Laid-back Siem Reap

Jun 20, 2010

beautiful photo by my good friend Marvin

We arrived in Siem Reap early in the afternoon and I had no idea what the place looks like. A few meters from the airport, I was more than surprised to see the beautiful and grand hotels that line up the streets of Siem Reap. Just imagine the number of tourists that visit the temples in order for the hotels to maintain their operations.

Our hotel, Rosy Guesthouse, is owned by an English couple. When I asked why they decided to live there, they unhesitantly said “It’s a beautiful place and the people are really nice.”

And they were right. The place is so laid-back despite the huge number of tourists. I especially love the benches and sidewalks along the river, and of course the Old French architecture. And the Khmer people are really really nice, and has a sweet voice just like the Thais.

It was so easy to fall in love with the place. I can actually imagine myself staying here for a week or two.

And the food!

They prepare it in huge servings and they're very tasty too especially those with herbs. At first we thought it was too much for one person. But after a day of visiting the temples, we all ordered one for each. You need to store energy for a whole-day of visiting and walking around the temples.

There are a lot of restaurants in Siem Reap. Most of which can be found in the Pub Street where you can find a wide array of types of dishes, both Asian and Western. A dish can cost around USD1.50 to USD3.00. It's relatively cheap given the ambiance and the good food they serve.

And of course the famous Angkor Wat? Bar.

Beers are served in almost all of the restaurants at USD0.50 to USD2.00 depending on the brand/type of liquor you order. I like the Angkor beer more than the Saigon beer. But I'm Pinoy (slang for Filipino), and I still love our San Miguel beers. ;)

But the highlight really are the wonderful Khmers and their resiliency. Their warmth and hospitality, despite just recovering from the Khmer rouge occupation, are amazing. Especially after meeting Mr. Sam.

It's so melodramatic but this place touched a place in my heart. And this is only Siem Reap, there's still Angkor Wat and the temples.

* some food and restaurant photos also by Marvin © . Design by Berenica Designs.