Siem Reap was the first spot of my brand new life, and my arrival in Cambodia. On april 14th, after just more than half a day of travelling. Fourteen hours to restart my whole life, it’s nothing… my new path began here.
It wasn’t on purpose, but the day I arrived was the first day of khmer new year’s eve. New year under rooster’s sign, properly celebrated during 3 days. And the third was my birthday; I was so spoiled 🙂
Siem Reap is a loud but relaxing city, green but polluted, urban and rural. I think it’s beautiful. It is alive, colorful and full of surprising and pretty streets. Especially around the old market and Pub Street, which are the areas you should visit first according to me, with the temples.
Nature, buildings and pagodas coexist by the river. Above is Wat Damnak, the first I visited. Don’t forget to hide your knees and cover your shoulders to get in ! Also in pagodas you can ask monks for blessings; preferably against a little something of you choice.
Golden Banana Boutique Hotel, my first home in Siem Reap
Where to sleep
You have a billion hostels, hotels and guesthouses for all pockets, and all year long ! Even during NYE, it was easy to find somewhere to sleep. Here are those I think are pretty good 😉
Small budget (4-10$/night) : Hostel Mad Monkey. Hostels franchise well known for its parties and its young and wild atmosphere.
Medium budget (20-30$/night) : Golden Banana Boutique Hotel : perfect location, quiet and nicely arrange. Heaven Angkor Residence : attentive staff, good restaurant and nice swimming pool.
Big budget (100-150$/night) : Victoria Angkor Resort : Beautiful establishment just near a parc. Delicious meals, dream swimming pool, very nice architecture. I didn’t sleep there, but I spent a great birthday in this resort… hope I’ll have the opportunity to stay there once !
Kmer meal; beef, pineapple and herbs, simmered in curry. Temple Restaurant.
Where to eat
I don’t have a specific place to advice; maybe around Pub Street and the Night Market for touristic areas, and everywhere in the city ! Meals are between 3 and 8$, which is very affordable, and quantities are generous 😀 To test softly khmer recipes, I went to Temple Restaurant, which takes almost a whole street. It was delicious !
What to do in Siem Reap
So many things ! First, you have to stay few days to feel the atmosphere… and then Angkor temples (post soon about it), visiting local craft workshops, go to the circus (acrobates, not animals 😉 ), do markets which are great, get a massage (from 1$/hour, can you imagine..!), museums, floating villages…
This list isn’t exhaustive and I didn’t do everything, but I enjoyed the festive mood of the city for nye, which was an extraordinary experience for me ! The music, all those kids playing with water and dancing… Every nights I went home all et and full of laughs and memories. Magical !
I also advice to lost yourself in those streets; for me it’s the best way to discover a city. Randomly I went into a Little Italy and a Little India, it was so pretty ! I really want to go back to Siem Reap; I felt really good there.
The river is like the center of Siem Reap. It was really nice to wander near by, and really beautiful ♥