Friday, 27 November 2015

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

After visiting the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, you might want to head directly to the Choeung Ek Killing Field to get a feel of how the prisoners felt years ago.

I hired a tuk-tuk and the driver waited for me. Expect to spend almost 2 hours here. Longer if you want to listen to the full audio tour and reflect on the tragedy that happened.

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

Admission Fee : US$6 per adult (inclusive of audio tour device rental)
Operating Hours: 0800 - 1700

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

Wear comfortable footwear as you'll be walking a lot. Set the audio tour to your preferred language, consult the map in the leaflet given and start your tour! 

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

There are plenty of benches and places you can sit at while listening to the audio tour.

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh
See the number on board? Press the same number on the device.

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek Killing Field
Former Chinese Ceremonial Gazebo
Between 1975 to 1979, Cambodia lost about 21% of her people. The Khmer Rouge, headed by the infamous Pol Pot killed people for being educated, wearing spectacles, speaking a foreign language, and many other similarly silly reasons. I found it amusing that many of the people who committed atrocities on Pol Pot's name had never actually seen the guy. Can't help thinking that a lot of them probably took advantage of the situation and got rid of their personal enemies with false accusations. 

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

Choeung Ek Killing Field, Phnom Penh

The Khmer Rouge also murdered their own soldiers for whatever slightest suspicion they had on them. A mass grave with headless bodies wearing army uniform can be found in Choeung Ek. There were also 9 Europeans found in Choeung Ek. It sure sounds like the Khmer Rouge killed anyone they could.

Among their mottos are:
"Keeping you is no gain, losing you is no loss"
"Better to kill an innocent by mistake than to spare an enemy by mistake" 
Totally not paranoid group of monsters. Not.

The 'field' was originally an old Chinese cemetery. You'll be able to see what's left of the tombstone; careful so you don't step on them (and the bones). Once, a loud speaker was hanged on one of the trees. It broadcasted traditional songs so the villagers around the complex couldn't hear the screams from the tortured and murdered victims. 

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek Killing Field
Walk on the Path Lake: Music and Memories 
The above is a nice spot to listen to the survivor stories. Some local kids might ask for alms from outside of the fence.

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek Killing Field
The tree which babies were smashed against and just buried in a nearby grave.

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Choeung Ek Killing Field
Spirit House

Choeung Ek Killing Field
Memorial Stupa
Visitors can go into the memorial stupa and buy flowers/incense offering. Then, head to the museum to see some exhibitions and watch the video show. 

Choeung Ek Killing Field

Lastly, return the audio player to the staff near the entrance. 

There are some eateries outside the complex. Not sure if there's any halal food though :)

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Green Centre Point Inn
#228E0 St. 130 S/K,
Phsar Thmey 3,
Khan Daun Penh,
Phnom Penh.

Tel: +855 23 988 123

Booking - Easy via Agoda. They did not reply to some questions I sent via email though.

Rate - Very fair. RM99.67 per night (Superior)

Location - Good. Within walking distance to the Central Market. Easy to get transportation.

Dining - Not available.

Service - Good. Staff's command of English wasn't very good but they tried to accommodate my requests like early check-in, etc. Had to check-out early at 6 am so I pressed a bell and a staff came and all was done in less than 15 mins.

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Spacious, well-lit and well-equipped room completed with balcony. Clean and comfortable bed. TV with local channels. Suitable for couples and families. Elevator available.

Overall 4 <3<3<3<3 of 5

Saturday, 21 November 2015

SPECIAL POST: #JalanJogja November 2015


Due to requests, here is an overview of #JalanJogja for you guys who are travelling to Yogyakarta (Jogjakarta) soon. Posts on #CamNam is still going on every Thursday and Friday, so individual posts on accommodations, attractions and restaurants in #JalanJogja will only be uploaded next year. If you need further info on the places I've visited, do leave a comment here or contact me on my Twitter @sheasonia


Borobudur, Yogyakarta

14 - 17 November 2015 (4 days 3 nights)
2 pax

14 Nov 2015 (Saturday)

1515 - 1650 : KUL - JOG. Over 2 hours flight but Yogya is 1 hour behind Malaysia. Took Trans Jogja to halte Malioboro 2
1700 - 1830 : Check in @ Dafam Fortuna. Rest & dinner
1830 - 2230 : Ramayana Ballet in Prambanan OR
2000 - 2200 : Pagelaran Wayang @ Sonobudoyo Museum*

15 Nov 2015 (Sunday)

0355 - 0512 : Subuh
0800 - 0900 : Sunday Morning (SunMor market) @ University Gadjah Mada (UGM)
0920 - 1000 : Sonobudoyo Museum
1010 - 1200 : Kraton
1200 - 1300 : Taman Sari, Masjid Sumur Gumuling and lunch
1430 - 1600 : Kota Gede (old Mataram). Asar & Zohor
1830 - 1930 : Dinner. Maghrib & Isya'
1930 - 2200 : Malioboro Street

16 Nov 2015 (Monday)

0355 - 0512 : Subuh
0800 - 0830 : Breakfast
0830 - 0900 : Check-out and head to Mt. Merapi*
1030 - 1230 : Mt. Merapi*. Zohor & Asar. Lunch
1400 - 1430 : Check-in @ Manohara Hotel Borobudur
1830 - 1930 : Dinner. Maghrib & Isya'

17 Nov 2015 (Tuesday)

0400 - 0800 : Subuh. Sunrise @ Borobudur. Borobudur Museum.
0830 - 1150 : Breakfast. Rest. Zohor & Asar.
1200 - 1210 : Check-out
1340 - 1510 : Prambanan Temple, Candi Sewu, Plaosan* & Ratu Boko
1520 - 1530 : Arrive @ airport
1720 - 2045 : JOG - KUL


Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan


1) Check the Ramayana Ballet in Prambanan schedule, they don't have it every night. Depending on the time of the year, the ballet will be held outside (with Prambanan as the backdrop) or indoor in the Trimurti Theater. Book tickets via phone call/WhatsApp or email. Payment at the ticket counter upon arrival.

2) My back up plan for Saturday night was the Pagelaran Wayang @ Sonobudoyo Museum. Not sure if it is still going on. No show on Sunday and public holiday.

3) I didn't do Mt. Merapi on Monday morning. According to a tour guide, viewing Mt. Merapi depends on luck. Best to arrange a flexible schedule with your driver so when it is not cloudy, you can head to Mt. Merapi. Otherwise, go somewhere else. "Kalau dari Jogja atau Borobudur, nampak Merapinya, baru terus singgah. Kalau tidak mungkin bisa nampak awan saja".

4) Audio Visual Show on Borobudur passes (valid on arrival day between 5 pm - 9 pm) + Borobudur passes are included in the Manohara Hotel room rates. So I entered Borobudur before 5 pm on Monday and then went back to the hotel to watch the audio visual presentation. I also visited the Borobudur Museum on Monday instead of Tuesday.

5) I checked-out from Manohara Hotel at 11 am because I wanted to spend longer time at Prambanan. Ended up not visiting Candi Sewu, Plaosan and Ratu Boko.



Mr. Yono
Facebook : Jogja Tour N Transport
Email :
Whatsapp : +628 5729 144 876
Rate inclusive of car rental, driver and gas. 
Parking charges not included (between IDR 2k to IDR 10k per place)

Becak (trishaw) is an option if you want to get around Jogja city. Rates between IDR 10k - IDR 30k.
Some will try to bring you to buy souvenirs from their partner's shops. Best to know where you're heading and decline if you're not interested in shopping. Agree on a price before hopping on a trishaw.

Trans Jogja bus is a cheap way to get around the city especially from the airport. They have 8 different routes.  From airport to Malioboro, take the 1A line and get off at halte Malioboro 1 or halte Malioboro 2, depending on which one is nearer to your hotel.
Read here for more details.



RM 2635 for 2 pax (including flight, accommodation, transportation, meals & attractions)

Cash brought IDR 3.4 mil. Changed another IDR 3 mil in Yogyakarta at poorer rate. 

RM 1 = IDR 3095 
RM 1 = IDR 3074

Flight and Manohara Hotel Borobudur paid in advance. Dafam Fortuna in cash upon arrival.

Actual Expenditure in Yogya

Accommodation - IDR 1.1 mil 
Transport & Parking - IDR 1.51 mil + IDR 47k. Bus and trishaw IDR 47.2k
Attractions - IDR 1.48 mil (inclusive camera charge and official guide)
Meals - IDR 410k
Shopping/Donations/Tips - 466k

Cash balance IDR 1.26 mil
Note: Paid for some souvenirs using credit card

Is Yogyakarta an expensive city? Depends.

  I found that I spent less than budgeted for meals and shopping. Yono, the driver I hired took us to restaurants and grocers where the locals eat/shop. No touristy price. I didn't get local sim card and relied on free WiFi. I didn't shop much and even if I paid all the souvenirs in cash, the total is still below my budgeted amount.

  There are many beggars and street performers in Malioboro street, at the tourist attractions and in the markets. It is a good idea to have some small notes and coins with you. Giving alms and tipping shouldn't put a dent on your wallet. 

My rules for alms and tippingLoose coins or IDR 2k - IDR 5k for alms
IDR 5k - IDR 25k for tipping (people who entertained me or made my life easier)

However, transportation and attractions fees can add up to be quite expensive here. I didn't do Mt. Merapi volcano and saved at least IDR 660k there. Taking the public bus from airport and getting a hotel within walking distance to Malioboro Street also saved some cash. 

  Shopping is another culprit in bursting one's budget. Set a shopping budget, stick to it and you'll be fine. Really, you don't need 10 boxes of bakpia or dozens of batik. Sunday Morning market (only on Sunday) in UGM is a good place to find pretty trinkets and souvenirs at fair price.

Be smart. Enjoy Jogja!

Friday, 20 November 2015

#CamNam Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City October 2015

Phnom Penh

#CamNam : from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
15 - 19 October 2015 (5 days 4 nights)
2 pax


15 Oct (Thursday)
0645 - 0735 : Flight KUL to Phnom Penh
0735 - 0835 : Leave bag at Green Centre Point Inn. Buy bus tickets to Saigon (HCMC)
0900 - 1200 : Visit Choeung Ek
1200 - 1300 : Lunch at Ah-Man Green Restaurant
1400 - 1530 : Tour National Museum
1900 - 2000 : Dinner at Wau and back to hotel

16 Oct (Friday)
0600 - 0610 : Check-out
0630 - 1300 : Off to Saigon by bus
1400 - 1500 : Check-in at Ono Saigon Hotel and rest.
1700 - 1800 : Book tours

17 Oct (Saturday)
0840 - 1500 : Pick up from hotel to Cu Chi Tunnel.
Free and easy 

18 Oct (Sunday)
0800 - 0900 : Breakfast
0930 - 1600 : Saigon city tour. War Remnant Museum, HCMC Museum, Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
1900 - 2000 : Shop at Ben Thanh night market

19 Oct (Monday)
0700 - 0900 : Shop at Ben Thanh Market
1000 - 1030 : Breakfast
1200            : Check-out
1300 - 1400 : Lunch
1800 - 1900 : Get to airport
2110 - 2359 : Flight SGN to KUL

What I didn't do?

- Dinner at Wau. The restaurant moved from New York Hotel to a few blocks away from Ah-Man Green.

- Go out to book tours in Saigon. I booked from the hotel because rate was within my budget.

- Shop at Ben Thanh night market. Too lazy

- Shop at Ben Thanh market on Monday. Turned out I didn't like the market much so once was enough.

- We went to airport early. Right after check-out at noon.

Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh
Checking in at Green Centre Point Inn, Phnom Penh

Choeung Ek, Phnom Penh
Choeung Ek Killing Field - the reason I returned to PP

National Museum of Cambodia
@whitelambchops | Instragram | posing in front of National Museum of Cambodia


Phnom Penh
Tuk - tuk. Hired the one we got from airport at USD 30 for the day.

Phnom Penh - Saigon (HCMC)
Cat Mekong bus. USD 15/adult including hotel pick-up to bus depot.

Saigon (HCMC)
Taxi with meter. Totally affordable.
Attractions in the city are within walking distance from each other. Traffic was a controlled chaos, really.

Cat Mekong Express
@whitelambchops on the bus to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
I bought the bus tickets from Cat Mekong's Orussey Market office branch a day earlier. Told them hotel's name for morning pick-up. 

  A van came in the morning and took us to Orussey Market. Gave passport to staff > given tickets > pass luggage(s) for keeping under the bus & given tags > journey started (passport will be collected again on the bus and returned at immigration)

  Going through Cambodia immigration was a breeze compared to Vietnam's immigration. Our passports were taken to a counter and they called out names. That was the only annoying part. Scan luggage and then back on the bus to Saigon!

Vietnam Immigration
Vietnam's immigration building

Cat Mekong bus stops at Pham Ngu Lao- tour agents are nearby so you might want to drop by and arrange for tours before heading to your hotel. My hotel was nearby so I ignored the taxi drivers and walked.

Ono Saigon
Ono Saigon: A delightful hotel hidden in an alleyway

Cu Chi Tunnel, Ho Chi Minh City
Cu Chi Tunnel

I was too lazy to go back to Pham Ngu Lao to book a tour and the hotel I was staying in, Ono Saigon offered a Cu Chi Tunnel tour that was within my budget. Paid directly to the hotel, no receipt but no problem. Tour agent picked up from hotel the next day and issued us a paper when I said we didn't get any receipt from the hotel.

  Other attractions can be visited on your own. Get a taxi to one and walk to others as they are pretty much near each other.

  Mekong needs a whole day so I skipped that one.

War Remnant Museum, Ho Chi Minh City
War Remnants Museum

Ho Chi Minh City Museum
HCMC Museum
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica
Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica

To read on halal food in Phnom Penh, use #GoMakan #PhnomPenh or #CamNam #RepeatCambodia in this blog. 

  Halal restaurant in Saigon, Vietnam are mostly in the Nguyen Ah Ninh (dubbed the Malaysian Street) near Ben Thant. To read in this blog, use #CamNam or #GoMakan #HoChiMinhCity

Breakfast at Passio
Breakfast on the last day in Saigon. Yummy!

RM 1886 for 2 pax (including flight, accommodation, transport, dining & attraction)

Cash brought for the trip USD 252

Actual Expenditure

Transport - USD 69
Attractions/Tours - USD 55
Meals - USD 74
Shopping & Massage - USD 12

Cash balance USD 42

Note: Flight and accommodation are paid in advance.

Finally, meet my favourite food in Saigon:

Fitting eh? In Cambodia, I stocked on Pringles and in Vietnam, I gorged on these chips! Sedap unlike any in Malaysia.