Saturday, August 20, 2011

CAMBODIA

(does not include Phnom Penh or Siem Reap)

General
Aqua Expeditions – 10 Jalan Kilang, #04-06 Sime Darby Enterprise; 866-603-3687; aquaexpeditions.com; luxury riverboat cruising in remote Mekong River areas between Cambodia & Vietnam.
Trails of Indochina – 10/8 Phan Dinh Giot Street (Ho Chi Minh City, Tan Binh District); 011-84-8-3844-1005; trailsofindochina.com.



BATTAMBANG (includes Chrey Kong & Wat Kor)
Bars & Nightclubs
Riverside Balcony Bar – 1 Street (1 mile south of town center, on Sangker River’s west bank); 011-855-53-730-313; atmospheric, $1 draft spot.

Hotels
Au Cabaret Vert – 154 Street; 011-855-53-656-2000; aucabaretvert.fr; eco-hotel; has French restaurant.
Bambu Battambang – Ko Street; 011-855-53-953-900; bambuhotel.com; 16 rooms (spread across 4,r raised wooden houses) with resort-like feel.
Maisons Wat Kor – Wat Kor; 011-855-98-555-377; maisonswatkor.com; 8 rooms in 3 buildings modeled on historic neighbors.
Sanctuary Villa – Chrey Kong; 011-855-972-167-168; sanctuarycambodia.com; 7 silk-accented bungalows surrounding saltwater pool.
La Villa – N 185 Pom Romchek 5 Kom; 011-855-53-730-151; lavilla-battambang.net; 7 spacious rooms with charm and history dating to 1930s.

Restaurants
Cafe Eden – 85 Street 1; 011-855-53-73-1525; cafeedencambodia.com; Cambodian comfort food; excellent.
Khmer Delight – (1 block south of Psar Nath); 011-855-12-671-911; cheap, reliable, well-made local food.
Pomme d’Amour – 63 Street 2.5; 011-855-12-415-513; apple-of-love.com; creative French-Khmer fusion cuisine.
Riverside Balcony Bar – 1 Street (1 mile south of town center, on Sangker River’s west bank); 011-855-53-730-313; atmospheric; famous for burgers.
La Villa – N 185 Pom Romchek 5 Kom (in La Villa Hotel); 011-855-53-730-151; lavilla-battambang.net; fish curries and steaks nightly; for mature crowd, seated at candlelit tables under 100 year-old trees.

Services
Khmer Architecture Tours – ka-tours.org; for self-guided walking tour maps.
Som Sangva Sak – 011-855-12-599-890; this individual provides private architectural city tours and trips to outlying temples in countryside.

Shopping
Make Maek Gallery – 66 Street 2.5; 011-855-17-946-108; makemaek.org; local artists’ work.
Sammaki Gallery – 87 Street 2.5; 011-855-17-968-050; sammaki.kinyei.org; local artists’ work.

Sights & Sites
Heritage Protection Area – phnompenhpost.com/real-estate/battambangs-battered-buildings; across Sangker River; compact district containing 800 historic buildings, including 150 year-old Chinese temple and Psar Nath (city’s main market, housed in faded yellow Art Deco edifice with tiered roof and clock tower built in 1936).
Phare Ponleu Selpak – Anch Anh Village; 011-855-53-952-424; phareps.org; hour-long circus performance.
Wat Kor – visitbattambang.com/wat-kor-village; village notable for old wooden houses; English-speakers should bring guide.



BAN LUNG
Sights & Sites
Chaa Ong Waterfalls – pretty waterfalls in small park.



KAMPOT
Hotels
Nataya Round House Coral Bay Resort – Prek Ampil (off Road 3); 011-855-33-690-2011; natayaresort.com.

Restaurants
Rikitikitavi – River Road; 011-855-12-235-102; rikitikitavi-kampot.com; on balcony overlooking river; owned by Phnom Penh’s Intercontinental’s former sous chef.

Sights & Sites
Bokor National Park – Elephant Mountains (outside Kampot); protectedplanet.net/sites/68856; officially called Preah Monivong National Park; 1581 square km national park, mostly primary forest; home to globally endangered fauna such as tiger (recently photographed with camera traps), chestnut-headed partridge, and green peafowl; in addition to rainforest, attractions include Popokvil Falls and abandoned French hill station of Bokor; other rare and threatened animals include Indian elephant, leopard, Asiatic black bear, Malayan sun bear, pileated gibbon, pig-tailed macaque, slow loris, red muntjac deer, lesser mouse deer, pangolin, yellow-throated martin, small Asian mongoose, and various species of bat, civet, porcupine, and squirrel; over 300 bird species, including several hornbill types.



KEP
Bars & Nightclubs
Sailing Club – Phum Thmey Sangkat Prey (Thom Khan Kep); 011-855-78-888-556; good sunset drinks location.

Hotels
Knai Bang Chatt – Phum Thmey Sangkat Prey (Thom Khan Kep); 011-855-12-379-742; knaibangchatt.com; on country’s southern shore; stylish compound 3 hours from Phnom Penh; built by Khmer industrialists and influenced by Corbusier; 3 villas and 1 modern house; 11 minimalist chic rooms with elevated beds that face either Thailand Gulf or landscaped gardens; hikes to Buddhist temples and snorkeling around Rabbit Island; pool with canopy beds; avoid rainy season peak (mid-late September); book 2-story pool house.
Villa Romonea – Kampot Road (Prey Thom); 011-855-1287-9486; villaromonea.com; Le Corbusier-style (built by Cambodian architect, Lu Ban Hap) mansion with 6 rooms looking out over Kampot Gulf.
Vine Retreat – Chamcar Bei Village (Phnom Vor, Pongteuk Commune, Damnak Chang Eur District); 011-855-1170-6231; thevineretreat.com; on pepper plantation; guesthouse, organic farm, and restaurant.

Restaurants
Breezes – Route 33 (between Kep Beach and pier); 011-855-97-675-9072; private tables on beach must be booked in advance.
Kimly – to left of restaurants at crab market along waterfront; 011-855-12-435-096; crab with Kampot pepper; shrimp tom yum soup.
Sailing Club – Phum Thmey Sangkat Prey (Thom Khan Kep); 011-855-78-888-556; good sunset meal location.
Seagull – Crab Market (Thmey Village, Sangkat Prey Thom); 011-855-23-686-0360 or 011-855-12-435-480; waterfront restaurant; try crab.



KOH KONG
Koh Andet
Hotels
Four Rivers Floating Lodge – Tatai Village; 011-855-976-434-032; ecolodges.asia; has to be seen; beautiful; 12 rooms in elaborately constructed tents; air-conditioning, king-size beds, and showers.
Rainbow Lodge – Tatai Village; 011-855-9974-4321 or 011-855-121-602-585; rainbowlodgecambodia.com; several cabins in unique riverside setting on South Cardamom Mountains protected reserve’s edge.

Koh Sdach
Hotels
Belinda Beach Resort – 011-855-17-517-517; belindabeach.com; pricey but beautiful.

Koh Totang
Hotels
Nomads Land – 011-855-11-916-171; nomadslandcambodia.com; little paradise.



KOH RONG (30 minutes from Sihanoukville)
Hotels
Angkor Chum – southwestern island portion; too-good-to-be-true budget hotel and restaurant; $15 includes beachfront bungalow at secluded cove edge and seafood meals.
Song Saa Private Island – Koh Ouen (off Sihanoukville coast); 011-855-23-686-0360; songsaa.com; 27 villa resort on 2 private islands, connected by wooden foot-bridge; on 2 small islands; snorkel with seahorses.


SIHANOUKVILLE
Hotels
Independence – Street 2 Thnou, Sangkat 3; 011-855-34-943-3003; independencehotel.net; stylishly refurbished in 2007; Sihanoukville’s most luxurious beachfront property.

Restaurants
Chhner Molop Chrey – Krong Street, Mondul 3 (along Victory Beach waterfront); 011-855-34-933-708; long-established seafood restaurant.

Services
Sok Lim Tours – 011-855-12-719-872; soklimtours.com.

Shopping
Rajana – 62 7 Makara Street (down alley); 011-855-23-993-642; rajanacrafts.org; NGO operated crafts store.

Sights & Sites
Bokor Mountain – in area but often not accessible because roads closed; may have to ask ranger to take you in his jeep (about $40).

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