Thursday, February 28, 2013

Siem Reap

Siem Reap:

Most tourists go to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat. You should go, but that's not all you should do. If that's all you see then you're missing out on the real Cambodia. Go explore other cities!

How to get here:
-From Phnom Penh on a bus it takes about 6 hours straight up National Road 6 and costs about $5
-From border of Thailand it takes about 2- 2 1/2 hours and costs about $3.75 or 15,000 riel
At Bayon temple, my favorite of the ones I visited
Things to do:
1. Angkor Wat: ($20) Go Do it. They say to actually see the temples you need 3 days. If you don't
have 3 days, go at least 1 full day. They're amazing. A Tuk Tuk will charge around $15 and they'll wait for you, or just tell them what time you want to go back. Always negotiate price before you get in and hold firm, they might try to hassle for more when you leave. Here's a post about when I went to Angkor Wat. You can go at 5:00 for sunset and get in for free to explore until the sun goes down.
2.Other Temples: Angkor Wat is only one temple complex, but in the area there are tons of other temples. Bayon was my favorite and Ta Prohm was also wonderful. There are many other temples which are a bit outside of Siem Reap that I've heard are worth the visit, they're less crowded, and more jungley. Many tuk tuk drivers or hotels have maps of all the temples in the Siem Reap area, so you can decide where to go.
3. Visit a Floating Village: If you have a tour guide, they can take you, or your hotel can set it up. Definitely go visit a floating village. I'd highly recommend going with a local guide. They will likely take you on a smaller boat, and take you to more interesting places.
4. Get Massages: You can get an amazing hour long massage for prices that will blow your mind. Hal and I got an hour long couples massage for $8 each, and it was wonderful. There are a ton of places around Siem Reap, and most of them are great.
5. Crocodile Farm: These are really cool, and they're all over Siem Reap. If you meet a nice Khmer
person, you might ask if they know someone who has crocodiles and you can go see them for free.
That's what we did, and it was pretty cool. There is a huge main one, so if you ask a tuk tuk driver
that's probably where they'll take you.
6. Silk Farm: I've never been, but it seems really cool. It's about a 20 minute ride outside of Siem
Reap. That way you get outside of the city and get to see a hint of what the rest of the country is
7. Visit Modern Wats (Temples): I love visiting different wats, they're all different and all beautiful. The monks are always happy to have people look around. Wat Thmei has an area memorializing the Khmer Rouge and killing fields. Wat Bo isn't too far from the western part of Siem Reap.
8. Shop: There are endless markets all over Siem Reap. There is a large one inbetween the river and pub street. My favorite one is directly across the river from the western area. The Night Market is open late and is good too.
This is inside Il Forno
Where to eat:
1. Il Forno: ($8)This Italian restaurant is pricey by volnteer standards, but isn't by western standards. This restaurant has the best Italian food I've ever had. You should make reservations as they're often
very busy, but it will be worth the hassle, I promise.
2. Viva: ($5) This is great Mexican food, and often very cheap. Their happy hour is practically all day, so you can get cheap drinks and $1 tacos.
3. Le Boulangerie: ($5) This french restaurant is run by a Khmer chef trained in France, and it shows.
Such good food! You can build your own sandwich for $4, and my my my, they're delicious; hands
down the most delicious sandwich in Cambodia.
4. F For Falafel: ($5.50) This place is great, you can get a giant Falafel sandwich with all the fixins for
$5.50. This feeds two of us it's so stuffed with goodness. They also make fabulous smoothies. I
recommend the Mango Passion fruit with yogurt.
5. The Maharajah: ($5) I always eat at this place when I am in Siem Reap. An Indian friend of ours recommended it and it did not disappoint. You get free rice with your meal which is uncommon for Indian restaurants in Cambodia. Get the chicken marsalal. It had chuncky veggies and a friend who doesn't usually like Indian food likes this dish.
6. Ivy: ($3) This is such a good restaurant. It's just down the street from the Riviera Hotel. On Fridays they do $1 tapas. It's not traditional tapas, but it's still delicious. Get the mini chicken burritos, or the beef medallions with green beans and please please get the pumpkin flan. They're also a guesthouse.
7. Blue Pumpkin: ($2) Ok...this is a time where I don't want to tell you of this goodness, because I
want them to run out :) They have amazing ice cream! If you have a group, it's cheaper to buy a tub...and you'll eat it all. But the real secret here is their baked goods. They have amazing cheesecake and macarons, but this is the hush hush part, get the mille feuilles. Get it and you won't be sorry, just make sure there's one left in the case for me :)
You can always hit up Lucky Supermarket or Angkor Mart for some western groceries.
Places to stay:
1. Angkor Park Guesthouse: ($7-$12) We always stay here when going to Siem Reap. The prices are
very reasonable, the hotel is clean, the two sisters who own it are awesome and it's very close
to the Pub Street area. This hotel is cheap and very basic, with hot water, a tv and comfy beds.
2. Tanei Guesthouse: ($20) This hotel is lovely and a step up from Angkor Park. They have a great
little pool and you can get breakfast included for very cheap. The staff is very nice, and the guesthouse has it's own tuk tuk which can pick you up for free. They also have bikes you can use for free.
3. Golden Banana Hotel: ($35) This is where we go swimming when we come to Siem Reap. The hotel is gorgeous, and reasonably priced, but out of our price range. The staff are very nice and the pool is fabulous.
4. Terrasse des Elephants: ($100) I've never stayed here, but a friend did and highly recommended it
if you want something really nice. The hotel rooms have mini waterfalls and ponds in them. The hotel has a pool on the roof. The price of the room usually includes one dinner at the restaurant.
A Note on Siem Reap: Because there are so many tourists here there are also a lot of beggers, especially children begging out at night. Please do not just give them money, and please do not let them trick you into buying them formula for their "sister". They will go right back and return it and take a cut from the store. Try giving them food or anything other than money and they get very angry.
I am more likely to buy something from a child who is selling something. I've met some very sweet children who have lost one parent and use the money they get from selling things to pay for English school. The children who are out on the street just begging don't need you to give them their money, it perpetuates their parents making the children beg to support them.


Leia said...

Great information! Cambodia is definitely at the top of my travel wishlist. I've been following your blog for a while now & love it (found you through Selma)-- it's hard to come across travel-type blogs (or maybe I'm looking in the wrong places?)Anyways, just showing some love. =)
-Leia @

Jacqui Calvert said...

Makes me want to go travelling. Which is really not an option right now! Still it's nice to dream for the future :-)

Ashley said...

WOW!!! Those temples are amazing!!

Leia said...

Just f.y.i- I've been re-vamping my blog a bit & grabbed your button to add to my "fave reads" page-- check it out here:

Have a good rest of your weekend!

Siem Reap said...

Thanks for share this post. I like Siem Reap. siem reap is the biggest city in cambodia. This is adventurous and beautiful place.

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