Visiting Koh Dach, Cambodia’s ‘Silk Island’

Phnom Penh might not have the star draw of Angkor Wat to attract tourists, and the modest attractions of the Royal Palace, National Museum, and Khmer Rouge sites see only a fraction of the visitors that flood to Siem Reap. But a short trip to Koh Dach by bicycle, tuk-tuk or public bus offers a fantastic experience to witness rural Cambodia and avoid the city’s traffic and noise.

Silk weaver Koh Dach

A young weaver at her family loom on Koh Dach.

Silk Island—Koh Dach in Khmer—gained its name from the island’s primary occupation, silk weaving. A decade ago nearly every household on this island in the middle of the Mekong had their own loom, but as the cost of silk production has increased, more and more of the island’s young weavers have left to look for work in nearby garment factories. Traditional weaving still takes place today, albeit on a more modest scale, and the sound of looms can still be heard as one travels along the narrow lanes that criss-cross the palm tree-dotted landscape. Continue reading

The best supermarkets in Phnom Penh

With more and more supermarkets coming to Phnom Penh, we’ve updated this post (again) to add a few more! Despite Cambodia’s status as a developing country, its grocery stores are, compared to many neighboring countries, fantastic. Because Cambodia signed up to the World Trade Organization in 2004, the country was flooded with imported goods–maybe not so great for the economy, but the expats in town aren’t complaining! Phnom Penh’s supermarkets aren’t cheaper, of course, than shopping at a local market, but if you prefer your meats refrigerated, your prices fixed and access to imported products, you’ve got many options in Phnom Penh, and more are being added all of the time including organic options. This updated posts features the ten best supermarkets in Phnom Penh.

A shelf of goods at Lucky Supermarket on Sihanouk in Phnom Penh

Get lucky at Lucky Supermarket’s most popular outlet in Phnom Penh.

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Why Otres Village is Sihanoukville’s new foodie hotspot

Once a peaceful river retreat between rice paddies, Sihanoukville’s Otres Village has quickly evolved into one of Cambodia’s coolest and most vibrant destinations. A short walk from Otres Beach, the village is home to locals, expats and tourists alike, offering a wide array of quirky and comfortable accommodation options and a myriad of cafes, restaurants, bars, and teahouses featuring dishes from all across the world. From Japanese to Czech, Lebanese to Indian, and American diner to traditional British fish and chips, Otres Village has become a true foodie’s paradise. Here’s our rundown of the best of the best!

Otres Sihanoukville beach

Where to eat on Otres.

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How to get from the airport into Phnom Penh

If you’re looking for a great introduction to Cambodia, there’s no better way to do it than to negotiate your transfer to Phnom Penh from Phnom Penh International Airport (nee Pochentong). Be aware that the taxi situation can border on scammy, so it’s good to know what to expect before you go.

As in many cities, you’ll probably have a group of men shouting at you and trying to rope you into various transport options the minute you leave the arrivals hall. Take a deep breath and ignore them. You have three transportation options for Phnom Penh Airport transfers: taxi, tuk tuk, and moto.

Phnom Penh international airport arrivals

Welcome to Phnom Penh International Airport. Here’s how to leave.

Taking a taxi from Phnom Penh Airport

Taxis are the fastest, safest way to get from the airport into Phnom Penh, especially if you’re carrying lots of expensive equipment on you. You can either get an airport taxi or a private taxi.
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Phnom Penh metered taxis and taxi-booking apps

In the last few years metered taxis have become popular in Phnom Penh, offering a safer and sometimes less expensive ride than the alternatives. Unlike in many major cities, taxis need to be reserved in advance by phone or app, and can almost never be flagged down on the street. However a quick call or swipe can have a taxi to you in less than ten minutes. Here’s a rundown of the best taxi companies and taxi booking apps in Phnom Penh.

Phnom Penh taxis

Metered taxis can be a safer and less expensive alternative way to get around Phnom Penh

Cambodia taxi apps

Uber has finally arrived in Cambodia, but the local alternatives are better established and often less expensive. PassApp Taxis, Exnet Taxi, and iTsumo are Uber-like taxi apps operating in Phnom Penh that allow you to book a metered tuk tuk, taxi, or SUV with the touch of a button (theoretically). Continue reading

Kirirom National Park: Pine trees, fresh air, and dinosaurs

The most southerly point of the Cardamom Mountain range, Kirirom National Park rises from the flat rice fields and mango plantations, and the natural beauty found its pine trees, mountain lakes, wildflowers, and seemingly endless vistas make the journey to Cambodia’s first National Park worth the effort.

Kirirom National Park

Kirirom National Park: Worth the Effort.

Halfway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville along National Road 4, Kirirom National Park is 700 meters above sea level. The cooler temperatures and inviting odor of pine means that Kirirom offers the closest glimpse of the forests of Europe in Cambodia, while the piles of plastic garbage along the winding road help to remind you just where you actually are. Continue reading