Tag: wanderlust

Dubai Frame – The Largest Picture Frame on the Planet

Dubai Frame – The Largest Picture Frame on the Planet

Located in Zabeel Park, Dubai Frame is the city’s latest attraction. Recently opened last January 1, it is 150 meters high and 93 meters wide. The two towers represent old Dubai and new Dubai and they are connected by a 100-square meter bridge, which has […]

Visiting the Hobbit Houses in Baan Suan Noi

Visiting the Hobbit Houses in Baan Suan Noi

I am a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and I have long wanted to see Hobbiton in New Zealand, where some parts of the movies were shot. The otherworldly movie set, with its little houses and round doors, have always been a […]

Must-See Places in Phnom Penh

Must-See Places in Phnom Penh

Cambodia’s capital can be considered an assault on the senses. Once considered the “Pearl of Asia”, the image of Phnom Penh was tarnished by the genocide committed by Pol Pot. But the city has risen from its ashes and is well on its way to development, albeit with the looming presence of corruption. Today, it is considered as one of the hippest capitals in the region, replete with bustling bars, motorcycles whizzing by and an alluring café culture.

Although some people only know Phnom Penh as a gateway to one of the most-visited ancient structures in the world, Angkor Wat, it offers more than just a jump-off point. This was my second time in the city, I did not have enough time to explore it during my first visit because we were there for barely half a day as we were headed to Siem Reap so I made sure I would be able to explore its nook and crannies. If you are headed to the city anytime soon, check the must-see places in Phnom Penh.

Royal Palace

One of the country’s most splendid architectural achievements and gleaming in gold, the Royal Palace is home to His Majesty Preah Bat smdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk and Her Majesty Preah Reach Akka-Mohesey Norodom Monineath. Built in 1866, the site was specially chosen by a Commission of Royal Ministers and Astrologers because it had significance to the King. It has a Throne Hall located to the left of the main entrance and it boasts a 59-meter tower. 

Entrance Fee: US $10 (including the Silver Pagoda)

Opening Hours: 7.30am to 11am and 2pm to 5pm

Silver Pagoda

Photo from bayontabitour.com

Located on the south side of the Royal Palace, the official name of the Silver Pagoda is Wat Ubaosoth Ratanaram. It houses several national treasures such as jeweled Buddha statues, the most notable of which is the Emerald Buddha of Cambodia. Dress modestly when visiting the pagoda.

Entrance fee: US $3 per person 

Opening Hours: 8am to 11am and 2.30pm to 5pm.

Toul Sleng Genocide Museum

One of the shrines in Toul Sleng

The notorious Toul Sleng Genocide Museum chronicles the atrocities committed by Pol Pot during his reign. The site is a former high school which was used as Security Prison 21 or S-21. Toul Sleng means “Hill of the Poisonous Trees”. It is just one of the many execution centers established by the Khmer Rouge. The grounds have an eerie atmosphere and is considered to be one of the many haunted places in the world. For more on Toul Sleng, check my blog entry here.

Entrance fee: US $5 for international visitors aged 18 years old and up, US $3 for international visitors aged 10 to 17 years old

Opening Hours: 8am to 5pm.

Independence Monument

Built in 1958 to commemorate the country’s independence from France in 1953, the Independence Monument stands at the intersection of Sihanouk Boulevard and Norodom Boulevard, at the center of the city. It was designed by Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann. A ceremonial flame on the interior pedestal is often lit by a royal official on special occasions. It looks quite splendid at night with the lights of the city in the background.

Entrance fee: Free

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom with the tallest stupa in the background

 

The tallest stupa in Wat Phnom

Built in 1372 and stands 27 meters above the ground, Wat Phnom is the tallest religious structure in the city. Legend has it that a wealthy widow named Penh found a large koki tree in the river and inside the tree, she found four bronze statues of the Buddha, so she had a small shrine built on an artificial hill made by the villagers to help protect the statues. Eventually, the site became sacred and is now known as Wat Phnom. People got here to make blessings and to pray and it is also the center of celebration during Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben. 

Entrance fee: US $1 

Opening Hours: Open daily

Statue of King Father Norodom Sihanouk

The bronze statue is 4.5 meters tall and is housed under a 27-meter high stupa in the park east of the Independence Monument. It depicts the late king wearing a business suit and it is said that it cost US $1.2 million and took nearly 8 months to complete. Access to the statue was strictly monitored by armed police military during its inauguration in 2013. Norodom Sihanouk died in 2012 in Beijing, China.

Entrance fee: Free

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: A Testament of Faith

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque: A Testament of Faith

Surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens, imposing and a gem in the desert, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a wonderful welcome to the city of Abu Dhabi. Conceived by the first president of the country, Sheikh Zayed, the mosque also marks his final resting place. […]

Beaching in Bai Sao

Beaching in Bai Sao

Often referred to as one of the best beaches in Vietnam, Sao Beach or Bai Sao in the local language, does not disappoint at all. Beholding the swaying palm trees, azure waters, pristine and powdery white sands, and the picturesque island is very popular day […]

My Food Journey in Phu Quoc

My Food Journey in Phu Quoc

Partaking of local dishes is something which I always look forward to when traveling and my recent trip to Phu Quoc, Vietnam was no exception. I have always loved Vietnamese cuisine, it is one of my favorites and I always look forward to going to Vietnam and trying all the best foods the country has to offer.

 

Phu Quoc is a Vietnamese island located near the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. It is renowned for its white-sand beaches and magnificent resorts. More than half of the island is part of Phu Quoc National Park, which is highlighted by dense tropical jungle, wildlife, and hiking trails.

 

The island is a paradise for seafood fans. Seafood is cheap, succulent and fresh. I could not believe that in the island I and my friend would be able to feast on large and mouth-watering crab legs for just a fraction of what it would cost in Singapore.

 

I shall no longer keep you waiting, here is my food journey in Phu Quoc. Try not to drool and if you do find yourself craving great seafood and pristine beaches, book your trip to Phu Quoc now. You won’t regret it, I promise you.

Ice cream as prepared locally at the night market

 

The finished product, Mango ice cream

 

Battered squid. Forgot what it was called but it was good

 

Banana pancake! But I have to say Phuket’s Banana Nutella pancake was a lot better than this

 

One of the best meals we have ever had was in Crab House. The seafood was just succulent!

 

seafood fried rice
My first meal in Phu Quoc, seafood fried rice

 

bruschetta
Bruschetta at an Italian restaurant in Phu Quoc

 

Bia Saigon
I continue the tradition of trying my destination’s local beer, Bia Saigon Lager beer
Having Lunch at The Loft Cafe in Ho Chi Minh

Having Lunch at The Loft Cafe in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh is a lovely and historical city with quirky, little cafes tucked in alleyways and nondescript dilapidated buildings. The unassuming facades of the buildings, where these cafes are located, do not warrant a second glance so I suggest you read up on them […]

Coney Island on a Holiday

Coney Island on a Holiday

Singapore is a tiny city-state and admittedly there isn’t much to explore, especially if you are someone who has been living in the city for more than four years. However, I am a person who tries to see things with a new pair of eyes. […]

Enjoying Phuket’s Lovely Beaches

Enjoying Phuket’s Lovely Beaches

I haven’t always been a beach lover and there was a period when I absolutely abhorred being under the sun, although I grew up in the islands, so I find it a surprise that lately I have been craving for Vitamin sea. Fast forward to December of last year when my friends and I decided to head to Phuket for my birthday, a far cry from my original plan of spending it in the desert.

I can wake up to this every morning
I can wake up to this every morning

Alas, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made as my friends and I had a blast. Phuket should be on any true beach lover’s list. Dotted with limestone karsts and blessed with clear, blue waters, it is comparable to El Nido although I would choose the latter any day because Phuket is just too commercialized and tourists swarm like ants that it is quite difficult to get a good, quiet spot. This, for me, took the island a few notches down on my list.

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A Night of Fun in Khao San

A Night of Fun in Khao San

After a long hiatus from blogging I am finally back with new content and raring to write about the wonderful city of Bangkok. I have put off going to Bangkok for a long time because I though it was just another metropolis with nothing much […]