Mar 26, 2012

Mar 23, 2012

Petrol Station

A wedding and a hen-house at the petrol station!   

Mar 19, 2012

Food / Food?!

What is the boundary between what you would love to eat (mmh, tasty Asian food, fresh fish and veggies, white rice, coconut, Cambodian BBQ, raw fish packed in banana leaves)...

...and what you won't?

Mar 12, 2012


Another passion I have, along with markets, are barber shops around the world. Here some in Cambodia, along the Mekong north of Kratie while cycling and in the middle of the traffic in Phnom Penh.

Mar 10, 2012

Khmer Psah (markets in Cambodia)

Every country has its own markets where to experience some real local life, discover the traditions, meet the population and try anything. Markets are the places I always want to visit, eat and buy, and of course experience. Cambodian Psah are colourful, with plenty of weird food but tasty food too, full of life. Bikes speeding between the narrow stalls, people in pijama laying on the hammoks hanging everywhere.
Some really durty and smelly areas, with garbage and cockroachs, meat hanging covered only by a kroma (traditional scarf) when the stand is close. Fresh vegetables, strange and marvellous fruits, fish alive or dried, spices and paprikas, pork heads along with clothes, utensils, medicaments, shoes, silver and gold, watches, wedding costumes, tools, furniture, money exchanges with huge wads of cash, silk, fabrics, mats and of course much more!

Markets in Siem Reap, Kratie, Banlung, Phnon Penh, Bangkok.

Mar 9, 2012

Phnom Penh

Situated on the banks of the Tonlé Sap, Mekong and Bassac rivers, the capital Phnom Penh is chaotic but very charming, the typical Asian atmosphere, all surrounded by markets and pagodas. We stayed right next to the Central Market, walked around for three days visiting the main temples and many markets, with a sight into the city night movida!

Central Market - The Psar Thmay was built in 1937 during the French colonial period, in Art Deco style, and is painted bright ochre. It consists of four wings dominated by a central dome. Within the four wings and around the compound outside are on sale almost anything you can think of, including electronic equipment, clothing, watches, bags, suitcases, dried and fresh foodstuff, jewellery, clothes from cheap t-shirts to kroma (Khmer scarves), pseudo-antique, books including photocopied travel guides and lots of souvenirs.

Royal Palace - a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia. The Royal Palace of Cambodia is a good example of Khmer architecture featuring its layout of the defensive wall (kampaeng), throne hall (preah tineang), Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Silver Pagoda (Wat Preah Keo Morakot), stupas (chedei), towering spires (prang prasat) and mural paintings.
The Silver Pagoda was inlaid with more than 5000 silver tiles but unfortunately most of it is covered by a carpet, anyway there are also many gold and jeweled Buddha statues.

Mar 8, 2012

Ratanakiri (4th stage)

Dusty road to go north of Kratié towards the remote Ratanakiri province, near the borders of Vietnam and Laos, till Banlung. Wild nature, waterfalls (Teuk Cah Ong, Okatchang, Okatieng) and cashnut plantations, and the great Ya Laom lake immersed in the bamboo forest where you can swim. Impressive was the visit to a Kreung minority village, Nong Laek, almost still living like ages ago, with traditional costumes and of course the kroma (traditional scarf) and huts with palm leaves divided for boys and girls.
Ka Tieng waterfall, Yaek Loam lake, Banlung market, behind Cha Ong waterfall

Kreung minority village

Mar 6, 2012

An island on the Mekong

Lying just across the water from Kratie (10 minutes ferry) is the island of Koh Trong, an almighty sandbar in the middle of the Mekong river. Traditional khmer villages, with old roofs, an old stupa and a small Vietnamite floating village. Cycling the loop road (9 km) around the island's perimeter, through fruits orchards and rice fields, while the calm routines of the island goes on. People of all ages are really friendly and hospitable. Fantastic, a really lovely place!

Mar 5, 2012


The six hour luxury bus from Siem Reap direct to Kratié were actually two local buses, packed like sardines, which after several stops mainly for eating every hour, arrived in Kratié after 16 hours! 
Kratié, in the northeast, has several temples built in the 8th century, ancient halls, Khmer old houses, and French-style buildings. It is built along the river with several markets and stands grilling fishes and meat. 
We cycled north Kratié along the Mekong River through friendly green villages each one with its own speciality (raw fish, sticky rice in bamboo or Krolan) and paddies. The river is home to Irrawaddy dolphins, an endangered species that we saw really near from the boat (see video), fish, and birds. The flow of the Mekong River varies greatly, there are hundreds of seasonally flooded islands in the river; we visited one just in front of the town. The province also contains many forests, the Phnom Pram Poan mountain range, Phnom Prech, and rubber plantations (the great view from the long bus).

A ride on a bike (in three) to Sambor to visit the 100 Pillar Wat (Wat Sorsor Muoy Roi) and the Phnom Sambok pagoda build on a hill with a panoramic view of the Mekong's wetlands and a strange representation of the inferno...

Mar 4, 2012

Khmer Weddings

Getting married in Khmer tradition is kind of a big deal! The arrangements begin almost 3 months before, taking pictures with white dresses on the beach at the sunset (photo 4 in Koh Ru, a small island in the Gulf of Siam - front of Sihanoukville)... Big tents are in the most weird places such as in the middle of the streets, next to a petrol station, in the country side in the middle of nothing. Music is playing really loud, with a wall of speakers (hear the video!). Three days of ceremonies, parties, food, preparations. People are so nice that we have been invited a couple of times to join them, like in a small island in the middle of the Mekong (in front of Kratie) where we were invited to eat with them a rice soup with fresh soya beans at 8am. In front of the tent a photo of the married couple in white European dresses and another in traditional clothes, soft silk with bright colours, a gold and a silver bunch of bananas on a palm (photo 1), flowers. The fabrics and the atmosphere are really kitsch!