Apsara Dancers in Cambodia

So about that yellow brick road we were on…

The shadier characters would surely be found in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. Tuk-tuk drivers swarmed us as we exited the airport walkway shouting prices and following close behind in case we changed our minds. We eventually chose the driver pushing the Corolla, but as the sedan navigated through the narrow streets, we could only hope we were still en route to the Blue Dog Guesthouse!  And then we arrived there…the torrential downpour help to set the scene, no special effects. The less-than-appealing hostel featured a garage shed for an entrance and three pad locks coupled with fear on the bedroom doors.

I reckon like the Cowardly Lion, we didn’t have enough courage. My mate and I booked our bus ride to Siem Reap and nine hours later, we arrived at the Golden Temple Villa. I’ve slept in about 12 hostels, but few this lovely—the décor inside and out, the lotus blossoms on our beds, the private balcony, and the cleanliness to name few. Nearby were Old Market, Night Market and Pub Street as well as tuk-tuks and cars bustling about, sending a whirlwind of dust into the city streets. Clearly the antithesis of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap is alive and welcoming.


Our trusty tuk-tuk driver took us anywhere our little hearts desired. He was so proud of his country and eager to hear our thoughts when he picked us up at day’s end. Our first bout with Angkor Wat was at one of the surrounding temples, where we watched the sunset. The next two days were spent exploring Angkor Thom, Bayon, Angkor Wat and all those sites in between. Angkor Wat is the largest Hindu temple in the world. Suryavarman II chose Vishnu has his patron and built the religious complex as a symbol of his power. Here’s another fun fact: The masons used a technique that didn’t require mortar or cement, yet the temple has survived about 1000 years!

Angkor Wat


Cambodia has more to admire than Angkor Wat, such as the Floating Village and Apsara Dancers. Our boat had three stand-alone wooden chairs and started with the clip of a safety pin. A young boy—and by young, I mean about 6 years old—drove most of the way while the older gentleman sat on the edge of the boat. The good news is I made it back to tell you about this adventure! In the village, wooden boats are the only mode of transportation and fish farms reign supreme. Children dove from their porches into the murky waters for their baths, while others tended to chores.

Floating Village

I was fortunate enough to experience the Apsara dance on two occasions, once at a local restaurant and second, an orphanage. The dance form has been said to have Thai influence after dancers were sent to assist in the royal court. After seeing the dancers at the restaurant, I had such an admiration for the orphans’ performance and their precision. I even got a quick lesson on how to count in Khmer. Many giggles erupted at my enunciation, but they appreciated my efforts no less.

Apsara Dancers

My friends haven’t nicknamed me Chunky in vain; so only right that I mention food! Besides the fact that we were able to dine on $5 USD, the meals were absolutely flavorful. I’m sure this is what it felt like when Tin Man finally got oiled up, bliss! My favorite dish was the Khmer Amok (fresh coconut cream, onion, cauliflower leaf, egg and Khmer traditional spices with Jasmine rice).


-Nya Anne

Nya is a Brooklynite with a Bachelor’s degree in Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse University and a Master’s degree in Advertising from Bond University. She has traveled to Australia, New Zealand, China, Cambodia, Malaysia, India, France and several islands of the Caribbean. Nya’s goal is to visit each of the Ancient, Modern and Natural Wonders of the World. She is equally passionate about volunteering with her sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.


2 Responses to Cambodia

  1. Tanya Harry says:

    Great story— thanks for sharing! I wanted to jump in the pictures with you… Gonna learn that dance and eat to my heart’s content!

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