What’s that sound? Cambodia’s Golden Age music still rocks the Kingdom

For many people Cambodia’s history is synonymous with Angkor Wat and the Khmer Rouge, but the Kingdom of Wonder has another, upbeat story to tell (albeit with a tragic ending). The era known as Cambodia’s Golden Age of Music is still very much a part of the country’s popular culture.

Two Sin Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea record covers

Rock royalty: Surviving records by Sin Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea. Image courtesy CVMA.

In the 1960s Phnom Penh was one groovy city. The city was a cultural hotspot with its own, distinctive style of modernist architecture; an international playground for an affluent, arty crowd who flocked to its many cinemas and danced at fashionable nightclubs to music from the country’s top recording artists like Sin Sisamouth, Ros Sereysothea, and Pan Ron.   Continue reading

Where to buy toys in Phnom Penh

The number and quality of toy stores in Phnom Penh has improved over the years. It’s become easier to find genuine global brands, in part due to the influx of new shopping malls and the demand from the growing middle class for high-quality toys. From brick-and-mortar shops carrying recognizable brands, to local handmade toys and online stores, here is our list of the best toy stores in Phnom Penh. Whether you are looking for a birthday gift, a development toy for your little one or a souvenir to bring back home with you, we’ve got you covered.

Cambodia Knits, a fair trade toy store in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia Knits is a local toy manufacturer carrying their own line of handmade children’s toys such as their popular Apsara and Hanuman dolls, as well as local animals such as sun bears, moon bears, and elephants. They also carry the full range of Beebee+Bongo toys that include multi-use educational and Montessori-inspired toys. CK is a provisional member of the World Fair Trade Organization, meaning all the products are made under fair working conditions and with environmental protection in mind. Their toys are also safety tested to international standards. [Cambodia Knits and Beebee+Bongo are the author’s businesses.]

If you’re looking for Montessori items, check out Forbie Montessori. You can reach them on their Facebook page and easily arrange delivery. They carry a lovely wooden stacking rainbow, wooden puzzles, and cards all with the Montessori method in mind. They also can make Montessori shelves and Piklar Triangle sets to order at reasonable prices and host a very informative and helpful Facebook group. Continue reading

How to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap

If you’re coming from Bangkok to Siem Reap it’s worth doing your homework. There are several ways to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap in 2022, and most fall into one of two categories: “fast and expensive” or “cheap and annoying.” Flying is fast and expensive and going overland is cheap and time-consuming (but offers considerable fodder for amusement). In this post, I’ll cover the best ways to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap as well as what you need to know about visas and the border.

At a glance…Bangkok to Siem Reap

Get from Bangkok to Siem Reap on the Giant Ibis direct bus.

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How to get from Siem Reap to Bangkok

There are lots of ways to get from Cambodia to Thailand, and it all depends on how much time, money, and patience you have. In this post, I’ll cover the best ways to get from Siem Reap to Bangkok in 2022 whether you travel by plane, direct bus, mini-bus, or taxi. Flying is always the most convenient, but going overland is less expensive and more of an adventure!
If you’re heading the other direction, how to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

At a glance…Siem Reap to Bangkok

The Giant Ibis direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

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WIG: Connecting women in Phnom Penh

So you’ve moved to Cambodia, you want to meet other women and make some friends, and maybe find a way of giving something back to your new home. Perhaps you’re starting up a business and hope to learn from the experience of other business owners. If this sounds like you, there’s a group of people in Phnom Penh you need to meet — and you can do so every Wednesday morning over coffee!

With good company, good causes – and good coffee! Photo courtesy of WIG.

The Women’s International Group, aka WIG, was set up in 1994 as a social and charitable circle for the capital’s female expats who wanted to connect with other, like-minded individuals, and to make a difference in Cambodia. Since then the group has evolved to reflect the interests and aspirations of its diverse and fluctuating membership that increasingly includes Cambodian women many of whom have careers, families, and juggle busy lives. As well as a means of enjoying good company and supporting good causes country-wide, it provides a valuable networking opportunity for women in business. Happily, the three frequently work hand in hand, especially as many of the small businesses owned by members are social enterprises. Continue reading

How to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa) in 2022

Now that Cambodia is back in the tourism swing of things again, you may be wondering how to to get from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in 2022 (and Siem Reap to Phnom Penh). The options listed below are all operational as of August, 2022.

Giant Ibis bus Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

Check out the view on a Giant Ibis bus between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

There are options to fit every budget, but some are nicer and more comfortable than others. I’ve tried all of these ways to travel between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, some of them many times (unlike most of the other sites who just copy my content, yawn). The journey by road usually takes between 5 and 7 hours, depending on your mode of transport, traffic, and the ever-changing condition of the road.

Table of contents

Summary

  • Taxi: Costs $65-100. Most comfortable option. Best balance of price and convenience. About 5 hours. Book now.
  • Bus: Costs $6-15. Smoothest ride and best views. About 6 hours.
  • Mini-bus/van: Costs $9-12. Faster than the bus, but more cramped. About 5.5 hours. Book now.
  • Plane: Costs $80-180. Fastest method, but domestic flights are unreliable. About 1 hour.  Book now.
  • Ferry: Costs $35. Best scenery, if you sit outside. About 8 hours, sometimes more. Not currently running.

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Review: Giant Ibis buses, Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

If you’re skeptical about getting from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by bus, allow me to assure you that it’s an excellent way to travel in Cambodia! The road from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap is sealed now, which means a smooth rode with views of the Cambodian countryside, and the trip takes between 5 and 6 hours. Giant Ibis, with its onboard powerpoints and WiFi, offers  the best full-size bus experiences in 2022. In this post, I’ll cover Giant Ibis day buses and night buses between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, both of which I have taken many times.

Giant Ibis bus Cambodia 2019

We took this gleaming Giant Ibis bus in 2019 and it’s still a great ride.

Giant Ibis table of contents

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Cambodia drops all Covid-19 entry requirements

As of July, 2022, Cambodia has dropped Covid-19 vaccination and quarantine requirements for travelers (with one caveat). There are still quarantine requirements for unvaccinated travelers who test positive on arrival, although they have been relaxed from previous quarantine requirements. Most land borders have now been re-opened.

Vaccinated travelers

Those who are fully vaccinated (two doses of a vaccine, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine) do not need to take a Covid-19 test on arrival. You will need to present proof of Covid vaccination, in the form of a card of certificate on arrival. Continue reading