I had always heard great things about Cambodia (and Cambodians), so I made sure to include 3 days in Siem Reap on my SouthEast Asia Itinerary. In hindsight, 3 days was much too short and despite the heat, Siem Reap is the one place I would like to return to for a deeper exploration.
I contemplated taking the bus from Bangkok, but ultimately, wisely, settled on a flight, which was under 1 hour and less than $100 on AirAsia. Even the airport felt exotic, with a distinct Polynesian feel. Cambodia was the only country which required a visa on this trip, but even that process was relatively quick – thankfully, I’d done my research and had extra passport photos on hand (and cash!)
Upon arrival, I went straight to the transport desk and booked a $7 car to my hotel. Shortly after, I was checked into what may be my favorite hotel of all time! I absolutely loved Le Meridien Angkor! I arrived well before check-in, and while I waited for my room, was given a cold towel and mango juice. (Cold towels were a hit everywhere I went in Asia…so refreshing!)
Siem Reap Street Food Tour
I had a bit of time to relax before I was scheduled for a food tour that I’d booked through Viator. For $47, I joined the Siem Reap Street Food Evening Tour. Various moto-taxis collected 5 of us from our hotels to meet our guide, Kim, at a local street market. Rather than warming us up to “weird” food, we started off right at the bug table, which included crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, beetles, worms, and frogs. One brave soul (the only man in our group) tried everything while us girls were a bit more squeamish. I did try the frog and snail, as those didn’t seem too exotic. (I’ll also note the cockroach involved a peeling of the shell, which pretty much made me throw up in my mouth)
We then moved on to more palatable tables, such as fruit and sweets. I was excited to try jackfruit and durian, as well as other exotic items like rambutan. All of the fruit was good, although the texture of durian takes some getting used to. (Jackfruit is becoming a popular meat substitute in the States and I recently sampled it at the taco bar of Whole Foods!)
After a bit of browsing and snacking, we headed to one of the grills, where Kim loaded up plates and we sat down for a picnic. Here we tried a little bit of everything, including quail, duck, more frog (this time stuffed with sausage.)
Sweets are always my favorite, especially when they are coconut and rice-based…yum!
After all of this eating, we jumped back in the taxis for a sit-down meal at a local restaurant. I was already stuffed at this point (not much appetite when it’s 100-plus degrees) but it was fun to try Amok, which is the local Cambodian coconut soup, served in a coconut shell.
At the conclusion of the tour, everyone headed over to Pub street, but this old lady had a 4am wake-up call for the next day’s Sunrise tour of Angkor, which you can read about here.
After the bike tour, I essentially had one day left in Siem Reap before flying to Phuket. I didn’t have anything planned, but I woke up early (after pretty much going to bed at 3pm the day before!) and caught a ride into town to wander around and do some shopping. Until now, I was still traveling out of a small carry-on and hadn’t done much shopping, so this was my chance to buy any souvenirs as I knew I wouldn’t be going into town in Phuket. As I strolled around, I was lured into a $4 foot massage while I sipped a fresh coconut shake. As I relaxed into the chair, the masseuse’s sister excitedly talked me into a manicure as well. They were both so sweet and filled me in on the “neighborhood gossip” before her husband drove me back to the hotel in his tuk tuk.
As it began to heat up, it was time to head back to the hotel pool for the day. I also indulged in a facial at the spa, given that my skin was quite unhappy in this climate, but otherwise spent the day in the shade of a pool umbrella.
In the evening, although room service was tempting me, I decided to head to the Foreign Correspondent’s Club for cocktails and dinner.
The next morning, it was time to re-pack and head to the airport, for my final vacation leg in Phuket.
I loved everything about my 3 days in Siem Reap….except the weather! I really don’t do well in high humidity, so I spent a lot more down-time at the pool than I would have liked (even if it was a gorgeous pool!) The people I met were all incredible – despite a dark history as recently as the 80’s, they just seemed like wonderful people. I would love to go back for another visit, and spend more time exploring.
For all of my Cambodia pictures, click here!
This post is part of The Weekly Postcard over at Two Traveling Texans. Click the photo below to check out other great posts this week!