Siem Reap, Cambodia

We all have funny stories to tell and the most interesting ones to hear are the ones where we got in trouble or when things didn’t go according to plan. Cambodia happened and is one good example. We were coming from Ho Chi Minh City bound for Phnom Penh to ride another bus going to Siem Reap. It was when we arrived at the terminal we were informed that our trip got cancelled, and we had to take the midnight trip. It shouldn’t had been an issue if they informed us ahead, even if the notice came in just the day before, but the thing is Giant Ibis in Phnom Penh kept on saying they sent an email yet they can’t show us any proof. We were so disappointed, but we really had no choice but to just see the places around and hang somewhere for hours. Come midnight trip, we hopped on a sleeper bus and we got to Siem Reap the next day before 6 AM, and we had to change plans due to this mishap.

Upon arrival at Reasey Boutique, we were given with a cold towel to freshen up and it was just so tempting seeing the pool right beside us. The pool was so clear and looked so inviting and we just wanted to jump ‘coz it was so hot and humid in Phnom Penh (entire Cambodia, actually) even at night that we could feel all the dirt in our bodies. The first thing we did was to run and race for the shower ‘coz we just can’t go straight to bed no matter how sleepy we were until we get that much deserved bath! We took a nap for 2 hours and then the trip began.

It was time for us to start ticking off the restaurants I had on my checklist. LOL. Of course, I gave so much effort on this because once a foodie, always a foodie. We walked from the hotel to The Little Red Fox Espresso, an Australian-owned Cambodian-managed cafe, that is in the heart of Siem Reap town proper alongside with other different cafes that are worth trying! Here we had some bagels and cold brews to give us just the right amount of caffeine kick to start off the day. 🙂

The original plan for this day was to see Angkor Wat and the other temples surrounding the area but since our schedule got moved, we had to make sudden changes and switch plans. We took a city tour instead with Rotha who was the same guy that picked us up at Gian Ibis terminal in Siem Reap. He was a very patient and a nice person that he was still in all smiles even though it was scorching hot that day (EVERY DAY!). LOL. We highly recommend booking him if you plan on visiting Siem Reap soon. Getting tourists around is one of the means by the locals to make their ends meet, and $15 for a whole day trip isn’t that bad. With their hospitality, you will definitely want to stay longer. You can send him a text thru Whatsapp at +855 10 440 479 or in iMessage at rotharoth45@icloud.com. You’re welcome! 😉

We dropped by at a local tourism shop and bought all the passes/entrance tickets to the tourist spots we decided to visit. It has become mandatory, at least for me and my friends, to go to a local museum in every place we go. Angkor National Museum, which houses a lot of artefacts that are divided into 8 galleries, was our first stop. Here you will have a journey back in time during the Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom. One door leads to another and you will not miss a single piece of their history that is rich in art, culture, and architecture.

I don’t have much photos because cameras aren’t allowed inside the galleries. What to expect? Collections of buddhas, stones with inscriptions, sculptures, etc. They also have a museum shop inside the premise where you can get all those postcards, keychains, shirts and even paintings, a cafe for some who can’t be bothered (LOL), and a theatre or “The Briefing Hall.” Worth the visit! We were actually surprise that Siem Reap has something like this, because what we all think about “Cambodia” or “Siem Reap” is Angkor Wat. To our surprise, there’s actually more to it than the famous Temple of Angkor Wat.

On the way to our next destination, we dropped by at a few local shops where they sell jewelries and clothes. We witnessed an actual silk weaving and jewellery making which I read both are part of Cambodia culture for centuries now. It is a form of art that is passed down from their mothers and grandmothers. All respect to these amazing women who are playing a big role in preserving a part of their culture!

There’s a number of museum to see in Siem Reap and War Museum was one of the interesting museums we heard, and so we went here. The museum exhibits a unique collection of old and de-activated weapons, vehicles, landmines, and equipments which were used in nearly three decades of civil war in Cambodia. Do not expect that much because that’s all there is to see. Besides, it’s not every day you get a chance to be surrounded with all these deadly weapons and machineries. I’d consider this still one for the books! LOL 😀

Cambodian Cultural Village assembles all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures, local customs and practices of all races. There are 13 unique villages, which represent difference cultural heritages with 8 scenes of show performance.” CCV was our last stop before we headed back to Reasey Boutique. I just wanna say the it was so hot and we were all ‘lapot‘ to the highest level by this time. LOL. We were just so eager to go back and so we didn’t finish seeing the whole village. I’m not exaggerating when I describe the heat in Cambodia to be as bad or maybe twice as bad as the weather here in Manila. I guess that is better though than raining the entire trip, yes? 🙂

We got back to the boutique early, probably around 3 in the afternoon, and there was no one using the pool (the entire stay, actually). We immediately put on our swim suits and jumped in, and it was so refreshing! Truly one of the best feelings! Come dinner time, we decided to get pizza because we were honestly craving our comfort food. The Pizza Company’s serving is exactly how it’s like in the menu, and I will never ever get over their Extra Cheesy Sausage Bites Pizza! THE BEST! Then we went to Pub Street (YAY!) and here we realised that we should’ve eaten dinner here — just because of the vibes! There were music everywhere, colourful lights, and the energy of the people are just incomparable. We would’ve stayed here longer if we had no early call time the next morning for Angkor Wat tour.

It would be an understatement to just say that Siem Reap is a beautiful destination. There’s just so much about this place that I love! The people, the streets, even the weather is so much like the Philippines, and that’s probably why it felt like home. ❤

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