Allea Real Estate

Allea Real Estate
Real Estate in Davao City, Philippines

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Somadevi Angkor Hotel and Spa

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff of Somadevi Angkor Hotel and Spa for making our stay in Siem Reap wonderful. :)


The kingsize bed was so comfortable!
After a long day of travel and a very tiring border experience (read my previous blog so you will understand what I'm talking about :) , we arrived in Siem Reap around 4 in the            afternoon.                                         

Upon entering the hotel, the staff immediately got our luggages and one of them handed us 2 glasses of fruit juice and 2 very cold face towels. It felt like heaven after all that we've been through. They let us rest for a few minutes then did a fast and efficient check-in.

When we got into our room, I was impressed with its cleanliness. The bathroom had a big tub and a separate shower.  Our room had a sliding door which opened to a wide verandah overlooking the swimming pool and the sunken bar.

I simply loved it. :)


The view from our room.


SOMADEVI was named after Cambodian Queen who led Cambodia in the first century during the Khmer Empire Period. Based on her successful merits in making Cambodia as the most well-known country in South East Asia in terms of society and infrastructure, her name continues to rise in the mind of today’s Cambodian people.

You'll see from the lobby  the rich culture of the Khmer Empire through its design and architecture.


When I booked the hotel online, I opted to have a free breakfast. That way, we will not be stressed out looking for food every morning. I am glad I did because their food is good. They had an extensive breakfast buffet which consisted of a salad bar, bread counter, rice (btw, their rice is good) , the usual ham , bacon, etc. They also had a counter where you just tell them how you want your eggs done. :)

Their menu for lunch and dinner are not that many. But the ones we ordered were very delicious. The price is the same with the top restaurants in Siem Reap. The difference is that, I am sure the Somadevi kitchen is very clean. :) Let me explain. Our tour guide brought us one time to a famous Khmer Restaurant in SR. The food was good. But when I went to the bathroom before we left, I was disgusted. Their CR was full of cockroaches. So John and I decided to just eat at the hotel the rest of our stay there.

Bread in a basket, fish and fries for John.

Deep Fried Prawns... Yummy!!!


The hotel is within downtown Siem Reap. Their main gate though is about 50 meters from the highway so it is not noisy, at all.  Back at the main road, when you turn right , you will immediately see a Money Exchange place.  When we were there, the exchange rate for $1 is 4,100.00 cambodian riel.  Please note that Cambodia uses US dollar so it's easier to just exchange your currency to USD.

Further ahead, you'll find a Khmer massage place. After visiting the temples during day time, getting a massage feels like it's the best decision you've ever made. :)  Then, there's a convenience store and a big grocery store about 100 meters ahead. Get your water and softdrinks there before going to the temples because if you don't, then you'll have to shed out $1 per one bottle of mineral water at Angkor park. :)

The famous Angkor Night Market is about 2 blocks away from the hotel. You can take a leisurely walk at night or opt to ride in a tuktuk for $1 . John and I chose to ride because our feet were killing us already.  I'll share about the night market next time. :)

I am so glad that we stayed at Somadevi Angkor Hotel and Spa. It made our stay in Siem Reap very beautiful and memorable.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kadayawan sa Dabaw

Every August of each year, Davao City celebrates the Kadayawan Festival. This is a thanksgiving for all the blessings received by the people and the city during the year. The culmination is being celebrated by way of a street dancing parade which is locally known as "Indak-indak sa Kadalanan".  And a floral float parade where top establishments in Davao City present their beautifully adorned entries.

This year, the parades were once again very successful and peaceful. Locals and tourists alike, flocked together and watched the fun dancers perform on the road. Let me share with you the photos I took during the two day event.

I've been watching this parade every year for the past 10 years. The main reason is that, we give away fliers / brochures of houses that are for sale in Davao, while having fun. :)  Next reason is my love for photography.

I love the colorful costumes, the rich history of our "katutubo" and the dance moves.  It makes me smile when I look at the photos I took and seeing that I captured the moment, somehow...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Giveaway!

The Author of the The Field of Dreams, Roy Paran, commemorates his one year anniversary in UK by giving away a fabulous treat to all the bloggers who want to join his contest. :)  Wonderful right?!

The Prizes:

   1st Prize
      1-year Web Hosting with:
     10 GB Space
     Unlimited Bandwidth
     100 Email Accounts
     10 MySQL Databases (1 GB ea.)
     FREE £63 Google® Ad Credits
     FREE £31 Bing™/Yahoo!® Ad Credits
     FREE £31 Facebook® Ad Credits

2nd Prize

     1-year Domain Name

3rd Prize

     1-year Domain Name

Consolation Prizes

     - 3 Pinoy Blogger Tshirts courtesy of Semidoppel, Diary ni Gracia and The Backpackman. This
       will be given to the contestants coming from the Philippines.

What you need to do:

     1. Subscribe to Field of Dreams via email. Here's the link:

     2. Write a blog about the contest, just like what I'm doing now. :)

     3. Share on Facebook or Twitter.

     4. Leave a comment at the comment box of the Field of Dreams.

For those who want a free domain name with one year web-hosting, join now! :)

Congratulations Roy, may you have a long and happier life in UK. Happy anniversary!


The Border (Thailand-Cambodia)

I've read online that the border between Thailand and Cambodia is not easy. But I did not realize how difficult it was until I was able to try it. :)

I mentioned in my previous blog that we were picked up from the hotel by van.  I was thinking, the van is new,  the seats were comfortable and the aircon works. So we're ok.  We left around 7am. And traffic in Bangkok was terrible. It took us an hour to get out of the city. I guess the van driver had to cover for lost time, he had to drive 130kms per hour. Scary huh?!  Think how it was for us who didn't have seatbelts. There were 8 passengers in the van, all of us were foreigners , wanting to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia. :)

Finally before lunchtime, we reached the border. Almost, that is...

 Let me explain.

About 100 meters from the border, the van stopped in a restaurant. The driver took our things and told us to wait for the incharge who will take us to the border and will take care of our ride to cambodia. Then he left. We were left wondering, umm...what happens next?

Then, somebody came to us , telling us that he is the incharge. He gave us the form for the exit clearance. And the form for the Cambodian Immigration. After filling them up, he explained that a) the bus from the border to Siem Reap usually takes 5 hours - even if the travel time is actually lesser because it stops often. b) if we take the taxi, SR will only take 2 hours. But  we need to pay THB 350 per person.

I said , "what about us? We already paid THB1,200 per head yesterday. We were told that this include taxi to Siem Reap?"
He said,  "no madame, bus only and that is 5 hours."
I said, "No. Bus is cheap. What we paid for is a van ride from Bangkok to Siem Reap".

But of course, I lost. His excuse is that the Bangkok travel agency did not pay them. Oh well, so we shed out Thb700 for both John and me. The others did the same as well. When all that was settled, we were taken by another van to the market near the border of Thailand.

We were asked to carry our luggages and walk towards the Thai border. Can you imagine walking under the scorching heat of the sun around 12noon, carrying / pulling your luggage? John and I looked at each other. lol It's a good thing I brought the luggage with its own tires.

We walked for about 600 meters and there I saw the border of Thailand. Stamping the exit clearance was fast and easy. We were finished after 15 mins.

Then, we had to walk again for about 500 meters going to the Cambodian border. I thought, what is going on with this place. Why don't they have a ride in between borders!

When we reached Poipet, the border of Cambodia, we went directly to the immigration office. They checked my passport and since I'm a Filipino, I didn't need a visa anymore. :) I was given a 15day stay in Cambodia.

I took care of John's visa online. , 2 weeks before our departure. The visa was sent to his email, 3 working days after I applied. The fee was only $25 . It helped because we got in pretty easy at the immigration.

After that, we were told by the incharge to wait for our ride. We sat in a dirty waiting shed at the back of the Immigration office.

The rest of Poi Pet is dirty. And there's nothing there, except large casino hotels.  I love Cambodia, specially Siem Reap. But the border, I'm sorry for saying this, I hope I never have to go back there again.

If you're thinking of travelling to Siem Reap, just take a plane ride.  That's what we're going to do the next time we visit Angkor Wat.

A few minutes later, our van arrived. I'm glad that the incharge got us one because there's more leg room than the taxi. This time, there were only 6 of us. I guess, the other 2 opted for the bus ride.

Before we left Poi Pet, the tour guide gave us a story , that we should have our US dollars exchanged into Cambodian Riel because once we're there, the exchange rate is lower. We're normally bright people, LOL. But I guess we were so tired already , we believed everything he said. So we stopped in a money exchange rate place (beside his office) and was given 3,900.00 per one dollar. Only to find out that the exchange rate in SR is 4,100.00 ... Plus there was no need to exchange into local currency because they mostly use US dollar there! You know, we planned this trip for a year and so, I've researched all these things online. Geee... I think I was already brain dead that time.

And one more thing, if you have to take a land trip to Cambodia, never buy anything on the road when the driver stops. Obviously they have a cut to whatever you buy, because we made a mistake of buying one bottle of mineral water for 10 dollars. :) The beer, for those who ordered, was 60 us dollars. So yeah, they're not nice!

I'm glad we travelled the way we did because we learned and we saw the countryside of Thailand and Cambodia. But we're definitely not doing it again the same way next time. Arriving in an airport is a better and easier option. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tourist Destinations in Bangkok - Baiyoke Sky Observation Deck

After a long day of visiting the tourist spots in Bangkok, John and I treated ourselves to a nice buffet dinner at Baiyoke Sky Restaurant. The fee is THB1,000.00 but since we were staying at Baiyoke Suite Hotel, we were given a 50% discount. From what I understand, the discount is given to all the clients staying at any of their hotels. The food consisted of Asian and western menus. With the extensive display of food from one end of the building to the other, I am sure you will not get hungry. :) I feasted on their seafood once again. hehe...

They have chefs who will cook soup, noodles, meat, fish, etc. for you. So there are a lot of options other than what's on display. Choices vary from Thai food (of course), Korean, Japanese and western food. They got several choices on dessert as well. But what I love the most is their crepe. :)

Eating in their restaurant is not boring. Before we went up to the 79th floor where the restaurant is, we visited first their observation deck. Then after dinner, we went to the 81st floor and enjoyed watching the view from their 360' Revolving Roof Deck. Baiyoke sky is the highest building in Bangkok, so the view is unobstructed for miles. It's fantastic at nights because it's cooler and the shimmering lights are very beautiful.

More fun things to do:

Bangkok Tourist Destinations - Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Another temple we visited while we were in Bangkok is the famous Reclining Buddha. It is locally known as Wat Pho. It is a sacred Buddhist temple near the Grand Palace. It was built as a restoration of an earlier temple on the same site.

Wat Pho is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Even prior to the temple's founding, the site was a center of education for traditional Thai medicine, and statues were created showing yoga positions.

The Reclining Buddha - His body is gold plated and is decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay on his eyes and the soles of his feet. The bottoms of the Buddha's feet are intricately decorated with 108 auspicious scenes in Chinese and Indian styles.

These are the pagodas in the same complex where the reclining buddha is. I love the intricate details of each building. Their architecture and designs are just amazing!

As we go back to where our rented car was parked, John and I stopped to see the other buddha and statues in the complex.