Cambodia: Discovering Street Art in Boeung Kak in Phnom Penh

Boeung Kak Lake, also known as Lakeside in Phnom Penh, was a backpacker’s haven. We went there once in July 2010, spent a couple of minutes – chillin’ in one of the bars in front of the lake while enjoying the lake breeze. At that time we hadn’t heard about the street art there until very recently.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Since our son loves visual art, we decided to explore Street 93 in Boeung Kak so that he could see and experience how street art looks like.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

The Street 93 in Boeung Kak is a small, colorful alley. As we walked through it, we saw murals and paintings on the walls. A lot of the street art were in front of people’s home – some were even hiding behind the parked tuktuk or clothesline. I heard that some locals and tourists alike come and paint there to bring life back into the area.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Once there, I noticed that Boeung Kak Lake’s vibe was different when compared in 2010 – it’s quite calmer and quieter now. After the lake was completely drained and filled in, some homes have been cleared out and hordes of gypsy travelers are no longer there. Likewise, while wandering around the area, we spotted small children playing in the streets, some locals cooking their food, etc.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

It was nice to see the street art, although it rained while we were there. I enjoyed the street art but not the place – it’s still kind of dodgy.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

I realized that street art is interesting, creative, unlimited, vibrant, eye-catching and diverse. I think the murals and the paintings in the street remind people to feel alive and make them happy. It also inspires, motivates, allows people think, and makes peoples’ ordinary day a lot more interesting.

Street art in Phnom Penh

Street art in Phnom Penh

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • How to get there: Take Monivong Blvd. Turn left when you reach the traffic light near Phnom Penh Hotel. Keep going until you reach the mosque. Then turn left as soon as you see the bright murals on the walls it means you’re on the right street.
  • It’s free. There is no entrance fee to walk through the art district.
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Myanmar: Twilight walk and sunset at Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon

Yangon is a hustling and gorgeously messy city. So, one afternoon we wanted to escape the chaos after exploring the city, and we headed to Kandawgyi Lake for a wee bit of peace and quiet.

Kandawgyi Lake

Kandawgyi Lake

Schwedagon Paya

I’ve learned that Kandawgyi Lake (also known as Great Royal Lake) is an artificial lake, built by the British as a reservoir to supply the city with clean water. It is one of the two major lakes in Yangon and it’s the one nearest to the city center.

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

We watched the glowing sun vanished into the thin air and we ambled along the lakefront and around the park while savoring the tranquility of the place. The place is most attractive at sunset and provides some pretty sweet views. At twilight, the Karaweik Hall looked stunning and from a distance it looked like a huge golden barge floating in the middle of the lake, shimmering in the sun and when it was reflected in its calm waters.

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

sunset at Kandawgyi Lake

After strolling leisurely, we dined out in one of the local restaurants while enjoying the chilly breeze and the serene setting.

Kandawgyi Lake

strolling at the lakeside of Kandawgyi Lake

Chicken BBQ Burmese style

Kandawgyi Lake

Undoubtedly, we had a gorgeous afternoon there. The lake and the park are both beautiful and peaceful, and certainly an oasis in the middle of the congested, intense city.

Kandawgyi Lake

Kandawgyi Lake

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • It is open daily until 10PM.
  • Entrance fee is 2,000 Kyat ($0.50).
  • There are several open air restaurants around the park.

Cambodia: A visit to the chapel in Areyksat Village in Phnom Penh with friends

One of the things I enjoy doing very early in the morning at weekends while my two handsome boys are still enjoying their sleep is to visit the Chapel in Areyksat Village in Phnom Penh with friends. The village is about 15 minutes by ferry boat ride from the city.

While waiting the ferry boat to Areyksat Village

A cousin’s friend introduced me to this place very recently, and since then we have visited it several times – about 7 times. We took a ferry boat at 6AM. Once there, we stayed for about an hour before we headed back home.

Here are 4 reasons why I love to visit the chapel in Areyksat Village in the morning:

1.The chapel in Areyksat Village is small and beautiful. It is unique as it houses 2 statues of Mother Mary – the statue of Virgin Mary was found by a Cambodian Buddhist in the Mekong River on November 19, 2012 and the statue of Mary, Mother of Mekong River was found by a Khmer Muslim and 8 Vietnamese fishermen in the Mekong River on April 16, 2008. I love visiting this chapel early in the morning because it’s very quiet – a perfect place for praying and for meditation.

before heading back home

The main door of the chapel

The Statue of the Virgin Mary

The Statue of the Virgin Mary

with the Statue of the Virgin Mary

2. The ferry boat ride is fascinating especially since it crosses where the Tonle Sap River and Mekong River meet. The water is very calm and peaceful. As the morning breeze touches my face and the warm sun shines on me, it brings a feeling of excitement, joy, smile and a wonderful sense of expectation.

aboard the ferry boat

aboard the ferry boat

the ferry boats

The ferry boat

…to the village

on our way to the village

3. I like going there early in the morning because it’s fresh, not too hot and not too crowded. Plus, I could see the sun creeping over the horizon – magical.

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

…and every sunrise is always a marvel

4. The village seems interesting. It seems that it is popular for bicycling, as I noticed many cyclists while aboard the ferry boat. In addition, as the ferry approaches the wharf, I saw several small boat houses where some poor families live. Likewise, inside the chapel compound, I’ve noticed a wee school (with 2 or 3 classrooms) where they teach mostly small Vietnamese children since most of the families living nearby are Vietnamese.

can you see the boat houses?

The boat houses

A boat house

Certainly, the early morning trip to the chapel in Aryeksat is a beautiful start to the day – happy for the breath of fresh air, and grateful for all the goodness that surrounds me and for the beautiful family and friends I have. I love it! And next time I go there, I would bring my family and explore the other part of the village.

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • The ferry boat ride is very cheap – almost nothing as it only costs 500 Riels ($0.125) each way person.
  • The ferry boat is available from 5.30AM to 8.00PM daily.

 

Thailand: Relaxing in Phatong Beach in Phuket

After enjoying our breakfast at our hotel room, we were ready and excited for a relaxing and fun day at Phatong Beach.

Phatong Beach

i love my tan…

Phatong Beach is popularly known by its long, wide, white sandy beaches. It’s busy, but it’s family-friendly. It’s close to all Phuket’s main attractions. The beach has a great atmosphere in the day and has a good fun-vibe as there’s always many things going on to keep the whole squad entertained.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

Since our hotel was located near the beach (5 min by foot), we decided to walk. Unfortunately, we took the long route. We strolled for about 30 minutes from our hotel to the beach, but it was ok because it allowed us to explore the area.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

As soon as we arrived at the beach, our son had immediately plunged himself into the water since it was about a year and 3 months that we hadn’t gone to the beach. Certainly, Pete had a time of his life at the beach – swimming in the sea and playing with the sand the whole day long!

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

We had a real fun day too – I got my hair braided and Alan got an temporary hyena tattoo.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

We enjoyed lying on the beach all day under warm sweet sunshine and a gentle little breeze. It was like a massage from nature – so relaxing and so enjoyable. And woke up beaming with energy.

Phatong Beach

Then grabbed a book that’s perfect beach read while listening to the sound of the waves, savoring the smell of the ocean, and reveling in the mesmerizing beautiful view. In between, we guzzled down a glass of fresh fruit juice and sipped on Singha Beer.

Phatong Beach

Phatong Beach

And at lunch time, we devoured Thai food with pleasure.

Thai Chicken BBQ

Thai chicken noodle

Fresh coconut juice

Phatong Beach

The beach closed at 5PM, before the sun sunk further and further down the horizon. We packed our stuff and went back to the hotel.

Indeed, it was a great relaxing beach getaway! It gave us positive energy! We had a ball!

Thailand: A Lazy Day at Karon Beach in Phuket

Our first quarter in 2018 was quite crazy – long and busy days at work! So we decided to have a short trip to Phuket for a relaxing getaway at the island and beach.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

We headed to Karon Beach and spent the whole day lazying there. It is the second most developed beach in Phuket and it is conveniently located 15 minutes away from our hotel in central Patong (the most industrialized area in town).

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Karon Beach is just beautiful and lovely with soft fine sand for miles, clear water, big waves, and beautiful sunset. The beach is long and open and it is nice for walking. It is quite green, clean, it does not feel.as crowded as Patong Beach, and there’s not too many boats to destroy the atmosphere.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

There are sea sports activities to choose from – surf boats, jet skis and para-gliding. And there is a corniche on it with stacks of small shops and restaurants. There are also restaurants and supermarkets over the road if you need some refreshments, and hotels too.

Para-gliding at Karon Beach

Reading on the beach

Karon Beach

best beef burger we’ve had for ages

Fortunately, the red flag was not raised on that day, so we’re able to enjoy swimming and playing with the waves – so fun! Besides, we passed the time sunbathing, sleeping, talking, eating, playing with the sand and reading.

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Certainly, nothing soothes the soul like a whole day beautifully spent relaxing at the beach while listening to the waves rolling on the shore!

Karon Beach

Karon Beach

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • I heard that in low season, which runs from April to October, the waves are quite big, and if you see red flags please don’t swim because you might drown.
  • March to May are the hottest months in Phuket. June to October is the monsoon season while the coolest season runs from November to February.
  • You can rent a pair of beach chairs with a parasol for 200 baht (about $7).

 

Phnom Penh: Sip and Paint with my tween son at The Art Bar

Being a mom of a pre-teen boy is a rewarding part of my life. Even though he is our only child, we don’t spoil him with many toys but we want him to experience things and stuff for his own benefit and at the same time to strengthen the bond between us

@ The Art Bar

Fortunately, our pre-teen boy is the most fun to hang out with because he is always up for some new adventure. So, one beautiful Saturday afternoon, I found some spare time on my work schedule, and I wanted to make the most of my time, and since my son loves art, I took him to The Art Bar for a sip and paint course.

@ The Art Bar

@ The Art Bar

The Art Bar is a new art entertainment in town where you can fuel your imagination. It offers activities like painting and pottery.

@ The Art Bar

Before we started, we were only given 6 colors – white, black, blue, green, yellow, and orange, and our drink was also served. Then, our instructor started with a sweet welcome speech and followed by a lovely explanation about each type of brush we were going to use, how to combine colors to create a totally new one, and how to clean our brushes.

@ The Art Bar

The art instructor @ The Art Bar

@ The Art Bar

@ The Art Bar

Then we started to paint. Throughout the course, our instructor taught us different techniques such as how to make dark, medium and light shades and how to create the desired effect we wanted. He also walked around us and since we were only 4 on that session he had enough time to help each one of us.

@ The Art Bar

@ The Art Bar

Personally, I’m no artist – I never held a brush before. Although my son loves art, yet it was only his 2nd time to paint on a canvass. However, it was not a problem at all because the art instructor guided us step by step along the way. At first I was quite skeptical since I had never painted in my life, but I’m proud and I love how my painting turned out. Since then, I fell in love with painting, and I can’t believe how habit-forming it is.

Proud of my first painting, 2/16/18 @ The Art Bar, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Here are 3 reasons why we like The Art Bar:

  1. The experience. It was fun and even though we are amateur with painting, we were not intimidated. I also love the idea of bridging the gap between a non-artist person and the art world. My son and I learned basic painting techniques and I was able to unleash my inner artist.
  2. The place. I liked the vibe of the place – it’s cozy, spacious and studio type.
  3. The staff. They’re friendly and helpful. They also didn’t mind taking some photos of us while we were painting.

@ The Art Bar

Overall, my son and I enjoyed the 2-hour painting course, and our faced was flushed with pride that we were able to create our own masterpiece! Certainly, it was an absolutely amazing mother-and-son bonding moment, and we’ll definitely coming back for a pottery course!

@ The Art Bar

If you are looking for something artsy, something creative, something new to do in the Penh with family or friends, The Art Bar is a perfect place for you!

@ The Art Bar

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • It is located at #225, Street 45, right below the Chroy Changvar Bridge. There’s not enough signs on the road though, so if you’re driver has a difficulty in finding the place, the best way is to call the Art Bar and let your driver talk to the receptionist.
  • It is open every day from 10AM to 9PM.
  • We paid $25 per person for a 2-hour session of Sip & Paint which includes painting materials, a drink/beverage of your choice and a whole pack of amazing fun!
  • You can make reservation online at www.theartbarkh.com or by phone +885-299-188.

Phnom Penh: An afternoon stroll at Wat Phnom

Do you know how Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia got its name?

Take a break from the bustle of Phnom Penh and take a serene walk through the park of this exquisitely built Wat Phnom roundabout situated up on a hillock, where the city got its name.

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom

According to the legend, when a wealthy widowed Khmer woman named Daun Penh was dawdling by the riverbank, she found a Koki tree and she noticed four bronze statues of the Buddha inside it. She took the statues out and constructed a small shrine on a manmade hill. Then in 1437 King Ponhea Yat named the new city as Krong Chaktomok Mongkol or Phnom Penh. Through the years, it became a sacred site and sanctuary where people pray for more blessings, to make wishes for good luck and success in business or school.

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom was built in the north of the city center in 1372, and stands 27 meters high above the sea level. To the north, you will see a busy market. To the west, you could choose to drop into a café. To the southeast, you can see the Post Office Square, which gives you a glimpse into Phnom Penh’s colonial past, the Chinese House and The Exchange, both offering a contemporary take on beautiful historical buildings and great food.

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is a very calm area in the middle of a beautiful garden. It has a great park for people to relax. It has many old Buddha statues of different types as well as wall paintings. At the west of the sanctuary there is a prominent stupa that contains the ashes of the king and his royal family. There are stunning views of the grounds and the buildings. This is a good place to witness real religious habits and tradition from Cambodian people.

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom

I think the temple’s most striking element is the giant flower clock that has 20 meter circumference. I have learned that the original clock was a gift from France which was installed in 1960s and in 2000 it was re-installed with a newer version which was a gift from China.

Wat Phnom

We have been there quite a few times, and we’ve always had a nice walk. The temple at the top is really impressive, the vegetation is magnificent and the structures are fascinating, but most importantly the historical background makes it more worthwhile to check out.

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is a beautiful temple, and it’s certainly a zen place in the middle of the bust city.

Little Lilly travel tips:

  • The best time to visit the place is from 4PM to 6PM – at this time it’s not too crowded and not too hot.
  • The entrance fee is $1 for foreigners.
  • You can buy a songbird at the entrance and release it.
  • There are always quite a few mischievous monkeys around Wat Phnom, so keep an eye on your soda, your snack, your wallet and your smartphone (a monkey stole my Coca-Cola once and would just not give it back).