Friday, November 30, 2012

Cambodian Apsaras

These are some short video-clips of the cultural dances put up during dinner at the Sofitel Pokheetra Hotel in Siem Reap during the  prize presentation evening of the Staroba Golf Club Tour of Cambodia. in October 2012

Dinner and Prize Presentations @ Sofitel Pokheetra Hotel

 The Dinner and Prize presentations for the golf tour was held at the posh Sofitel Pokheetra Hotel in Siem Reap. We were welcomed at the hotel by the hotel's cultural troupe and were entertained during dinner with cultural dances of Cambodia.

 dinner was a 5-course Cambodian dishes
 pretty Cambodian girls perform cultural dances

 Day 1 winner @ Angkor Golf Course, Sany

 Zaher was the winner @ Pokheetra
 pakdokter was second at the Angkor Lakes
overall 3rd - Norahim Md

 overall 2nd - Hj Amin Jidon
Salehuddin Hisham - Cambodia Tour Winner

The Staroba Golf Club Tour of Siem Reap : The Angkor Lakes Golf Course

The Angkor Lakes turned out to be the best golf course of the three that we played during this trip. True to its name, the course is characterised by lakes and water hazards in almost all the holes throughout the course. This is one game we managed to play to the end without being stopped by rain.
The Angkor Lakes belongs to a Korean company and the golf course was designed by a Japanese golf designer. The Pokheetra Golf Course belongs to a Thai who also owns the Sofitel Pokheetra Hotel. Whereas the Angkor Golf Course, designed by Sir Nick Faldo, belongs to an Indonesian businessman from Medan.
Pakdokter played reasonably well at the Lakes Course but pakdokter's handicap had already been adjusted to 28 by then!

 pakdokter was allocated 2 caddies - one of whom was a trainee
Cambodia has surplus of labour
all their golf courses have 200 to 400 caddies.!

Staroba Golf Club Tour of Siem Reap : The Pokheetra Golf Club

The game on Day 2 was played at the Pokheetra Golf Course - home to the Cambodian Open. Pakdokter had played here in 2008? - when it was first opened and was the only golf course in Siem Reap then. Unfortunately, because of the rainy season the course was very soggy and the greens were very slow and were under repair.

 Wan Husin, Roslan Chik, Zaher and Zulkifli Rauf
 pakdokter, Suliana, Zaid, Tg Azman
 Zaid from the fairway bunker
 the golf course maintenance crew
 a cold towel and a glass of iced lemon-grass tea
after the 1st Nine


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Siem Reap Today

 spacious bedroom at Sokha Angkor Resort
Pakdokter cannot remember how long ago was pakdokter's last visit to this city - but pakdokter's memory of Siem Reap was that of a small town with several small tourist class hotels with the exception of the Raffles Hotel which was probably the only 5-star hotel then. Today Siem Reap is a city of 1 million people - many 5-star hotels and posh restaurants with a bustling nigh-market and a noisy 'Pub Street' that rivals Patong in Phuket or Patpong in Bangkok. However it is relatively cheaper than the Thai cities - even a good traditional massage cost almost half the cost in Thailand.
Our group stayed at Sokha Angkor Hotel - a 5-star hotel quite near to the Raffles and the Royal Palace. Transport from the hotel to the commercial part of town was by the 3-wheeled tuk-tuk which cost about USD1 mostly. USD was used in all transactions instead of their own currency.

 the central courtyard of the Sokha Angkor Hotel
 the 3-wheeled tuk-tuk is the main mode of transport
 a restaurant on the main street

 Victoria Hotel?

 the Angkor Raffles Hotel
 the Central Park

dinner at the FCC Bistro ( Foreign Correspondent Club)


The Staroba Golf Club Tour of Siem Reap

The following week pakdokter was travelling with the Staroba Golf Club in a golf tour of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Pakdokter had toured the ruins of Siem Reap on two or three previous occasions - but had not done a golf tour and played the three golf courses in this city. Unfortunately, Cambodia was also in the midst of the rainy season. Our MAS plane had to abort its landing at the last minute due to heavy downpour and poor visibility. From the air we could see the vast stretch of water-logged lands which made pakdokter wonder if the golf courses were flooded as well and were playable at all.
Some of us decided to play a round of golf on the first day itself - and we were booked to play at the Angkor Golf Resort which was quite near the airport. Pakdokter played with Datuk Zaid Ibrahim and his wife, Datin Suliana and our tour operator and guide, Mr Steven. Unfortunately heavy rain that came again prevented us from finishing the whole 18-holes that we wanted to play.
Angkor Golf Resort is a lovely golf course designed by Sir Nick Faldo. There are so many lakes throughout the course and water was always in play in almost every hole. But the greens and faiways were in good shape despite the rainy spell except for some stretches of soggy patches in some holes.