Siem Reap

Our first major stop after crossing the border was Siem Reap, Cambodia’s cultural darling and the gateway city to the Angkor temples. After our mixed feelings on Luang Prabang, the closest parallel in Laos, we were a little wary of Siem Reap, but it didn’t take us long to fall in love with the quaint and beautiful town.

Siem Reap's charming streets
Siem Reap’s charming streets

Stung Treng (the first town past the Cambodia-Laos border) and Siem Reap provided us with our first impressions of Cambodia and despite hearing tales of corruption and crime, the country felt like a breath of fresh air after Laos. Maybe it was the long, laborious days of travel that made the comforts of Siem Reap seem so refreshing. Maybe it was the transition into low season with its exodus of tourists and fall back in prices. Maybe we had just become better travelers. Whatever the reason, Cambodia greeted us with smiling faces, budget-friendly options and the right balance of old and new.

One of the narrow streets in the Old Market area
One of the narrow streets in the Old Market area

Without intending to, we ended up spending a week in Siem Reap. We didn’t amount to a whole lot, but we did spend those glorious few days lazing in our leafy neighborhood (conveniently located far away from the notorious backpacker enclave around Pub Street), wandering the narrow streets and wide boulevards, and taking in the artsy atmosphere. Book exchanges abounded, ATMs dispensed dollars (widely used as an alternate currency to the riel) and good food came at affordable prices. We loved it and had we not committed to a project in the south, we would have certainly stayed for longer 🙂

Siem Reap offers plenty of tasteful upscale fine dining options
Siem Reap offers plenty of tasteful upscale fine dining options
And some pretty unique ones too!
And some pretty unique ones too!
We couldn't work up the nerve to try this place...
We couldn’t work up the nerve to try this place…
Artwork on the streets
Artwork on the streets
Pub Street
Pub Street
Many of the narrow alleys boast colorful restaurants and cafes
Many of the narrow alleys boast colorful restaurants and cafes
Our daily $2.50 breakfast - comprising of baguette and omelette, coffee/tea/water and a fresh fruit salad ;)
Our daily $2.50 breakfast – comprising of baguette and bacon omelette, coffee/tea/water and a fresh fruit salad 😉
Charlie getting a fish massage/cleaning  - complimentary with breakfast!
Charlie getting a fish massage/cleaning – complimentary with breakfast!
These fish are supposed to eat all the dead skin off your feet and are very popular throughout SE Asia
They are supposed to eat all the dead skin off your feet and are very popular throughout SE Asia
Lots of leisurely reading time :)
Lots of leisurely reading time 🙂
Our lovely $7/night accommodation - complete with balcony, hot water shower, daily fresh towels/soaps/waters and room service. Maybe not everyone's idea of luxury, but we thought it was quite a good deal!
Our lovely $7/night accommodation – complete with balcony, hot water shower, daily fresh towels/soaps/waters and room service. Maybe not everyone’s idea of luxury, but we thought it was quite a good deal!
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4 Comments

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  1. Loved reading this as well as your previous ones..both of you write very well..Amazed at the hotel deal!!! Is this possible? The pics were so nice..

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