Top 10

10 Titanic sites for travelers


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When the “unsinkable” 52,000-ton RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and slid to the bottom of the ocean on her maiden voyage on April 15, 1912, you’d think it would be a night to forget, with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

But not a bit of it — the Titanic centennial will be a worldfest of commemorations, re-enactments, auctions and other special events taking place on both sides of the Atlantic, plus a couple of less likely sites around the globe.

Here’s a rundown on where to see the fixtures, fittings and other artefacts which survived, relive the voyage of those who didn’t and buy into the atmosphere of the world’s most advanced steamship of the times, doomed forever to the deep by pride, folly and human error.

1. Belfast, Northern Ireland

1.Titanic Belfast

Even the chippie is getting on board in Belfast.

In the city where the fated liner was built, £90 million (US$143 million) and three years have been invested to create a “Titanic Experience” on the old Harland and Wolff ship-building yard.

The show — the world’s largest such experience — opened on March 31 with full-scale reconstructions, rides and a bevy of special effects to tell how Titanic was conceived at the dawn of the 20th century prior to sailing out of Belfast on April 2, 1912.

A full-blown Titanic Festival is now in full swing, including a revival of 1997 Tony-award winner “Titanic The Musical,” an MTV gig on the slipway from which the great liner first plunged into the water and a new play based on the emotional testimonies given to the Titanic Inquiry which followed the disaster in 1912.

City elders and thespians will not be the only ones paying tribute; there’s even a fish and chip shop in the city, Mr.J.D’s, with its own stash of Titanic memorabilia.

2. Southampton, England

2.Seacity Museum Southampton

The city where the ill-fated journey began.

On April 10, 1912, Titanic sailed from the newly built White Star Dock on her much-hyped maiden voyage, and a slew of events in the south coast port will include guided walks around the 45 graves of victims who were buried in Southampton.

A street theater company, including two actors with ancestors who were Titanic crew, will be staging a play based around their own terrifyingly real experiences on the voyage.

From April 12-15 the British Titanic Society will hold its annual convention in the city, with an open day for the public, and the whole city will be packed with memorabilia and souvenirs for sale.

3. Cherbourg, France

3.Titanic

One of the few times Cherbourg was preferable to New York.

The French harbor town that was Titanic’s first port of call saw 281 passengers board their final voyage on the evening of April 10.

The stop-over lasted just 90 minutes — long enough to load the ship with Champagne, fine French cheeses and 10,000 bottles of wine to tempt the palates of connoisseurs traveling First Class.

As the ship sailed into the night towards the south coast of Ireland for its final pick-up, nobody could have imagined in all the excitement that the lucky ones would be the 15 cross-Channel passengers who actually disembarked after the short sailing from Southampton.

Cherbourg is planning to capture its own share of the centennial action this April. An exhibition is due to open at the Cité de la Mer maritime leisure park based on loot and info their president managed to gather from a research trip to New York’s Ellis Island and Halifax, Nova Scotia, while Paris designers have been busy reconstructing part of the liner’s interior and hull.


4. Cobh, Ireland

4.Cobh1

Big ships still sail in Cobh’s waters today.

The buildings, streets and piers of this historic port formerly known as Queenstown became Titanic’s last port of call on April 11,1912.

Only 44 of the 123 passengers who embarked here survived, and the town has long had a memorial to the victims, a Titanic heritage center and a walking tour devoted to the town’s history with the liner.

A series of special events is being staged this month to bump up the tourist offering.


5. St. John, Newfoundland, Canada

5.St John Newfoundland and Labrador

The wreck lay off this coast for more than 70 years before being discovered.

Not far from this lonely town, Titanic hit an iceberg in the early morning of April 15. The wreck lay undiscovered until 1985, when it acquired a new life as a tourist attraction, and now, for moneybags with shipwreck nostalgia, the highlight of Titanic’s centennial will be the chance to visit its deathbed in the deep by submarine.

There’s an eerie synchronicity about the US$12,498 starting price tag for the two-week trip this summer — almost exactly US$1 for every foot the liner sank beneath the ocean’s surface.

But that only takes you as far as the surface of the site on an expedition ship. Travelers who actually want to dive into the wreck in a Mir submersible will have to come up wth more than US$66,000 for the privilege for getting up close and personal with the propellers, boiler room and shadowy remnants of the hull.

6. Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

6.Fairview Cemetery, Halifax

The final resting place for 150 of Titanic’s victims.

Many of Titanic’s victims were buried in Canada’s premier maritime city, the closest city to the sinking.

A curling rink was set up as a temporary morgue, and while the bodies of some U.S. victims were shipped home for local burial, the 150 that remained were buried mostly in Fairview Lawn non-denominational cemetery. There are also 19 graves in Catholic Mount Olivet and 10 in the Baron de Hirsch Jewish cemetery.

As well as the graveyards, Halifax has some moving mementoes of the tragedy in its Maritime Museum, including the leather shoes of an “unknown child” who was buried there before being identified years later.

The museum is staging a special exhibition on the cable ships that recovered 205 bodies from the wreck. The Bedford Institute of Oceanography in the cty has its own Titanic display.

7. New York, United States

7.Name bracelet of Titanic passenger

More than 5,500 artifacts, amounting to around US$189 million.

The luckiest people alive in 1912 were the 705 Titanic passengers who lived to see the Manhattan skyline courtesy of RMS Carpathia, the liner which rescued survivors from the lifeboats.

A century later, their descendants may well ponder if it’s part of their heritage going under the hammer in an auction of 5,500 objects recovered from the ship being sold off in New York by Guernsey’s auctioneers and brokers.

Everything from the hairpin of a fleeing passenger to a diamond name bracelet to a chunk of the liner’s hull went under the hammer on April 11 — but this was not a sale for souvenir-hunters.

A court order has stipulated that the whole collection must go as one lot to a collector who will keep it shipshape and allow the public to view it from time to time. The collection has been valued at around US$189 million.

8. Branson, Missouri, United States

branson titanic museum

This museum is ship-shape.

The U.S. midwest may be well inland from the Atlantic, but a version of Titanic lives on permanently at Titanic Branson, a two-story museum shaped like the ship itself.

Bizarrely, perhaps, it’s one of a pair — there’s a sister museum at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and between them they claim to have 800 artifacts from the ship, as well as emotional tributes like a memorial wall telling survivors’ stories.

There’s also a full-scale replica of the ship’s Grand Staircase and a first-class suite recreated from architects’ drawings, not to mention an 5.4-meter model of the ship that took two years to build.

Poignantly, upon entry each visitor receives a “boarding pass” bearing the name of an actual passenger or crew member. Even more poignant is the sight of Madeleine Astor’s life-vest at Pigeon Forge — the only one, claims the museum, authenticated as coming from the Titanic.

9. Victoria, Australia

9.Titanic dinner theatre, Melbourne

Your chance to partake in a Titanic meal.

Trust Melbourne, home of the world’s tackiest soap operas, to make a theatrical entertainment out of a tragedy.

It’s been a decade since “Captain” Andrew Singer invested a fortune in recreating the Titanic’s dining rooms, installing special effects and commissioning a theater to recreate the last dinner on the fated ship.

There’s a formal dress code in First Class, fog machines and loud bangs to wash down the casual grub in steerage, and at midnight the entire company abandons ship. Not that this dinner theater is actually afloat — so the management promises you won’t get wet “unless a spillage occurs.”

In nearby Ballarat, there is a much more touching tribute to the victims. The Titanic Memorial Bandstand is dedicated to the musicians who played on, hell-bent on doing what they could to raise morale as the ship went down. All eight members of the orchestra perished.

10. Mystic, Connecticutt, United States

Mystic Aquarium

An aquarium is perhaps the most apt memorial for the ship.

An aquarium may seem an unlikely venue for recreating a human tragedy, but in Mystic the Sea Research Foundation is making a serious attempt at bringing to life the atmosphere and emotions of the fateful night.

A former designer from Disney has browsed the archives of maritime explorer Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the ship in 1985, to create an ambitious interactive exhibition.

The first room focuses on the happy anticipation around the construction, but the mood changes sharply as visitors progress to the next room, dominated by a giant iceberg.

Here, a drop in temperature and warning messages sets the scene for the disaster room, which aims to make passengers feel as if they have descended 13,795 meters to the ocean bed.


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10 ways to get a cheaper holiday


[CNN-GO]

We work all year with nary a break to speak about, then blow whatever we’ve saved on 10 days in a motel some place, somewhere.

With just a little extra research, there are ways to get that dream holiday far cheaper.

Cheaper holiday

Feel free to watch my TV and feed my cats.

1. Book a home, not a hotel

With accommodation often accounting for a huge chunk out of your travel budget, it’s one of the easiest ways to cut your costs.

If you plan and time it right, home swapping can allow you to stay somewhere for free. It also means someone is looking after your place while you’re away — as long as you’re not creeped out by the thought of a stranger nosing through your stuff.

Two well-established home swapping sites are HomeExchange.com and HomeLink.org.

There are a range of new players in the home/apartment rental space. Among them, Great Space, which touts something of a premium database of accommodations.

The more established Airbnb is another way to rent a local’s place often at half the price of a hotel in the same city. You can also use Airbnb to rent out your own home while you’re on your holiday.


Cheaper holiday

Ticket to a bunch of great savings.

2. Strategize your flight booking

There are a few ways to save money when booking an air ticket.

Air tickets are usually the cheapest on Tuesdays as airfare sales usually start late Monday. It’s cheapest to fly midweek.

When quoting prices for two passengers or more, split up your purchase and shop for one passenger first. Otherwise, the system will look for ticket options for the requested seat numbers — which is not necessarily the cheapest option.


Cheaper holiday

Lake Ohrid in Macedonia.

3. Go to the next tourist destinations first

It may sound like we’re being simplistic, but few people bother to research alternative destinations despite knowing they will be cheaper. Popular tourist spots inevitably increase their prices, so instead of Venice, how about Lake Ohrid in Macedonia or Lviv in Ukraine?

Places like these are still priced for residents instead of tourists.

Cheaper holiday

Rule no.1: every dime counts.

4. Accumulate small savings

Here are some things many travelers often overlook: insurance, phone roaming fees and a credit card’s foreign transaction fee.

Insurance companies deliver discounts for careful travelers. Essential Travel’s “Use your head” campaign for example gives skiers a 15 percent discount if they wear a helmet.

Also, check with your existing credit card companies for travel perks — some such as HSBC and Citibank often offer free travel insurance if you use them to book your holiday.

If you have to use a phone while you’re abroad, get a local SIM card or use free apps such as Skype or Viber, as long as the required local Wi-Fi isn’t too expensive.

Cheaper holiday

Best notification of the day.

5. Compare prices, find discounts

There are many decent travel deal sites out there.

FareCompare helps you compare flight fares on different sites all at once. Mobile apps like Kayak go even further to cross-check hotel, car rental and flight prices (even the checked baggage fee) from any location for free.

Yapta tracks flight price changes before you buy and checks for airline refunds after purchase.


Cheaper holiday

Loyal customers get free hotel stays.

6. Use booking sites with loyalty perks

Hotels.com recently introduced a buy-10-nights-get-one-free deal. HotelPlanner.com is giving away US$500 in free hotel rooms to its loyal Facebook, Twitter and mobile app fans once a week.

Booking sites like Agoda.com and Booking.com now give loyalty points to customers. They reward you with points after each purchase that you can use later on another booking.

These websites also promise the best price guaranteed, meaning you can get a refund if you spot a cheaper offer after booking with them.


Cheaper holiday

Accor’s A|Club program allows members to convert points to airline miles.

7. Don’t be lazy, get loyal

No matter if it is hotels, airlines or car rental companies you are using, join their loyalty programs. It’s too easy to miss out on hundreds of dollars worth of perks simply because you can’t be bothered filling in the application.

Accor’s A|Club and IHG’s Priority Club cover thousands of hotels worldwide. It’s a sure bet if you use a chain hotel, they’ll have a program you can join.

Two things to pay attention to: there may be a service charge involved when redeeming your points, and make sure your rewards points are added to your account after any purchase.

Cheaper holiday

One of the Sandemans tours.

8. Use locals, not expensive tour agencies

Connecting with a local on your trip not only ensures you avoid the tourist traps, it also is a lot cheaper than using a large professional tour company.

Twigmore is a new online community dedicated for travelers on Facebook.

You can also book local independent tour guides directly in hundreds of cities from Localguiding.com or from one of the biggest independent tour providers in Europe — Sandemans New Europe Tours.

These often offer tours for free, so it’s a nice geture to give a tip after the tour to ensure this kind of initiative can continue for others.


Cheaper holiday

Wait, I know I have a coupon somewhere.

9. Look for travel coupon codes

Before booking travel arrangements, check out travel coupons available on travel sites or sites devoted for coupons fans.

A search on PromotionalCodes.com under the category “flight” comes up with 10 percent off for Emirates’ tickets, 70 percent off airport parking, and more.

Dealzippy.co.uk shows you all the coupons available online by cities.

Cheaper holiday

Best way to travel for socialites.

10. Share a ride

Environmentally friendly as well as cost efficient, ride sharing makes crossing the country cheaper and better.

Sites like mitfahrgelegenheit.de — for Germany mostly but also have sites dedicated to a few other European cities and roadsharing.com — mainly for Italy but also for other parts of Europe — are popular, thus, yield more options for travelers.

For instance, sharing ride from Berlin to Munich costs EUR 20 to EUR 30 but a train ticket costs EUR 121.

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10 World’s most ‘thrilling’ airports


After most takeoffs you look forward to the free pretzels; with these you’re just pleased to be alive
By Ivy Zhang 30 June, 2011

With the help of an anonymous commercial pilot, Airfarewatchdog.com has compiled a list of the world’s most “thrilling” airports.

And they don’t mean those that include bouncy castles and gambling machines.

From taking off over sheer mountain drops to landings that fly just feet over beachgoers, these airports could be the most memorable part of your trip.

Toncontín International Airport

Toncontín International Airport.

Toncontín International Airport, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Surrounded by mountains, the airport resembles a zigzag and pilots have to weave between the mountains as they land.

Queenstown Airport, Queenstown, New Zealand
The Remarkables, a jagged mountain range seen in “The Lord of the Rings,” make landing at Queenstown airport a real knee-knocker.

Gustaf III Airport, St. Jean, St. Barthélemy
Its runway is only 2,100 foot long, and at its end lays St. Jean Beach and the clear blue ocean.

Courchevel Airport, Courchevel, France
Located at an altitude of 6,588 feet high in the French Alps, Courchevel Airport, with a runway as short as 1,772 feet, is one of the most dangerous around the globe.

Princess Juliana International Airport

Princess Juliana International Airport.

Princess Juliana International Airport, Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Pilots only get around 7,000 feet to land at Princess Juliana International Airport, meaning they have to fly within shouting distance of the sunbathers at neighboring Maho Beach.

Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport, Sitka, Alaska
Featured in the movie “The Proposal,” the Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport is located on the small island of Japonski. Almost completely surrounded by water, pilots must heed boulders that could be washed onto the runway during bad weather.

Catalina Airport (Airport in the Sky), Avalon, California
Because of its lofty elevation and sheer cliff, Catalina Airport is nicknamed “Airport in the Sky.” As its runway is lifted in the middle, pilots can have trouble pinpointing its end.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport

Tenzing-Hillary Airport.

Tenzing-Hillary Airport (Lukla Airport), Lukla, Nepal
Gateway to Mount Everest, Tenzing-Hillary Airport is located in the snow-capped Himalayas. Takeoff involves speeding downhill and if you’re not airborne before the end of the runway, you plummet into a void below.

Barra Airport, Barra, Scotland
Barra Airport is the only one in the world where planes land on a beach. When the windsock is flying, locals are informed to stay away from its three runways, which are marked by wooden poles. 

LaGuardia Airport, New York, New York
The runway is short and bordered by Bowery and Flushing bays, and the air space is crowded as there are two other airports — JFK and Newark — nearby. A short drive from Manhattan, approaching planes seem to touch the skyline.

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Top 10 Most Remote Places in the World


[Toptenz]

Thanks to modern technology and air travel, the world is forever becoming a smaller place. Where journeys from one continent to another once took months, they now take hours, and sometimes it seems like there is nowhere left for a would-be adventurer to really get away from it all. Still, if you have the time, money, and know-how, there are still some places off the map—or just barely on it—that remain shrouded in mystery simply by virtue of being really difficult to reach. Whether mining camps at the top of the world, or tiny islands thousands of miles from civilization, the following are the top 10 most remote places left on planet Earth.

10. Easter Island

 

Located some 2,000 miles west of the Chilean Coast, Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, is a tiny island that has become famous for its remarkable isolation in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. It is relatively small, measuring roughly seventy square miles in size, and is today home to around 4,000 people. The island has become well known for the massive rock sculptures called Moai that dot its beaches. They were carved sometime around the year 1500 by the island’s earliest inhabitants, and it has been said that the massive wood sleds needed to transport them from one place to another are a big part of what led to the almost total deforestation of Easter Island. Scientists have argued that the island was once lush and tree-covered, but today it is relatively barren, a feature that only adds to the sense of sheer isolation that is said to overtake most first-time visitors. When the first settlers migrated to the island, the journey took several weeks, but today there is a small airport (reportedly the most remote in all the world) that carries passengers to the island by way of Santiago, Chile.

9. La Rinconada, Peru

 

For sheer inaccessibility, few locations in South America compare to La Rinconada, a small mining town in the Peruvian Andes. Located nearly 17,000 feet above sea level, La Rinconada is considered the “highest” city in the world, and it is this stunning geography that makes it so desolate. The city is located on a permanently frozen glacier, and can only be reached by truck via treacherous and winding mountain roads. Just reaching the city takes days, and even then altitude sickness, combined with the shantytown’s deplorable condition, means that few people can handle living there for long. Still, the town is said to have as many as 30,000 inhabitants, almost all of whom are involved in the business of mining gold, which is extracted from beneath the ice inside nearby caverns. In addition to its remoteness, La Rinconada has gained a dubious reputation as a destination for poor and desperate workers, many of whom work the mines for free in exchange for the right to keep a small percentage of the gold ore they find.

8. McMurdo Station, Antarctica

 

Located literally at the bottom of the world, Antarctica is easily one of the most remote places on the face of the Earth. There are no native inhabitants to the continent, but there are several research centers constantly in operation there, and of these McMurdo Station is the largest. Located on Ross Island near the northern tip of the continent, the almost perpetually frozen station is a center of international research, and is home to as many as 1,200 scientists and workers during the warmer summer months. It’s one of the most desolate locations on the planet, but although McMurdo is as far from a major city as any location in the world, even it is no longer as backwater as it used to be. Trips by boat to Antarctica once took months, sometimes even years, but McMurdo’s three airstrips have helped make the region a much less remote destination than before. Thanks to this, the scientists at the station now enjoy many of the modern amenities found in major cities, including gyms, television, and even a nine-hole Frisbee golf course.

7. Cape York Peninsula, Australia

 

Australia is known both for its extremely low population density and untouched natural beauty, both of which are best exemplified by Cape York, Peninsula, a huge expanse of untouched wilderness located on the country’s northern tip. The region has a population of only 18,000 people, most of whom are part of the country’s aboriginal tribes, and it is considered to be one of the largest undeveloped places left in the world. This helps contribute to its stunning natural beauty, but it also makes Cape York about as difficult to reach as any destination in Australia. The peninsula has become a popular destination for adventurous tourists, who drive jeeps and trucks down the unpaved Peninsula Development Road whenever it isn’t closed due to flooding during the rainy season. But even with 4-wheel drive trucks, many of the more heavily overgrown parts of Cape York Peninsula are completely inaccessible, and some regions have still only been surveyed by helicopter. Photo: http://www.abc.net.au

 

6. Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

 

At 836,000 square miles in size, Greenland is the world’s largest island, but its tiny population of 57,000 people means that it’s also the most desolate. And of all the towns in Greenland, perhaps none is as remote (or as difficult to pronounce) as Ittoqqortoormiit, a small fishing and hunting village located on the island’s eastern shore, to the north of Iceland. The town is part of a municipal district roughly the size of England, but it has a population of only slightly more than 500 people, meaning that each person technically has more than 150 square miles to call their own. Residents make their living off of hunting polar bears and whales, which are prevalent in the area, and by fishing for Halibut during the warmer months. Ittoqqortoormiit lies on the coast, but the seas surrounding it are almost perpetually frozen, leaving only a three-month window when the town is easily accessible by boat. There is an airport some 25 miles away, but flights are rare. For the most part, the town, one of the northernmost settlements in the world, is completely isolated in the vastness of the tundra. Photo: http://dlareh.blogspot.com

 

5. Kerguelen Islands

 

Also known as the “Desolation Islands” for their sheer distance from any kind of civilization, the Kerguelen Islands are a small archipelago located in the southern Indian Ocean. There is no airstrip on the islands, and to get to them travelers must take a six-day boat ride from Reunion, a small island located off the coast of Madagascar. The islands have no native population, but like Antarctica, which lies several hundred miles south, the Kerguelens have a year-round population of scientists and engineers from France, which claims them as a territory. The islands do have something of a storied past, and since they were first discovered in 1772 they have been visited by a number of different biologists and explorers, including Captain James Cook, who made a brief stop on the archipelago in 1776. Today the island is primarily a scientific center, but it also holds a satellite, a French missile defense system, and even serves as a sort of refuge for a particular type of French cattle that has become endangered on the mainland.

4. Pitcairn Island

 

Pitcairn Island is a tiny speck of land located nearly dead in the center of the southern Pacific Ocean. Its closest neighbors are the Gambier Islands and Tahiti to the West, but even these are several hundred miles away. The island, which is the last remaining British territory in the Pacific, has a standing population of some fifty people, many of whom are descended from crewmembers of the famed HMS Bounty. In 1789, the Bounty was the setting for a now-legendary mutiny, when crewmembers enchanted by the idyllic life of the native Pacific islanders overthrew their commander, burned their ship in a nearby bay, and settled on Pitcairn. Today, the descendants of those sailors mostly make their living off of farming, fishing, and selling their extremely rare postage stamps to collectors, but even with modern transportation they still remain one of the most isolated communities in the world. There is no airstrip on the island, and getting there from the mainland requires hopping a ride on a shipping boat out of New Zealand, a journey that can take as long as ten days.

 

3. Alert, Nunavut, Canada

 

Located in Canada on the tip of the Nunavut territory, Alert is a small village that lies on the Arctic Ocean only 500 miles below the North Pole. It is widely considered to be the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world (with a whopping five year-round residents), and also one of the most inhospitable. Temperatures in Alert, which also serves as a Canadian radio receiving facility and a weather laboratory, can get as low as 40 degrees below zero, and because of its location at the top of the Earth, the camp alternates between 24-hour sunlight during the summer and 24-hour darkness during the winter. The nearest town to Alert is a small fishing village some 1,300 miles away, and you would have to travel nearly twice that distance to reach major cities like Quebec. Because of its military function, Alert does have an airport, but because of weather it is often unusable. In 1991, a C-130 aircraft crashed there when its pilot misjudged his altitude and brought his plane down 19 miles short of the runway. 4 people died in the crash, and another perished while waiting for a rescue party, which took nearly 30 hours to make the short journey to the site because of a blizzard.

2. Motuo County, China

 

Considered the last county in China without a road leading to it, Motuo is a small community in the Tibetan Autonomous Region that remains one of the few places in Asia still untouched by the modern world. Just getting to Motuo is a Herculean task, as travelers must follow a grueling overland route through frozen parts of the Himalayas before crossing into the county by way of a 200-meter-long suspension bridge. The county is renowned for its beauty—Buddhist scripture regards it as Tibet’s holiest land—and it is said to be a virtual Eden of plant life, housing one-tenth of all flora in China. Despite its stunning geography and natural resources, Motuo still remains something of an island unto itself. Millions of dollars have been spent over the years in trying to build a serviceable road to it, but all attempts have eventually been abandoned because of mudslides, avalanches, and a generally volatile landscape. As the story goes, in the early 90s a makeshift highway was built that led from the outside world into the heart of Mutuo County. It lasted for only a few days before becoming un-passable, and was soon reclaimed by the dense forest. Photos: http://news.cultural-china.com

 

1. Tristan da Cunha

 

The single most remote inhabited place in the world, Tristan de Cunha is an archipelago of small islands located in the southern Atlantic Ocean. The nearest land to the island is South Africa, which is roughly 1,700 miles away, while the South American coast lies at a distance of about 2,000 miles. Despite its tiny size and astonishing isolation, Tristan de Cunha has enjoyed a rich history. The island was first discovered in 1506 by a Portuguese explorer, and was later annexed by the British, who feared the French might use it as a point of departure to rescue Napoleon, who had been exiled to nearby St. Helena. A small group of British, Italian, and American settlers began living on the island in the 1800s, and it is still under the U.K.’s jurisdiction today. The islands now have a total population 271 people, most of whom are descended from those original settlers and make their living as farmers and craft makers. Although the island now has some television stations and access to the internet via satellite, it is still the most physically isolated location on planet earth. The island’s rocky geography makes building an airstrip impossible, so the only way to travel to it is by boat. It was once regularly connected to South Africa by a British transport ship, but this vessel has since stopped calling on the island, and outside of the occasional cargo vessel, now the only visitors to Tristan da Cunha are deep sea fishing boats.
Read more: http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-most-remote-places-on-planet-earth.php#ixzz1loE6IpNw

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Top 10 Historical Destinations You Must Visit


[Toptenz]

If you are looking to travel and want to go back in time here are ten great historic travel destinations for the history buff on the go. From Castles to Great Walls to Pyramids here you will find 10 Historical destinations that everyone should visit. Do you have any places in mind that are both historic and a travel destination? Please leave a comment and name the place.

10. European Castles

neuschwanstein-castle

Dotted all throughout Europe there are thousands of Medieval and Baroque castles that conjure up images of fairytale princesses and chivalrous knights. They were not only built as protective fortresses but also as the homes of feudal lords and kings that showed their wealth and status. Some of the most impressive examples include Germany’s Neuschwanstein Castle, France’s Palace of Versailles, Ireland’s Blarney Castle, Sintra Palace in Portugal, Turkey’s Topkapi Palace, Prague Castle in the Czech Republic and Leeds Castle in England. Photo by ZeHawk


9. Stonehenge

stonehenge

While there are several theories around the functionality of this Neolithic monument, no one can argue that within minutes of arriving you find yourself pondering the mystery of Stonehenge. The major rivaling theories are that it was either built as an astronomical observatory or religious site while others believe that the bluestones were thought to have healing powers. Construction first began around 3000 BC and was carried out in three separate stages hundreds of years apart. Photo by LuluP

8. Angkor Wat

angkor-wat

Angkor Wat is easily the most recognizable temple in Cambodia as well as one of the most beautiful. It was built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II to act as his state temple and capital city. The best example of Khmer architecture, which includes many bas-reliefs and devatas, Angkor Wat is unique in that it is the only such temple that is oriented towards the west. Photo by Stuck in Customs

7. The Great Wall of China

great-wall-of-china

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall is an impressive feat of engineering. The Wall is the product of 21 centuries of building and rebuilding that began in the 5th century BC, and was used to protect the Empire of China from Xiongnu attacks. Although sections of the current wall, which dates back to the Ming Dynasty, are in total disrepair, near tourist centers it has been well preserved and even reconstructed to give visitors a glimpse of its former glory. Photo by DragonWoman

6. Machu Picchu

machu-picchu

Machu Picchu, known to many as “The Lost City of the Incas”, is the most impressive remainder of the Incan Empire. It was built in 1462 AD and abandoned only a hundred years later, which saved it from plunder and destruction at the hands of Spanish conquistadors, who were unaware of its location. American historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. The three primary structures are the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows and the Intihuatana Stone, an astronomical clock or calendar that has been dubbed “The Hitching Point of the Sun”. Photo by szeke

5. The Parthenon

parthenon

The Parthenon is an elegantly crafted symbol, not only of Ancient Greece, but also of the very roots of democracy. The current building was built Pericles in the mid-5th century BC as a Doric temple to the goddess Athena and also as a treasury for the Delian League. Many of the sculptures, referred to as the marbles, have been removed and now reside in the British Museum, the Louvre and other museums despite efforts by the Greek government to return them to their proper place. Photo by by wallyg

4. The Taj Mahal

taj-mahal

The Taj Mahal is one of the most stunning structures in the world and the story behind its construction is just as beautiful. The Taj was built between 1632 and 1653 by Emperor Shah Jahan to serve as a mausoleum and monument to his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It was constructed by twenty thousand workers from marble and inlayed with twenty-eight different kinds of precious and semi-precious stones from across India and Asia. Photo by by betta design

3. Petra

al-khazneh

The ancient Nabataean capital of Petra was built around 100 BC and was a site where many ancient trade routes converged making its residents very wealthy. Some of the major attractions are the Theatre and the Monastery, but the most recognizable is the Al Khazneh, commonly referred to as the Treasury, that’s use was a mystery until a recant excavation found that the Khazneh is really a tomb, probably of the royal family. Photo by by ChrisYunker

2. Rome

coliseum

The Eternal City is filled with some of the most stunning and iconic architecture in the world. Layers of Ancient Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings are to be seen at almost every turn. However, no trip to Rome is complete without taking in the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, the Circus Maximus, the Arch of Constantine, Fontana di Trevi and at least one of the many historic piazzas throughout the city. Photo by: by Al?na Romanenko

1. Egypt

abu-simbel

Egypt is one of the most culturally rich countries in the world and one of the most ancient tourist spots in the world having played host to many visitors from ancient Greece and Rome. Of course the site that is most synonymous with the image of Egypt is the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx at Giza. Other must see sights include the Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, the Egyptian Museum, Saqqara, Luxor and Karnak, all of which will make you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time to the lands of Ancient Egypt. Photo by Mrs Logic

Categories: Top 10, Travel Article | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Top 10 famous paintings


10. The Dream (Pablo Picasso):

Look at the head, and there are clearly three sexual images: the phallic shaped object, the red mouth become the opening of the vagina and the head tilted back in ecstasy. And the placement of her folded hands, could also have a sexual meaning. Hand painted oil reproduction of a famous Picasso painting, The Dream. The original was created in 1932. Today, it has been carefully recreated detail-by-detail, color-by-color to near perfection in order to preserve the sentiment and splendor of the original.

9. The Calling of St. Matthew (Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio):

The Calling of St. Matthew is one of the three paintings Caravaggio completed for the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome. The execution of the three great works established Caravaggio as the most renowned and controversial painter in Rome during his time and also changed the direction of his subject to focus almost solely on religious compositions.  The painting depicts the story from the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 9:9): Jesus saw a man named Matthew at his seat in the custom house, and said to him, “Follow me”, and Matthew rose and followed him.

8. Luncheon of the Boating Party (Pierre-Auguste Renoir):

This famous Renoir Boating Party painting marks the high point of Renoir’s Impressionist career. It is a brilliant portrayal of a relaxed summer gathering of his friends and is one of his last works based on the camaraderie of his early life. It remains the best known and most popular work of art at The Phillips Collection, just as Duncan Phillips imagined it would be when he bought it in 1923. The painting captures an idyllic atmosphere as Renoir’s friends share food, wine, and conversation on a balcony overlooking the Seine at the Maison Fournaise restaurant in Chatou.

7. Girl with a pearl Earring (Johannes Vermeer):

The Girl with a Pearl Earring is universally recognized as one of Johannes Vermeer’s absolute masterworks. The girl is seen against a neutral, dark background, very nearly black, which establishes a powerful three-dimensionality of effect. Seen from the side, the girl is turning to gaze at us, and her lips are slightly parted, as if she were about to speak to us. It is an illusionist approach often adopted in Dutch art. She is inclining her head slightly to one side as if lost in thought, yet her gaze is keen.

6. Birth of Venus (William-Adolphe Bouguereau):

Artist William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s lyrical painting that depicts the Birth of Venus  is one of the most recognizable images in the history of art. The work demonstrates his mastery of sinuous line and supple form. And it is evident that the painter has used all of his considerable artistic skill to create a timeless masterpiece – in this image, Venus, the Classical goddess of love and beauty, is brought vividly to life. As the title suggests, the Birth of Venus represents the moment when the goddess was born. According to Classical mythology, Venus emerged, fully grown, from the sea.

5. Starry Night (Vincent Van Gogh):

Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh has risen to the peak of artistic achievements. Although Van Gogh sold only one painting in his life, the aftermath of his work is enormous. Starry Night is one of the most well known images in modern culture as well as being one of the most replicated and sought after prints. Starry Night represents all the drama of a man anxious of communication and integration into nature.

4. The Scream (Edvard Munch):

The Scream was made by the Norwegian painter and print maker Edvard Much (1863-1944), who for many years suffered from anxiety, excessive drinking, hallucinations and feelings of persecution. According to Edvard Munch, the inspiration for this painting was drawn from a past event. “The Scream” was a result of the anxiety and fear he felt on a day while walking with two friends. The serene atmosphere, which he had hoped to enjoy, was suddenly curtailed by the sudden changes in the sky, the setting sun caused. To Munch, the landscape seemed engulfed in flames, triggering an unnerving sense of fear in him.

3. The Kiss (Gustav Klimt):

The glowing themes of The Kiss painting by Klimt showed lovers intertwined into one being, symbolizing the strength of this bond. Some art traditionalists rejected this for its use of eroticism, but others found it refreshing. The Kiss is a discreet expression of Klimt’s emphasis on eroticism and the liberation therein. The Kiss falls in line with Klimt’s exploration of fulfillment and the redeeming, transformative power of love and art.

2. Sistine Chapel (Michelangelo Buonarroti):

Thanks to the extraordinary talents of Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), the Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina) in Vatican City has become one of the most famous art galleries in the western world. Michelangelo’s famous Sistine ceiling depicts scenes from Genesis in dramatic and moving detail, while The Last Judgment on the end wall is striking and powerful. As if that were not enough, the side walls are covered with important Renaissance frescoes by other artists, depicting biblical scenes and contemporary popes.

1. Mona Lisa (Leonardo Da Vinci):

The Mona Lisa is 16th century oil painting created by the renowned Leonardo da Vinci. The work of art depicts an enigmatic woman gazing at the viewer, and it is said that if you move across the room while looking into her eyes, they’ll follow you. It is definitely one of the most popular paintings worldwide and has been the center of many artistic, religious, and theoretical debates. The French government currently owns the Mona Lisa and it is featured at the Musee du Louvre in Paris. The painting can also be referred to as La Gioconda or La Joconde.

Categories: Top 10 | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

10 Cambodian dishes you’ve got to try


[CNN-GO]

Khmer cuisine has long been overshadowed by its Thai and Vietnamese cousins: But times (and menus) change

Squished between culinary heavyweights Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia is often overlooked when it comes to food. But once you’ve sampled Khmer cuisine, you won’t turn back.

Here are 10 dishes to start you off.

Bai sach chrouk, pork and rice

No two bai sach chrouks are ever exactly the same.

1. Bai sach chrouk — pork and rice

Served on street corners all over Cambodia early every morning, bai sach chrouk, or pork and rice, is one of the simplest and most delicious dishes that the country has to offer.

Thinly sliced pork is slowly grilled over warm coals to bring out its natural sweetness. Sometimes the pork will be marinated in coconut milk or garlic — no two bai sach chrouks are ever exactly the same.

The grilled pork is served over a hearty portion of broken rice, with a helping of freshly pickled cucumbers and daikon radish with plenty of ginger. On the side, you’ll often be given a bowl of chicken broth topped with scallions and fried onions.

Try it at: 786 St. 474, Phnom Penh

Also on CNNGo: 12 stylish boutique hotels in Cambodia

 

Fish amok

Where else can you get fish whipped into a mousse?

2. Fish amok

Fish amok is one of the most well-known Cambodian dishes, but you’ll find similar meals in neighboring countries.

You won’t find the same enthusiasm for the dish outside of Cambodia, though, or the addition of slok ngor, a local herb that imparts a subtly bitter flavor.

Fish amok is a fish mousse with fresh coconut milk and kroeung, a type of Khmer curry paste made from lemongrass, turmeric root, garlic, shallots, galangal and fingerroot, or Chinese ginger.

At upscale restaurants fish amok is steamed in a banana leaf, while more local places serve a boiled version that is more like a soupy fish curry than a mousse.

Try it at: K’nyay, Suramarit Boulevard between Sothearos Blvd. and St. 19, Phnom Penh; +855 23 225 225

Khmer Red Curry

A red curry that doesn’t result in flames bursting from your mouth.

3. Khmer red curry

Less spicy than the curries of neighboring Thailand, Khmer red curry is similarly coconut-milk-based, but without the overpowering chili. It’s much easier to enjoy.

The dish features beef, chicken or fish, eggplant, green beans, potatoes, fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and kroeung.

  1. This delicious dish is usually served at special occasions in Cambodia such as weddings, family gatherings and religious holidays like Pchum Ben, or Ancestor’s Day, where Cambodians make the dish to share with monks in honor of their ancestors. Khmer red curry is usually served with bread — a remnant of the French influence on Cambodia.

Try it at: The Empire, 34 St. 130, Phnom Penh; +855 89 383 817

 Also on CNNGo: 10-step guide to Siem Reap

Lap Khmer, lime-marinated Khmer beef salad

Finally, a salad that puts hair on your chest.

4. Lap Khmer — lime-marinated Khmer beef salad

A refreshing dish that is more beef than salad, lap Khmer is popular with Cambodian men, who prefer the beef be nearly raw — but at restaurants it’s generally served grilled.

Khmer beef salad features thinly sliced beef that is either quickly seared or “cooked” ceviche-style by marinating with lime juice.

Dressed with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, fish sauce, Asian basil, mint, green beans and green pepper, the sweet and salty dish also packs a punch in the heul (spicy) department with copious amounts of fresh red chilis.

Try it at: Romdeng, 74 St. 174, Phnom Penh; +855 92 219 565

Nom banh chok

Enjoy, just don’t call it pho.

5. Nom banh chok — Khmer noodles

Nom banh chok is a beloved Cambodian dish, so much so that in English it’s called simply “Khmer noodles.”

Nom banh chok is a typical breakfast food, and you’ll find it being sold in the mornings by women carrying it on baskets hanging from a pole balanced on their shoulders.

The dish consists of noodles laboriously pounded out of rice, topped with a fish-based green curry gravy made from lemongrass, turmeric root and kaffir lime.

Fresh mint leaves, bean sprouts, green beans, banana flower, cucumbers and other greens are heaped on top. There is also a red curry version that is usually reserved for ceremonial occasions and wedding festivities.

Try it at: Russian Market, Phnom Penh

Also on CNNGo: 5 best Cambodian beaches

 

Kdam chaa, Fried crab

Kampot, the saffron of peppers.

6. Kdam chaa — fried crab

Fried crab is a specialty of the Cambodian seaside town of Kep and its lively crab market, which is known for fried crab prepared with green, locally grown Kampot pepper.

Aromatic Kampot pepper is famous among gourmands worldwide, and although it is available in its dried form internationally, you’ll only be able to sample the distinctively flavored immature green peppercorns in Cambodia.

It’s worth a visit to Kep and Kampot for that alone, but Phnom Penh restaurants bring live crabs in from the coast to make their own version of this delicious dish, which includes both Kampot pepper and flavorful garlic chives.

Try it at: 54 Langeach Sros, 15A St. 178, Phnom Penh; +855 17 455 454

Red tree ants with beef and holy basil

Lose your insect virginity to this before moving on to skewered bugs.

7. Red tree ants with beef and holy basil

You’ll find all sorts of insects on the menu in Cambodia, but the dish that is most appealing to foreign palates is stir-fried red tree ants with beef and holy basil.

Ants of various sizes, some barely visible and others almost an inch long are stir-fried with ginger, lemongrass, garlic, shallots and thinly sliced beef.

Lots of chilies complete the aromatic dish, without overpowering the delicate sour flavor that the ants impart to the beef. This meal is served with rice, and if you’re lucky you’ll also get a portion of ant larvae in your bowl.

Try it at: Romdeng, 74 St. 174, Phnom Penh; +855 92 219 565

Ang dtray-meuk, grilled squid

You can’t go wrong with anything served on a stick with dip.

8. Ang dtray-meuk — grilled squid

In Cambodian seaside towns like Sihanoukville and Kep, you’ll find seafood sellers carrying small charcoal-burning ovens on their shoulders, cooking the squid as they walk along the shore.

The squid are brushed with either lime juice or fish sauce and then barbecued on wooden skewers and served with a popular Cambodian sauce, originally from Kampot, made from garlic, fresh chilies, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar.

The summer flavor of the shore can be had even in Phnom Penh, where many restaurants bring seafood from the coast to make similar versions of this dish.

Try it at: Villa Khmer, 21B St. 294, Phnom Penh; +855 97 8985 539

 Cha houy teuk, jelly dessert

Hot sticky summers call for sweet sticky snacks.

9. Cha houy teuk — jelly dessert

After school in Phnom Penh, young people crowd around street stands serving Khmer desserts for 1,000 riel, about US$0.25.

Some have sticky rice or sago drenched in coconut milk and topped with taro, red beans, pumpkin and jackfruit. One of the most refreshing is cha houy teuk, a sweet jelly dessert made with agar agar, a gelatin that is derived from seaweed.

The jelly can be brightly colored in pinks and greens, making it especially popular with children. Combined with sago, bleached mung beans and coconut cream, cha houy teuk is usually served in a bowl with a scoop of shaved ice.

Try it at: 45E Mao Tse Tung Blvd., Phnom Penh; +855 16 384 188

 Also on CNNGo: Cambodia: No longer a one-temple pony

"Fried Fish on the Fire Lake"

Sounds like an interpretive dance performance.

10. Fried fish on the fire lake

Fresh coconut milk isn’t used in every day Khmer cooking. Instead it is saved for dishes that are served at special occasions.

Fried Fish on the Fire Lake is one such dish — it’s traditionally made for parties or eaten at restaurants in a special, fish-shaped dish. A whole fish is deep-fried and then finished on a hotplate at the table in a coconut curry made from yellow kroeung and chilies.

Vegetables such as cauliflower and cabbage are cooked in the curry, and served with rice or rice noodles. The literal translation of this dish is trei bung kanh chhet, fish from the lake of kanh chhet, a green Cambodian water vegetable served with this dish.

Try it at: 54 Langeach Sros, 15A St. 178, Phnom Penh; +855 17 455 454

Categories: Cambodia, Top 10 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

10-step guide to Siem Reap


[CNN-GO]

You can’t visit Siem Reap and not see Angkor Wat. But nor should you neglect the other parts of town, which do so much to add to the charm and allure of this historical area.

From jungle adventures to vibrant culture to legendary nightlife, here are 10 of Siem Reap‘s essential experiences, besides the famous temple.

1. Visit the Angkor temples

Angkor Wat reflection

Doubtless, one of the world’s greatest monuments.

The templesare what everyone’s here for, and Angkor doesn’t disappoint. Whether you’re a hardcore shutterbug or just want to see the temples at their best, a photography tour will make sure you don’t miss the hidden highlights.

The best time for photos is sunrise — go in April to see the sun crest the horizon immediately behind the main shrine’s dome and to maximize your chances of a haze-free day.

Or, if you don’t mind sweating, rent a White Bicycle at any of the stands in town (your US$2 daily rental fee helps support local NGOs) and spend the day seeing the main temple circuit — Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm — at your own pace.

Either option gives you plenty of time to see the big three, any smaller temples that catch your eye, and still make it to Phnom Bakeng for the best sunset views.

Go early to snag a spot, and be sure to make it up before access to the temple-top viewing area closes at 5:30 p.m. Grab a pâté sandwich from any of the roadside vendors and picnic while you wait for the evening show.

Peace of Angkor Tours; +855 63 760 475; info@peaceofangkor.com; www.peaceofangkor.com

White Bicycles; +855 92 332 730; www.thewhitebicycles.org

Also on CNNGo: 12 stylish boutique hotels in Cambodia

2. Visit the other temples

Alternative Angkor temples

Angkor — perfect to find your inner Indiana.

Siem Reap has more than just Angkor Wat when it comes to temples. If you fancy yourself as a Cambodian Indiana Jones, visit Beng Mealea, where you can see what the temples would look like if left to nature.

Full-day tours typically combine with a trip to Koh Ker, an ancient capital city, or stop at Banteay Srey 2, a rarely visited temple and working monastery where you can hear monks chanting.

If you’re after a taste of the “real” Cambodia, sign up for a tour of the Tonle Sap fishing villages, where you can see traditional stilt architecture, floating rice paddies and talk to local fishermen who might invite you home for a very freshly caught lunch.

It’s worth the extra time to venture farther afield — the nearest village, Chong Khneas, is swamped with tourists and feels like a human zoo. To make it a full day, choose a tour that also visits the bird sanctuary or any of several nearby NGO projects.

Beyond Unique Escapes (+855 77 562 565; info@beyonduniqueescapes.com; www.beyonduniqueescapes.com) offers tours of the main temples, remote temples, Tonle Sap Lake and more.

Osmose Tours (+855 12 832 812; comms@osmosetonlesap.net; www.tonlesap.net) organizes tours of Tonle Sap Lake villages, the Prek Toal bird sanctuary and local NGO projects.

Also on CNNGo: 10 Cambodian dishes you’ve got to try

3. Hire a tuk-tuk tour guide

Tuk-tuk tour guide

Smash! Bash! Kapow! Hopefully not the sounds of your maiden trip.

Even tuk-tuk fans will quickly understand why every market stall offers T-shirts emblazoned with: “No tuk-tuk. Not today. Not tomorrow,” but don’t let the aggressive hawkers intimidate you into missing out on a quintessentially Cambodian ride.

Tuk-tuks are the local taxis, and the easiest way to get around Siem Reap. You can get anywhere in the main city for US$2, while good negotiators should be able to talk drivers down to a dollar. Tip the driver well and you’ll have a friend for life, plus an eager tour guide who will show you the best of Siem Reap. Bonus points if you can find the “VIP Batman” tuk-tuk.

Tuk-tuk tour guides:

Angkor Wat Tuk Tuk Tours: 855 92 465-282, mjangkordriver@gmail.com, angkorwattuktuk.com

Siem Reap Tuk Tuk Driver: 855 17 839-140, measphala@gmail.com, siemreaptuktuks.com

Both offer tours of Angkor’s small circuit temples for US$15 but can arrange tours anywhere in the area.

Within the city:

You can find a tuk-tuk for quick trips in Siem Reap anywhere. Be sure to negotiate a price up front, most trips within the city are US$1-3.

4. Eat bugs at the Old Market

Siem Reap old market

You get fed, the streets get de-bugged.

At Phsar Chas, the Old Market, you can get a feel for a real Cambodian market.

Baskets of spices, multicolored arrays of fresh produce, crispy fried tarantulas and meats from octopus to chicken feet create a bizarre foodie circus.

If you’re looking for something a little tamer, there are hawkers selling fried banana kebabs, roasted corn on the cob, or banana-chocolate pancakes (the vendor at the corner closest to Warehouse has a loyal following).

If you’re too busy temple-touring during the day, you can still get the market experience at the Angkor Night Market.

Old Market Area; 5 a.m.–6 p.m. for most vendors, between Street 9, Street 11, 2 Thmou St. and Pokombor Avenue

Angkor Night Market; 4 p.m.–12 a.m.; Old Market Area; 855 92 654 315; info@angkornightmarket.com

Also on CNNGo:  Last of the elephant riders

5. Get a fishy foot massage

fishy foot clean

The only time sticking your feet into a bunch of fish makes them cleaner.

After a long day of temple-trekking, give your worn-out feet a little TLC to prepare for the next day’s adventures.

Spas offering reflexology, massages and more can be found at any hotel,but the independent Frangipani also gets consistently high marks and Spa Indochine’s traditional treatments are freshly prepared with local ingredients each day.

If you’re not looking to splurge, the area around Pub Street is lined with dozens of shops. A half-hour reflexology treatment runs about US$5, or try a “fish massage” — tiny fish will nibble dead skin from your toes. The going rate is US$1 for 15 minutes or US$3 for 20 minutes and a can of Angkor.

Frangipani Spa; +855 12 9820 062; info@frangipanisiemreap.com

Spa Indochine (Hotel de la Paix); +855 63 966 000; www.hoteldelapaixangkor.com

Also on CNNGo: Cambodia: No longer a one-temple pony

6. People-watch on Pub Street

pub street siem reap

Want a pub? This is where to go.

Pub Street is Siem Reap’s party hub, so grab a drink (or a scoop of Siem Reap’s best ice cream at Blue Pumpkin) and soak it all up.

Start your evening at Red Piano, on the corner. The French cuisine is good, but it’s best known as Angelina Jolie’s haunt while filming “Tomb Raider.”

Try her favorite cocktail — Cointreau, lime and tonic — now named for the movie, and if you’re the lucky 10th buyer, it’s on the house.

Continue down the road to find a spot for dinner. All the restaurants offer reasonably priced Western and local food, but Soup Dragon’s eponymous fare always brings a crowd, and just two doors down is “Angkor What?” bar.

Inscriptions on the walls and tables attest to this old favorite’s popularity, and it’s always one of the last to close.

If you’re not quite digging the backpacker vibe, duck down a small side street in search of Miss Wong, a classy cocktail bar that will transport you back to 1930s Shanghai and a good refuge from the madness one street over.

Angkor What?: Pub Street, Siem Reap; +855 12 490 755

Blue Pumpkin: 563 Mondol 1, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 574; www.tbpumpkin.com

Miss Wong: The Lane, Siem Reap; +855 92 428 332

Red Piano: 341 Mondol 1, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 240; www.redpianocambodia.com, redpianocambodia@online.com.kh

Soup Dragon 2 Thnou St.; +855 63 964 933


7. Watch a traditional Apsara dance

Apsara performance

The elegance of history, today.

If your taste in nightlife is a little more highbrow than Pub Street’s manic antics, get a look at more traditional Cambodian culture with a Khmer dance show named for the “heavenly dancers” adorning the Angkor temples.

Most tourists opt for a dinner and performance combo offered at any of a number of local hotels and restaurants, but get a recommendation as cost and quality vary widely.

Apsara Terrace at the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor is known for its impressive classical dance and martial arts performances and delectable barbecue buffet on Monday/Wednesday/Friday , but be prepared for fine dining prices.

Angkor Village Hotel’s Apsara Theater offers a more reasonable dinner show every day at 8 p.m., but it’s relatively pricey with average sights and tastes.

If you want the culture without blowing your budget, Temple Balcony offers a free Apsara performance. You’ll have to buy a mediocre dinner, but sometimes you get what you pay for.

Apsara Terrace, Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor; 1 Vithei Charles De Gaulle Khum Svay Dang Kum, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 888; dining.grandhotel@raffles.com

Apsara Theater, Angkor Village Hotel; Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 531; www.angkorvillage.com/theater

Temple Balcony; On Pub Street, Siem Reap; +855 12 234 565 / 730 930

Also on CNNGo: 10 Cambodian dishes you’ve got to try

8. Give back

Green Star Restaurant

The tastiest way to help local kids.

Responsible tourism is a Siem Reap buzzword, and the many NGOs who have set up shop make getting involved easy.

Get in touch with the folks at ConCERT Cambodia, who can connect you with any of Siem Reap’s organizations and help you choose an activity that fits with your interests and schedule.

Even if you don’t volunteer, don’t miss out on the easiest (and tastiest) way to support local kids: dinner at one of Siem Reap’s teaching restaurants. Your taste buds will thank you, too — the food is some of the best authentic Khmer you’ll find.

Green Star’s fried corn is legendary, and Sala Bai and Jardin des Delices get standout reviews as well.

ConCERT Cambodia; +855 63 963-511; info@concertcambodia.org; www.concertcambodia.org

Green Star; South end of Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap; +855 92 255 241; www.greenstarrestaurant.org

Le Jardin des Délices; Ecole Paul Dubrule, Airport Road, Siem Reap; +855 63 963-673; info@ecolepauldubrule.org; www.ecolepauldubrule.org. Reservations recommended

Sala Bai; 155 Phum Tapoul, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 329; www.salabai.com


9. Take on a Khmer cooking class

Khmer cuisine

It’s always shame to devour food that looks this good.

If you’re hooked on Cambodia’s delicious curries, take in a traditional cooking class and you’ll be able to satisfy your cravings after leaving Siem Reap.

Khmer chef instructors will guide you through local markets and identify all the mysterious ingredients you’ll need to create your culinary masterpiece. Then don your apron and chef’s hat and prepare two dishes of your choice at Le Tigre de Papier.

The fish amok, Cambodia’s national dish, is a must try, as are the green mango salad and fresh spring rolls — plus a sticky rice dessert.

You can buy a cookbook whose proceeds support a local NGO.

Cooks ‘N Tuk Tuks; 113 Mondul 111 Phoum Treang, Siem Reap; +855 63 963 400; info@therivergarden.info; www.therivergarden.info

Le Tigre de Papier; On Pub Street, Siem Reap; +855 12 265 811; info@letigredepapiere.com; www.letigredepapier.com/en/cooking.php

10. Find the perfect souvenir

Artisans d

Bespoke shoes for US$12? We’ll take six.

Clearly, some of the souvenirs on sale are tacky and irrelevant. But in a country admired for its traditional handicrafts it’s definitely worth a splurge (by Cambodian standards, anyway) on a one-of-a-kind souvenir.

Angkor Making Shoes will craft bespoke kicks for just US$12, with a swift turnaround time to suit travelers’ schedules. Looking for silks? Try Samatoa, offering customized silk clothes in under 24 hours with free delivery to your hotel.

If you’re short on time, head to Artisans d’Angkor. Prices are higher than you’d find elsewhere, but so is the quality, whether you’re after classic Cambodian checkered scarves, luxurious silk and sculptures, or premixed spice packets to help you bring the flavors of Cambodia black home.

Categories: Cambodia, Top 10 | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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