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From the Ground: Phnom Penh’s New Night Market

Photo Courtesy of Jet’s Container Night Market

By Jay Austin

Jet’s Container Night Market opened in March 2017, showcasing an array of restaurants, shops and bars all housed in shipping containers. The market kicks off, 7 nights a week, at 4pm and goes until midnight.  Although crowded, this is one of Phnom Penh’s newest evening hot spots. We recommend guests to try at least one drink at one of the rooftop container bars which offer a great view of the surroundings.  You can see a short video of market here.

Photo Courtesy of Jet’s Container Night Market

Guest Review from Susan Fossum

An editor asked our guests for comments on whether they felt that travel agents are still relevant.  For us this is a bit of an existential question, but our guest and ambassador, Susan Fossum, sums it up very well – thank you Susan!

Dear Editor,

I am someone who has used the services of a travel agent and since I heard that you were looking for information on the subject of whether the use of these type of services were still relevant I thought that I would respond to you.

Honestly, until this past year, I have not used the services of a travel agent, but I must tell you that the services that I used this past year with Journeys Within were invaluable and I would use their services again.  In fact I have referred them already and they are being used by friends of mine as they also are impressed with what this company offers.

I am a frequent traveler -as not only do I love to travel- but I am also an RN who goes on frequent trips with 2 non-profit organizations, traveling throughout the world providing free reconstructive surgical care to children with cleft lips/palates and burns.  This past year I traveled with teams to Bangladesh, Cambodia and Tanzania.  I also am involved in organizing and putting on international nursing conferences around the world, last year one being held in Glasgow, Scotland and previous ones in Canada, Ireland and Denmark.  So lots of travel to the dismay of my 3 dogs and horses!

This past year my surgical trip took me to Takeo, Cambodia – a small village in the southern part of Cambodia.  My husband wanted to join me at the end of my 2 week surgical trip for a vacation in Southeast Asia.  As this was a different part of the world that we had not explored before, and the fact that I would be very busy up until the final day of surgery, we decided to look at using a travel agency to help us plan our trip.  Our plan was to travel not only to Cambodia but also to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.  My husband happened on information in a travel magazine that mentioned Andrea Ross and her company Journeys Within.  In reading about this company we found that Andrea had spent many years in Cambodia, was familiar with the land and culture and also was supportive of the people and agencies that helped the local towns and villages.  This was impressive to us – so we contacted Andrea to find out about her travel agency and whether this would be a good fit for us.  As I mentioned, we have done most of the planning and organization of overseas trips for many years – over 20.

We came up with an itinerary that we were looking at and then sent that off to Andrea – our goals included not only sightseeing, but adventures out in the countryside that would allow us to mingle with the local peoples and cultures.  The itinerary that we ended up with was perfect for us.  All aspects of our tour were covered – we were met at airports by our tour guides, movement through the airport was smooth, all transportation, cultural events were taken care of.  Our accommodations were beyond what we had expected and supported the local communities.  And – a plus – Andrea and her staff worked with me to coordinate my surgical 2 week trip schedule so it would coincide with flights and lodging for my husband.

Using Journeys Within saved me (us) much needed time and energy.  In looking at costs, which are always relevant, for the time in country, airline flights and the experiences that we had – our trip was within a budget that we had expected.

This is a long letter and probably more that you were expecting – but I wanted to get across the point that for someone who has not used a travel agency in more that 20 years of travel – using the expertise of Andrea Ross and her staff of Journeys Within exceeded my expectations.  Thank you for the opportunity to write you and provide feedback on my experiences.

Susan Fossum

Photos provided by Susan Fossum

Exotic foodie tours along the Cambodian coast

Photo Courtesy of Knai Bang Chatt

The Cambodian coast has been getting a lot of publicity lately, and we love all the options that are coming available.  This region is still rather undeveloped, so traveling here will likely not be your typical beach vacation (unless you go ultra-luxury for a stay at Song Saa Private Island).  One of our favorite hotels in this area, Knai Bang Chatt is offering some new tour options to spice up your time at the beach. 

Photo Courtesy of Knai Bang Chatt

CAMBODIAN COOKING EXPERIENCE

Often overlooked in favor of its neighbors more popular Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, Cambodian food has recently garnered praise from chefs around the world for its use of fresh spices and unique blend of contrasting flavors and textures.  Some of the favorite dishes include Fish Amok, Banana Blossom Salad, and Mango Salad. Your half-day cooking course starts with a visit to the famous Crab Market where the chefs will introduce and explain the various spices and local produce on offer. Here you will learn to identify local ingredients and understand the importance of seasonality in Khmer cooking. Once back at the resort, your private chef will assist you in preparing 3-4 traditional Cambodian dishes which you will enjoy together at the end of the class.

Photo Courtesy of Knai Bang Chatt

PRIVATE ROOFTOP DINNER

At 6:30pm this evening, you will be escorted to a private rooftop terrace overlooking the gardens to the sea where you will enjoy sunset with a glass of sparkling wine in your very own private location. Once the sun has set, your dining experience will begin as you are served a 4 course, wine paired meal by candle light.

Photo Courtesy of Knai Bang Chatt

SAILING CLUB FLOATING DINNER

You will be transferred to the Sailing Club Pier and escorted to your dining location at the end of the private jetty for your meal this evening. You will be greeted with a welcome cocktail and enjoy the sunset over the water as your 3 course meals is served in this stunning private location.

There are a plethora of other options in this area that we offer for our guests as well, including visits to the nearby national park, exploring the abandoned villas of the colonial period or a local cave, trying your hand at fishing in the local style, visiting the nearby villages and pepper farms or spending the day relaxing on an island with your own private BBQ.   

For other unique beach options along the Cambodia coast, check out our blogs about Koh Rong Sanloem and Lazy Beach – Both locations were recently featured in National Geographic as being among the best beaches in the world!

Photo Courtesy of Knai Bang Chatt

From the Ground: The Siem Reap, Cambodia Boutique Shopping Tour

By Jay Austin

We always provide our guests with ‘Cheat Sheets’ that list our favorite shopping and restaurant suggestions.  However, we’re taking it to the next level!  Our new Siem Reap Shopping Tour is a great way for guests to experience the boutique side of Siem Reap.  This tour provides the perfect ‘girls’ day out’ which begins with cocktails before stepping out for some serious shopping, and is led by either Jay or Naida – Siem Reap’s shopping experts!

Here’s what the new Shopping Tour looks like:

Your driver will collect you from your hotel at 2pm to begin your boutique shopping experience.  This afternoon you will have the opportunity to visit some of Siem Reap’s finest boutique stores and experience creativity inspired from across the globe. You will begin your afternoon with a visit to the trendy Kandal Village, a street lined with boutique stores of all types and tastes from clothing to homewares.

From here you will move on to visit the Eric Raisina Couture House where you will find some of Asia’s finest textiles.  Eric Raisina is a world renowned textile designer born in Madagascar whose career has included highlights such as producing textiles for Yves Saint- Laurent and Christian Lacroix.

From here you will return to the center of Siem Reap city to visit the well populated Alley West, a small laneway in the center of town offering a diverse range of boutique stores from fashion, to ceramics, to swimwear.

Your final stop on this boutique exploration is the Kings Road complex, a newly developed shopping area housing photography galleries, vintage stores and in the center of it all lies the Made in Cambodia Market offering a range of individually styled souvenirs to suit all tastes. The Kings Road complex is home to some of the restaurants on our cheat sheet if you would like to stay for dinner or you can have your driver take you back to the hotel with all of your purchases.

Thank you from Wendell Alderson & Ken Nather

Photo Credit: Wendell Alderson & Ken Nather

Our mission is to make each and every trip a unique and memorable experience, so we especially love it when we hear back from guests and get to see their photos.  This note and these photos are from Journeys Within guests, Wendell Alderson and Ken Nather:

We loved our holiday in Vietnam and Cambodia.  You did a great job picking out hotels and things for us to do that matched the way we travel. There seemed to be enough down time for Ken and I to explore on our own which we love to do. Thanks for that.

We really enjoyed the moped tours of the HCMC and Hoi An. That was one of our highlights.

The staff at every place was stayed was above and beyond our expectation. Everyone so very nice and accommodating to us.  Ending our holiday at a beach resort was perfect. Loved the place we stayed.

I liked having some flexibility as well. When we got to Siem Reap it was very hot in the afternoons. After speaking with the guide we changed our bike ride to a morning ride instead of an afternoon ride. We drove to the village for the tour and that was great and the next am at 7 we did a bike ride around Angkor Tom and the jungle area. That was perfect. Each day there we were done touring/biking by 2pm and back at the pool with a drink in our hand.

The bike rides were leisurely and very beautiful. I know we would never have seen these areas without the bike rides. We loved our lunch the day we did our bike ride outside of Ha Noi. We learned how to make spring rolls and even shopped in the market for the ingredients.

Thanks again for wonderful holiday.

Best, Wendell & Ken

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