Posts Tagged ‘Phnom Penh’

Come to Cambodia in the Green Season

Friday, July 1st, 2016

We recommend you come to Cambodia in the Green Season. We list below a few reasons why coming to this beautiful country in what is considered the low season, but what we like to call the Green Season, is a great time to visit.

Rice harvesting in Kratie

Rice harvesting in Kratie

  • A temple to yourselves. Angkor is considerably quieter in the green season, which is great for visiting the temples. Most of the big tour groups have vanished, the temples are often deserted, especially early in the mornings and even the Bayon and Angkor Wat are quiet. If you head out to Koh Ker and Beng Mealea you will not see many other tourists at all and our guides can take you to some lesser known temples like the isolated Ta Nei where you may be lucky to see some recently released Gibbons in the vicinity of the temple.
  • The scenery. Cambodia is at its most beautiful in the green season. The rice paddies are gorgeously green and verdant, the moats and barays near the temples are full and when conditions are just right, you can expect spectacular sunsets.
  • It’s cooler. The rains break up the heat, it’s easier to explore and spend longer at each site and for much of the time it is still cloudless and sunny in the mornings.
  • Value for money. Cambodia is pretty unbeatable value for money compared to most other destinations, but in the green season, we offer seriously competitive rates and lots of special offers, including half price hotel rooms.
  • The Tonle Sap Lake. The green season is the best time to visit the floating villages of Kompong Pluk and Kompong Khleang. Water levels are getting higher, making it much easier to navigate through the villages by boat. Travel in June and July and see the water levels rising, but still appreciate the height of the bamboo skyscraper houses on stilts. Visit in August and September and the water levels completely flood the mangroves, which is a beautiful sight and it laps at the front steps of the stilted houses.
  • Flights. They are much cheaper in the spring and summer months, both from the United Kingdom and Europe, and internally within Cambodia.
  • Pick of the very best guides. Our tour guides are not as rushed off their feet as they are in the high season, so take a look at our customer feedback and request the guides who appeal to you.
  • A second visit? Many first time visitors travel to Cambodia in the high season. The country takes on a different look and feel in the green season. The landscape changes, the Mekong River reverses its flow into the Tonle Sap Lake which expands, and there are less tourists. It’s a perfect time to return and visit some new and interesting areas like Battambang, Kampot, Kep, Kratie and even venture up to Mondulkiri in the Northeast.

So there you have it, 8 great reasons to visit Cambodia now. Contact the Hanuman sales team for the special offers and competitive rates we will be happy to provide.

All Aboard: On the Rails in Phnom Penh

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Royal Railways of Cambodia is set to launch the first passenger services in the kingdom for more than a decade over Khmer New Year. The Hanuman Travel team had an exclusive early look at the new carriages on a ride out of Phnom Penh. 

Royal Railways Cambodia VIP Carriage

Royal Railways Cambodia VIP Carriage


The Southern Line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville via Takeo and Kampot has been completely overhauled and freight services have already been running up and down the line for a couple of years. Passenger services will be launched on 9 April 2016 with fares ranging from US$3 to US$6 depending on the class and destination. The trains will be slow, taking about five hours to Kampot and eight hours to Sihanoukville, but the railway passes through some beautiful countryside in Kampot Province that is not seen from the highway.

Hanuman Travel Team aboard the Royal Railways train

Hanuman Travel Team aboard the Royal Railways train

Some of the Hanuman team had never travelled on a train before, as services have been suspended for so long and were traditionally not considered safe due to old track and occasional derailments. Now the line is in good shape and the old royal railway carriage of King Norodom has been rehabilitated as a VIP coach for charter. Hanuman is planning to create some unique steam train itineraries for rail enthusiasts and special interest groups. Watch this space and many thanks to John Guiry and the Royal Railways team for making this exclusive experience possible.

The view from the driver's seat on Royal Railways

The view from the driver’s seat on Royal Railways


The Royal Railways of Cambodia carriages before refurbishment

The Royal Railways of Cambodia carriages before refurbishment

Phnom Penh performances

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

From May through until August, you can catch these excellent classical and traditional performances in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city.

Children of Bassac

Children of Bassac

The fabulous Children of Bassac show will continue throughout May at the National Museum in Phnom Penh from 7-8pm every Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Tickets cost $15 for adults & $6 for children under 12. This is classical and folk dance at its very best. RECOMMENDED.

In the 2nd week of June, the Plae Pakaa Season will resume, 3 nights a week until August. Performances at the Phnom Penh National Museum, starting at 7pm and costing $15 for adults. On Fridays, it will be the Dance show by Children of Bassac; Saturdays – Cambodian Opera, the Story of Mak Therng by Yike Amatak; Sundays – Large Shadow Puppets, The War of Indrajit by Department of Performing Arts and Children of Bassac. Also highly RECOMMENDED.

Cambodia’s two world records

Thursday, April 16th, 2015
The new Madizon dance world record

The new Madizon dance world record

The Angkor Sangkran Festival that has just taken place in Siem Reap, Cambodia welcomed more than half a million visitors to the festivities held amongst the Temples of Angkor, and the massive Khmer New Year crowds witnessed two world records. A 3.2 tonne sticky rice cake made it into the Guinness Book of World Records, and so did a 2,015-person Madizon line-dance (pictured), as Cambodia made their new year celebrations even more memorable with two records.

Travel insider’s last-minute Khmer New Year getaway tips

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
Hanuman's Patrick Chase

Hanuman’s Patrick Chase

The Phnom Penh Post Weekend edition’s Will Jackson spoke to Hanuman’s General Manager Patrick Chase.

Patrick Chase’s job is to put together custom travel experiences, so with the Khmer New Year break looming, Will Jackson quizzed him on some lesser-known, last-minute getaway options for the less organised among us.

They’ve just built these new chalets and villas at Starling Ridge Plantation Resort and it’s just a great place to stay. There’s a main house where you can use the pool. The chalets are really, really nice, and from there you escape the crowds at Kep and Kampot but you’re only a 20-minute drive from both. It’s got a nice restaurant there, too. Obviously, they have the pepper, but they grow a lot of other organic produce down there as well. We sent some very high-end clients there for lunch who raved about it. They loved the journey from Kep through all the little dusty roads, paddies, sugar palms. The countryside is so beautiful down there.
Rooms start from $35 per night. Web:

If you want to go see the escarpment temple at Preah Vihear – while tensions with Thailand are at a low ebb – the new Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel is the first decent place to stay in Sraem which is about 20 minutes away. It’s four-star and has air-conditioned rooms, a swimming pool, pool table and bar. It’s really nice. It would fit in in Siem Reap no trouble. And that could be something a little bit different.
Standard rooms start from $30 per night. Web:

If you actually decide just to stay in Phnom Penh, a lot of the hotels put on some great specials because the city’s just empty. The five-star Raffles Hotel Le Royal is doing “staycation” packages all through April with rooms starting at $125 including a buffet breakfast, three hours complementary babysitting and they will double the credit if you spend $50 or more on a restaurant, bar or spa voucher. La Rose Suites and Boutique Hotel and Spa is offering 50 per cent off its public room rates and bonuses like free massages and free use of the minibar. And Villa Sovanna, which is another nice little boutique place, is doing rooms starting at $50 with a free upgrade plus 15 per cent off food and 50 per cent off cocktails. Again, if you spend at least $5 on food and drinks, they will let you use the pool.
Web:, and

If you want to see an Angkorian temple I guarantee a lot of people haven’t and don’t mind a bit of a bumpy ride, then driving north of Battambang to Sisophon and then continuing on a bumpy road about an hour north from there, you get to Banteay Chhmar, where there’s a full-blown, Jayavarman VII temple. It’s magnificent. The main structure is crumbling stone surrounded by jungle with huge towers everywhere, and there are several satellite temples to boot. If you want to stay up there, this really interesting community which looks after the temples – all the entrance fees and everything go directly to the community; they also do home stays.
Home stays cost $7 per room. Web:

I just love Battambang, but it’s often forgotten. Last year at Khmer New Year, there was space at the best hotel in town, Bambu. It has a really airy, open-plan feel and combines contemporary design with a colonial feel. They have a lovely big swimming pool, nice informal outdoor bar/restaurant area and a great location. Great value for money.
Prices over KNY start from $90 for a standard twin or double. Website:

Large Shadow Puppets in Phnom Penh

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Large shadow puppetry at the National Museum

Large shadow puppetry at the National Museum

We spent an hour of culture at the National Museum last night in the company of a full house who turned up to watch The War of Indrajit, the first showing of a large shadow puppetry performance, that will begin its run of shows on Sunday evenings from June thru til August at the Museum in Phnom Penh, courtesy of Cambodian Living Arts’ Plae Pakaa program. It’s a slice of the Reamker, the Cambodian version of the Ramayana starring gods and demons, monkeys and drunken soldiers, all manipulating the traditional large leather sbaek thom puppets. You can also watch a sbaek thom show in Siem Reap at Wat Reachbo Pagoda every Saturday too. This truly Cambodian art form was recognised with World Patrimony Status of intangible culture by UNESCO in 2005. Cambodian Living Arts, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the transformation of Cambodia through the arts, hosts a range of traditional art forms under its Plae Pakaa program at the National Museum in Phnom Penh. Check their website for details @

The large leather puppets are held behind and in front of the screen

The large leather puppets are held behind and in front of the screen

Dancing in the heavens

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Recommended viewing in Phnom Penh. Contemporary classical Cambodian dance at its best.

The Lives of Giants - photo by Chan Sopheap

The Lives of Giants – photo by Chan Sopheap

Art and culture lovers are in for a real treat in Phnom Penh from 12-15 March when the Sophiline Arts Ensemble will put on a performance of contemporary classical Cambodian dance at the Chaktomuk Theatre on the riverfront in the capital city. Their performance of “The Lives of Giants” is expected to attract big crowds for this rare run of shows at the city’s top venue.

The story is based on the “Reamker,” or the Cambodian version of the Sanskrit epic, the “Ramayana,” but more deeply informed by the legacy of a traumatized Cambodian civil society. Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, the founder and artistic director of the Arts Ensemble, was only eight years old when Pol Pot’s regime took over the Cambodian capital in 1975, establishing an authoritarian order that resulted in the deaths of around two million Cambodians. Shapiro survived, and became the first generation to be trained by the remaining masters of classical Cambodian dance, part of millennium-old Khmer traditions nearly stamped out by the Khmer Rouge.

Now a significant leader in teaching traditional Khmer arts and pushing its experimentation, Shapiro’s passion to advance Cambodian dance in the wake of national devastation and loss shines through in this production. The drama focuses on the corruption of power, in which the giant Akaeng Khameaso, picked on by angels in the heavenly realms since childhood, begs the local divine ruler, Preah Eyso for help. Given a magic finger for self-defense, the abused becomes the abuser, and soon Khameaso wreaks havoc in the heavens.

Ticket prices for the 4 shows, which begin at 7pm, except the final day, when it starts at 4pm, are priced between $3 for students up to $15. Call 011 594 673 or email to reserve your tickets. It’s a show that is definitely worth watching.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

The Last Reel homecoming premiere

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The homecoming premiere of Hanuman Films’ The Last Reel was a huge success on the opening night of the Cambodia International Film Festival at Major Cineplex, Aeon Mall, Phnom Penh.

The Last Reel director Sotho Kulikar

The Last Reel director Sotho Kulikar

Many of The Last Reel team were there to enjoy the moment, including Director Sotho Kulikar (pictured above), actors Ma Rynet (Sophoun), Dy Saveth (Srey Mom/Sothea), Sok Sothun (Vichea) and Rous Mony (Veasna), Writer/Producer Ian Masters; Producer Murray Pope, Nick Ray and many more.  Ma Rynet scooped the CIFF Talent Award 2014 reflecting her commanding performance as the lead actress in The Last Reel. Meanwhile some of the team from the Tokyo International Film Festival and the Japan Foundation flew in to Cambodia especially to present The Last Reel Director Sotho Kulikar with her engraved Spirit of Asia Award, with the Japanese Ambassador on hand to welcome them in the kingdom. Two festivals and two awards for those involved in The Last Reel, what an achievement.

Our sincere thanks go out to everyone involved in making the Cambodia premiere a special night, including the Cambodia International Film Festival team, the organisers, the sponsors and all those who turned out in force to make it so memorable. Particular thanks to the Minister of Culture H.E. Phoeurng Sackona (pictured below with the The Last Reel team) and the Minister of Information H.E. Khieu Kanharith for attending the opening night. There were many other VIPs and faces from the filmmaking community there and we hope everyone enjoyed the film.  Our thanks to our supporters Sabay for some great photographs on the night.

The Last Reel team

The Last Reel team

Bon Om Tuk returns to Cambodia

Thursday, November 13th, 2014


The Water Festival, known as Bon Om Tuk in the Khmer language, is one of the most eagerly-awaited festivals of the Cambodian calendar. It is celebrated every November and marks a unique reversal of the flow of the Tonle Sap River into the Great Lake. It also commemorates the end of the rainy season. Nearly every town and province joins in the festival with boat races, though by far the biggest festivities take place in Phnom Penh with the best of the country’s boats taking part in races for three days in front of the Royal Palace, and attended by the King. The races draw an enthusiastic audience from the provinces, who use the opportunity to pour into the capital and the celebrations, which include concerts, fireworks and general merriment, attracts several million people each year. Hanuman Films caught some of the festivities at the 2014 festival, held last week, after a three-year hiatus.