Battambang’s best vegetarian and vegan restaurants

The hardest thing about being a vegetarian in Cambodia is fielding the question “How do you do it? It must be so hard!” every day. Thankfully, it’s not hard at all to be a vegetarian in Battambang, and almost every tourist restaurant has vegetarian options on the menu. In this post, I’ll cover the best vegetarian restaurants in Battambang that cater specifically to vegetarians and vegans, and one runner-up that I’m including because of their super special vegetarian menu.

Battambang vegetarian restaurants

There are lots of vegetarian and vegan eating options in Battambang! (Here, Monorom Garden)

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Review: Monkey Republic hostel, Kampot

Popular Monkey Republic has opened a new backpackers hostel, bringing their trademark brand of fun, food, and cheap beds to Kampot. Monkey Republic has become an institution in the Cambodia backpacking world, starting with their original location in Sihanoukville. In recent years some of the partners have branched out and opened their own Monkey Republics in other cities, and each offers everything that a budget traveler could ask for — they clearly know what they are doing!

Kampot hostel

The best dorm in Cambodia? You be the judge.

The Kampot Monkey Republic is no different, offering beds in pristine air-conditioned dorms for just $5, as well as inexpensive private rooms. The dorms are some of the nicest we’ve seen in Cambodia. Each has a private locker, on which you can use your own lock for added security. Dorm beds each have a curtain, so creeps can’t watch you sleep, and there’s an international electric outlet inside so you can charge your electronics overnight. When we visited, the dorm was mercifully cool — they aren’t being stingy with the air-conditioning. The shared bathroom has private shower and toilet rooms. Continue reading

Review: Villa Romonea, Kep

Want to experience how the other half live? Try a luxury weekend away at Villa Romonea in Kep.

Villa Romonea Kep

Villa Romonea, housed in a restored 60s modernist building, is a Kep gem.

In a beautifully refurbished 1960s modernist building, Villa Romonea is located a short walk from the Crab Market (if you’re willing to leave the compound to join the hoi polloi in the crab shacks, that is). The building is not a typical hotel; it’s a six-bedroom family home, which can be rented out by the room, or more appealingly, guests can rent out the entire house, which sleeps 12. Continue reading

Why you should visit Otres in rainy season

A little way out of Sihanoukville, Otres beach is a welcoming haven away from the craziness of the kingdom. With white sand, clear seas and a horizon dotted with tropical islands, it is the perfect place to unwind, even when stormy days are forecast. Despite the occasional grey clouds, for a lot of us here on Otres, rainy season is our favorite time of year, and the quieter days give us the opportunity to kick back, relax and enjoy our beachside paradise.

Otres Beach sunset

Don’t miss the rainy season sunsets on Otres Beach.

These days, Otres actually consists of three different communities; the beach-side Otres 1 and Otres 2, linked by a kilometer long stretch of empty sand, and Otres Village, a peaceful riverside neighborhood set back into the jungle. In high season, the community is buzzing, with tourists, travelers, expats and locals flocking to the beach, seeking sun, sea and sand with a bit of hedonistic pleasure thrown in for good measure. From luxury resorts to backpacker bungalows and laid-back acoustic sessions to all night jungle raves, Otres is the perfect place to find what you’re looking for. In fact, so much so that many travelers find themselves marooned here for months and even years on end, myself included. Continue reading

Review: Sichuan Impression restaurant, Phnom Penh

I have been meaning to go to the Chinese restaurant on Sisowath Quay for years. Apparently I missed the boat, because it’s closed, but a new boat pulled up almost immediately in the form of a new Chinese restaurant in the same location. Even better, it’s serving Sichuan food.

Sichuan restaurant Phnom Penh

Imposing and grand, just like a Chinese restaurant should be.

The building itself is worth mentioning — on the corner of Sisowath and 246, the restaurant is very grand, featuring tall picture windows covered with silk draperies, and outside, a giant cement arch that you must pass through to enter, with a sign in Chinese and Khmer, no English. The place is impressive and unsettling, much like China itself.

I noticed that the place had changed ownership when I saw the female staff outside doing a syncopated dance routine. If it was designed to catch my attention, it worked, and my eyes were then drawn to the poster-sized photos in the restaurant of fiery Sichuan dishes. They had me at facing-heaven chilies and I vowed to return for a meal in the next 48 hours. Continue reading

How to get to Phu Quoc from Cambodia

Despite years of rumors about a new super-duper direct ferry from Kampot to Phu Quoc Island, there is frustratingly still only one way to get to Phu Quoc from Cambodia — starting in Kampot, travel to the Vietnamese border, cross the border, and then catch a ferry from the border town of Ha Tien. In this post, I’ll go over how to get to Phu Quoc from Cambodia via Kampot.

Phu Quoc island Vietnam

It’s possible to get to Phu Quoc from Cambodia via Kampot.

It’s worth noting that there are flights from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap that connect in Vietnam, but this can take just as long as going overland. You can also get a ferry from the town of Rach Gia, but as it is a couple of hours drive from Ha Tien and takes an extra hour on the ferry, this post focuses on the Ha Tien route.

You generally have two options when making this journey — do the trip yourself or book a through ticket with a tour agent. Continue reading

What’s new in your neighborhood: Russian Market

Phnom Penh’s Russian Market neighborhood is constantly transforming as it continues to respond to the influx of residents in search of cheaper housing and a more relaxed atmosphere than the city center. It’s easy to miss some of the many new spots popping up, so we thought we’d do a quick round up.

Long After Dark Russian Market Phnom Penh

Long After Dark’s extensive selections of whiskey and vinyl records.

Long After Dark

Whiskey lovers, look no further. Long After Dark’s collection of over 50 whiskeys has something for every palate. Not a whiskey drinker? There’s also a full bar with unique cocktails, wines, and beer and cider on tap. The modest but expanding food menu includes burgers (both meat and vegetarian), pastas, “toastie” sandwiches, and other grilled pub fare. The lunch menu includes a variety of $5 pastas, juices, and iced coffees. Every week a different “whiskey of the week” is featured on special (you can stay up to date on that via their Facebook page). Continue reading

Cambodia announces new retirement visa

The Cambodia Daily has reported today that Cambodia will be offering a new visa for retirees. The category ER visa is a retirement visa that will (possibly) start being issued on Monday, August 1st, 2016.

Here’s what we know about it so far:

  • It’s a one year, renewable visa.
  • ER visa holders will not require a work permit.
  • In order to apply for an ER retirement visa, foreigners will need to show proof of financial stability and retiree status from their home country.
  • Those on the retirement visa, like other foreigners, will not be allowed to purchase houses or land.

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What’s going on with work permits in Cambodia?

Update 7/28/2016:

It’s been announced today that Cambodia will begin to offer a retirement visa that waives the work permit requirement for retirees. Read our full update about the Cambodia retirement visa here.

Since my last update, not much has happened in the work permit world. Most expats do not have work permits, and the crackdown seems to have ended. The only foreigners who have been required to get work permits are those working at large businesses and schools, although there are periodic crackdowns in areas with primarily foreign workers, such as Koh Rong. For the time being, there does not seem to be reason to worry about the issue.

work permit cambodia

A real life Cambodia work permit.

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Driving in Sihanoukville: What you need to know

Sihanoukville is known for having having many easily accessible beaches and sights. The city is also known for having expensive, disagreeable tuk tuk drivers, which makes renting a motorbike in Sihanoukville a tempting proposition. There is one thing that may stop you though – those pesky laws. In this post, I’ll go over the most common reasons foreigners get pulled over in Sihanoukville, and how to avoid them.

Sihanoukville traffic police

Sihanoukville is known for traffic stops targeting foreigners. Here’s how to avoid them.

The good news is that on January 1, 2016 the Cambodian government put in place a whole new set of traffic laws that make it a lot easier to keep yourself out of trouble with the ever present, and fearfully reputed, Sihanoukville Traffic Police.

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