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Home / Asia / South Korea / Foodie| 11 Korean dishes That Will Make You Forget About Chinese Food

Foodie| 11 Korean dishes That Will Make You Forget About Chinese Food

Updated: August 1, 2017
By: Colby Charles

South Korean FoodWhen you think of South Korea perhaps the 2018 winter olympics or a crazy dictator to the north comes to mind.  You’re not wrong in thinking this, but what you’re missing is the world of delicious eats originating on that little peninsula.  Move over China, there’s a new Asian culinary sensation in town.

South Korea has a distinguished array of foods that differ from other countries throughout Asia.  While not as commercialized as Chinese food or sushi from Japan, South Korea has some absolutely mouth watering dishes that you must try whether you’re planning a visit to explore this beautiful land or have a Korean restaurant in the neighbourhood.

Korean dishes are not only delicious but are also very nutritious, and as a result the South Korean diet is a very healthy one.  If you visit, you’ll notice the generally thin and healthy looking population.  The typical diet is based around the Asian staples of rice and noodles – as you might imagine.  Fish, meats, and endless amounts of side dishes derived from vegetables, spices and oils compliment these mains and will open up your culinary world.  Well, let’s get to it.

1. Korean Ramen  [Iamyeon]  라면

South Korean Food Ramen

As a canadian, my memories of ramen are ‘Mr Noodles’ which you’d break up in the bag, mix with the seasoning salt and eat raw as a child, or the stereotypical college student diet.  In Korea, ramen is much, much more than that.  Ramen is a way of life out here and a huge staple of their diet.  The options at the grocery store are endless and there are restaurants dedicated solely to various ramen dishes.

2. Kimchi  김치

South Korean Food Kimchi

If you know anything of Korea, you’ve probably heard of Kimchi.  The unofficial national side dish of Korea.  It’s a strong, bitter and sometimes spicy concoction of cabbage, sauces, spices and various fish or shrimp juices that have been fermented.  Definitely an acquired taste, but incredibly healthy.

Kimchi making is a long praised tradition that generally takes place near the beginning of winter where families will get together for the weekend and make enough Kimchi to last them the year.  It’s passed on from mother to daughter in law, and each batch is often fermented below the topsoil in the back yard.

3. Korean Barbeque  [Samgyeupsal]  삼겹살

South Korean Food Korean Bbq

One of the better known dishes and an absolute must try.  Korean Barbeque consists of various types of raw meat that you cook yourself over a barbeque that is in the middle of your table.  It comes with a table covering amount of side dishes which can include – but is not limited to; pickled radish, onions, hot sauces, oils, bean sprouts, lettuce wraps, soups, rice and more.

This meal is a serious experience.  You can choose all kinds of different side foods to add to your lettuce wrap.  There’s nothing better than cooking the food yourself over the grill while you munch on side dishes.  For a truly Korean experience you can chase each mouthfull with Soju (Korean Rice Alcohol) that packs a punch so enjoy and make your meal an event.

4. Gimbap  김밥

South Korean Food Gimbap

Gimbap is Korea’s take on sushi.  I’m told by local Koreans it was adapted from sushi when the Japanese came over in the past.  It’s wrapped in seaweed and rice similarly to Sushi but consists of different insides.  More common ingredients include egg, ham, meats and mayo.

They typically come rolled like sushi but you can also get little triangles or squares of pre made gimbap pieces sold at convenience stores with more common meats.  These are a delicious snack and great for on the go.  They usually cost about a dollar and are a great on the go snack.

5. Bibimbap  비빔밥

South Korean Food Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a bowl of vegetables, rice and sometimes an egg or beef.  I like to think of it as a Korean buddha bowl.  Insanely delicious and totally filling.  For the best Bibimbap in the country visit the city of Jeonju which is famous for its bibimbap.  I can attest to this claim.  No bibimbap I’ve tried comes close to the bowl I had in Jeonju.

6. Korean Fried Chicken  닭 튀김

South Korean Food Korean Chicken

I know you’re probably thinking that you could have just stayed in North America and hit up KFC or Popeyes if wanted some fried chicken.  But I’ve got to say, Korea puts a delicious spin on this comfort food and I can’t get enough.  They double fry the chicken here making it extra crispy and flavorful.  My go-to sauce is called ‘Yum-Yum Sauce’ which is red in color and consists of a mix of sweet, spicy and savory.

7. Hangover Soup  [Haejang-Guk]  헤 장군

South Korean Food Hangover Soup

Hangover Soup in Korean literally means ‘soup to chase a hangover’.  In South Korea it’s no wonder they created this dish.  Koreans drink more per week per person than any other country in Asia.  Yeah, you thought Thailand was wild?

It consists of cabbage, vegetables and meat in a heavy beef broth.  Delicious, and it actually works.  One summer day I found myself drinking all day and through the night.  To end if off, I skipped pizza or a burger for some Haejang-Guk and the next day went hiking when  I was expecting to be bed ridden.

8. Seafood  [haemul]  해물

South Korean Food Octopus Seafood
Korea being a peninsula, there’s a lot of ocean all around.  So seafood is a large part of their diet.  Get red lobster out of your mind right now, and think whole fish cooked in a pan with skin, bone, head and all.  Octopus, eel, and molluscs are also all very popular options here.  My personal favorite is the live octopus.  They take it straight from the fish tank, chop it quickly, garnish and send out to you.  Some places even chop it in front of you.  It takes a lot like chicken in my opinion – save for the consistency.  But don’t forget to eat quickly, the active suckers can get caught in your throat!

9. Raw Beef Dish  [Yuk Hoe]  괭이

South Korean Food Raw Beef
Korean summers are deadly hot and humid.  After walking for more than a few minutes outside in between June and September, a hot bowl of ramen sounds like torture.  So A famous summer dish is cold noodles.  Usually made from buckwheat, the noodles are served in a bowl with pickled water, vegetables and various meats or sometimes a hardboiled egg.  Currently my favorite meal is to order cold noodles alongside Korean BBQ.

11. Spicy Chicken Stir Fry  [Dak Galbi]  다크 갈비

South Korean Food Dak Galbi

Another one of my personal favorites, but not overly abundant within Korea is Dak Galbi.  This is a stir fry of chicken pieces, cabbage, spicy red sauce, rice cakes and sweet potato chunks alongside the standard mix of vegetables.  It comes in large pan that is placed in the middle of the table.  In most cases you can order ‘Cheesy Dak Galbi’.  Where one half of the large pan is littered with cheese, which eventually melts into owey gooey goodness.  This dish is served with many sides and lettuce wraps similar to barbeque.

Well, there you have it!  Although these 11 Korean dishes only scratch the surface on the array of options you can find in South Korea.  From conventional by western terms to truly outlandish, there so many diverse foods to try.  The great thing is that they are all full of flavor and generally quite healthy.  Eating in Korea is more than just utility, it’s an enjoyable event to be shared by many.  Just don’t forget the Soju!

Love Korean food?  Have a dish that we missed that you think everyone should try? Loved one of Colby’s recommendations!  Comment and share ;D

Home / Asia / India / Discover India| Epic Guide to 10 Best India Road Trips

Discover India| Epic Guide to 10 Best India Road Trips

Updated: May 5, 2017
By: Borderless Travels Team

India Rickshaw Driving

Yes, it’s almost the time of the year when you should pack your bags and hit the road, but that great North American & European past-time deserves the new hot spot of Asia. Irrespective of how many birthday candles you have blown out, you need to discover your next Asian road trip adventure.

India and a great road trip across Thailand offer what we hope will show you new world with impressively beautiful routes or destinations that will help you discover Asia in a new light

1. Driving from Mumbai To Goa India

Yes, its legendary ‘Dil Chahta Hain’ route! Fun, frolic and feni! Whenever holiday plans are tossed around, it is hard to resist the charm of this route. Driving on National Highway 48 is a pleasurable experience with several food joints to satiate your taste buds en route before you reach the party state of India— Goa.

Approximate Distance: 607.9 kms (via NH 48)
Estimated Drive Time: 10 hours and 34 minutes

2. Driving from Jaipur to Ranthambore India

Indian Bearded Man

Presenting a perfect mélange of mustard fields and vast open spaces, the highway that takes you from Jaipur to Ranthambore is as picturesque as you wish it to be. Start your journey early in the morning from Jaipur and head over to State Highway 24 which proceeds through various villages, like Lalot, Bassi, etc. Consider yourself lucky, if you spot a tiger in Ranthambore wildlife reserve!

Approximate Distance:  180 kms
Estimated Drive Time:  2 hours and 47 minutes via SH 24

4. Driving from Bengaluru to Nandi Hills India

Fall head over heels in love with the beauty of this beautiful road trip that takes you to Nandi Hills from Bengaluru! Once you reach Nandi Hills, be ready to get the warm welcome from various rare species of birds and plants. Even if you are not a history lover, plan a visit to a Tipu’s Drop, where Tipu Sultan used to condemn prisoners by throwing them to death.

Approximate Distance: 70 kms via NH7
Estimated Drive Time:1 hour and 45 min

5. Driving from Chennai to Munnar India

If the scorching heat of Chennai is bothering you, it’s time to travel to Munnar to enjoy the pleasant weather out there. Once you reach the destination, either unveil your adventure side by indulging in activities like paragliding, rock climbing, etc., or spend time in learning tea-making process. Spending some quality time in the lap of nature is also a nice idea!

Approximate Distance: 586 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 10 hours and 39 mins

6. Driving from Delhi to Agra India

Thanks to Yamuna Expressway, Taj Mahal has come closer to the national capital. In fact, so close that Delhiites can plan their quick weekend getaway to Taj Mahal—the seventh world of the wonder—without complaining about an exhaustive journey through jam-packed roads. After Taj Mahal, it’s time to visit Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Get lost on an incredible Agra adventure or enjoy a wonderful Agra tour before adding Jaipur to your list and making it a Golden Triangle! The rich heritage of the city combined with its hospitality reflects the beautiful culture that is so typical of Jaipur. After sightseeing, it is the time to visit Chokhi Dhani, which is an ethnic village offering all types of entertainment options like dance, music, food, etc.; in royal styles.

Approximate Distance: 232.7 kms via Taj Express Highway/Yamuna Expy
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours and 35 minutes

Taj Mahal from the Arga Fort India

Taj Mahal from the Arga Fort India

6. Driving from Puri to Konark India

Don’t make a mistake of considering this as just any other route. In fact, what it offers is every traveller’s dream. The Puri-Konark highway is one of those fabulous roads to do photography which when you start will compel you to drain the entire battery of your camera. The canopy formed by trees on both sides of the road, the cool breeze and the tranquil beauty will enthrall, now and forever! Famous for the Sun Temple, Konark witnesses the presence of artists, dancers, and musicians throughout the year. Don’t miss Chilka Lake in Konark which is also the second largest lagoon in the world.

Approximate Distance: 35.5 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 49 minutes

7. Driving from Dehradun to Nainital India

A car trip from Dehradun to Nainital is filled with all the scenic beauty, including hills and great weather, making some perfect shots for photography. You can enjoy the delectable taste of cuisines at Chandni Chowk— not the busy area of Delhi but a quiet restaurant on the Mall Road of Nainital. For an adventurous soul like you, there are options like rock climbing, trekking, etc.

Approximate Distance: 285.2 kms
Estimated Time: 7 hours and 26 minutes

Nandi Hills Deccan Plateau Karnataka, India

Nandi Hills Deccan Plateau Karnataka, India

8. Driving from Manali to Leh India

This long stretch that sees visitors only a few months in a year, will test you, scare you and mesmerize you. The experience of riding through tough terrains in your car is something which you will always cherish in your life. With the snow-capped mountains smiling at you and distant valleys welcoming you with their open arms, you will be amazed to see the exotic beauty of Mother Nature.

If you have a travel partner who also knows driving, you can cover the distance between Manali and Leh in one day, otherwise, it is advised to have a stopover at Sarchu before recommencing your journey.

Approximate Distance: 474 kms
Estimated Drive Time: +24 hours

9. Driving from Kalimpong (West Bengal) to Zuluk (Sikkim) India

If you are a daredevil traveller, the trip from Kalimpong to Zuluk is an apt choice for you. Over the last few years, the hilly terrain of Zuluk has risen in popularity as a picturesque tourist spot due to its 32 wild hairpins and bends. The pristine clear view of Kanchenjunga makes the trip memorable.  West Sikkim is also home to the Himalayan Mountaineering Institutes Mountaineering Base Camp.

Approximate Distance: 87.2 kms
Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours 14 minutes

Landscape Gangtok Sikkim, India

Landscape Gangtok Sikkim, India

10. Driving from Assam India to Thailand

Undoubtedly, it is an incredible road trip passing through some of the lovely mountains and valleys in the northeast region, taking travellers to Thailand, all the way from Assam! During your trip, you will pass through stunning Assam, Megalya and Manipur before reaching Myanmar and finally, Thailand.

You can spend a day at Myanmar which is widely appreciated for its exotic cuisines, breathtaking views, and Bagan— the place which is known for its superb architectural splendor. The sunset view of Bagan is something which you should not miss.

Approximate Distance: 2,146.1 kms via Ah Myan Lan
Estimated Time: 43 hours

Logistics: Know how for a successful India road trip

A road trip doesn’t mean impulsive travelling. A lot of preparation needs to be done before heading out. So, let’s start:

Choose your vehicle wisely: Indian roads are always ready to surprise you. You will experience some extreme road conditions and landscapes across its length and breadth. So, don’t underestimate the power of potholes as they can disrupt even the journey of an SUV. Be careful while choosing your vehicle.

Take it easy: A road trip doesn’t mean a long stretch without a halt. Spare a few days to make proper stops at places that interest you. Remember, it is a vacation, and not any exercise regime that you have to complete.

Tuk Tuk Agra India

Tuk Tuk Agra India

Have a Travel Companion: Long drives aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if feasible, travel with a person who has good driving skills. Also, if you’re driving with four people, make timely rotation of seats.

Carry essential items: For a smooth journey, carry some basic road trip essentials that you can buy for almost nothing!

  • Flash light
  • First Aid kit
  • GPS/Navigation System
  • Toolbox

Getting your vehicle repaired: Get your car isn’t a rental and your traveling with a friend or buying it make sure it’s repaired and properly functioning before taking a trip. At the service station, inform people about your plans of long drives so that they can do a proper check of your vehicle. Also, while you are on a road, hit a repair centre at the first sign of a trouble. Don’t take any risk on unknown terrains.

Carry cash: Seems simple but is essential because while driving you’ll come across a lot of toll and police check posts. Make sure to carry enough cash to pay toll taxes. Here, change comes handy. As for police check posts, you might be subjected to a lot of checking as your vehicle bears other state’s registration number. Make sure you have all the valid car papers, including driving license, registration paper, car insurance, etc.; to avoid hassles.

Do advance hotel bookings: To avoid any last-minute fiascos, make your hotel bookings much in advance. It will help you get some good rates as well.

Essentials: Two must have insurance policies for a safe and smooth journey

Car Insurance

Never ever start your road trip without having a comprehensive motor insurance for your vehicle. When you are on a road, accidents can happen not because of your carelessness, but because of the fault of the other driver. The reason is simple—You can have a control over you and your vehicle but you can’t control the other person! So, it is best to have a comprehensive car insurance policy which will come handy in case of any accident or loss or damage to your vehicle. For instance, if you meet with an accident, contact your car insurer in India who will come to your rescue and help you recoup all losses or damages.

If a damage happens to another vehicle due to your fault, the insurer will cover third-party liability as well. You can also add roadside assistance cover to your main car insurance policy and enjoy assistance during mishaps, like flat tyre, mechanical breakdown, dead battery, no fuel, etc. Some insurers also arrange for alternative accommodation if the vehicle repairing time is over 12 hours and the breakdown/accident spot is more than 100 kms from the address as stated in the policy document.

Nandi Hills Forest India

Nandi Hills Forest India

Imagine, you are on a Delhi-Agra highway or driving through the Nandi Hills Forest when mechanical failures halt your journey or the fuel tank of your car goes below the reserve point and there is no petrol pump nearby. What will you do—make SOS calls to friends or spend the night on a road? Both the situations are less than ideal.

However, if you had purchased a roadside cover, your one call to the insurer would have helped you. For instance, in case of a flat tyre, the insurer will send a mechanic to replace the flat tyre and in case your vehicle runs out of fuel, the insurer delivers emergency fuel to the breakdown/accident location.

Travel Insurance

Some audacious people also include foreign locations in their road trip itinerary and make only a half of their journey by road and the rest by air. In such a case, it is necessary to buy a travel insurance before embarking on a journey. Though you are on a vacation, accidents and emergency situations aren’t! So, buy a comprehensive travel insurance policy which will come handy in case of situations like a personal accident, losing your passport, a personal liability, etc.

Get Set, Go

Now that you know where to find some of the worlds most epic road trips it’s time to plan your next visit to India and discover your next epic life experience!

Home / Asia / Republic of Indonesia / Indonesia | Cultural Immersion at Yogyakarta’s Prambanan Temple   

Indonesia | Cultural Immersion at Yogyakarta’s Prambanan Temple   

Updated: November 9, 2016
By: Ian Yacobucci
Prambanan Java Indo

Yogyakarta, ID – Close up of Prambanan Temple a hindu temple complex in Java, Indonesia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Traveling across West Java in search of waves I didn’t expect to experience more than just the small surf village of Batu Karas while visiting Indonesia.  My Indonesian adventure started in Jakarta where I spent a few days pursuing a Russian travel visa for a future trip across Russia on the Trans-Siberian, along with a visit to Jakarta’s M-Block mall complex.

After that I spent a couple days trying to find a whispered town from an old roommate I had, while teaching in Korea for a month.  He told me about this place called Batu Karas, a small fishing village with some tame surf that was quiet, and off the tourist track back in 2012.

After a seven hour train ride, where I met a couple of German tourists to share a room with for a night, followed a truly organic Indonesian bus experience of the same length, I finally made it to Batu Karas, where for the better part of two weeks I settled down spending my days exploring the West Java countryside with a surfboard strapped to the side of my Vespa.

Prambanan

Yogyakarta, ID – Posing in front of Prambanan Temple with a couple cool travelers from Finland (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

While surfing in Batu I heard about Yogyakarta from a couple Finnish travelers who were in the area at the same time as me; and after a blissful two weeks disconnected from the busy cities of Indo, and exploring the costal surf in the area, it was time to move on.  So, with our packs strapped the three of us tramped over to Yogyakarta, the bohemian and cultural centre of Indonesia’s Java region.

Since surfing was a priority at the time, I hadn’t thought much about the cultural treasures of Indonesia. Thankfully, upon our arrival in Yogyakarta we were able to discover one of its most famous cultural sites, the UNESCO world heritage site of Prambanan temple is a10th century compound dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Brama Hindu divinities.

The temple complex itself offers some great photo opportunities and, if you’re lucky, you might find some free student led cultural tours as your roam the grounds (in English of course).  Although, from an Indonesian price point, it can be a little expensive for foreigners to visit, so depending on your budget, paying three times the cost of a student price might not be worth it for you.

Prambana Yogyakarta

Yogyakarta, ID – Prambanan Temple complex from a leisurely rest under some trees on a hot summer in Java, Indonesia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

That being said, if you take an early morning or a lazy afternoon, Prambanan offers a beautiful place to walk, relax, and photograph at your leisure.  There’s no need to rush around the temple; and make sure you take advantage of the free water and coffee in the foreigner ticket office!

Happy Travels,

Yak

This article is supported by traveloka.com

Home / Asia / Cambodia / Angkor Wat Tips| Help yourself tour Angkor Wat like a boss

Angkor Wat Tips| Help yourself tour Angkor Wat like a boss

Updated: March 9, 2016
By: Danielle Aniceto
Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Siem Reap, CM – Arrive at sunrise to capture your perfect picture at Angkor Wat Cambodia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Showing up at the 6:00 am sunrise at Angkor Wat was not exactly what I expected it to be. Being a Lara Croft fan myself, I was hoping to have to swing down from a jungle vine into an undiscovered tomb and watch the sunrise from behind a mysterious untouched ruin. Instead, I arrived to a field full of people with the exact same idea. Having to fight for a place in the crowd for the perfect sunrise view, I couldn’t help but think what the rest of the day exploring would be like. It wasn’t exactly as I imagined it, but it was still pretty spectacular.

Angkor Wat is full of tourists, but if you can accept the fact and use a little imagination, you can have a lot of fun. Here are the tips and tricks I came up with during my visit to get as much time with my inner Lara Croft as possible and the least amount of time avoiding being in someone else’s photograph.

Angkor Wat photo

Siem Reap, CM – Capturing sunrise at Angkor Wat Cambodia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

1. Sunrise at Angkor Wat

If you are into getting that beautiful sunrise photo at Angkor Wat, I would recommend you still go but not exactly at sunrise. Google the time of the sunrise at Angkor Wat the night before (it will depend on the time of year) and plan to arrive 15/30 minutes after. This will guarantee the best light for photographs and ensure that most tourists would have already left.

Angkor Wat Mistake: Most people arrive too early and get sick of waiting in the crowd by this point.

2. Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat is definitely a splendor to witness. The only problem, once again, is that everyone else wants to witness it at the same time too. I would recommend trying to go off the beaten track for a more authentic and reflective experience. It can be done! Just avoid the flow of the crowds and explore the ancient temples for enjoyment, not to go where everyone else is.  Trust yourself and discover what other people are missing.

Angkor Wat secrets: Start at a less well-known temple in the morning. Such as Bayon or Angkor Thom. Large tour groups always start at Angkor Wat.

If you want to learn about the history of Angkor Wat, I would suggest hiring a tour guide. The books that are being sold all over the grounds for various prices, are also a good idea but may not provide the interesting and more intimate details that the well-trained multi-lingual guides do.

People at Angkor Wat

Siem Reap, CM – Hundreds of people taking photos at sunrise at Angkor Wat (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

3. Bantaey Kdei

This temple complex takes up a lot of square footage and if you tire of crowds, it is one of the least busy temples in Angkor Wat. There are many passages and doorways to venture through and you can get that awesome picture beside a massive tree with fewer tourists to compete with.

4. Ta Phrom

The temple from the Lara Croft movie. The Tomb Raider temple was definitely a sight to see. However, it is also one of the most popular temples because of the allure of the large trees that grow throughout the complex.  If you’re not afraid to venture off you can find a space to get your photo but beware of the most famous tree from the 2001 film version of Tomb Raider.  You won’t get a moment alone there.

Ta Phrom secrets: After 3:00 pm, many tourists start clearing out of the temples. Perhaps the best time of day to get that selfie you were dreaming of.

Tomb Raider Tree

Siem Reap, CM – The famous Tomb Raider tree at Ta Phrom temple in Angkor Wat Tomb Raider tree Ta Phrom Angkor Wat (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

5. Angkor Thom

This temple is stunning and a lot of fun because there are tones of small temples throughout the forest in the surrounding area. This is a temple where you can really get off the beaten track and explore!  Remember the Angkor Wat temple complex is massive and if you’re willing to explore you’ll find hidden treasures that represent the spiritual setting these temples were designed to embody.

Angkor Thom secrets: Just don’t get stuck in the tall grass with the huge spider webs. I am still not sure what kind of spiders were hiding in those webs but I am glad we never found out.

As one of the most famous temple systems in the world Angkor Wat will far exceed your expectations.  Just remember that there are many temples to explore and all of them are several kilometers apart so be prepared to spend a lot of your day enjoying the jungle by tuk tuk (yes, you should definitely spend the little money it costs for a tuk tuk).

No matter how many times you visit you’ll always feel like you’re just scratching the surface of Angkor Wat’s mysteries.  So be kind to yourself and take my advice, get the three-day pass. It is well worth it, and with a little imagination and some childish enthusiasm, you can really make the experience your own.

Have fun and safe travels!

Home / Asia / Cambodia / Siem Reap Hotel Review| Pavillon d’Orient Boutique Hotel

Siem Reap Hotel Review| Pavillon d’Orient Boutique Hotel

Updated: January 26, 2016
By: Ian Yacobucci
Pavillon d'Orient

Siem Reap, KH – Pavillon d’Orient deluxe room (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Nestled between the ancient and the modern is an oasis known as the Pavillon d’Orient.  The dusty chaos of busy Siem Reap melts away at the Pavillon d’Orient’s colonial style refuge that’s close to everything yet seems miles away when you’re soaking in the salt water pools or receiving a massage at the spa.

After several days exploring the frenzied streets of Phnom Penh, followed by a several hour bus ride to Siem Reap, we were greeted by Pavillon d’Orient staff as we stepped off the bus. Getting picked up was a welcomed escape from the energetic streets of Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination, and the 5 minute drive to the hotel was a luxury we’re not always used to receiving when we arrive at a new destination.

Upon arrival at the Pavillon d’Orient, excited to explore the ancient temples of Angkor Wat and spend some time in Siem Reaps vibrant old market neighbourhood, we walked into a most unexpected atmosphere. Surrounded by lush tropical gardens and filled with the friendly and welcoming staff of the Pavillon d’Orient we knew we had found the perfect refuge for our time in Siem Reap.

Location

Tucked away just up the road from National Hwy 6 Pavillon d’Orient has a local feel as soon as you step out front.  Down the road from the local Psah Leu market, filled with the daily ongoings of Siem Reap inhabitants busying their days with work and filling the small local eateries, the area around the hotel will give you a glimpse of daily life in Cambodia.

The best part of The Pavillon d’Orient location is that it’s a 15 minute tuk tuk ride from both the ancient temples of Angkor Wat and the lively Old Market neighbourhood, where you’ll find Siem Reaps Pub Street and Night Market.

You don’t have to worry about getting a tuk tuk on your own here because the Pavillon d’Orient includes a fleet of friendly drivers that are at your service for the day or the duration of your stay.

What you Get

pavillon d'orient

Siem Reap, KH – Pavillon d’Orient deluxe room balcony with complimentary fruit and wine (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Amenities – From the nighttime story legends that are left on your door each night to the language and customs (including do’s and don’ts) booklet located in every room, the Pavillon d’Orient takes care of everything and more.  Rooms include air con, plasma TV, WiFi, safety box, mosquito nets, writing desks, & laundry services.

Restaurant & Spa –  At the Pavillon d’Orient Boutique Hotel you can eat well at open air restaurant or relax at the affordable professional spa.  At the spa the professional masseurs provide comfortable and relaxing experiences that range in price from $8-16 for various massages that include a tradition Khmer experience (that I highly recommend and is included with a 3 or 4 night stay).

At Le Planteur restaurant, the delicious Khmer and western menu provides a variety of options to suit any palate.  The breakfast is wonderful and comes with homemade yogurt along with a splash of the daily smoothy, and the Asian options are full of flavour.  Between the delicious food and the relaxing spa it’s hard to leave the Pavillon d’Orient.

 Room – The comfortable colonial style setting is elegant yet homely and offers options for private balconies overlooking the tropical gardens and swimming pools as well as a beautiful hardwood finish that makes sitting by the writing desk to update your travel journal, or work on your computer, a pleasure.

Why your should stay

The Pavillon d’Orient is an experience that offers visitors more than just a stay.  The delightful staff, experienced tuk tuk drivers, and expert masseurs ensure an unforgettable stay.  At Pavillon d’Orient it’s the little things that make you wish there was one at every travel destination you visited.

Hotel Costs: $110 – $160 USD per night

Room Size: 26 – 50 sqm

5 Perks:

  •  A private hidden oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the city
  • Stays include transportation by Tuk Tuk, Le Planteur’s delicious breakfast, and two beautiful saltwater pools
  • Complimentary massage with 3/4 day stays
  • Only all-inclusive package in Cambodia
  •  Exceptionally friendly staff who will consistently go above to help you in any way they can

 

Pavillon d’Orient Boutique Hotel

 http://www.pavillon-orient-hotel.com/

Road no 60 (rd to Angkor), after Psah Leu market,  Siem Reap, Kingdom Cambodia

 T:+855 (0) 63 760 646

deluxe room

Siem Reap, KH – Pavillon d’Orient deluxe room with private balcony (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

salt water pool

Siem Reap, KH – Pavillon d’Orient salt water pool (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Angkor Wat

Siem Reap, KH – Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s most famous tourist destination (Ian Yacobucci/ Borderless Travels)

Home / Asia / Phnom Penh Hotel Review|The Palm Boutique Hotel

Phnom Penh Hotel Review|The Palm Boutique Hotel

Updated: January 15, 2016
By: Danielle Aniceto
rooftop pool

Phnom Penh, KH – relaxing by the rooftop pool (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

It’s easy to admit that arriving in Phnom Penh is a bit overwhelming at first, the organized chaos of the city’s streets are a sight to see in themselves. Everyone seems to be late for an important event all the time. The beauty in the dusty commotion was a wonderful discovery and I will always remember my time here. Amidst the hustle and bustle, there is an escape. If you are feeling run down from the city and you want a Zen-like recharge for relatively cheap, The Palm Boutique is a great choice.

Location

The Palm Boutique is in a great location for travellers of all kinds, many of the main Phnom Penh sites within a 15 min Tuk Tuk ride while avoiding the tourist traps.

Must see Phnom Penh sites I would recommend are The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (15 min Tuk Tuk ride), The Killing Fields (30-40 min from The Palm Boutique) and The Central Market only 12 min away. Learn more on how to get the most out of your visit to Phnom Penh.

What you Get

Palm Boutique

Phnom Penh, KH – Deluxe Twing Room at The Palm Boutique Hotel in (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Amenities- The Palm Boutique has rooms to fit every traveller’s accommodations. Rooms come fully stocked with all the travel essentials and there is a roof top restaurant bar and pool to boot. Relax in the sun during happy hour while you enjoy the sights and sounds of the buzzing city below.

The staff is super friendly and keen to please you in any way they can. Something I noticed was the design of the hotel itself, as you walk into the hotel you experience a wave of tranquility due to the indoor lily ponds and the statues of happy Buddha’s. The Palm Boutique is very clean and open concept, giving you the opportunity to breathe in your vacation a little deeper.

Room- You can indulge or rest soundly with a variety of sized rooms for any specific needs. You can live like a queen with a Superior Queen Room for as low as $59.00 a night or if you have a big family or a group of friends you can live the high life in a Family Suite with 2 bedrooms and an awesome view.

Breakfast- Breakfast is included and you can choose between a buffet with a good mix of local flavors and western breakfast essentials depending on your specific tastes. The breakfast staff is incredibly nice and always ready to serve, just remember to say “Akoun” (thank you).

Why you should Stay

Staying at The Palm Boutique is an easy choice for anyone looking for relaxation and comfort in Phnom Penh. I would definitely recommend the stay and would personally visit again. The rooftop pool was a huge benefit as Phnom Penh is a seriously busy city and the rooftop creates ideal location for a break in between tourist stops.

Hotel Cost: $59.00-$240.00 (Superior Queen Room, Deluxe Double Room, Deluxe Twin Room, Junior Suite Room, Family Suite 2 Bedroom)

5 Perks

  •  Incredibly friendly staff
  • Swanky rooftop pool/bar/restaurant
  • Off the tourist trek (local feel)
  • Easy access to main Phnom Penh sites
  • Comfortable and diverse room selection

The Palm Boutique Hotel

http://www.thepalmboutique.com/

+855 011/81207771

info@thepalmboutique.com

No. 270,Street 63, Sangkat Tonle Bassac (Boung Keng Kong II), Khan Chamkarmorn, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Palm Boutique room

Phnom Penh, KH – The deluxe Twin Room at The Palm Boutique Hotel (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Borderless Travels was provided with a media rate by The Palm Boutique Hotel in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. However, all opinions are my own as I only endorse products I actually use and believe in.

Home / Asia / Cambodia / Cambodia| Get the most out of Phnom Penh

Cambodia| Get the most out of Phnom Penh

Updated: January 11, 2016
By: Ian Yacobucci
dep of justice

Phnom Penh, KH – motorcycle cruises past Department of Justice Phnom Penh Cambodia (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

If you’re coming to Cambodia to experience its world famous temples or natural beautry Phnom Penh you chose the wrong Cambodian city to visit.  Although not the most popular tourist city in Cambodia, as the national capital, Phnom Penh is a valuable starting point for visitors planning to travel this South East Asian country.

Cambodia’s tumultuous history holds much of its modern foundation in Phnom Penh, strongly attributed to the Khmer Rouge take over on the 17th of April 1975.

In order to truly understand Cambodia’s current situation it’s important to learn the basics of the country’s historical context, and Phnom Penh is the perfect place to do this.

As a working city with a few must visit attractions Phnom Penh a great place to recover from jet lag and rest.  Here’s what you should stretch over a day or two if you want to get the most out of your visit to Phnom Penh

 Get a Tuk Tuk

Surprisingly, no one walks in Phnom Penh.  Seriously, scooters, cars, trucks, and tuk tuks dominate the roads and the few sidewalks that exist in the city centre. For tourists and locals alike, Tuk Tuks are the main mode of transportation.

Choosing a tuk tuk to drive you around is a negotiating process and there are tones of websites that will help you gauge a fair price.  What you willing to pay is what its worth but $20 for the day is a good start (you can throw in a lunch for your driver too).  My only advice would be to find a friendly person who speaks relatively good English so you can communicate with them and learn about what life is like in Phnom Penh.

Note: You can also get your driver to take you to a place to purchase bus tickets for the next leg of your trip (Get your tickets a day before).

Tuol Sleng

Phnom Penh, KH – Memorial to Victims of the Democratic Kampuchea Regime at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

 Visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum

An important first stop for your introductory history lesson to the tragic Khmer Rouge history that left deep national scars on Cambodia.  Tuol Sleng (also called S-21) was one of more than 200 secret prison centres scattered across the country.  In this horrific prison men, women and children were abducted, imprisoned and tortured by the Khmer Rouge.  Of the more than 3 million Cambodians that were killed by the Khmer Rouge between 12, 000 and 20, 000 people were imprisoned here.  Only 12 were confirmed survivors.

If you’re visiting Cambodia, no matter how horrible these atrocities were, it is our international responsibility as global citizens to bare witness to what humans are capable of so that we can stand up against human injustices such as the Cambodian Genocide.

BUY THE AUDIO TOUR $3
ENTRY $3
TIME: 1:30 – 2 hrs

Note: You can pay with large bills (100$) that machines give out and receive more functional change to use on your journey.

Killing Fields Monument

Phnom Penh, KH – Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre Monument (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Visit the Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre (Killing Fields)

The most well known of more than 300 killing fields across Cambodia used by Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea regime to rid the country of enemies of the state (mostly innocent Cambodians), Choeung Ek is the location of where the government killed and disposed of the thousands of prisoners who were captive at S-21.

Visiting this place and witnessing the barbaric and cruel crimes of the Khmer Rouge will help you fully understand what happened to Cambodia during the ultra communist years from 1975-79.  At the killing fields you will literally be walking over the mass graves of thousands of people where bones and clothes can still be seen in the ground before ending up at the memorial stupa filled with the remains (hundreds of sculls and bones) of the victims are reverently preserved.  Bare witness, be respectful, and remind yourself of what you’re taking pictures of and why.

BUY THE AUDIO TOUR $3
ENTRY $3
TIME: 30 min– 1 hr

Note: You can pay with large bills (100$) that machines give out and receive more functional change to use on your journey.

Central Market

If buying counterfeit anything is your thing or you need to pick up an item or two that you’re missing than the massive Central Market is a worthwhile stop.

This is a barter market but remember not to be insulting when trying find a deal.

Number 1 barter rule: What you’re willing to pay is what it’s worth.

rooftop pool

Phnom Penh, KH – relaxing by the rooftop pool (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Relax

Phnom Penh is a massive sprawling city that doen’t have an overwhelming number of tourist things to do so make sure you take advantage of it by staying at a comfortable hotel, preferably with a pool and be sure to relax.

riverside

Phnom Penh, KH – walking along the Mekong riverside in Phnom Penh (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Evening in Sisowath Quay (river side)

After a full day of history, a little shopping, and some relaxation you can end your day by spending the evening along Phnom Penh’s riverside.  Popular for expats and Cambodian’s alike you can enjoy lights, sights, and sounds of the local Cambodians spending time along the Meykong River’s esplanade, which is lined with palm trees and green space, or hit up some of the cities better restaurants and bars.  It’s a great atmosphere to grab a beer or a bite to eat, just be aware that as a touristy area there will be the typical hawkers selling drugs and tuk tuk rides by the plenty.

Happy Travels,

Yak

Home / Asia / Japan / How to buy a cellphone in Japan

How to buy a cellphone in Japan

Updated: April 30, 2015
By: Ian Yacobucci
TOKYO, JAPAN - Buying a prepaid cellphone in Akihabara (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

TOKYO, JAPAN – Buying a prepaid cellphone in Akihabara (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

With wifi and roaming plans it’s easy to keep in contact with family members and friends these days, but what happens when you need a cellphone to stay connected with new friends while you’re working in a new country.

I found it important to buy a prepaid cellphone in Japan because I wanted to be a part of the community I was living in.  The problem was that getting a prepaid cellphone in Japan isn’t as easy as most countries.

I learned the hard way because the last time I was working in Japan I wasn’t able to get a prepaid cellphone.  Back in 2008,  getting a prepaid cellphone wasn’t an option. Back then, even wifi didin’t exist, and I wasn’t interested in buying a several hundred dollar cellphone under contract for a three month work trip.

Today, if you’re needing to get connected with your community in Japan, you can stop wondering “if” you can get a prepaid cellphone in Japan and start the process to getting one.

You can easily get a pre-paid cellphone or a contract if you’re planning on working in Japan. However, if you’re just visiting for a short time it’s easier to either go without a cellphone and use internet services like Skype and Magicjack, or rent a cellphone from a Japanese airport (which you return upon your departure).

As an expat, before you get a cellphone in Japan, there are a few things you need to have with you.

1.  You need to have a residency (alien) card that you’ve already registered with city hall.

2.  You need your passport.

When buying a cellphone there are two options to choose from. The first is a pre-paid option where you buy a phone and add money to a sim card. The second option is to get a cellphone under contract. If you want to get a contract you need to make sure that you’re going to be in the country for two years or more because the minimum contract period is two years, no exceptions, and no cancellations.

If you’re living in Tokyo here’s a breakdown of how to get a cellphone, how much it costs and where you can get it.

SoftBank – Prepaid option

Phone:

The cheapest option is the 2000¥ ($20 USD) option for the phone.   There is also a 5000¥ ($50 USD) option if you’re interested in watching TV on your phone.

Prepaid Card:

There are two prepaid options. The first costs 3000 ¥ ($30 USD) and the second costs 5000 ¥ ($50 USD). There are no deals for buying the more expensive card, it just gives you more money.

What you get:

Unlimited texts – 300 ¥ for 30 days

National calls – 9 ¥ for six seconds (price as listed in the SoftBank cellphone brochure) or 90¥ per minute

Where to get a prepaid cellphone in Tokyo:

If you’re in Tokyo the best place to buy a prepaid cellphone is at “Yotobashi Camera” located in Akihabara

  • To go to Akihabara station
  • Take the Showa-Dori (Akihabara Electric Town) Exit
  • Turn left and you’re there

Happy Travels!

Yak

Home / Travel Photography / Beyond the lens / Travel Photo| India’s election day picture louder than words

Travel Photo| India’s election day picture louder than words

Updated: December 5, 2014
By: Ian Yacobucci
India Train

AGRA, INDIA – FEBRUARY 2012 – Student holds onto a train seat as he travels home on a four hour train ride from Agra to Delhi for India’s national elections in 2012 (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

India’s future:

Back in 2012 when I was training as a mountaineer with the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute I decided to visit Agra and the Taj Mahal before heading East to West Bengal.  To make a long story short, the Indian airline I was planning to fly with went bankrupt and the day I planned to head back to Delhi was the day everyone was returning to their home cities to vote.

Luckily, with the help from the manager at my hotel, I was able to secure a seat on the overpacked train to Delhi.  Elections are extremely important in the world’s second most populated country with more than 1.2 billion people.  Religious, cultural, historical, economic and ethnic diversity make governing India a huge challenge for any politician and extremely important to the wellbeing of its populace.

Sitting on the train absorbing the chaotic atmosphere, watching people deep in discussion, people sleeping, eating and drinking as the chaiwala called out to the masses.  I captured this quiet thought provoking image in the eye of the human cyclone.  For me it represents the many hands of the country.  It represents men, women, and children who make up a country in transition a country that wants change; that needs change.

What do you see in this image?

Happy travels,

Yak

 

Home / Travel Photography / Beyond the lens / Travel Photo| Iconic Tokyo city landscape

Travel Photo| Iconic Tokyo city landscape

Updated: December 2, 2014
By: Ian Yacobucci
Tokyo Sepia

TOKYO, JAPAN – DECEMBER 2008 – Shinjuku is one of busiest places in Tokyo. From the main train station bridges, like the one this picture is taken from, features the iconic city scape Tokyo is known for (Ian Yacobucci/Borderless Travels)

Shinjuku Tokyo:

When I first started working overseas iPhones had just come out but were too expensive for a traveler budget, DSLR camera’s were only used by professionals, and I was twenty-four and just out of university.  Armed with my Cannon Powershot I spent three months working in Tokyo, Japan.  It was an exciting time to explore photography and get to know my surroundings.

This picture was taken near the end of my first teaching stint in the city on a December walk to see the Christmas lights and do some shopping in Shinjuku.  I chose to shoot it in sepia because it encapsulates the city as a warm and joyful memory.  Spending those cold autumn and winter evenings getting lost in one of the worlds biggest cities yet feeling at home; I loved it.

Japan is still one of my favourite countries in the world and I think it’s a place everyone should visit if given the chance!

Happy Travels,

Yak