Hurry up! You can do it! You’re almost there!

Hey all,

Happy New Year! It has been a while since I have posted a blog entry. My first post for the year is from a guest contributor, my sister:

My sister is a runner.  She likes to run races around the world to achieve two goals – to improve her time and to visit different countries/sites.  With everyone’s busy schedule, my sister can normally rally one to two people to attend a race with her, but The Angkor Wat Half Marathon was a destination that intrigued a few of our friends from Taipei and Hong Kong, making us an intimate group of six.  We booked our flights and accommodations early in the year since races like these tend to fill up rather quickly.

Siem Reap, Cambodia is famously known for its ancient ruins, temples, and luscious landscapes.  The Angkor Wat Half Marathon is a charity marathon for landmine survivors in the country.  I am not a big fan of running but the race around Angkor Wat was absolutely breathtaking and well worth the trip!!

For more information about the race itself, please click on Angkor Wat Half Marathon

Image

Where did we stay this time?

The Karavansara Retreat and Residences, a boutique hotel with an intimate lobby/café/lounge housed in a traditional wooden Khmer house.  Since there were six of us, we booked the lofted 3-bedroom apartment.  Our unit came with a spacious living/dining room, a small kitchen, and laundry facilities on the balcony – perfect after a sweaty run!

Touristy Highlights:

ImageInside Angkor Wat

ImageHindu deity at Angkor Wat

ImageIt is as if the trees have their own souls at Angkor Thom

ImageCan you spot the hidden Buddha amongst the tree trunks (also at Angkor Thom)?

ImageThe two-hour drive to Beng Mealea was a highlight – imagine if you could jump from one stone to the next and hang lazily on the thick tree branches.

ImageRemember Waterworld?  What would life be like if we had no land?  Check out the floating village, Kampong Pluk.

ImageFloating market.

Yummy Highlights:

Image2012 Angkor Wat Half Marathon Welcome Dinner at Prasat Bei (Angkor Wat / South Gate)

ImagePub Street – boutique shops and restaurants!

ImageAmok is a Khmer specialty cooked with catfish and coconut-based curry.

ImageWe lived close to a supermarket and checked out local beers!

Chamkar – Vegetarian Restaurant on Pub Street

Must order the “Wedding Day Dip” – so delicious!

Cuisine Wat Damnak – a wonderful dining experience!  Set menu about USD$19-26

Some food for your eyes:

ImageAmuse-bouche

ImageSeared scallops salad with pomelo, winged bean and lemon basil

ImageKay fish filet, pounded sesame and elephant ear taro stem

ImageDuck sour soup in game style, wild soul leaf, pumpkin and holy basil

ImageMekong langoustine and chicken saraman, green jackfruit

ImageCaramelized palm sugar braised pork with bamboo shoot and crispy shank

ImageMeringue and kaffir lime curd, dragon fruit and lime sorbet

ImageChocolate and holy basil light ganache, rice praline and salted caramel sheet

ImageLocal candied fruits

Unforgettable Experience:

At the end of every trip, we normally reflect upon what we have learned about the country and rave about the amazing sites visited.  A week has passed, and while we reminisce about the wonderful experience we had, we are still experiencing some physical mishaps that occurred while in Cambodia.  After the race, some of us experienced severe dysentery and some of us ended up with a sprained ankle.  In each of the cases, we were well taken cared of by the local private doctor.

ImageSeveral IV drips in the hotel room allowed Eric to have a proper dinner in the evening!

ImageHome sweet home!

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