Category Archive for Nightcrawling

Los Angeles Vampire Ball at Bar Sinister! Custom Fangs by Father Sebastiaan, Vampire Wine tasting lounge.

custom molded vampire fangs

Vampires, everywhere! On my last trip to Los Angeles, I partook in a number of blood-thirsty activities that paid tribute to Nosferatu.

In Part 1, you saw me rolling around with Trevor on Bela Lugosi’s gravestone. Now, I’ll take you to a Vampire wine bar and Bar Sinister’s Endless Night ball. I’ll also show you how I got custom-made vampire fangs, which look like the real deal!

Father Sebastiaan fang maker

I was excited to meet Father Sebastiaan, master Fangsmith, during his stop in LA. He’s world-renown for his ability to craft vampire fangs, which fit right over your canines and look indistinguishable from the rest of your teeth.

I felt like the journalist from Interview with a Vampire, meeting Lestat. After all, Father Sebastiaan is the founding father of the Sanguinarium, the largest vampire community in the world.

goth figures collectibles

He travels the world, crafting fangs for fellow creatures of the night. While in Los Angeles, he set up shop in this spooky Beverly Hills abode.

vampire couture zombie fashion

The space felt like a coven gathering. I admired this vampire couture, made by hand with decadent materials.

Father Sebastiaan vampire fangs

Kent Kaliber introduced me to Father Sebastiaan, who created my very first set of fangs! The process took about 40 minutes, with theatrical rituals in between.

The professional fang master comes from a long line of dentists. He measured and fit the pointy Lilith prosthetics over my canines, then shaped them to fit perfectly over my teeth. No need for glue or any adhesives. Once they’re in, these fangs stay snug, and feel like they’re part of you.

make vampire fangs canines

Father Sebastiaan walked me through several initiation rites, including flipping through this book and choosing a vampiric name. He gave me a special ankh necklace to wear, and a case to store my new fangs. (You can wear them for most of the day, and only need to remove them when you eat and sleep.)

Wouldn’t you like some enticing fangs of your own? You can find out more on Father Sebastiaan’s website and his Facebook

bar sinister hollywood

Now, I was ready to party at the Endless Night vampire salon, at Bar Sinister. This legendary club remains one of the best Gothic venues in LA, and has parties every weekend. (Address: 1652 N Cherokee Ave, Hollywood, CA)

kent kaliber bar sinister host

I co-hosted the event with Kent Kaliber; we went on stage to introduce the performers. There was a dark roster of entertainers that night…

mata hari bellydance

… including belly dancers, go-go girls and DJs. Father Sebastiaan also set up a booth for fang-making.

endless night vampire ball

Bar Sinister has multiple rooms to explore. Vendors set up booths for bondage wear, headdresses and other alt fashion.

dracula monster mask

As dawn crept closer, the dance floor got wild. These two took “the monster mash” to a whole new level! 

scary latex monster mask

Fear the creeping dead! Everyone dressed up for the Endless Night vampire theme, but this latex mask took the cake.

(Not pictured: the S&M fetish stations upstairs, where you could whip or be whipped, on a cross and other equipment.)

bar sinister los angeles owner

A devilish thank you to host Kent, and owner Kelly, for welcoming me back to Bar Sinister. They throw a fabulous Gothic club every weekend, with birthday specials, so check out Bar Sinister’s Faceebook for upcoming events. 

vampire vineyard bar tasting lounge

After all that decadence, Trevor and I needed to replenish our veins with blood. Believe it or not, there’s an LA bar that serves this exact purpose: the Vampire Lounge & Tasting Room. (Address: 9865 S Santa Monica Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 9021)

los angeles vampire lounge

The moment you walk in, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into Dracula’s lair. There is an upper floor, giant mirrors and chandeliers — a setting made for the King and Queen of the Damned.

Vampire Wine And Tasting Room, beverly hills

Opened in 2011, the Vampire Lounge and Tasting Room is the first of its kind. Vampire aficionados can come here to sample “bites” of food and sample wines, while watching Nosferatu on the screen.

vampire theme bar restaurant

All of the wines come from Vampire Vineyards, a California-based winery. You simply must try their flights of wines (several reds and whites), each with enticing names like Dracula and True Blood. 

vampire vineyards red wine

I was delighted by Vampire’s rich, full bodied victuals. What a pleasure to sip bloody wines in this elegant space, accomanpanied by quality cheese and charchuterie.

Don’t leave without a bar of Vampire Dark Chocolate. Trevor and I couldn’t resist eating the entire package.

vampire wine bottle, true blood cabernet sauvignon

The bar also sells bottles of Vampire Wine; my favorite is the True Blood Cabernet Sauvignon. What a marvellous occasion for sipping “the blood of the vine”!

downtown los angeles clubbing

I’ll end with some more alternative adventures in Los Angeles. I went to downtown LA one evening with Lauren. In recent years, this area is becoming known for its bar scene.

the lash, goth bar downtown la

We hung out at The Lash, an alt venue that usually has no cover charge. This is my type of venue: “ginger bear” craft cocktails, an indie crowd, and live DJs that spin dark electro and Italo Disco. 

maya store, melrose los angeles

Finally, Trevor and stopped by Melrose Avenue for a shopping session. We ducked into a classic store, Maya Hollywood  (7360 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles, CA).

tribal tibetan masks

The colorful walls are packed with tribal masks from all over the world. I browsed Tibetan jewelry, Mayan earrings and other spiritual accessories.

necromance los angeles taxidermy

We paid a visit to Necromance (7222 Melrose Ave): a spooky store filled with oddities from the natural world. You’ll find strange shells, preserved insects, and taxidermy such as a giant stuffed white peacock.

(If you’re interested in stores like this, also check out my posts about Loved to Death San Francisco, and Obscura Antiques in NYC — where I appeared on their TV show.)

stuffed lions taxidermy

It’s always a wild time, being in Los Angeles! Here are more of my Goth / alternative LA travel tips, including club nights and shops, from my trips over the years.

vampire female fashion clothing

Did this post inspire you to plan a Dracula-themed day in Los Angeles? (More of this photoshoot in my story about Bela Lugosi’s cemetery).

PS – I’m off to six countries this summer, announcement coming soon! Be sure to get your orders in from my Goth fashion sale, before I head off. All the listings are here; let me know what you’d like and shoot me an email, before everything is gone!

El Dorado Maroma: Karisma’s Riviera Maya luxury beach resort. Le Lotus Rouge bar, Playa del Carmen.

El Dorado Maroma, karisma Beachfront Resort

Goths on the beach. Even in bright sunlight, Yukiro and I maintain our vampire attitude!

Karisma Hotels invited us to spend a day at El Dorado Maroma, their boutique oceanfront resort. It turned out to be our favorite property. We loved relaxing on this private beach so much that we delayed our leave by several hours!

(My pentacle top is this exact one by Rat Baby, a dark / alt clothing brand.)

tulum 5 star resort hotel

Located in the Riviera Maya, El Dorado Maroma is for adults only, and cultivates a laid-back feeling. The grounds are filled with tall palm trees, giving the impression that you’ve stumbled upon a beach paradise. 

goth pentacle witch swimsuit

I couldn’t wait to swim in the warm ocean. I wore a pentagram swimsuit by Pretty Attitude (here’s where you can get a Goth swimsuit with occult symbols printed on it).

My oversize reflective sunglasses are Linda Farrow x 3.1 Philip Lim. The designer has a cute cat-eared sunglasses version too.

adult only pool, karisma mexico

Yukiro and I had our own mega-suite, with sliding doors that opened into our private terrace, and a quiet swimming pool. 

Shop for Gothic swimwear and dresses below:

coco loco monkey cocktail

Things got a little crazy when the staff delivered two “Coco Locos” — a tropical cocktail of coconut, banana, rum and magic.

To top it off, they decorated the coconut shell like a monkey’s face!

tropical rum coconut drink

I’ve never had a better welcome drink than this one. At Karisma El Dorado resorts, all food and drink are inclusive — so you can order a dozen Coco Locos if you pleased.

el dorado maroma overwater bungalows

Strike a pose, vogue.

El Dorado Maroma is the only property with thatch-roofed overwater bungalows (similar to the 5-star huts found in the Maldives and Bora Bora).

luxurious beach mexico vacation

We had our very own palapa beach bed, so we didn’t have to worry about other guests taking our prime spot by the ocean.

A staff member came around and offered sunscreen and margaritas. Yes to both.

el dorado maroma overwater suites

We got to preview El Dorado Maroma’s new overwater bungalows — perfect for a romantic honeymoon.

gothic pentagram straps bikini

As you can see, the sand and waters were pristine. I was a happy girl, wading in the ocean.

(Closeup on the criss-cross straps of my Gothic swimsuit.  Shop more styles with a click):

chilaquiles mexican hangover food

Meal time! Karisma Hotels are known as “gourmet inclusives” because they put great care into their restaurants.

We hit it off with our cheerful server, who insisted that we try his grandmother’s special coffee (dark, with a brush of cinnamon). He then brought us green and red chilaquiles, a layered tortilla dish known as a hangover cure.

el dorado maroma restaurant

This kitty-cat was pleased with the authentic Mexican dish. It was one of our favorite meals of the entire trip.

tulum white sand beach

After, we walked down the long private beach. There’s nothing like listening to the sounds of the ocean, and looking out at the horizon…

mexico pelicans ocean

… and making friends with pelicans.

el dorado karisma romantic resort

El Dorado Maroma is a quiet and exclusive space. Perfect for those who want a true beach getaway.

tulum overwater bungalow suites

The resort will soon be home to 58 new “palafitos”, or over the water suites. If you’re dreaming of visiting Tulum, it’s good timing for a stay at El Dorado Maroma, a beachfront resort, by Karisma. 

weird theme bar cancun

Later that evening, we went out with our new friend Paulina of LocoGringo tours. (Remember she took us to visit the famous Mayan pyramids?)

Paulina said we would love Le Lotus Rouge bar — and once again, she was spot on. (Address: 35th Avenue & Calle 2, Playa del Carmen, Mexico)

art bar, red lotus mexico

The Red Lotus is run by a French lady, who decorated the rooms to reflect her love of the arts. From the moment we stepped in, we felt at home in this eccentric, fabulous and slightly creepy space.

karaoke bars, cancun playa del carmen

Le Lotus Rouge is infamous for its karaoke nights. Anyone can choose a song from the computer, and belt it out on microphones.

I have to say… Yukiro and I tore down the house, with our rendition of the 1980s Styx hit, Mr Roboto!

le lotus rouge, nightlife mexico

Glowing with lanterns and secret spaces, the Red Lotus one magical spot.

Playa del Carmen and Cancun tend have touristy nightlife — which is why we were pleasantly surprised to find this artistic bar, frequented by locals. The cocktails and food are also wonderful here.

bizarre nightlife mexico

There are multiple theme rooms, each decorated with whimsy. This one has a tribal theme.

gay alternative bars cancun

Disco dreams come true, when Yukiro is around.

red lotus bar, cancun

Boudoir furniture and skeletons are found all throughout Le Lotus Rouge.

playa del carmen nightclubs

I hope these photos show you an unexpected side of Playa del Carmen, which is typically associated with tourists and spring breakers.

tulum outfit post fashion blog

Gracias to Loco Gringo for the insider tour of Tulum. More photos to come, including a visit to a cemetery and Day of the Dead art gallery.

Until then, you can check out all my Mexico travel guides here. Have you been to Riviera Maya before?

New York Gothic restaurants & nightlife! HP Lovecraft bar, Defcon Pyramid Club, Hanamizuki cafe.

mermaid hair, colorful hair inspiration

Meow — time for an updated guide to Goth New York! NYC is known as Gotham City for a reason: there’s a wealth of alternative clubs, bars and fashion to be found here.

This year, I rang in New Year’s Eve in the Lower East Side. My friends and I taste-tested the new Lovecraft Bar, dedicated to the horror author and his Old Gods. We then danced to Industrial / Synth / EDM at Defcon, a weekly party at Pyramid Club.

Read on for our spooky reviews  — and for more tips, check out my NYC Goth travel guides from over the years! 

lovecraft bar nyc

Yukiro and I were excited to visit the recently-opened Lovecraft Bar NYC. The theme restaurant / lounge honors H.P. Lovecraft and his dark, cosmic literary works.

(Address: 50 Ave B, Lower East Side, New York, NY)

hp lovecraft mural, shirt logo

The spacious bar has two floors, including a performance space in the basement. The decor pays homage to the Lovecraftian universe; all of the artwork and materials are elegantly curated. (I’m wearing this exact Disturbia top with the Lovecraft gate symbol on it. It also comes in this grey version.)

If you’ve read Lovecraft’s stories, such as his Necronomicon collection, you’ll recognize his occult symbols on this mural. Pyramids, tentacles and fear: our favorite combination!

absinthe on fire, blue flames

Upstairs, there is a fully stocked bar. The tattooed bartender prepared the favorite drink of the Goths — absinthe — and lit it on fire. 

cthulhu statue, octopus god

The New York Lovecraft bar is haunted by his evil deities, particulary Cthulhu. Part octopus, man and dragon, he lies in wait at the bottom of this fish tank. “Iä! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!”

HP Lovecraft has a cult following, and my friends and I love his works. If you haven’t read his books before, I recommend starting with “Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales.”

pumpkin spice alcohol

The Lovecraft bar has an extensive food and drink menu. We had a hard time choosing from the craft cocktails, with delectable names like Tesla’s Blood, Mythos Margarita, Dagon’s Bite (named after the sea deity in one of his early tales).

The bartender also makes his own infused spirits, with unusual ingredients like carrots and chai. The pumpkin spice was tangy perfection.

hp lovecraft bar restaurant

At theme restaurants, the food is often an afterthought. Thankfully, this is not the case at Lovecraft NY.

The very first dish was possibly our favorite: a martini glass of watermelon, avocado and tuna ceviche.

lovecraft theme restaurant, tentacles

In honor of the octopus god Cthulhu, we ordered this fresh salad with tentacles. 

cthulhu mythos art

Lovecraft introduced this malevolent being in one of his most famous stories, 1928’s “The Call of Cthulhu” (found in the Necronomicon collection). The Elder God is hibernating in an underwater city, causing ripples of subconscious anxiety in our minds.

His worshippers chant: “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” (“In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.”)

lovecraft Bar Lounge new york

Chef Shapan Karmaker brought us a wide selection of stand-out dishes, including crab cakes with homemade sauces, and other Western-fusion creations. The chef has cooked at restaurants of different genres for over a decade, and brings his expertise to the Lovecraftian menu.

goth restaurants new york city

(In honor of the occasion, I’m wearing a Lovecraft Disturbia top with his symbols; it also comes in a grey version. Shop more occult fashion below.)

lower east side hp lovecraft menu

The Lovecraft‘s dark interior design, drinks and cuisine are an impeccable tribute to the author. We encourage you to visit Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and dine in a space full of mystical wonder and terror.

(Photography by Joey Wong.)

goth nightclub new york

In the same neighborhood, you’ll find one of the best alternative venues in the city. The Pyramid Club is a New York institution. It opened in 1979 and was a center of Goth, drag and LGBT gatherings in the 1980s.

I first went Goth clubbing at Pyramid while at university in NYC. Today, the dark dance parties are still going strong. (Address: 101 Avenue A #1, NYC)

defcon industrial ebm electro dj

Every Saturday, Defcon rages in the basement of the Pyramid. DJ Mike Stalagmike (above) and his crew serve up an epic playlist of electronic body music, Industrial, New Beat, synth, electro, dark disco. Instead of flipping through the usual “Goth club” favorites, the DJs go for more obscure tracks and let them play out.

As you know, I’ve been to a hell of a lot of Gothic parties worldwide (chronicled here). If you’re in it for the music — Defcon delivers. We couldn’t have picked a better place for our New Year’s Eve “final countdown.”

pyramid club nyc, gothic party

The dance floor is also a perfect balance of underground and welcoming. The DJs are friendly and came up to introduce themselves, and all the club-goers were spooky types (you won’t see tourists here). Eccentricity is welcomed, and yet everyone is respectful of your personal space.

Defcon goes down every Saturday at Pyramid Club. Kudos to the organizers for maintaining one of most authentic Goth parties in NYC (check out their Facebook for event announcements and more).

hanamizuki cafe new york

New York is also one of the best US cities to experience J-pop culture. My friends and I had dinner at Hanamizuki, an adorable Japanese cafe that recently hosted a Sailor Moon pop-up event.

(Address: 143 West 29th Street, between 6th and 7th Aves, New York, NY)

sailor moon theme popup cafe

My pink haired pal Jenny Zych is an illustrator influenced by Japanese aesthetics. We’re flipping through Strange Paradise, a zine dedicated to Asian horror films that she contributes to.

scottish fold cat art drawings

Jenny delighted me with this creepy-cute portrait of me and Basil Farrow! (Also pictured are illustrations of my cat by Lili Chin and Naomi Rubin).

creepy yeha choker

Jenny’s shirt and choker were to die for. (More eerie fashion below):

rice balls onigiri nyc

Hanamizuki’s mission is to serve simple yet scrumptious Japanese favorites, made with the healthiest ingredients. New Yorkers can live a stressful lifestyle, and the cafe aims to be a Zen-like environment where they can chill out and feel good.

japanese cafes restaurants ny

The airy Midtown location is filled with plants and natural materials. On the wood shelves, I browsed organic teas and cute gifts.

hanamizuki menu, food

Hanamizuki’s signature dish is onigiri, or rice balls. Here, these snacks are anything but basic.

The cafe serves dozens of varieties, including vegetarian options stuffed with ingredients like seaweed, yukari (dried red shiso leaf) and several types of pickles. I also couldn’t resist getting seconds of the unagi (eel) and ume (plum) o-musubi. 

Cafe Hanamizuki

We tried several varieties of miso soup, made with fresh and clean ingredients. Hanamizuki isn’t afraid to innovate with fusion rice balls, such as Hawaiian teriyaki-spam, semi dried tomato and chili wrapped in nori-seaweed.

healthy japanese food new york

A photo is worth a thousand words — you can tell guess how much we loved this octopus and veggies bowl. 

best japanese restaurant manhattan

Simple flavors, with offbeat execution. Everything we tried tasted like it was made with love.

hanamizuki desserts

Happiness is a round of desserts to share. Organic cookies, chiffon cake and mousses made us smile.

hipster cafe new york

With it cool design and homestyle menu, Hanamizuki is a New York gem. I had the loveliest dinner here with friends, and we couldn’t resist getting more rice balls to take home with us.

drag queen nyc new year's eve

Yukiro and I hope your 2016 is going devilishly so far! We’re thankful we got to reunite with friends in one of the world’s greatest cities.

new years queer lgbt party ny

If you’re planning a trip to New York, I hope you find my NYC alternative travel guides helpful. These include tips for where to buy clothing (St Marks, vintage), eat, party and sleep. 

Are you a Lovecraft fan? Have you heard of Pyramid Club, or the Sailor Moon theme cafe that Hanamizuki hosted?

Siem Reap Pub Street: Nightlife & Restaurants! Miss Wong cocktail bar, Phare the Cambodian circus.

angkor wat reflection pool, travel blog

Cambodia was one of the most inspiring countries I’ve visited.

I’ve long been fascinated by Angkor Wat — and the mysterious temple more than lived up to my expectations.

angkor what bar, siem reap pub street

However, there’s more to see in Siem Reap than just the archaeological ruins. I’ll give you a glimpse of the nightlife of Pub Street, where you’ll find bars like “Angkor What?” (Couldn’t resist taking this photo!)

You also must stop by my favorite craft cocktail bar, innovative restaurant and Phare, the Cambodian circus… read on to find out why!

lotus flowers silhouette sunrise

I’m not a morning person, but it’s worth it to wake up at 5am to see the sunrise over the reflective pool at Angkor Wat. (I’ll show you more photos in an upcoming post.)

angkor wat long hallway light shadow

After the sun rises, many tourists go on to explore the main buildings of Angkor Wat. However, to avoid the crush, I recommend seeing other temples in the morning and early afternoon — and coming back later, when it’s less busy.

Angkor Wat’s lighting conditions are also better in the afternoon. You can capture dramatic light and shadow-play such as above (in this long hallway that feels like an infinite portal).

angkor wat models photoshoot

We loved incorporating the ancient architecture of Angkor Wat into our photography. This image is by Ken Yuen, who didn’t realize until too late that Sniper Chau was in the frame!

disturbia goth fashion clothing, lovecraft shirt

Angkor Wat is one of the world’s most mysterious archaeological sites. There were rumors of a great Khmer stone city, but the West was unaware of its existence until the late 19th century.

In an ancient, mysterous lost city, it seemed right to wear clothing inspired by HP Lovecraft’s mythos. I’m wearing this exact Disturbia Dead Moon Rising top — they also make a Necronomicon top.

Shop more nu-Goth fashion below:

angkor wat window, travel photo

Can you imagine how French explorer Henri Mouhot must have felt in 1860, when he stumbled upon this view? There are over a thousand temples here, filled with images from Hindu mythology and Cambodian legends.

angkor wat narrow rectangular doorway

The unusual architecture made my imagination run wild. I imagined that this thin, rectangular door was a portal into an alien universe. 

OUTFIT DETAILSLinda Farrow sunglasses † Disturbia HP Lovecraft top † Black leggings

buddhist monk blessings, cambodia angkor

Inside the central sanctuary, we saw a monk offering blessings to visitors. 

hp lovecraft shirt outfit, Yog-Sothoth

The 12th century temple design reflects Hindu conceptions of the universe. We were glad to have our guide (provided by Le Meridien Hotel) with us, to answer questions about this fascinating place.

angkor wat temple khmer architecture

Visitors are free to climb and explore most of the temples. I went up this stepped terrace in the main Angkor Wat hall.

ramayana bas relief, cambodia art

We walked down the long covered galleries, which were decorated with exquisite bas-reliefs. Most of these carvings depict the Hindu epic tales, Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

Our guide also pointed out depictions of hell tortures, elephant warriors, martial artists, and much more.

angkor wat hall of wall carvings

An outside view of one of the long galleries, which surrounds the central sanctuary. My pose was inspired by the carvings of apsaras (celestial dancers).

buddha demon statues, angkor wat

Of course, there is much more to see at Angkor Wat. We wished we had more time to see the outer-lying temples, such as Banteay Srei (dedicated to the god Shiva).

On the way to an elephant gate topped by a Buddha, we saw this row of Buddha and demon statues. Some had been restored, hence the different conditions of the faces.

bayon buddha faces carved statues

In the previous post, I showed you the famous “tree roots Tomb Raider” temple, Ta Prohm.

We also stopped by Bayon, the richly decorated structure that is famous for its serene, smiling rock faces. 

bayon angkor wat buddha face

These depict the Buddha, or King Jayavarman VII — or perhaps both.

bayon temple buddhas

Similar to the temples in Bali, there is a lot of flow between Buddhism and Hinduism. Angkor Wat was originally dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu, but later became a Buddhist holy ground.

angkor wat hall of dancers

An ancient civilization, hiding in the jungle… Angkor Wat truly captured my imagination.

lovecraft gate symbol silver key, Yog-Sothoth

A closeup of my Disturbia UK long sleeve shirt with mesh cut outs. The symbol is the Necronomicon gate symbol, from the Lovecraft mythology.

siem reap night market bridge, pub street

There’s more to see in Siem Reap, Cambodia than the legendary temple. At night, the city center comes alive with night markets, street food and bars.

We crossed this bridge, lit up with X-lights, and John found a stuffed crocodile to take home.

siem reap tuk tuks, nightlife district

Pub Street is the center of the nightlife (including the Angkor What? pub that you saw above). It’s a cacophony of tuk tuks, partiers and bars, many of which are geared towards foreigners.

pub street cambodia backpackers

So many bars, so little time…

Pub Street was fun to walk through, but these tourist-oriented bars and shops aren’t our type of scene.

shanghai 1930s retro bar lounge

Fortunately, we found a place where we felt we belonged: Miss Wong. This retro Shanghai-themed bar is located a little off the main roads, tucked away from the crowds. Look for these glowing red lanterns at the entrance.

(Address: The-Lane, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia)

miss wong cocktail bar, chinese decor

Inside, the decor is ravishing: elegant red walls and vintage Chinese art. Dean (the owner who is originally from New Zealand) gave us the warmest welcome. We could sense that he runs Miss Wong with passion, always taking the time to make his visitors feel at home.

siem reap best cocktails, bar

Miss Wong is known as the best cocktail bar in Siem Reap. It deserves this accolade: the rose petal and mocha martinis were as amazing as they sound, and look.

We were impressed by how Miss Wong infuses spirits with Asian flavors. The Lemongrass Collins, made from vodka heated with fresh lemongrass, was one of the best drinks I’ve had all year. We were also wowed by the black pepper infused vodka, delightful on its own or as a Bloody Mary.

hipster theme bar siem reap

Miss Wong also serves Chinese dim sum bites, and has a top selection of liqueurs from around the world.

If you’re all about handcrafted cocktails and a classic, relaxing atmosphere, Miss Wong Siem Reap is a gem. You can’t miss out on this bar; tell Dean that we sent you, when you visit!

cuisine wat damnak kitchen, chef

We had a wonderful set-menu dinner at Cuisine Wat Damnak, a restaurant that merges Cambodian flavors with French culinary techniques. It is on my cousin’s list of top 50 restaurants in Asia (we are trying to go to each one).

(Address: Wat Damnak village, Sala Kamreuk Commune, Siem Reap 17000)

top best fine dining siem reap cambodia

The open kitchen and lush dining area set the mood for this special meal. Chef Joannès Rivière changes his six-course menu every week, focusing on seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and foragers.

french cambodian cuisine restaurant

The unusual ingredients and creative preparations — like frog legs with Cambodian spices — were magnificent. The chef does an outstanding job of balancing modern and traditional, French and Khmer.

khmer cooking, luxury siem reap restaurant

Six sophisticated plates for under $30 US — only in Cambodia! Be sure to make a reservation in advance for Cuisine Wat Damnak, since this restaurant is often booked up.

phare cambodian circus acrobats

Finally, you can’t leave Siem Reap without seeing the Phare, the Cambodian Circus. Inside a big top, we saw young Cambodian performers tumble, leap, juggle, balance, dance and clown — while wearing the biggest smiles on their faces.

siem reap cambodia theater, dance performances

The show drew upon Cambodian folk storytelling, and pushed it forward with avantgarde antics and sky-high acrobatics. We watched these young performers tell a narrative that took us from primordial times to colonial conquest and beyond.

phare cambodia tumblers, acrobatics

Phare is more than just entertainment: it has the social mission of educating Cambodian youth (through their NGO school), helping them find employment, and furthering the Cambodian arts.

The crowd could sense the passion and determination of the young artists, who all overcame difficult socio-economic backgrounds.

phare siem reap cambodia circus

Phare, the Cambodian Circus has performances daily; you can find out more on their site. We loved watching these young talents, especially knowing that it was in support of Phare’s meaningful programs.

pub street sign, siem reap

Cheers to Cambodia! From Angkor Wat to the bars, restaurants and circus, I had a blast here.

OUTFIT DETAILSMichi top † White tulle skirtLinda Farrow sunglassesMetallic sneakers

cambodia sunset, farm fields

I leave you with a sunset shot. Cambodians are known as some of the friendliest people, and I’d have to agree. (Photography by Sniper Chau and Ken Yuen)

watching sunset siem reap

Thanks to HK Express for the easy direct flights from Hong Kong to Siem Reap, and to Le Meridien Angkor Hotel for the magnificent stay.

Are you as fascinated by the “Tomb Raider” temples as I am? Coming up soon — I’ll unveil the photoshoot we did amidst the archaeological ruins!

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