25 Monday Feb 2013

SITO – the newest speakeasy bar in Phnom Penh

Last weekend we stopped by the alley of Street 240 1/2 near the Royal Palace and discovered SITO, our favorite speakeasy bar. Now like the Artillery, this place was tugged away, off Street 240.   Finding this place, newcomers could easily walked pass-by in the alley. The door was so cleverly hidden that it blended so well with its surrounding.

Come to our surprise, the inside had one of the best designs for a bar in Phnom Penh.   The lightly dimmed room reminded us of the underground bars in Moscow.

SITO bar

SITO bar

As for the menu, there was no food nor appetizers yet, but the bartenders were so kind and offered to take orders from nearby restaurants and pubs.  They also mentioned that the new addition to the bar was being built and once completed, they will offer food next door.

The drinks were standard if compared with drinks from DOORS.  However the atmosphere was really something.  We definitely would come back to this place for another pre-gaming spot.

Location: No. 32EO, Street 240, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Telephone: 077 555 447

 

18 Monday Feb 2013

Phnom Penh offers many connections to other SE Asian cities

Nowadays there are many budget airlines connecting Phnom Penh to many cities in Asia.   Living in Phnom Penh has its perk.   Traveling to Singapore is as easy as flying from LA to Las Vegas.   Airlines that operate from Phnom Penh to Singapore include Singapore Airline, operated by SilkAir.

Phnom Penh to Singapore: Silkair, Jetstar and Tiger Airways.
Phnom Penh to Bangkok: Thai Airline and Bangkok Air.
Phnom Penh to Hong Kong: Dragon Air
Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia Airline and Air Asia
Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh: Korean Air and Asiana Airline
If you’re going to Singapore this Spring, Silkair offers the following promotions when traveling from 13 Feb 2013 to 10 Apr 2013 and booking between 10 Feb 2013 and 31 Mar 2013.

One-Way ticket: $154
Round Trip ticket: $248 (Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu) and $298 (Fri, Sat, Sun)

Terms:
+ prices include taxes and surcharges only, exclude ticketing fee.
+ Tickets are subject to availability.
+ Tickets are non-refundable.  Change of flight, date or passenger name is not permitted.

 

15 Friday Feb 2013

VISA in Cambodia

All visitors, except citizens of Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Laos and Vietnam need a visa to enter Cambodia. The official price for a tourist visa is US$20, and US$25 for a business visa – but expect much higher prices (US$30 or more for the tourist visa) to be demanded at land border crossings.

Visas can be obtained at any Cambodian embassy or consulate overseas. Visas are also available “on arrival” at both international airports, all six international border crossings with Thailand, some international border crossings with Vietnam, and at the main border crossing with Laos.

Tourist visa: when applied for in advance, these are valid for 90 days (i.e. must be used within 3 months), and good for a 30 day entry permit stamp which can be extended once only for a further 30 days in Phnom Penh (or elsewhere via agencies) at a price.

Business visa: the best choice for stays over two months and/or multiple entries, as they can be extended indefinitely (approx US$140 per 6 month extension) and have multiple entry status when extended. Most Phnom Penh travel agencies process the extensions.

Applying for a visa: To apply for a visa, you will need
+ one or two (depending on where you apply) passport-size photo(s) (although when applying on arrival, the fee for not having one is usually only US$1-2),
+ a passport which is valid for at least 6 months and has at least one completely blank visa page remaining,
+ passport photocopies when applying at some embassies/consulates (not needed if applying on arrival), and
+ US$ notes with which to pay the fee (expect to pay a substantially higher price if paying in a local currency).

e-visa: The e-visa will come back as a PDF file. You will then need to print out two copies (one for the entry and one for the exit). After printing out your two copies, cut out the e-visa part and put both copies into your passport. Alternatively, citizens of most nations can now apply for an e-visa online. The cost is US$25 (US$20 + US$5 processing charge) instead of the normal US$20, and you get the visa by e-mail in 3 business days. For the e-visa you will need one photograph of yourself. You can scan your passport photo (into .jpg format, please!) or take a passport photograph of yourself with a digital camera.

For those entering by air, the e-Visa is valid at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports. It’s cheaper to get your visa on arrival at either airport. However if you get a visa in advance (online or from an embassy/consulate) you do get to skip two lines at the airport: the line to apply for the visa, and the line at the cashier to pay the fee.

For those entering overland, do note that overland e-visa entries are restricted to just three border crossings: Bavet (Svay Rieng) from Moc Bai (Tay Ninh Province,Vietnam); Koh Kong (from Hat Lek / Trat, Thailand); and Poipet (from Aranyaprathet, Thailand). However getting a visa in advance (online or from an embassy/consulate) is definitely the way to go in order to avoid the common scam of visa overpricing at border crossings.

Departure Tax: If you are a foreign national, be aware that you will have to pay an airport departure tax when you leave Cambodia, about $25 for international flights, and $4-6 for domestic flights between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

We offer the service for VISA extension.
Tourist: 1 month (validity), single entry: $45
Business: 3 month (validity), single entry: $75
Business: 6 month (validity), multiple entries: $155
Business: 1 year (validity), multiple entries: $285

 

11 Monday Feb 2013

Giant Ibis new route 2013 (Phnom Penh to Kep) (Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville)

To all our fellow Giant Ibis fans, this month there will be the launch of new bus routes going from Phnom Penh to Kep province and Sihanoukville province.

The Kep route will start on February 08, 2013.    One-way price is USD 8.00 per person.  Round-trip price is USD 16.00 per person.

Phnom Penh to Kep Departure Time:   8:00 AM  and 14:45 PM
Note: This route is same route as Phnom Penh to Kampot.  However the bus will make a drop-off at Kampot stop station before continuing to Kep province.

Kep to Phnom Penh Departure Time: 8:00 AM and 14:45 PM
Note: Customers must travel to Kampot from Kep in order to get on the Kampot to Phnom Penh route.  Currently there is no pick-up from Kep to Kampot.

Note:
+ Duration is three hours and fifteen minutes (3.15).
+ The trip is non-stop.
+ wi-fi
+ a bottle of water
+ a cold towel

The Sihanoukville route will start on February 18, 2013.  One-way price is USD 10.00 per person. Round-trip price is USD 20.00 per person.

Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville (Kompong Som) Departure Time:  8:30 AM and 12:30 PM

Sihanoukville (Kompong Som) to Phnom Penh Departure Time: 7:30 AM and 01:00 PM

Note:
+ Duration is four hours (4.0).
+ The trip is non-stop.
+ wi-fi
+ a bottle of water
+ a cold towel

 

To learn more about the Phnom Penh to Kampot route, please click here.

To read about our Giant Ibis excursion, please click here.   If you have any question about this service, please email us at [email protected]

Giant Ibis

Giant Ibis

05 Tuesday Feb 2013

Chinese New Year in Cambodia 101

Chinese New Year or as some call it, “Lunar New Year” is start of the new year based on the Chinese Lunar calendar. It is mostly a holiday that is celebrated by locals in their home.  While the celebration is more subdued than its big neighbor, China, many Khmers do observe the holiday as day to pay respects for ancestors and gods/goddesses.

In preparation for the new year, many families begin by cleaning the home as a way to “sweep away the ill-fortunes” and then the family will put up signs with the word “道” (“dao”) turned upside down on doors.  “Dao” turned upside down sounds like “fortune come.” Many people will go shopping this time to purchase fruits, sweets, and flowers to give to family and friends as a good luck token for the new year.

On new year’s eve, families gather together and eat a big meal together to celebrate the “closing of the year.”  There are certain dishes that must be eaten such as fish, which symbolic of wealth, long leafy greens, which symbolizes the longevity of the parents, and dumplings, which represents gold. All meat dishes must be served with the head and tails of the animal in order to symbolize that every beginning will also have an end.

The first day of the year is for giving thanks.  The family puts out an offering to the ancestors and to the gods/goddess asking for a prosperous new year, good health, and longevity.  Then there will be a burning of paper “money” as a form of respect. The unmarried people (mostly children) will wish the married people (usually parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc) a blessing for the new year.  Usually the term is “恭喜发财” (Gong xi fa cai) or “Congratulations and be wealthy” but other wishes could be said “心想成真” (Xin Xiang Cheng Zhen) or “your heart’s wishes will come true.” In return, the married people will give the unmarried a red envelop containing cash.

The second day of the new year is to continue visiting family members.  While during the first day, families spend time and visit each other, families visit the male’s family first.  The second day is for visiting the wife’s family.  More red money envelop exchange occurs as well.

CNY1

Food Offering

NY3

Children burning money for respects.