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featured – Travel Asia

Tag : featured

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Travel Asia a la carte took advantage of the sunny weather for a biking tour along the Mekong River. Starting and finishing in Phnom Penh, we cycled down one bank of the mighty river and then back along the opposite side.

Cambodia is an ideal country for cycling. The country is shaped like a cauldron meaning that the vast majority is completely flat and nearly all the hills are found around the borders of the country in the areas neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam.

At this time of year – dry season starting to become hot season – there is a lot of farming work taking place along the river. Villagers take advantage of lower water levels to plant crops in the fertile dried up river bed. Cabbages, eggplants, pumpkins, herbs and much more can all be seen growing. All the crops will need to be harvested before the water levels start rising once the rains begin in a few months.

An ideal tour for visitors who have an interest in cycling and getting into the beautiful countryside is Explore Angkor By Bike & Kayak which is suitable for beginners.Phnom Penh to Prey Veng 9 Dec 2012

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A new cookery class has just started in Phnom Penh. A Touch of Asia popped along to give it a try this week.

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La Table Khmere has expanded its restaurant to double the previous size and has made a purpose-built room for cooking classes. The design is just perfect for working and sound proofing from the restaurant means guests cannot hear would be cooks pounding away at their pestle and mortars!

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Classes are held at 3pm and last for 3 hours. Shortly morning classes will be introduced which will include a market tour. Tuition is for a maximum of 12 guests. Whilst the work space is ample, the smaller the better, when it comes to cooking classes in our opinion. Private classes can also be arranged.

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A Touch of Asia tried our hand at preparing mango salad with dry shrimps, fish amok and sago banana pudding – three, very typical Khmer dishes. After the fish amok had steamed all the participants sat down together in the restaurant to share their opinions on the quality of the cooking. Most were impressed and ‘better than the one we had the other night’ was mentioned by more than one…

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As ever a cookery class is a great way for tourists to get long-lasting, experiential memories of their travels. A Touch of Asia recommends the class at La Table Khmere and the restaurant is also a great place for dinner. Many of the boutique hotels are located in close proximity to the restaurant so it is a convenient place to find.

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A Touch of Asia were hosted recently by the newly opened Siem Reap boutique hotel, Nita by Vo. We have heard many times about supposed 5 star boutiques so were a little cautious before visiting. We left with a very favourable opinion after having spent 2 nights there…

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The 16 stylish rooms are bright and designed by an acclaimed Cambodian architectect, Hok. The minimalist feel will please many. Our favourite moments were spent at the end of a hard days work at the poolside, enjoying sunset and a cocktail. Those with a keen eye and certain height will even be able to see the towers of Angkor Wat in the distance. No free afternoons so we couldn’t try out the tempting spa.

We found a little time to try out the food. An excellent a la carte breakfast starts the day well. The Australian pies will suit antipodeans and Brits alike and make for a filling lunch.

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Many of the Nita by Vo staff have trained at the Shinta Mani Foundation. It is always heartwarming to see the efforts of Shinta Mani are rewarded by their students obtaining employment afterwards. 

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We can highly recommend Nita by Vo for those seeking 5 star standards but not wanting to stay within the confines of larger hotels. The personal touch at Nita is seen from the moment one arrives with a special amenities bag presented to guests. Couples of all nationalities will like it. Nita is going to be a popular boutique so early bookings are suggested.