Friday, April 27, 2012

Georgetown, Penang - Part 1

7th - 10 Mar 2012

Penang’s much bigger and more populated than I thought it would be. The airport was, and no doubt still is, undergoing some major renovations…but we eventually found the exit to catch a public bus into Georgetown. 
A 45 minute ride, stopping at various locations, along the way. I was ssooo hungry, as soon as we entered a huge shopping complex I voted to disembark. It so happened that we were at Komtar mall, where for buses, all roads lead…well, most of them. It makes a good landmark, being home to Penang's tallest building.

After sating the stomach demons, we hailed a taxi to our hotel. Turns out we were only a kilometre, or less, away.

The Old Penang Guesthouse (review) is located on Love Lane, which is in the Georgetown Heritage walk area.
Although, not greatly impressed with our temporary lodgings, it is however in an ideal location. Just around the corner from the Goddess of Mercy Temple, which is just around the corner from the famous blue Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. And, a great place for dinner, the Red Garden.  A huge array of individual food outlets surrounding a dining area, with live entertainment which can be a quite good, if not entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
For a photographer, or someone with a half decent camera, there’s plenty of old buildings to snap. The architecture is a melting pot of British, Indian, Islamic, and Chinese. One aspect stood out for me and that was the inclusion of small decorative tiles on many of the old terrace house entrances.
I loved these quirky sculptured signs on some of the walls, explaining where you are. The result of a competition, a series of them have been made and gradually installed since 2009.
Along another path of the walk, it feels more English  (for very good reason), passing the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, Fort Cornwallis and City Hall.
 Wiki says ‘Penang has one of the largest collections of pre-war buildings in Southeast Asia. This is for the most part due to the Rent Control Act which froze house rental prices for decades, making redevelopment unprofitable.’ 
This apparently is the reason for many of the buildings being in a state of disrepair, but, Georgetown definitely has a certain charm about it. The Act was repealed in 2000, so fingers crossed many of the buildings will be restored and not bulldozed.

Snap's other blog Chiang Mai Thai

Friday, April 20, 2012

Where to stay (or not) in Phnom Penh - Modern City Hotel

I'm not sure why this hotel is under the heading of a B & B/Inn on's a hotel!

We had been booked in at Sary's Guesthouse for months prior, having made arrangments directly, with Sary by emails. All was going well until they failed to collect us from the bus station, a trade off in lieu of our free airport pick-up. So in a tuk tuk we jumped and found our own way. On arriving...big apologies for renting out our room!!! for the first of our three night stay. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

So what's (new for us) to eat? Cambodia

28th Feb - 7th Mar 2012

Anyone who knows us, or this blog, will know that we love our food. Especially finding new dishes or ingredients, we’ve never seen or tried before and eating them. During the 9 days we spent in Cambodia we were able to discover a few, as well as take part in a cooking class in Phnom Penh.
As in nearly every class we’ve attended in Asia, alas, spring rolls were on the menu, although this was the first time I’d seen shredded taro as the main ingredient. Our teacher informed us sweet white potato is a suitable substitute. Shredded, soaked in water and squeezed dry.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Phnom Penh's S21

5th - 7th March 2012

Driving into Phnom Penh, the term ‘in your face’ comes to (my) mind. It’s part in ruins, part being built/rebuilt and part new. She’s a bit smelly, colourful, struggling to survive, hoping for a better future, and writhing with life. Her scars are very evident,  and some of her wounds are still healing, and it’s no wonder why.
The history of Cambodia is fraught with internal uprisings and invasions from way, way back. More recently, enduring the terror of the Khmer Rouge. If you want to skip my condensed over simplified version of a little prior history...scroll past the purple bit.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Busing it from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh

4th March 2012

If you're planning on travelling from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, by bus, you have several options of companies to choose from. We chose 168, only because the staff at Zana House said that they were new...or perhaps they meant that the buses were new...or looked new. Ours was just fine.

We were punctually collected right outside the guesthouse entrance and appeared to be the last on a 'hotel pick up route', before stopping up the road, at their office, to allow the final passengers to board.

The ride is a comfy 3.5 to 4 hours long, making two stops along the way. One, possibly because someone wanted to buy fruit and veggies.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Flying to Sihanoukville for a couple of days

2nd - 3th March

Unable to book a ticket via the Cambodia Angkor Air website (for the last 6 months, after numerous attempts and reassuring emails from their office) we found their headquarters in Siem Reap and paid for our seats. Angkor Air is currently the only airline offering this route, unless perhaps if you have the dosh to hire your own plane.

The flight from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville is very short, it's only around 170 km as the crow flies. At US$117, it's expensive in comparison to the other local flights, but worth it when the alternative is a  9 - 10 hours in a bus. It was a nice flight, but the (burning off of crops) smoke in the air, as we left Siem Reap, was very evident.
Sihanoukville Airport