Travel

#NYTravFest The People You Meet

I spent a rainy Saturday leaning into all things travel at NY TravFest, a four-day conference dedicated to connecting travel industry professionals and enthusiasts on their passion for seeing the world. It was my first visit to the Bohemian National Hall. The building’s neo-Renaissance architectural exterior facade a pop of color on an otherwise residential street. It always amazes me how much New York is like an onion, there’s always something to uncover even when you’ve lived here all your li

The Gateway to Angkor Wat Temples

Banteay Srei, the Citadel of Women, is a 10th-century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Built largely of a hard red sandstone that can be carved like wood, the structure features detailed reliefs and carvings. The complex feels like the Brooklyn Botanical Garden with landscaped walkways and pools of water. As I stroll through the nature preserves, I revel in its simplicity. At the midway, I am accosted by a mother and her children pestering me to buy postcards or give them mone

Yoga, Cats, and Meditation

Pickup from Siem Reap by tuk-tuk. I meet Dianne from Malta, an ER doctor in Preston, UK. Upon arrival at the Angkor Zen Retreat Center, she reacts skittishly to the dog, insistent that Cambodian dogs are the worst. First impressions are tricky, and despite being skeptical about my accommodations I forge ahead. And I am so glad I did: a four-day retreat turned into five. It truly was an arrival into paradise, one greeted by a litter of yogi cats. Yoga three times a day, meditation daily. A vege

Siem Reap: Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm

The road to Angkor Thom passes over a causeway lined with devas (gods) on the left and asuras (demigod/ demons) on the right. The gates lead to the last Imperial city, where Bayon temple –most noted for the smiling faces of Buddha–sits at its center. The bodhisattva statues should be one of the seven wonders of the world, the detailed and exacting efforts to create emotion and facial expressions through the placement of each stone a complex puzzle of shade and gradient are truly miraculous. A q

Last Few Days in Siem Reap

It’s hard to leave Angkor Zen but more adventures await. My final two days in Siem Reap are a short tuk-tuk drive away. I chose to stay at the Golden Temple Residence, a hotel highly recommended by Trip Advisor and friends alike, located in the heart of the old town and a block away from the Night Market. Over the top. It’s the only way to describe the level of service at the Golden Temple. From the stone Buddha at its entrance to the welcome ice tea and fresh fruit at check-in. The room is sp

Cambodia, The Kingdom of Wonder

Tuk-tuk to the hotel. The streets of Siem Reap are filled with color and dust. Orange cloaked monks ride sidesaddle on the back of motorbikes. A cart filled with natural weave baskets, golden yellow bicycles. We pass the city center, the royal gardens, a foot bridge with a 7-headed serpent (Naga). It is 90 degrees outside but motorbike riders are dressed for a NY winter. A common sight throughout my travels. The sky view from the sunbed is blue, the sun hiding behind the clouds. Almost ethereal

Angkor Wat at Sunrise

Day 3 begins at 4:45 am with a pickup from Sok Manea, a tuk-tuk driver referred by TripAdvisor and the web. We travel in the dusk to the Angkor Wat temples. The early morning air is crisp. The climate is duplicitous, I didn’t bring a shawl and should have. It’s cool in the morning, teeming with heat the rest of the day. I purchase a 7-day pass and two checkpoints later I am one of the swarming fireflies descending upon the temple grounds. Imagine going to a SummerStage concert at Central Park,

Cambodia, A Sunset Tour

Tonight I booked a sunset tour of Tonle Sap and the floating village of Chong Khneas with its houses, markets, villages & schools. I am solo, with a tour guide and driver. As we begin our journey, we stop to admire a landscape vista of lotus flowers, a deeply important flower in Buddhism and symbol of Southeast Asia. Next, a city built on stilts, where residents live in squalor surrounded by refuse and rubbish, glaringly visible in the dry season. Residents walk between the structures on the riv
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