Michael Batson

Travel Writer





The Tinat Restaurant - Phnom Penh - 28 February 2013

On the corner of Streets 154 and 51 is one of the best value diners in Phnom Penh, the Tinat Restaurant. The Tinat isn’t included in any guidebook, a blessing in disguise, and the hard working Khmer-Chinese owners do nicely anyway, thanks very much.It’s not on any list of places you want to be, there are no Michelin chefs, no fancy décor, and no frills. Lonely Planet has never heard of it, which may serve to help save its charm. That’s not to say there aren’t wandering backpackers their noses buried in guidebooks oblivious to what’s actually going around them seeking a gastronomic treat in the capital of the Kingdom of Wonder.Staying just down the road near the glorious Central Market in the comfortable and very affordable Happiness Guest House, my mate, his girlfriend, and I would regularly wander down for an evening meal dodging the traffic on Street 51 as we went.Initially, we weren’t even sure the restaurant had a name. We would call it the Khmer restaurant, because it was owned by Khmers and most of the customers were locals too. “See you at the Khmer restaurant at six” we’d say.Only when we noticed the yellow awning later were we aware it was actually called the Tinat Restaurant. But it wasn’t a name that resonated with us so my mate, Kiwi Paul, took to calling it the "Peanut Restaurant”.The corner of Streets 51 (Rue Pasteur) and 154 can be a busy intersection, especially after 5pm. I never cease to wonder at the buzz of activity going on around me. I can

Farewell to the King - 01 February 2013

In Phnom Penh on 4 February 2013, the final chapter in the life of one of Asia’s most extraordinary characters will be played out – the cremation of the former King of Cambodia, Norodom Sihanouk. The fact that the King Father as he is known, has been dead for three months is just another facet of a long, fascinating and at times, controversial

Some Like It Hot - On Samui Time - 05 January 2013

From the air under the tropical sun Ko Samui looks like a green jewel, an emerald bordered with a white sandy fringe and palm trees surrounded by light blue water. It doesn’t look too bad from the sea either. However you arrive, you’ll soon settle into the easy pace of island life.Officially, there are seasons in the Gulf of Thailand

Rub a Dub Markets - 02 December 2012

One of the most easily identifiable landmarks in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, is the New Market or Psar Thom Thmey or simply Psar Thmey. Psar is market and Thom in Khmer means big or grand, so it’s the "New Grand Market". The market sits one block east of one of Phnom Penh’s main thoroughfares, Monivong Boulevard, towards the river occupying