Trekking at Kep National Park

Kep is a small coastal town in Cambodia. It is known for its seafood and tropical beaches. It is a beach getaway for foreigners living in Cambodia, although mostly for locals, as one could eat fresh seafood, laze on the beach and enjoy sundowners.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep is more than just a beach, though! Behind the beaches are a range of small mountains/ big hills where Kep National Park, a jungle preserve, is located. It boasts beautiful views of the surrounding islands, tranquil scenery and a galore of local wildlife.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

So, on the second day, we decided to go trekking in an 8km trail in Kep National Park that makes a loop around the mountain. It was actually our first time in the Cambodian jungle. The main trail was quite steep, well-prepared, well-maintained and well-marked.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

We took a few minutes rest where the Sunset Rock is, which had a lovely view over the coast. After a rest there, we continued our journey in the remaining loop of the trail. In total, we spent about 2.5 hours in the park. We got to see interesting exotic plants and animals, breathtaking panoramic views of the dense vegetation, nearby islands, and the thick canopy kept us shaded most of the time. At some stage, worried monkeys started to growl and one even threw a stone at us while we were taking a short break on a bench. We got the feeling that they meant no harm and just wanted to protect their habitat.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

As we hiked up the mountain, our conversations with our 10 year old lil explorer ran from different types of insects, reptiles, arthropods to the possibility of multiverse to American-Vietnam War to politics and to I-pad games.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

We are certainly impressed and proud with our son as he finished his 1st long hike in the steaming jungle – even though he suffered he was brave. The temperature was about 35-40 degree Celsius, with this ever present pre-storm electrical heat one can only find in Cambodia during the rainy season.

Kep National Park

After the hike, our clothes were totally soaked in sweat; we had to take a shower as soon as we got back to our Bungalow.

Kep National Park is beautiful! It was well worth the effort – enjoyable good walk and challenging in a pleasant way, plus we got a tan! While trekking, we met quite a few other enthusiasts who were equally proud to endure the heat in order to enjoy the local wildlife.

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Kep National Park

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • The entire trip will take about 2-3 hours.
  • The entrance fee s USD1.50 per person at the start of the trek just above the parking area of Veranda Natural Resort.
  • Start early because it is steaming hot in there and if you’re lucky you could see wildlife including birds, snakes, squirrels, monkeys, butterflies and many more.
  • Be guided by the maps and information on the trails as you walk up the mountain.
  • Bring water.
  • Wear mosquito repellent because mosquitoes are everywhere.
  • Wear decent walking shoes.
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Taste of Home: Cambodian Beef Lok Lak

Beef Lok Lak is one of the Cambodian dishes that we really like. Since we haven’t had it for a while, I decided to make it tonight for dinner.

Beef Lok Lak

It is a beef stir fry served with steamed rice, fried egg, fresh salad, and dipped in a lime pepper sauce. It is easy to make and tasty.

For those who wish to try making Cambodian Beef Lok Lak, here’s my simple recipe.

Ingredients good for 3 servings:

Marinade:

  • 500 grams of beef, cut into thin slice
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon black ground pepper

Lime pepper sauce:

  • juice of 2 lime
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon water

Serving the Beef Loklak:

  • 3 fried eggs
  • 100 grams of iceberg lettuce or lettuce of choice
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into thin slice
  • 1 spring onion, chopped

Beef Lok Lak

How to make Beef Lok Lak:

Step 1: In a large bowl, put in the beef. Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, olive oil, lime juice, white sugar, garlic and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl. Put it in the fridge and let it marinate for at least an hour.

Step 2: In a small mixing bowl, put in the ingredients for lime pepper sauce. Mix it thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it until serving.

Step 3: Arrange the salad on a platter.

Step 4: In a sauté pan, heat up 2 table spoons of olive oil on a high heat. Add the marinated beef. Stir fry it for about 5 minutes or until it is cooked.

Step 5: Once cooked, serve the Beef Lok Lak with fresh salad, steamed rice and lime pepper sauce. Share and enjoy!

Beat the heat at DIB Club

What’s the perfect way to cool off under the kiss of the summer Cambodian sun? Under the open sky, we took a dip in the soothing warm water, with stunning views of the tropical surrounding while relaxing with my family.

DIB Club

DIB Club

DIB Club

DIB Club is a brand new place in Phnom Penh blessed with a refreshing breeze from the Mekong River. When we arrived at the place, we were pretty impressed with the swimming pool – a huge, clean outdoor pool to lounge at!

DIB Club

DIB Club

DIB Club

Each poolside is cozy, perfect for lounging, dining and conversing.

DIB Club

DIB Club

Also, the kids can enjoy the paddling pool and the bouncy castle.

DIB Club

DIB Club

The entire place is tidy and nice. The food was good even though it was quite pricey for what it was. Plus, there was only a limited choices of drinks, and the music was too loud.

DIB Club

DIB Club

Overall, it’s one of the good places in Phnom Penh where to relax and beat the heat with family or friends away from the bustling city.

DIB Club

DIB Club

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • It is located on Kock Pich Street, near Golf Driving Range in Diamond Island, Phnom Penh.
  • The pool charge is $5 per person. However, if you order food and drinks there, you can use the pool for free.
  • You can make a reservation at (+353) 099-997-740.
  • No happy hour.

 

Relaxing at L’lephant Blanc Resort

Last weekend, we headed off to L’elephant Blanc Resort to relax, unwind and to escape the rush of our everyday life. It is a little heaven on earth in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the tranquil tropical gardens.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

We love the peaceful ambience of the place.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

We also like the saltwater swimming pool – it’s big enough and clean.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

There’s also a pool table, ping pong and a nice poolside restaurant. The food is good and the prices are reasonable (around $5 for a meal). We did enjoy our food and the drinks.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

The staff were friendly and helpful, and the wifi was descent.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

The place gets busier at weekends, but when we went there it was not crowded and we almost had the place to ourselves.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

Even though the whole place is tidy and nice, I think it needs some makeover to refresh the resort.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

L’lephant Blanc Resort

Overall, it’s a good value for money and it’s good for family weekend getaways.

L’lephant Blanc Resort

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • In some websites it is called Domrey Sor.
  • It is about 10kms, about 30 minutes drive, from the city centre. Cross the Monivong Bridge and continue along National Road 1 for about 6 kms then you’ll see the resort on your left.
  • For non-guests, the pool charge is $4 for adult and $2 for children. Otherwise it is free if you rent one of their bungalows.

Taking our Son to see the Temples of Angkor

Last weekend, we took our 10 year old little wanderer to Siem Reap to show to him one of the most amazing places in the world – the temples of Angkor, the landmark of Cambodia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was our 5th visit but it was even more special because we were showing such magnificent place to our little one for the first time.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor was the capital city of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to 15th century. I have learned that it was the largest city in the world from 1010 -1220 with about 0.1% of the world’s population. The Angkor Archaeological Park comprises of several temples such as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Ta Som, Banteay Srei, and many more, and the ruins are located in the middle of the jungle between farmlands.

Angkor Wat

The temples truly are amazing! And our little explorer was amazed at the beauty of the architecture, craftsmanship, the size and the details of each monument. Even though it was very hot and humid, he was still very energetic and very keen to explore everything, walk within the structure and marvel at the architecture of so long ago.

Angkor Wat

Ta Prohm

Bayon Temple

This time, we only visited three temples – Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm.

We all love Angkor Wat the most – it is grand and majestic! We went there twice before, during sunrise and sunset and the two visits gave us different feels.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Besides Angkor Wat, we also like Ta Prohm. I think it is the most romantic temple in the entire complex as you could feel the joint venture between nature and architecture merging into the forest. Pete, our little navigator was mesmerized by the several hundred years old trees and the way they were going out of the ancient ruins. It is incredible to think that this has been hidden for centuries.

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

We also enjoyed visiting Bayon Temple, the cutest of them all – it’s mystical, charming and you could see huge smiling Buddha faces everywhere.

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

Bayon Temple

Places like this certainly remain in our hearts forever and it is a wonder that you must see to experience it as pictures do not give it justice.

Angkor Archaeological Park

Angkor Archaeological Park

Angkor Archaeological Park

Angkor Archaeological Park

Little Lilly travel tip:

  • I strongly believe you must spend a minimum of 2 days and longer would be more preferable.
  • Entrance fees – 1 day=$37. 3 days=$62, 7 days= $72. Children below 12 years old don’t have to pay the entrance fee. Bring your child’s passport to show to the security otherwise you’ll have to pay for the admission fees.
  • Tuktuk charge for a day tour in Angkor complex is $15.
  • Wear proper clothes – no sleeveless, no shorts. Some temples like Angkor Wat, Baphoun, etc do not allow you to get inside if you are not properly dressed.
  • Wear comfortable shoes for walking because you have to walk a lot.
  • Bring a bottle of water to keep you from dehydration.
  • Bring a towel, an extra tee-shirt, a hat or an umbrella.
  • Bring a camera. There’s a lot opportunity to take good pictures.

 

Taste of Home: Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff is always a hit with the whole family. It is one of our comfort foods that everyone loves and makes everyone smile.

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff is a simple beef dish with mushroom swirled with fresh cream to make a creamy sauce and served over with rice, pasta, potatoes, green beans or French fries. But my family always loves it with hot steamed Jasmine rice.

In this recipe, we cook the mushrooms first before adding it with the rest of the ingredients so that the water in the mushrooms will evaporate and mushrooms don’t taste squishy.

It’s super yummy; uses easy ingredients and it whips up quickly.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 500 grams of beef, cut into thin strips
  • 2 kilograms of tomatoes, sliced into small cubes
  • 2 big onions, sliced into small cubes
  • 20 cL of fresh cream
  • 200 grams of mushroom, sliced thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 33 cL can of beer
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make Beef Stroganoff:

Step 1: Marinate the beef for at least 1 hour.

  • In a bowl, put the beef. Add soy sauce, black pepper and water. Keep adding water until it covers the meat. Mix well. Let it set for at least an hour.

Step 2: Cook the mushroom

  • In a frying pan, put the mushroom. Cook it above a gentle fire until the mushroom look dry and wee bit brown. Stir it regularly so that it won’t get burnt.

Step 3: Prepare the flour mixture

  • In a cup, put in the flour. Add about 20cl of water and mix until it becomes homogeneous.

Step 4: Prepare the tomato and onion mixture.

  • In a frying pan, put the tomatoes and onions together. Add a glass of water so it doesn’t burn. Mix well. Let it cook until it melts.
  • Add soy sauce and pepper. Stir.
  • Put in the beer. Stir. Let it cook until the beer stops foaming.
  • Add fresh cream. Stir.
  • Add the flour mixture. After you added the flour, stir it regularly so that the flour will not stick at the bottom of the pot.

Step 5: Putting together

  • Add the meat into the tomato and onion mixture. Stir.
  • Cook it above a gentle fire for about 5 minutes.

Step 6: Serve hot with steamed rice, pasta, potatoes, French fries, green beans or have the Beef Stroganoff by itself.

My Son’s Favorite Healthy Snacks for School

July 2016. Finally reunited with my 9 year old son (now 10) and we started living together abroad as a family.

So then, every day, I always look forward to waking up early and preparing his food (breakfast) and packing his snacks for school. Fortunately, his school is near our place (5 mins away), so we prefer eating lunch together at home.

As a mother, I try to send my son nutritious foods I know he would love and enjoy. During this period, we also learned that one of the best ways to encourage him to eat healthy is to make him part of menu planning and food shopping. We let him make choices – which bread to eat, sandwich fillings, fruit and vegetables, etc. Also, even though we know that fruit and vegetables are nature’s best snacks, sometimes we need to get creative to make them kid friendly and exciting.

Since today, marks my first year both as a working mom and fulltime hands-on mom, I would like to share with you my son’s favorite snacks (he asked me to make it several times) that I prepared for him last school year:

Fresh fruits

Skewers time!

A bowl of grapes with a small box of apple juice

Freshly cut mangoes with yogurt juice

Fresh oranges and juice

Cookie time!

French cookies with blueberry yogurt

Danish cookies with blueberry yogurt

Cookies and fruits

Oreo cookies (without the sweet stuff inside) paired with yogurt juice.

Chicken nuggets

Homemade chicken nuggets with 4 in 1 Dutch Mill juice.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Homemade spaghetti carbonara with apricot juice.

Meatballs

Korean pork style meatballs paired with yogurt

Wraps

Omelette, Emmental cheese, bacon and luncheon wrapped together with onion and chives wraps. 😍👌

Bacon wrapped in yellow mango served with apple juice

Sandwich

Egg sandwich served with apple juice

Sausage time!

Sausage with freshly cut green apples