JIPP's WORLD

…….The World Without Boundaries

Hello Siem Reap!

Written By: jipp - May• 17•12

I haven’t really blogged about our days in Siem Reap. You know it is like THE PLACE to go to in Cambodia. People say it’s ok not to go to Phnom Penh in any of your visit to Cambodia but  a visit is not even a visit if you come to Cambodia without coming to Siem Reap.

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Siem Reap that I had imagined was more like a village that happened to be lucky to be situated near to one of the most famous monumental buildings in the world. Of course it was stupid to think it that way especially now that Angkor Wat has become a tourist magnet for many many years since it was opened to public again back in – well, you find out when. LOL.

I remember getting awed (and a little bit intimidated) by the bustling traffic as we moved our way towards the hotel on a Tuk Tuk. We were galloping down a bumpy and dark road and there were bikes and cars racing on both sides as if threatening to bump into us any time.

Traffic would have long died down in Phnom Penh by then but Siem Reap that I found out was a place that doesn’t really sleep. It’s amazing what a booming tourism can do to a small city like Siem Reap.

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We checked into a budget hotel called Siem Reap Rooms Guesthouse. It is owned and operated by a husband and wife couple who after so many years of traveling decided to sell off just about everything in their possession in Canada and settled down in Siem Reap.

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That alone already tells how SERIOUSLY charming the city of Siem Reap is. I had been in contact with Melisa the wife prior to our arrival in Siem Reap and she was so responsive to all my inquiries via email so I gave my highest credit to her for making our stay in Siem Reap much easier.

A self-declared ‘temple junkie’ herself, she was just as excited as we were as she explained how we were supposed to spend our days in Siem Reap with all the limited time that we had there.

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“I don’t think the time that you have here is enough to cover everything. You need at least a week to see the temples alone”, she said almost to my chuckle thinking how big the Angkor Wat could really get when I already allocated 6 days for Siem Reap out of all the two weeks that we spent on this trip. If only I knew she was telling the truth… 🙁

I didn’t have much problem deciding where to stay in Bangkok and Phnom Penh but the existence of so many budget hotels in Siem Reap gave me a little bit of tough time. We were going to spend our last five nights of the trip in Siem Reap so we certainly wanted to end our holiday in a bit of a style.

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The fact that it has 3 beds placed in one room made it the ultimate choice in the end apart from the fact that it is located very much nearby the centre of town, a mere 5-minute walk from the Bar Street where most of the actions are. We paid like USD 18 (USD6 per person!) for a decent at Siem Reap Rooms Guesthouse so we actually saved A LOT on accommodation here.

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Everything was OK for the price that we paid. The room was quite spacious and so was the toilet. I just don’t understand the reason behind the existence of a big hole on the toilet door when the room is meant to be shared by three people (I checked another room and the hole was there too). I mean, a hole? On a toilet door? I guess it was meant to test the ‘trustworthiness’ among travel buddies. LOL (I did not peek on you Ulai. I DID NOT!! LOLz)

After cleaning up and taking a little bit of rest after the grueling 8 hours bus ride from Phnom Penh, we were ready to hit into the streets of Siem Reaps and see for ourselves what there was for us to see at least on the first night there.

Almost in total contrast to Phnom Penh where most people would rather retreat to their hotel rooms even when it is only 9 pm, Siem Reap seems to be a party place with so many pubs and bars and eateries to keep the night going up until late at night.

Bar Street, Siem Reap

My first impression of Siem Reap was – it was such an expensive place to be that for a moment I thought my pocket was not going to last more than a few days in Siem Reap.

Everything was in US Dollars so I was slapped with reality as I found out that a proper dish of meal is averagely priced at USD3 AT LEAST. o.O

But then, as I dug deeper into the streets of Siem Reap, I’d come to find out that we actually had the choice of spending less on food by going to the lesser known and usually more hidden restaurants. If you are lucky, you may find a dish of Khmer fried rice for USD1. Good thing about restaurants in Siem Reap is that they have all the prices on the menu so you wouldn’t really feel hesitant  about the possibility of being overcharged.

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Siem Reap really is a tourist area so if go there expecting to find peace of mind away from all the suffocating tourists then I’m afraid you are in the wrong place. Of course you can always go somewhere in the corner to get a good massage or something and pretend like you have the place all to yourself but there’s no way you can avoid feeling their existence around you.

You will never run out of places to eat at when you are in Siem Reap but of course I can’t say the same about our Muslim brothers and sisters (sorry). There’s an array of food stalls everywhere – from the exotic to the made-for-tourists kind so you will never go hungry. The food stall area nearby the Bar Street is like the place where most of the people go to at night so you wouldn’t really want to miss it.

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I would say foods here in Siem Reap are so ‘typically Asian’, the kind that we cook back at home in Malaysia except that they are mostly laden with white pepper.

For me, after all the days I spent in Cambodia, I can safely put Cambodia in the Top 5  of best food destinations in South East Asia.

If I were to put it in the right order, I’d put Thailand at the top, followed by Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Cambodia in the 5th place.

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Our days in Siem Reap had barely started but I could already feel the excitement boiling up inside me as I made my way back to the hotel and prepared for our first adventure at the ancient city of Angkor Wat.

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4 Comments

  1. Ken Wooi says:

    Change of template – looks suitable for a travel journal!
    Siem Reap, thank you for the walk-through. Interesting introductory post! 🙂

    • jipp says:

      Thanks Ken. Yeah, I suddenly felt bored with previous template so I changed it. It’s good to be back to travel blogging. 🙂

  2. aud says:

    eh, new layout? 🙂

    It’s cheap in Siem Reap, just decide how cheap you want to be :).

    hmm, where’s Vietnamese cuisine? has to be there somewhere.

  3. jipp says:

    LOL! Vietnamese foods are quite limited in number. But then, may be I should go there again better justify it. 😀

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