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Theam’s Gallery

To break up my excessive temple cycling tours I visited this gallery just around the corner from my resort.
Expecting lots of paintings I was pleasantly surprised to find something like a small artisan village. What a gem!

Unassuming entrance

This is what’s hidden behind: a selection of beautifully decorated rooms, houses, courtyards, lots of colour, interesting style mixes, tranquil gardens, ponds, lots of inviting seats, cute cats, miniature houses, a café, artisan workshop, art work, wooden buddhas, a display of traditional musical instruments, displays about silk, peppered with striking paintings from Theam himself.

Overview of areas but in reality everything flows into each other more closely.

This is the home, atelier and gallery of Master Cambodian Artist, Lim Muy Theam. His parents fled during the Khmer Rouge regime to France. Theam received artistic and technical education in Paris. Eventually he returned to Cambodia to help rebuild the country after decades of crippling war.
He researched traditional Khmer craftsmanship, and started teaching teams of apprentices from the countryside how to use them to create art out of time-honored materials like wood, lacquer, silk, and cotton. Skilled art trainees work in his gallery under Theam’s personal tutelage whose main objective is the teaching as well as advocating the value of authenticity and quality, featuring strong cultural and artistic Khmer identity with distinctly modern creative edge.

I spent close to two hours wandering around, sitting down, soaking up the artistic flair, cuddling cats, sipping a coconut, getting moved by the fear and pain in Theam’s portraits, trying to figure out how I could possibly move in without people noticing…

What an enchanting place. A must visit in Siem Reap.
Read more about Theam and his journey here: https://theamsgallery.com/about-theam/

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Little Paradise

I was very lucky again in my choice of accommodation. This small resort was a collection of bungalows and traditional bamboo houses, set in a tropical garden with a perfect pool and a spa.
I had a facial which included neck, head, and foot massage while my face was plastered with freshly cut cucumber strips. Pure bliss. Wish I had a picture of my face. One could also chose mango or papaya masks.

Located between Siem Reap and Angkor it is away from the noise and hustle, making it very quiet and peaceful, unless a neighbouring site has karaoke night on Saturdays and nobody can sing.
The markets of Siem Reap and the nightlife of Pubstreet is only a short trip by tuk-tuk.

It is also only 15 minutes by bicycle to Angkor Wat via a not so busy side road which influenced my decision.
I had initially planned 7 nights but extended to 13. The joy of no time restrictions.

The food is excellent too. Lots of Khmer dishes to try. And the fresh fruits and coconuts, omg… Photos to follow.
The staff is very pleasant and helpful, often up for a chat. Highly recommend this resort.

Palm Village Resort & Spa
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Cambodia, here I come

Visiting Cambodia has been on my wish list for a long, long time. And now I am actually here! I still can’t believe it.

My first glimpse 😄

Then the clouds opened and revealed lots of flooded areas. I learned later that some areas are always flooded during monsoon season but dry out afterwards.

I landed at the recently opened new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport. The terminal building has temple-style roofs.

I had to get a visa upon arrival. You can get an eVisa online in advance but it is not necessarily recognised when crossing rural borders later by bus or boat.
There were 6 officers sitting next to each other. I was expecting them all to serve directly but no, they were more like a production line. Officer number 1 took your passport, checked it and handed it to the next. Not sure what number 2 did. Number 3 took the payment. Number 4 printed visa label. Number 5 pulled off the back and stuck the label into passport. Number 6 put two stamps on the visa and handed them back. A well organised process. Guess which number was a women.

Anyway, my hotel had organised a pick-up and off I went on my first trip through Cambodian countryside. As the airport is new, so are the roads and therefore there is not much green yet but still mainly red soil. Not much traffic either until we got to Siem Real. Takes 45 minutes from airport.

First interesting things I’ve seen! Who doesn’t love transformers?

After checking in at the hotel and getting refreshed (the humidity hits you every time you leave air conditioned areas) I was off to get the 7-day-ticket for the Angkor Wat archeological park, the very reason for me being here. A short tuk-tuk ride away with a quick tour through Siem Reap.