Siem Reap

006It didn’t take me long after arriving in Siem Reap to realize that my original plan to stay two and half days was not going to be adequate.

Way too short a period!

Siem Reap is most famous as the launching pad for exploring the temples of Angkor Wat. I discovered that it has much more to offer. For one, and a big one at this point,  it is a perfect place to simply relax.

I am staying at the Shadow of Angkor. It has the colonial charm and friendliness that I love in this part of the world.

It is located right on the banks of the Siem Reap River. A gently flowing muddy brown waterway that cuts through the heart of town. Banyan trees line each side and its under their expansive branches that tuk-tuk and cyclo drivers while away the day in sleepy expectation.

Hammocks are slung inside the tuk-tuk. It is from this horizontal semi-slumber position that drivers offer their transportation services to anyone who comes close.

Tuk-tuks are bigger here in Cambodia than I have seen elsewhere and can fit six at a squeeze.

A giant water wheel located directly in front of the hotel gradually displaces river water temporarily, then re-deposits it back in the river. I am not sure if there is a purpose to its efforts.

It may be just giving off the appearance of working while in actuality being another reminder of a by-gone era.

The hotel itself is a white washed two story building with a wrap around verandah common to all guests. The open area is adorned with heavy lacquered wood furniture. Potted palm trees grace the outer edges.

A perfect place to sip an early morning coffee while watching the river glide by. The whole experience of coffee drinking being taken to a new level as the river, banyans, waking tuk-tuk drivers, combine to make this a mesmerizing scene.

Downstairs there is an open air cafe which offers great food and an environment similar to the upper floor only without the elevation.

Street level is more hectic while overseeing the same from above is enticing and surreal.

Fruit PlateOne of the dishes on offer that I have already decided will be a Siem Reap staple for me is the fresh fruit, muesli, yoghurt.  With mango, soursap, papaya, banana, pineapple: for $2 its a deal.

With a fresh lime mint juice to wash it down. Refreshing!

Yes, I am officially confirming that US dollars is the currency of choice here in Cambodia. Trying to rid myself of Riels is a chore that requires some effort. When paying up in Riels you often receive in return a snort of disgust. They make no bones about the fact that they want dollars.

Siem Reap is a rich town in the poorest province of Cambodia. Those who live here make their money, for the most part, on the wave of tourists who flock here from all over the world to visit Angkor Wat.

Cafes, restaurants, bars, massage services for feet and shoulders, baguette vendors and markets selling all manner of things vie for the tourism dollars.

Outside fish tanks filled with tiny sucker fish are popular here as in many Asian cities. An aquatic foot massage and cleansing at the end of a long day of walking anyone?

The French Quarter of town is a buzz with foreigners and the scene is pretty electric. Unlike Khoa San Road in Bangkok this is more laid back and with an air of sophistication peeping out from under the covers.

Markets are another big draw here. Day markets, night markets, art markets, food markets. If you need anything from a t-shirt to a squirming fresh water eel to gold, silver, and precious gems; it’s all available here.

When I leave Siem Reap it will be by way of boat with destination Battambang. The journey across the Tonle Sap lake and down one of its tributaries take 7 hours and costs $22.

I will book that sometime soon.

For photos of Cambodia click here.

18 thoughts on “Siem Reap

  1. Really enjoy reading of your travels whilst I’m ill in bed haha, Siam Reap sounds very interesting and inviting, you have me sold, the muesli fruit looks YUMMY!
    Thank you for sharing. Love, Husnaa xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another great blog about your travels.
    I like reading every week about the places you go. It is sad, but it reminds me of the days of being young and reading stories like “A Thousand and One Arabian Nights”, and the stories of Sinbad. It would be an adventure for me.
    Now, it seems I travel still, around the world with your blog. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you are getting so much enjoyment out of it William and if it allows you to travel vicariously then all the better…makes me feel like I am doing it right.


  3. Sounds marvelous Tim, and I’ve been fascinated with Angkor Wat since it was featured in a novel I read last year. I can see why you’d want to stay longer in that area – beautiful, and for a change (for me) the food even sounds good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your pictures reinforce the idea of Siem Reap as a place to relax. Seems to project a kind of sleepy resort feel. I’m sitting here in the middle of winter in North America reading about mangoes, papaya and pineapple and it sounds pretty good.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Siem Reap is a tad more exotic than where I’ve been this last week, San Antonio. While we stayed above the Riverwalk and it looked serene from 19 floors up, unlike the crowded area below, nothing cost $2. We had fun but I’d rather visit Siem Reap!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We had the chance to visit Siem Reap almost exactly one year ago, last January. Like most people, we were there to visit Angkor Wat; however, you’re right, the town itself is worthy of a look see. We stayed at the Apple Rose Boutique bed and breakfast down an unpaved road with no street name—-which made it a little hard for our tuk tuk driver to find it when we took one back from the museum in town. Our B&B was newly opened at the time, owned by a multi-lingual Belgian and his Cambodian wife. It was lovely, and had air conditioning and a pool for $39 USD per night. I don’t think we even exchanged any dollars for Cambodian currency. We were told that the currency of commerce was US dollars. There are some large tour group fancy hotels on the road into Siem Reap from the airport and many people go from there in their large tour buses to Angkor Wat. They are missing the opportunity to enjoy Siem Reap.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Re: photo at the top of the post. Either 1) Siem Reapians know how aesthetically pleasing the orange umbrellas and their cooling kaleidoscopic shadows are, 2) they’ve wisely concerned themselves with using rain tools as part of a catchment system rather than to simply shield their person from a spritz or 3) it magically precipitates from the street there in SR, the sky reserved for birds and their relaxed watchers perched on the second floor of a local lodging slowly drinking coffee. Cheers ma love. Don’t be surprised if you come home to a loft ceiling-ed with parasols gayly hanging from their ankles. xo


    1. Well depending on the season it just might be option 3. I was reading today that the river changes course in the dry season and instead of flowing out of the Tonle Sap lake it goes back in. A phenom that happens here because of the Mekongs mighty power. But it’s probably number one!


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