Category: Travel

I’m back (again)

Cambodia was wonderful! For anyone that has not yet been – you must! We spent 1 day in Phnom Penh (not enough) which we spent running between the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, the Russian Market, and then on to S21- or Tuol Sleng where about 15,000 prisoners were tortured during the Khmer Rouge regime – and then on to the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – where survivors of S21 were killed and buried in mass graves. Sounds like a nice holiday, hey? It was just as depressing as it sounds, I had to fight back tears, but well worth visiting if you have an interest in history. From there we had 4 days in Siem Reap. We spent 2 full days checking out the temples including Angkor Wat – the biggest, but not necessarily the best. There are literally hundreds of these temples in the area, ranging from 700 to 1,000 years old, you could spend weeks discovering them all. Two days was plenty enough for me! The rest of our time was spent by the fabulous pool at Raffles Hotel (if you’ve never stayed there, then that’s definitely another must!), as well as the floating villages just outside of the town. There are so many great restaurants in Cambodia, I highly recommend Meric at the Hotel de la Paix – in Siem Reap where I discovered the amazing Taittinger champagne – delish! Here are a few pics (in no particular order) and I mean just a few. I stopped counting the photos I took after several hundred…

The weather was fantastic, the people are lovely and so friendly, food is good, everything is cheap (well, everything except Raffles…) so best you get yourself over there before the hordes of tourists get much worse!

Phuket, and more

For anyone that hasn’t been to Phuket, it’s a lush tropical paradise. The beaches are clean, the water is warm and crystal clear, people are friendly and it’s still pretty cheap. We stayed at Le Meridien with all the other wedding guests, and while I thought the resort was pretty well appointed, you may be a little disappointed if you are looking for a really traditional Thai experience. I guess it depends on what you want… I must add, however, they left a bit to be desired in the service department. The now happily wedded couple booked the hotel months back, and made sure to communicate closely with hotel staff about the guest bookings – as they had guests from afar as the US, UK and other parts of Asia. Many people arrived to find their reservation didn’t exist, others had to wait hours for their rooms to be available, and the worst part – they put the bride and groom in separate beds! If you’re a traditionalist, you’re probably thinking that’s the way it should be, and I respect that – but I think if you spend a tonne of money at a hotel for a wedding, and specifically ask for a double room, they should go all out to make sure you’re both happy. Anyway, I’m not grumbling too much – we got a free upgrade!

This is the view that I had to deal with all day for the long weekend from the beach. Pretty hard to deal with, hey 😉

My time in Bangkok this trip was purely in transit, however, I thought I’d share a place I found the last time I was there. Agalico (meaning ‘timeless’ in Sanskrit) is a simply gorgeous cafe/tea house, inside a colonial style building next to an old royal palace amongst a lush garden. Agalico is the brainchild of Poomchai Chumbala a distant member of the Thai Royal family no less, as well as a noted Interior Designer and hobby gardener. This place is more than just a respite from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, it’s a veritable oasis. The decor of the tearooms – as you can see from the photos below – is mostly white, apart from the lush green of the plants indoors and out, as well as the odd piece of blue & white china scattered around. It’s really quite breathtaking, and such a refreshing contrast to the rest of the city.

But, apparently it’s a closely guarded secret, so remember, this is just between you and me 😉