Cambodia’s Water Festival

Cambodia’s famous Water Festival is one of the highlights of the calendar year, bringing together people from across the country for three unforgettable days of boat racing, fireworks and festivities. Heralding the end of the rainy season and the coming of the Harvest moon, the Water & Moon Festival, or Bon Om Touk, has been celebrated along the banks of Phnom Penh’s famed Sisowath Quay for hundreds of years.

Phnom Penh water festival

Enjoying the celebrations on the Phnom Penh riverside.

This year, the Water Festival falls on November 2nd to 4th to coincide with the full moon of the Buddhist calendar month of Kadeuk. Also known as the Harvest Moon, the moon has long been seen as a good omen promising a bountiful rice crop. This auspicious day is celebrated in villages all across Cambodia, but none more jubilantly than in the capital, where the carnival-like atmosphere of the Water Festival is illuminated by the light of the full moon.

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Yes, there are road rules in Cambodia

By Peter Ford @PeteAFord

Confronted by cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks on the roads of Cambodia operating with little apparent appreciation of internationally established road etiquette, one could be led to believe that the country does not have much in the way of traffic rules.

Traffic laws in Cambodia

You wouldn’t know it, but Cambodia is not short on traffic laws.

Driving against oncoming traffic, making new ‘lanes’ at traffic lights, parking where one pleases, and my favourite, pulling out into traffic on a motorbike at full speed without looking to see if anything might be coming, are all everyday occurrences on the increasingly crowded roads. And they are all against the law. Continue reading

What’s going on with work permits in Cambodia?

Update Oct 11, 2017:

New, unofficial and often contradictory memos about immigration and work permits are being released by the various ministries on a near-daily basis. Today, it’s being said that you cannot get a 6- or 12-month EB visa extension even if you have a work permit, and will need a letter from an employer. For those who are self-employed, they need a residency letter from immigration, letter from police, and three months of bank statements to show they can support themselves.

Unless your visa needs to be renewed this week, I would suggest waiting for the dust to settle. It’s clear that they haven’t decided what the “rules” are or how they will be enforced, so there’s no point in getting into a panic today, because the information may be entirely different by tomorrow. I’ll update this post once something more substantial is released.

Update Oct 5, 2017:

As reported in the Phnom Penh Post, from the start of the month work permits are now needed to renew most 6- and 12-month EB visa extensions. (EB visa extensions are the ones that most expats are on, also called the ‘ordinary’ or ‘business’ visa.) Although there has not been a government announcement, the new rules are already being enforced. Wondering if there are any exceptions? Keep reading.

Cambodia work permits

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re going to need a work permit.

Those who want to to extend their 6- or 12-month EB visa need to bring a copy of their work permit with them, which will then be submitted with their passport to the Ministry of Immigration. If you do not yet have a work permit you can bring a formal letter from your employer, which should include your full name, passport number, job title, and dates of employment. Letters must be signed and stamped. Continue reading

Review: Monkey Maya, Ream National Park

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Ream National Park on Cambodia’s southern coastline, Monkey Maya is surrounded by beautiful beaches and lush jungle. The secluded guesthouse offers a variety of accommodation options, lots of activities, and a big, comfortable restaurant and bar. Here’s our rundown of everything you need to know.

Monkey Maya Cambodia

Monkey Maya at Cambodia’s Ream National Park offers a scenic getaway

Accessible only via boat or by tuk tuk or motorbike along a dirt-track road through the heart of Ream National Park, Monkey Maya provides a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of Sihanoukville. The journey takes about an hour, and is an experience in itself, with gorgeous scenery for most of the trip. Monkey Maya’s tuk tuk makes daily pick-ups from their sister guesthouse, Monkey Republic, in Sihanoukville ($5 one way) and Otres Beach ($4 one way), and can also pick up and drop off bus passengers at Ream Junction next to Sihanoukville airport. Continue reading

How to get from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville (and vice-versa)

It’s unfortunate that two of Cambodia’s top tourist destinations are on opposite sides of the country. Siem Reap and Sihanoukville are less than 200 miles apart if you fly, but can be a long 350 miles by road. We cover all of the ways you can get from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap and vice-versa, including plane, bus, mini-bus and taxi.

Cambodia Angkor Air ATR72

Cambodia Angkor Air flies ATR72s for the one-hour trip between Sihanoukville and Siem Reap.

Plane

Traveling by plane is by far the easiest way to travel between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, and unsurprisingly, the most expensive. Tickets are ridiculously expensive for a flight that’s less than an hour, but  if you’re pressed for time the cost of the flights may well be worth it to avoid traveling 10 to 14 hours by car or bus. There are three airlines that do this route in high season.

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Review: Sara Ethiopian Restaurant, Phnom Penh

Even the most well-traveled palates can find little fault with the Model UN-esque breadth of cuisines available in Phnom Penh. From Iraqi to Russian, Taiwanese, Lebanese, Nepalese and Mexican, it is difficult to think of a part of the world that Phnom Penh does not have a great restaurant for… except African. But now, for the first time, Phnom Penh has an Ethiopian restaurant. And it is delicious.

Ethopian food Phnom Penh

Ethiopian food has come to Phnom Penh!

Ethiopian food is best known for injera, a sour-ish spongy bread the thickness of American pancakes and made from fermented teff flour, and for a variety of curries based around either turmeric and ginger or the characteristically dark red berbere spice mix, which features paprika, chili, garlic, fenugreek and a handful of other spices. It’s food you eat with your hands, and made for sharing. Continue reading