Phnom Penh is a fun, bustling city, showcasing the best that Cambodia has to offer. Although the country is still struggling to completely get away from its violent past, the capital city is showing signs of development and the international world of tourism is taking notice. Besides going to see the ancient architecture, colorful culture and humble locals (called Khmer), foreign tourists are beginning to flock for the culture and festivals of Phnom Penh. Nicknamed the “pearl city of Asia“, Phnom Penh is the center of Cambodia’s tourism and culture.
Southeast Asia Deserves a Second Look and More
What do Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Christmas Island and Singapore have in common? They all belong to the same corner of the world, Southeast Asia. Other countries in the neighborhood are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Brunei, East Timor, Vietnam and East Timor. Together they form the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), through which they help each other out economically.
Meanwhile, not many people elsewhere in the world know about Laos or Myanmar, some don’t even know where Brunei or East Timor are, while a few more know about Vietnam, Cambodia and East Timor only for the wars.
The more popular countries here are Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, and their fame is enough for Southeast Asia to deserve a second look. Malaysia and Singapore have robust economies that can compete with the best of Europe and North America. In fact, according to Forbes, Singapore is the third wealthiest country in the world, next only to Qatar and Luxembourg.
Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are not far behind, economy-wise, but they too can compete with the rest of the world in the arena of natural sites and topnotch tourist attractions. Indonesia’s Bali, Thailand’s Phuket and the Philippines’ Boracay constantly rank as the world’s most beautiful island-beach resorts.
Three other top tourist sites in Southeast Asia are Cambodia’s Angkor Archeological Park where you can find massive and dumbfounding ancient temples that would make you look twice not sure whether what you’re looking at are real or not.
Not to be outdone, Myanmar presents to the world its own collection of ancient temples on the Bagan plains. The sight of thousands of majestic temples lined up and clustered together across the rustic plain will stay with you for a long time.
And third, the Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines. How to describe this spectacular dive site? Divers from all over the world are calling it the Garden of Eden underwater. That alone should tell you why Southeast Asia is in itself a kind of paradise.
Perhaps the first question at the back of your head is, “How do I pronounce Phnom Penh?” You might be surprised that the pronunciation is not very complex: “P-nom Pen,” simply disregard the H’s; and then I’m almost sure your next question is, “Is there good shopping in Phnom Penh?” The answer is an easy “Yes.”
Phnom Penh has a notorious history. The good thing about history, however, is that it is in the past. Today, Phnom Penh and the rest of Cambodia are fast-rising major tourist destination in Southeast Asia. More and more people from around the world are getting to Phnom Penh and wanting to experience that exotic Cambodian vacation.
Once upon a time, getting around Bangkok was an activity most tourists would rather not experience. The traffic was terrible and the public transportation available did not help. Now, getting around the city is not only a joy but is also a breeze.
In 1999 the government launched its first mass transit system, opening the door to a whole new way of moving and touring the country. With the modern transport system installed, getting around Bangkok became easy not only for its citizens but also for its tourists.
Bangkok has two of the fastest modes of transportation on land: the Bangkok Skytrain and the Bangkok Underground. The Bangkok Skytrain, also called BTS, is the quickest way to go around town. It has two routes: the Sukhumvit which runs North to East and the Silom which runs West to South. On the other hand, the Bangkok Underground, also called MRT, serves 18 stations and spans 20 kilometers of a crescent-shaped route. It passes through stations with major attractions like Chatuchak Weekend Market, Thailand Cultural Center, Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Lumpini Park, Silom Road and Sukhumvit Road.
Wondering what to wear in Bangkok? If you’re going to spend your vacation in Thailand, there are two things worth remembering that will guide you in your choice of clothing. First, Thailand is a tropical country and is hot all year round. The heat peaks during the summer months of March through May. Second, the Thais are a conservative bunch. Wearing scanty clothes is not only inappropriate but is also frowned upon by the conventional locals.
It is ideal to wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing with the heat and the humidity in Bangkok. Jeans are acceptable wear in most places, but you may want to wear nylon pants instead as it’ll be more comfortable under the heat of the sun. If you plan to visit the beach, shorts and sleeveless shirts are definitely fine, but when you’re in the city, dressing appropriately is considered respectful. You’ll find that the Thais take great pains in dressing and they appreciate tourists who are mirroring their regard for appropriate clothes. [Read more…]
Shopping in Bangkok is one of the most exciting things you can do in Thailand. Bangkok is a paradise for people who love shopping. Cheap, high quality merchandise from clothes to gadgets is in abundance in Bangkok. Shopping malls, night markets, sidewalk stalls, riverside markets, side streets and backstreets-there are just too many places to go to for all the things your heart desires.
If you love to bargain, you’ll love Bangkok’s street markets. Indeed, as some bargain shoppers claim, half of the fun in shopping comes from getting an otherwise expensive item for a steal. Bangkok offers a lot of those and more. In fact, haggling is always expected from customers. If you’re looking for good buys and inexpensive items, here’s a quick guide of the best places to go shopping that will make the shopaholic in you go crazy. [Read more…]