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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.


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


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.


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


+855 011/81207771


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.

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.

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)


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.


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,