I recently took a trip with my baby sister to Cambodia, the delightful kingdom that often goes unnoticed by travelers in Asia. This is the 7th country we’ve created memories in and I’m so glad this tropical charm was where we got to spend our last few days together before she went back home. Just me, my baby sister, barefoot, make-up less, and away from the day-to-day China chaos. You know when you go to a beach destination and start to reevaluate your life thinking, "what am I doing with my life?" and then start making connections for potential bar tending opportunities. Well, that was Koh Rong. We split our time between their capital city Phnom Pehn, temple city Siem Reap, in the Southwest beach town of Sihanoukville, and perfect-picture-postcard island Koh Rong Samloem.
Phnom Pehn is noticeably run down but quickly transforming becoming more accessible to get out of the bustling tuk-tuk crowded capital to discover more of Cambodia. Most people spend a few days in Siem Reap but because we wanted to make sure we got enough beach time we did a quick day trip and visited the three main temples, you shouldn’t miss: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, and Bayon. The amount of detail these ruins possess is beyond spectacular. No doubt, you can spend hours in each temple.
We spent our last few days slumming it and being pampered. Pretty good balance I should say. Waking up in the jungle with an ocean view to beautiful outdoor breakfasts, cruising on a motorbike through roads with monkeys, eating BBQ'd barracuda and drinking fresh watermelon juice.
E S S E N T I A L S
One backpack each and only the beach essentials. My staple pieces were my MINIMALE ANIMALE white one piece suit, ZARA black bikini I got in Paris, ZARA blue beach dress I got in China, black HAVAIANAS, Levi’s jean shorts, and my lemon eucalyptus repellent (I've become great at packing light, I'll share some packing hacks soon).
S T A Y I N G H E A L T H Y
In my attempts to stay hydrated I packed my steel water bottle but then lost it the very next day. No worries, keeping my spirits high and my tummy satiated in Cambodia was no issue. I indulged in a ton fruit in all forms, smoothies, sliced in a bowl, and even fried.
V I B R A T I O N S
One of the things I loved about Cambodia is the prevalent Hindu influence that has transitioned to Buddhism through the years. The Feng shui in their spiritual structures are truly inspirational. It’s visible in all the temples, restaurants, and people’s homes. This trip was even more special because I got to share it with my 18 year old sister who is an adventurer and already has been bitten by the travel bug.
U N C O V E R
In Phnom Penh, we checked in to Samsara Villa for $42 (I scored this deal on Agoda) a beautiful oasis with one of the best hotel pools in the city. Ideal for a relaxing stay.
Booked an overnight bus for our Siem Reap trip (Giant Ibis, tickets $15 each) saved ourselves money on a hotel.
Stayed in a Jungle Dream House in Sihanoukville that we found on Airbnb. Our host was great and guided us throughout our stay, showed us to places we otherwise would have never seen and made us feel like locals.
Other transportation: Private taxis, this was the most expensive form of transportation costing $60 as prices increase as it gets later in the day. The car was a comfortable, Lexus SUV, the driver was nice but did not speak any English so communication (people speak more English depending on the area you’re in) was pretty difficult, luckily we made it to our destination with the help of our amazing Airbnb host, Alex.
We got our Visas ($30), upon arrival in Phnom Pehn but you can get it online now before your trip.
S P R E A D I N G T H E L O V E
When you walk through the temples you’ll find old women with small shrines and incense burners who make bracelets out of yarn. As a simple gratitude gesture you can help these ladies by donating any amount and they will say a protection prayer to you while placing the bracelet on you. I’ve made mine an anklet and still wearing it.