5 Unusual Things To Do in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

By Jody Hanson
August 10, 2015
Hanging with the locals in phnom penh, cambodia
Courtesy rcordrey/myBudgetTravel

Here are five of my best tips for truly getting off the beaten tourist track in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. A word of warning: some of these are not for the faint of heart.

Dare to eat like a Khmer

First off, grubs, bugs, and other creepy crawlies are on the menu. Head for the Russian market if you want to try a tarantula that can be as big as your fist. Hairy and not too appetizing to many foodies, they are a local delicacy called ora-pingin K'mai. Another tasty treat is about-to-be-hatched black chicks, complete with tiny beaks and claws. If you don't want to sweat it out in the Russian market—which can be oppressive, particularly during the hot season—check out the menu at the Rik Reay BBQ just across the street from the weekend night market on Street 108 where fried red ants, spiced pig guts, and beef intestines are on offer.

Have a massage at a blind clinic

An astronomical one percent of the estimated 14.6 million people in Cambodia—that is 146,600 people—are blind. The main causes: eye diseases that could have been treated but weren't because of poverty, accidents—including land mines that are still busy exploding—or people were blind from birth. Many of the blind are trained in the art of massage, as it is a way they can make a living through their fingers. The massages are often called Cambodian, Thai, and "relaxing," but are always involve a lot of twisting, pummeling, and fancy footwork. Important tip: specify if you want soft, medium, or hard. For those who want strong, some of the masseurs take pleasure in digging in with their hands, elbows, and feet until they elicit a moan or a groan.

Drink on Street 172

If you want a good place to drink generously, sit at the bar and meet whoever happens to be around, or if you're aching to play a game of pool, wander into Sundance. Harry, the owner and operator, sets up the kind of bar he wanted to drink in, complete with flat screen televisions showing all the big sporting events. The area out back by the pool is quieter—buy a draught beer for a dollar and you can swim all day. If you want a quiet, personable place, turn left from Sundance and head down the street until you see a banner-type sign on the right that says Chinese Noodles. Next door to it is Quealy's, a delightful little place run by a British woman named Jess. There isn't a kitchen, but you can get a BBQ sausage or a hamburger cooked on the coals in front of the bar, or order Chinese take-away from the place next door.

Slow down and smell the Mekong

Well, actually you may not want to sniff the waters particularly during the monsoon season. However, a cyclo—a bicycle with seating room for one and a half average size adults in the front—is a good way to see the riverfront at a leisurely pace. Cyclo drivers are a dying breed and are among the poorest of the poor, so don't be afraid to tip.

Get stuck in a traffic jam

The traffic in the capital can only be described as utter and total chaos—but it works. The pecking order is bicycles to the far-right, then moto-scooters, next tuk-tuks, and finally cars and SUVs. But as soon as everyone starts weaving in and out it all turns to shambles. On a scooter and can't get across the lanes of traffic? No problem, drive close to the curb on the wrong side of the street and the on-coming drivers will give way.

A final tip: The secret to having a great time in Cambodia is simple. When you are in midst of a situation that defies description, sit back, take a deep breath, roll your eyes, and mutter, "It's the Kingdom."  Do not try to figure out Khmer logic—if it, in fact, exists—as this will spare you a headache and/or a drinking problem.

This article was written by Jody Hanson, an insufferable travel junkie who has visited 107 countries (67 on her own), lived in nine, and holds passports in three—she has visited all the countries in North, Central and South America except for Venezuela, Guyana, Surname and French Guinea. She wrote this article on behalf of Tucan Travel, a tour company that offers all types of travel excursions to Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia.

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Budget Travel Lists

4 Reasons To Visit Sedona, Arizona

With its gorgeous, dramatic landscape, Sedona is a worth a stop on your next road trip through the Southwestern United States. Here's why you should make time in your itinerary to check out this relatively small northern Arizona town. Marvel at red rocks & take on natural water slides Sedona is home to Red Rock State Park and Slide Rock State Park: at Red Rock, consider participating in a moonlight hike or a guided bird-watching walk; at Slide Rock, visitors can enjoy the natural water slides and take a dip in one of the park's swimming holes. Opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and hiking are also available. Kids ages 6-12 can participate in Arizona State Parks' Junior Ranger Program at either location. Discover ancient cliff dwellings and modern churches built into red rock Sedona's unique architecture gives a nod to its Southwestern locale and the surrounding landscape. Visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a uniquely modern design completed in 1956. Using influences from Frank Lloyd Wright and other Modern American architects, the building's geometric angles and large cross are integrated into the surrounding red rocks. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is located at 780 Chapel Rd. and definitely worth a peek. In search of something a big more historic? Journey south of Sedona to Montezuma Castle National Monument where travelers will find a series of cliff dwellings that are built high into the face of a cliff. Stroll down the short trail to get a glimpse of these impressive structures after learning about the area's history at the visitor center. The site is located off of I-17, approximately 25 miles south of Sedona. Find your inner peace Some people consider Sedona and the surrounding area to have special spiritual significance. One particularly peaceful spot is the Amitabha Stupa, a Buddhist structure perched in a park on the west side of town. A short hike leads to a unique monument that makes an ideal setting for prayer or meditation. Stay in family-friendly hotels or a romantic resort & spa Even though Sedona is a relatively small town—its population hovers around 10,000 people—you can find a wide variety of hotel options. Families will love the Best Western Plus Inn of Sedona. In addition to family-friendly amenities like complimentary breakfast and an outdoor swimming pool, the hotel offers a series of large terraces that are open to all hotel guests and provide 360-degree views of Sedona's impressive landscape. Those seeking a quiet retreat can book a stay at the romantic L'Auberge de Sedona Resort & Spa, which offers guests luxurious spa treatments, upscale patio dining, and a chlorine-free, mineral-based heated pool. This article was written by Sarah Vernetti, a Las Vegas-based freelance writer who loves exploring the Southwestern U.S. with her family. Follow her on Twitter @SarahVernetti or visit her website for more.

Budget Travel Lists

7 Destination Pubs In South Wales

This article was written by Zeneba Bowers and Matt Walker and originally appeared on their blog, If someone asked you to think about great cuisine and traditional culinary culture, which foods would you think of first? Italian, French, Vietnamese, Indian? Many come to mind. We're here to offer an unexpected alternative: Welsh. Specifically, South Wales. It is a magical country with sweeping farmlands, forested hills, and beautiful rocky coastlines. Everywhere the countryside is covered with crop fields, or dotted with flocks of sheep and dairy cows. With so many farms of all types of production, it is easy to eat fare that is fresh, local, organic and delicious. And in recent years there has been a surge in Welsh gastro-pub culture, as more and more diners crave a food experience that is seasonal, locally sourced, and memorable. Here's our list of seven fine pubs in south Wales, plus, we've paired each with a nearby site of scenic or historic interest. The Plough and Harrow & Old Beaupre Castle In tiny Monknash you'll find the award-winning pub The Plough and Harrow. For centuries the town was a farm managed by the monks of the Cistercian abbey at Neath. The Plough, with its Tudor doors, beamed ceilings, and open log fires, is reputedly haunted with good reason: centuries ago one part of the room (now the dartboard wall) was reportedly used to house shipwrecked bodies. Today it's an excellent pub, with many unusual local hard ciders and ales on tap, a new menu every day, open log fires, and delicious handmade food. Don't miss the sticky toffee pudding. Nearby is the quaint market town of Cowbridge, which has the highest concentration of independent boutiques and stores in South Wales. Just outside Cowbridge you'll find a sign for the Old Beaupre Castle and a small turnoff. The castle is reachable only by foot through a few fields following the River Thaw. Beaupre was built in medieval times, around 1300, but renovated considerably in the 16th century. It was at this latter time that a Renaissance porch was added, the only one of its kind in Wales. It's more of a mansion than a castle and entry is free. The Old Sailor's Pub & Tregwynt Woolen Mill Pwllgwaelod (best of luck pronouncing that!) consists of two buildings: The Old Sailor's Pub, and a house next door. The pub is just steps away from a gorgeous sand beach flanked by cliffs, which make for a great walk either before or after lunch. The building was a makeshift lighthouse before it was a pub and has stood here for more than 500 years. Local lore says Dylan Thomas visited here as well. Food is not fancy here, just local and fresh. Nearby you'll find the Melin Tregwynt Mill, in the tiny town of Castlemorris. Powered by a nameless but mighty stream flowing from the hills, this mill has been in operation since the 1700s and one of its old, giant waterwheels is on display in the main building. This was historically a very important place for the region, being where the local farmers would bring their fleece to be spun into wool yarn. Today the operation makes its own woven cloth as well as selling its yarn—the shop here sells many knit and weave items made from their product, most notably their cozy Welsh wool blankets. The Dolaucothi Arms & Talley Abbey  This excellent gastro-pub is set deep in the countryside in the tiny hamlet of Pumsaint. The owners used to live in Bristol, but decided to move to Pumsaint to refocus their energy on the quiet life, focusing on great Welsh beer, cider, and food in the countryside. It's been a rousing success, by our assessment. Everything is made in house including the bread. In the corner of the dining room you'll find the 'shop,' a wooden cabinet filled with housemade pickles, jams, jellies, and chutneys, all available for purchase. Just up the road you'll find the Five Saints Stone, which may be an ancient burial site; the legend goes that a sorcerer attacked five men, resulting in their heads leaving dents in this rock. Perhaps slightly more likely is that it was a stone used by the Romans in the mining process nearby. The day we visited, the family that lives in the house across the street happened to come home while we were there. We asked if they often had visitors, and they said yes, especially around pagan holidays. They said they like to set up lawn chairs to watch the action, stating it was "better than the telly." Nearby you'll find the beautiful ruins of Talley Abbey, the site of a cautionary tale about two rival sects of monks. Established in the late 12th century by a Premonstratensian sect, the abbey was at first quite prosperous, but its success drew the attention of some local Cistercian monks who tried to take over the property by means of the legal courts. After nine years of lawsuits, the Premonstratensians prevailed, but all the litigation left them broke. Today it is a peaceful ruin set in the idyllic Welsh countryside. The Plough & Carreg Cennen Castle  The Plough in Rhosmaen is a very popular restaurant in the area, and serves high quality seasonal food. It's also a very nice hotel. Make sure you have a reservation on weekend nights as this is a popular place to go for a special meal or a fancy evening out. Service is fairly formal: expect one person to take your order, another to serve wine, another to deliver food, and others to clear plates. Nearby you'll find the ruins of Carreg Cennen Castle, built in the 13th century on a remote rocky crag overlooking a wide expanse of farmland and wilderness south of Llandeilo. Though it was an effective stronghold due to its location and surrounding cliffs, the castle was deliberately demolished in 1462 to prevent it from becoming a haven for bandits. Today, instead, it's a haven for longhorn cattle, excellent birdwatching, and incredible views. The Raglan Arms & Raglan Castle  This excellent, award-winning gastro-pub sources local foods and puts a new spin on traditional Welsh dishes. The atmosphere is upscale and clubby, and the food was local, handmade, and presented in high style. Most dishes are served on slabs of local slate. Nearby you'll find Raglan Castle, one of the most impressive castle ruins in eastern Wales. Built in the mid-1430s, it was a strategic hilltop fortification, surrounded at the time by game forest and farmlands. Its most noticeable feature greets visitors as soon as they arrive: hexagonal towers, including two over the main gate and one large guard tower surrounded by a moat. Cross-shaped arrow slits adorn the sides of the towers. The castle was not just a military outpost but also a lord's manor; the rooms include a great dining hall and extensive kitchen facilities as well as various residence spaces. Different coats-of-arms can be seen throughout the castle, carved into the stone walls and archways, the last marks of ancient and powerful families that once called this castle home. Y Polyn Pub & Llandeilo Y Polyn is a happy surprise in the middle of rural South Wales and is a destination gastro-pub for diners from all over the area. The atmosphere is clean, cozy and modern, but still relaxed. Nearly everything is made in house, including the bread. Food is of the highest quality and very beautifully presented, and all locally sourced. Situated deep in the countryside, the gorgeous drive to the pub is an experience in itself. Nearby you'll find Wright's Emporium, a combination cafe/farm shop specializing in artisanal foods. Here you'll find a cold case full of imported Spanish hams and olives, a huge selection of specialty chocolates and cakes, local cheeses, crackers and cider, and spices, including many varieties of Welsh salts. Just a short drive away you'll find the cute market town of Llandeilo. Just outside town you'll find Dinefwr Park and Castle, featuring the ruins of Dinefwr Castle, the Edwardian era Newton House, a large parkland, and the park's famous ancient tall trees. The foodie visitor won't want to miss Heavenly Chocolates, an artisanal chocolate shop found in the old town, offering upscale chocolate and handmade ice cream. Across the street from Heavenly Chocolates you'll find Crafts Alive, a cooperative of dozens of local artists offering locally made ceramics, ironworks, knits, paintings, and jewelry. The Charlton Arms & Ludlow  Though Ludlow is now in England, we include it in this list because of its history of being part of the Welsh marches and its proximity to Wales. The Charlton Arms, an excellent pub and hotel, is located by the ancient Ludford Bridge in the market castle town of Ludlow. The chef likes to experiment with different spices and flavors, so though the menu has many traditional options it also has more modern ones like a Sesame Chili Beef Salad. The food, while it is very traditional pub food, is also made with seasonal ingredients and local produce when possible. In winter there's an open log fire, and the pub boasts beautiful views of the river and town. Ludlow town grew up around its castle, one of a series of fortifications on the Welsh Marches—that area forming the historical border between England and Wales. The castle and supporting walled town were finished by 1233, and served as an excellent point of defense for centuries. In 1501 Prince Arthur honeymooned here—and soon thereafter died here—after his marriage to Queen Catherine of Aragon. (Arthur's older brother later married Arthur's widow and eventually became King Henry VIII.) Established during the same time period as the castle, the parish church dominates Ludlow in some ways more than the castle does. Healthy visitors can buy a ticket to climb the 200 winding spiral steps to the top to survey the countryside and look down upon the tourists clustered on the castle tower across town.

Budget Travel Lists

9 Best Budget Eats in Milan, Italy

For some, the highlight of a trip to Milan is viewing Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. But for the food-obsessed, a visit here revolves around eating supper (and breakfast and lunch, too). In a country revered for gastronomic treasures, Milan's culinary abundance stands tall. Best known for fashion and finance, this chic, sleek, and efficient Northern Italian city will tantalize your taste buds at every turn. History and geography are on its side. Milan is located in the Po Valley, surrounded by fertile pastures and prolific rice fields, which translates to your plate with luxuriously rich cheese and butter, plus the risotto of your dreams. Centuries of foreign conquerors have left their mark with an open-minded food scene and authentic ethnic cuisine. While posh Milan isn't exactly known for bargains, you won't need to break the bank to eat like a king. Here are nine tasty ways to indulge your appetite on a budget. Aperitivo Best place to try it: Radetsky, Corso Garibaldi 105 Sipping a pre-dinner drink is popular with Milan's trendsetters. Many bars offer a plentiful buffet included in the price of your drink for around 8 euros. You'll spy tables laden with pizza, pasta, rice salad, roasted veggies, sausage, and cheese. While residents tend to nibble daintily, forge ahead and fill your plate with prime morsels that can substitute for a light dinner. Eat in a Neighborhood Trattoria Best place to try it: Il Caminetto, Via Felice Casati 22 Milan's Northern agricultural traditions have little in common with Southern Italy's red sauces and olive oil. If you don't have an Italian Mama, eating in a neighborhood trattoria is the next best thing. These frugal, family-run establishments make everything from scratch, which translates into low prices and home-cooked flavors. You'll sample rich traditional dishes and receive a warm welcome from owner Clara when you dine at Il Caminetto. The Cotoletta alla Milanese, a breaded bone-in veal cutlet cooked in butter, is crisp and greaseless. Boldly yellow Risotto alla Milanese stars short-grained carnaroli rice cooked with precious saffron threads and enriched with butter and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Coffee Best place to try it: Motta Caffe, Piazza Duomo In Italy, coffee is not just a beverage, it's a way of life. Savor a morning cappuccino under the shadow of the freshly restored Gothic Duomo at Motta. Pair it with a fortifying brioche filled with jam or chocolate, perfect for dunking in your foamy beverage. You'll have a breakfast bargain for a few euros, with the most dazzling view in town. Burgers Best place to try it: Quality Beef, Trattoria Della Carne, Viale Pasubio 8 We're not suggesting fast food when you're in the Slow Food capital of the world. Burgers are trendy in Milan and there's nothing fast about the way this lean and luscious source of protein is eaten. Quality Beef, Trattoria Della Carne turns a simple burger into an elevated dining experience. This bastion of beef serves a dressed-up hamburger with pitch-perfect sides that will satisfy your carnivore cravings without making a big dent in your wallet. Pack a Picnic Best place to purchase yummy supplies: Peck, Via Spadari 9 Peck is a Milan institution and a temple of edible treats. Gourmets will go gaga for its three floors of elegantly presented cheese, charcuterie and eye-catching prepared foods. Select regal eats for an al fresco picnic in nearby Parco Sempione. Choose a leafy spot in the shadow of Milan's imposing castle, Castello Sforzesco and nosh away. Pizza Best place to try it: La Balena, Via Borsieri 28 Naples is the undisputed king of pizza, but Milan makes a noble effort. At La Balena in the Isola neighborhood, you'll enjoy a no-nonsense individual pie accompanied by an icy draught beer (birra alla spina). If you want a quick slice on the go, try the small chain Princi's delicate zucchini blossom variety. The pizza isn't pre-sliced, so you can ask for just the right size to tide you over until the next meal. Gelato Best place to try it: Il Massimo Del Gelato, Via Lodovico Castelvetro 18 Italians are passionate when it comes to this frozen treat and the Milanese are no exception. Chocoholics should try a refreshing scoop at Il Massimo Del Gelato, where ten variations of chocolate are served. This city has no shortage of gelaterie, just be sure and look for the words prodotto artigianale and you'll know that it's freshly made. Sandwich or Panino Best place to try it: Panino Giusto, multiple locations Don't think we're suggesting you eat peanut butter and jelly. Milan takes it up a notch with photo-worthy sandwiches filled with quality cheeses, meats and salads piled on crusty bread and eaten hot off the press. Give one of Panino Giusto's outposts a try. One bite and you'll understand why this small chain is packing them in at lunchtime. Chinese Best place to try it: Jubin, Via Paolo Sarpi 11 While Italians may have the cultural claim on pasta, most food historians believe it was actually brought to Italy from Asia by Marco Polo. It seems fitting that Asian eateries are flooding this city and savvy foodies head straight to Chinatown. It's main thoroughfare, Via Paolo Sarpi, is car-free, so you can hop on your BikeMi bike share and pedal over to your feast. You can choose from dozens of authentic Chinese options, but unassuming Jubin is a top pick thanks to its quality ingredients and low prices. This article was written by Allison Tibaldi, a native New Yorker who has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Toronto, and Los Angeles. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish and laughably adequate in French. When she's not traveling, she's scouring NYC for delectable eats. As a freelance travel writer, she focuses on family, culinary, and car-free travel. She's also a senior travel writer at

Budget Travel Lists

18 Great Places to Go Camping

When it comes to getting up close and personal with nature, Budget Travel editors know the spots where you'll find elbow room, nightly lodging for under $30, and North America's most beautiful flora and fauna. This morning, Budget Travel's President and Publisher Elaine Alimonti appeared on the Weather Channel's AMHQ with Sam Champion to share these best-ever campsite recommendations. Here, some off-the-radar faves, surprising East Coast campsites, family-friendly outdoor spots, and places that are perfect for the adventurous camper. SEE 27 CAMPING LOCATIONS BUDGET TRAVEL READERS LOVE TOP 3 OFF-THE-RADAR CAMPING LOCATIONS: Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia. Take one look at Blackwater Falls and you'll see why it's one of the most photographed places in West Virginia: Five stories of amber-colored water gets its signature hue from the hemlock and red spruce needles of the forest. You'll find 20 miles of hiking trails, trout fishing, and if you need a dose of civilization, the park is also home to a lodge and an excellent restaurant. Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada. If you think they go big in Vegas, head an hour northeast to Nevada's biggest state park, which boasts its own show: Stunning, 150-million-year-old sandstone formations that give the park its name; and 3,000-year-old petroglyphs carved into the rock by the region's original inhabitants. When it comes to getting away from it all, well, Valley of Fire has stood in for Mars in Hollywood movies. Ruckle Park on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. The Gulf Islands in British Columbia are some of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest, just north of the border with Washington State. Ruckle Park offers miles of shoreline, towering headlands, and gorgeous coves and bays where you can camp with a spectacular view right outside your tent. The terrain is a perfect blend of forest, grassy fields, and shore, where you can hike or cycle the miles of trailhead, or kayak along the beach. (Keep an eye out for sea lions, killer whales, and adorable otters.) TOP 5 EAST COAST CAMPING LOCATIONS: Mount Desert Island, Maine. Pitch your tent where the mountains meet the sea in coastal Maine, this island is also home to beautiful Acadia National Park. Salisbury Beach State Park, Massachusetts. Yes, a public beach on the Massachusetts coast where you can camp and enjoy the legendary surf and sand. Eagle Point, New York. On the western shore of upstate New York's Schroon Lake, this is that rare East Coast getaway that makes you feel like you're in the wilderness, but still close to great food and amenities. Hershey Park Camping Resort. Some people consider this America's finest campsite for convenience and fun. Its proximity to chocolate (at Hershey Park) may be a factor. Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina. Add some art to your camping adventure here, with the spectacular Brookgreen Gardens sculpture collection nearby, and cast a line at one of the Southeast's finest surf-fishing beaches. TOP 5 FAMILY OUTDOOR SPOTS: Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine, Florida. A perfect stretch of beach, tidal marsh, and opportunities for cycling, hiking, and canoeing make this an all-in-one camping spot. First Landing State Park, Virginia. Add a little history to your Virginia Beach getaway here, where European colonists first landed in Virginia. Fort Robinson State Park, Crawford, Nebraska. Kids will love the old west history, buffalo, and longhorns here, not to mention thousands of acres of parkland to explore. Glacier National Park, Montana. Meet mountain goats up close (but stay a few feet away from those horns) at the Continental Divide, and ogle sky-high mountains that contain some of the lower 48's only remaining ice age glaciers. Mount Hood Village, Oregon. Camp in the shadow of gorgeous Mount Hood and explore Oregon's rich forests and tasty food scene at one of the West Coast's finest campsites. TOP 5 ADVENTURE DESTINATIONS: Mount Washington State Park, New Hampshire. Climbing Mount Washington is near the top of many adventurers' bucket lists. Dress for all four seasons and bring water - the weather changes dramatically, which is all part of the fun if you're prepared. Everglades National Park, Florida. Amazing opportunities for drive-in camping or backcountry for the truly adventurous. A great way to explore the waterways and wildlife of this iconic park without breaking the bank. Big Bend National Park, Texas. A hidden gem on the Texas-Mexico border, we love the beautiful canyons and spectacular vistas this lesser-known park offers. Lake Powell, Arizona. The seemingly endless shoreline of Lake Powell is no secret to Westerners, and presents opportunities to take on just about any watersport challenge. Pfeiffer State Park, California. Hiking trails through the forest and purple-hued sand on the beach make this a magnet on the Central Coast, but many people don't know you can book a yurt (essentially a big, fancy tent) for a "glamping" experience like no other in the U.S.