of self promotion here. Some time ago the Cambodia Cooking Class was filmed for a short feature available through Associated Press Video. I have long been searching for this video and finally found it.
The feature was broadcast by the international (English language) channel of CCTV (China Television) on January 7th. Unfortunately I was not aware of that, so I missed the live broadcast (yes we have the channel here on cable tv in Phnom Penh).
Fortunately, it is available at the website of CCTV9. Not sure how long it'll be online, suppose it won't be there forever, so hurry to have a look!
As an appetizer (or the opposite) a screenshot of myself:

Oh, by the way, soon we will be featured on Taiwan's SET television as well, they were filming at the cooking class last week. And still in the pipeline: Rick Stein's South Eastern Odyssey on BBC2, due in August or September.

Dec 1, 2008

Bangkok Airport: just ridiculous

In what country can a mob of anti-democracy protesters take two airports and keep them closed for almost a week now, with no solution in sight?


From Reuters:

Restarting Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport will take at least a week from the end of the current sit-in by protesters because of security and IT system checks, airport general manager Serirat Prasutanond said on Monday.

"Normally, checking the IT systems takes one week. We have to check, recheck, check, recheck," Serirat told Reuters, adding that the delay would be even longer if any of the airport's massive computer systems needed repair.

"I think some systems are damaged," he said, but he declined to provide further details.

Some international flights are now departing via U-Tapao, a Vietnam War-era military airfield 150 km (90 miles) southeast of Bangkok.

The other options for travelers trying to get flights out of the country are via Chiang Mai, 700 km (435 miles) to the north, or Phuket, 900 km (560 miles) to the south.

Some are also driving overland to Cambodia to get flights out of Siem Reap or Phnom Penh.

Well, at least some good news there, at the end of this article. Maybe stranded travellers will get a glimpse of how different Cambodia and the Khmers are from Thailand and the Thai. And possibly they'll think: "You know what, next year we are going to ........."


Nov 29, 2008

Even the FAKE smiles have faded now...

Thailand made it to number 7 on the list of Most Dangerous Places on Earth by the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London:

Major political demonstrations and a temporary state of emergency have affected both of Bangkok’s airports. The area around Government House and nearby Ratchadamnoen “Nok” Road, including the area around Metropolitan Police headquarters and Parliament should be avoided.

Civil unrest and frequent attacks continue in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Songkhla – the Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to these areas.

Right on PAD, right on!

And read this as well, from The Nation:

Hotels in Nakhon Ratchasima witnessed a 90-per-cent cancellation of hotel bookings from foreign travellers, mainly those from Europe who could not reach Thailand after Suvarnabhumi Airport was shut down.

Sawat Mangkornwat, chairman of the tourism business council in Nakhon Ratchasima, said travellers have lost confidence in safety following the shutdown of the airport.

They have switched to neighbouring countries like Cambodia and Malaysia.

That says it all.