Motorbiking Through The Cambodian Countryside

Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia on a Honda Dream. Dusty red orange sand roads. Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia, tuk tuks on the road. Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia. Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia. Local fisherman on the road. Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia, local shops by the side of the road. Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia, local on motorbike carrying rugs and blankets. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia. Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia on a Honda Dream with Khmer Ways. Dusty red orange sand roads. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, cows by the side of the road. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, reservoir with wooden shelters. Motorbiking throught the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia on a Honda Dream, roadside stop. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, fields and Kulen mountain. Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia on a Honda Dream with Khmer Ways, roadside stop. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia by reservoir. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia wooden shack shelter. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, stream and views of Phnom Kulen mountain. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, dusty sand roads. Motorbiking through the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia lake and landscape. Motorbiking throught the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia on a Honda Dream. Dusty red orange sand roads. Motorbiking throught the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia on a Honda Dream with Khmer Ways. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, dusty sand roads and local on bike. Siem Reap Cambodia countryside ruins of Koh Kyorng overgrown with trees. Siem Reap Cambodia countryside ruins of Koh Kyorng overgrown with trees. Siem Reap Cambodia countryside ruins of Koh Kyorng overgrown with trees. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, dusty roads. Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia, small stupa on temple grounds. Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia, local shop with Cambodian flags. Siem Reap Cambodia Buddhist Temple. Colourful flags and decorations hanging inside bright painted Buddhist temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Siem Reap Cambodia countryside dog and young boy with bike. Siem Reap Cambodia Buddhist temple small stupas in the garden. Colourful flags and decorations hanging inside bright painted Buddhist temple in Siem Reap Cambodia. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, field and Phnom Kulen mountain. Siem Reap Cambodia countryside houses. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, dusty red orange roads.. Countryside landscape in Siem Reap Cambodia, local girl and buffalo in field. Motorbiking throught the Siem Reap countryside in Cambodia on a Honda Dream with Khmer Ways. Dusty red orange sand roads.

Sat atop my little Honda Dream, covered in dust and squinting at the sun baked road, was when I knew I’d fallen in love with Cambodia. I can’t even begin to tell you how beautiful the countryside here is. Rusty roads, lush green fields, mountains peeking up from every horizon and bright blue skies as far as you can see. We spent 8 hours on our bikes riding down dusty roads, exploring ruins and temples, and almost every moment of it took my breath away.

This was one of the highlights of our trip, and I’d even go as far as to say it’s been one of my favourite life experiences too. I’m doing a happy sigh right now just thinking about it.

We came across Khmer Ways and their moto tours a few days before we left and immediately set aside a day to get out and explore the other side of Siem Reap, away from the busy city. We emailed to book the day before and were picked up from our hotel by our guide for the day, Nee, who took us over to their office to pick up our bikes. After a quick practice in the back yard and alleyway next to the house, we were lead out onto the busy main road to make our way north. Driving in the crazy Cambodian traffic was definitely an experience, but soon we were away from it all and onto the quieter country roads winding out of town.

As we drove along, we passed by villages and local kids rushed to the side of the road to wave at us as we went past. Riding through such beauty, the wind in your hair and the sun beating down on your skin was such a strange mixture of exciting and relaxing, it was kind of blissful. I genuinely could have spent days out here on my bike. Nee took us into his own village a few hours in, where we stopped for a snack and some ice cold drinks before making our way further out towards the mountain.

After more riding we stopped by a huge restored ancient reservoir for BBQ lunch. We were welcomed into the open hut by two women and treated to such a feast! A huge platter of fresh fruit to share, rice, BBQ chicken for Nat and vegetables for me, plus lots of fizzy drinks to keep our energy up. I took a walk around the grounds and sat on the dock for a while, dipping my feet into the cool water and trying the take it all in.

After a little nap in the hut, we set off again to our next stop, the ruins of Koh Kyorng. This temple is completely in ruins, overgrown with trees and roots, with only a few doorways and windows still standing amid the rubble. Despite this, we saw offerings and piles of stacking stones scattered around, showing that it is still visited and holds some importance. After the busy main temples, it was nice to see this one with no one else around, it truly felt like we’d just stumbled upon something special.

Last of our stops was a beautiful, active temple surrounded by a moat. It was so peaceful here, with barely another person in sight. A young monk curiously followed us around, hiding around corners and peeking out at us, too shy to come over until his friend appeared and came over to talk to us. Before heading off back to town, we sat inside and had a quiet few moments, listening to the birds sing and the cloth decorations flutter in the cool breeze. It was the perfect end to such a magical day.

If you’re in Siem Reap, this is something you really need to make time to fit in. I couldn’t recommend Khmer Ways more, and Nee was such a wonderful guide and a lovely guy too, we had so much fun with him. He took us to see all of the best sights along the way, stopped to point out photo opportunities and made sure we were both well looked after with a seemingly never ending supply of water and drinks. I don’t think I’ve ever been so dirty as I was when we got back, but it was so worth it!

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Uncertain

Although I’m glad to finally be able to leave the house without being bundled up in almost every layer I own, this time of year is my least favourite of our seasons. Mainly because it’s so unpredictable and it’s forever catching me out. One day it’s virtually summer, legs out, jacket off, the very next you’re shivering at the bus stop cursing yourself for optimistically leaving your layers at home. I really should know better by now after all these years. It’s funny how quickly you abandon the idea of sensibly carrying a few extra layers at the sight of a little sun after a long, cold winter though.

Filed under: Outfit | 3Comments

Chance

Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing All Saints dress, Vivienne Westwood animal toe shoes, Pieces wide leather belt. All black dark street style outfit. Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing Wolf + Sadie Lucid Petite silver necklace and Theurgy claw ring, Elemental Luxury raw phantom quartz ring. All black outfit details. Fashion blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT wearing All Saints dress, Pieces wide leather waist belt, Wolf + Sadie Lucid Petite silver necklace and Theurgy claw ring, Elemental Luxury raw phantom quartz ring. All black outfit details.

One of my favourite things to do lately is to browse through eBay looking for old season All Saints pieces. It’s been quite a few years since I could walk into All Saints and literally want to buy everything. I used to dream about saving up a huge chunk of cash and blowing it all on a massive spree, but the last few years just haven’t filled me with the same excitement, bar the odd couple of really great pieces. The flip side of this though, is that all of those pieces I’d coveted years ago but couldn’t afford to buy are now up on eBay for tiny prices.

This dress was one of those pieces. I remember twirling around in this in the changing rooms, fluffing the skirt out and thinking of all the places I could wear it, before begrudgingly putting it back on the rail and walking away empty handed. I almost brought it in a size too large when it went in the sale, but then my common sense kicked in and I put it back once again. Now here we are, years later and by some random chance it pops up on eBay and I catch it 30 minutes before bidding ends, barely worn and in my size, for £25. It was every bit as perfect as I had remembered and now it’s set me off on a mission to hunt down a few other pieces I’d missed out on too.

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Rum Cocktails

Rum cocktail recipe the Dark 'n Stormy with Zacapa rum. Rum cocktail recipe the dark rum Espresso Martini with Zacapa rum.

Something that I love almost as much as the colour black is good dark rum. Anyone who has ever had even a few drinks with me will know that a classic rum and coke, or Cuba Libre if you’re being fancy, is my signature drink. But I could will happily drink almost anything with rum in it.

I actually used to work in a cocktail bar, so I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks over the years and I still enjoy mixing up a good drink. The Dark ‘n Stormy and rum Espresso Martini are two of my favourites. They’re both super simple to make and require only a few ingredients, so they’re perfect for whipping up to impress friends.

I prefer my Espresso Martini with a little twist, replace the vodka with dark rum, and add sugar syrup for extra sweetness. Rum and coffee are such a great combination, and this makes an already great drink even richer and far more delicious, in my opinion. If you prefer a stronger and less sweet drink, just double the rum to 50ml and remove the syrup.

Sugar syrup is something that’s called for in many cocktail recipes. It sounds fancy, but if like most people it’s not something you have lying around, you can make your own at home in just a few minutes. Simply add equal parts sugar and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stir continuously for 2-5 minutes until all of the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly. Any kind of sugar you have will do, but I think brown sugar is especially nice with rum!

A little tip for the Dark ‘n Stormy – when building a drink in a glass, the easiest way to create a layered effect like this, is to gently pour in the liquid you want to ‘float’ over the back of a spoon. This stops it mixing with the other liquids as it’s poured in. You can also use this technique for any drink that should be layered, such as another one of my favourites, the White Russian or Cuban (with rum!) and various shooters.

Rum is such a versatile spirit to have around and a great staple to have in your drinks cabinet. A nice rum like Zacapa is wonderful all by itself, but it can also be combined with lots of simple ingredients to create everything from easy mixed drinks to the fanciest classic cocktails.

For more rum cocktail recipes check out theBar.com.

This post is in collaboration with theBar.com

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Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort

Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, tropical pool with flowers and bridge. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, room and bed with towel swan. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, room and bed. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort room in Siem Reap Cambodia. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort lounge area of room in Siem Reap Cambodia Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, view from balcony terrace. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort balcony terrace in Siem Reap Cambodia. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, pathway through the trees. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, pool area with palm trees and flowers. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, tropical pool area with palm trees. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, tropical trees and flowers. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, path through the trees. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, pathway through the forest with tropical plants. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, dining area next to pond with lily pads. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, bridge over pond water with lily pads and flowers. Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort in Siem Reap Cambodia, dining area next to pond water with lily pads.

After a hectic few days battling the crowds and enjoying city life in Bangkok, arriving at Sokhalay Angkor Villa Resort felt like another world. A tranquil little oasis surrounded by nature, it was exactly what our worn out bodies and minds needed. We arrived around mid-afternoon, and after sacrificing sleep to make the most of our time in Bangkok, we decided to spend the rest of the day relaxing in the sunshine and playing around in the pool to wind down properly.

Our room was so beautifully furnished and such a generous size. With gorgeous dark wood throughout, traditional textiles and a spacious open plan layout, it felt both luxurious and homely all at once. The beds here were also one of the most comfortable things I’ve ever slept on, in fact we both found ourselves reminiscing about how dreamy they were for pretty much the rest of our holiday! I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well. Our room was on the ground floor and its doors opened out onto a private terrace overlooking the pool, surrounded by greenery and tropical flowers. We couldn’t have asked for a prettier view to wake up to, especially in the early morning as the sunlight peeked through the trees and glinted off the pool.

We spent quite a few of our afternoons and evenings around the pool, even if only for an hour or so. It would have been a real shame not to take advantage of such a pretty area and it was pure bliss to jump in and cool off after spending the day getting hot, sticky and covered in dust at the temples and from walking through town.

Wandering along the the lush, tree lined pathways in the early morning light and again in the evenings as we made our way home under the lanterns and street lamps was such a wonderful way to start and finish each day. It’s rare for me not be rushing out of the hotel eager for the days adventure, but everywhere was so beautiful and relaxing here that it was hard not to slow down and take your time.

Breakfast was delicious, and there was a huge variety to choose from, all laid out buffet style in the main dining area. The staff here really deserve a special mention too, they were wonderful, especially Luy who worked in the restaurant at breakfast. He was one of the friendliest, kindest and most helpful people we have ever come across. He asked our names on our first day and said hello to us every morning. We so enjoyed talking to him about life in Cambodia and hearing his recommendations over breakfast.

One important thing to note, this resort is actually a number of separate hotels all in one place. We stayed at the Villa Resort, which is made up of the wooden villas surrounding the pool, but there are also 3 hotel blocks on site to choose from too. They all have access to the same facilities, including an indoor pool and spa inside the main hotel block. Despite this, it never felt crowded and the large grounds meant it often felt like we had the place all to ourselves.

Far enough away from the busy centre to be a relaxing and peaceful retreat, but close enough to all of the main attractions, it was the perfect base to explore Siem Reap from. The town was just a quick Tuk Tuk ride away and it took us barely 30 minutes to reach Angkor Wat. We had such a wonderful stay here, and I’ve already recommended it to almost everyone I know.

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