I’m wrapping up the three weeks in Thailand through tomorrow. No remaining places to go see but I will get back around the MBK Center tomorrow because I like it there a lot. I fly to Siem Reap on Tuesday at 10am so will be leaving for the airport by 730 or so. It will be nice to get back there, plan on seeing the Angkor Ruins, spend some days wandering the city again, stopping at some of my favorite places for food and beer. Along the Siem Reap River are literally hundreds of street food stands and small shops that sell some of the best fresh smoothies I have had. One in particular is owned by a group of young Khmer women that really do a nice job on the fresh juices and coffees. There’s a group of restaurants I’d like to promote if you happen to get there:
- Sister Srey Cafe. This literally means Sister Sister. The coffee shop and cafe is located right by the river and is always bustling with the tourist and local crowds and with a good measure of ex-pats that appreciate the rather eclectic foods that they provide. My favorite is this hashed brown breakfast with eggs, bacon, and slices of tomato. The coffee is quite good too and its fun to sit afterwards, read some news, and enjoy the morning by the river.
- Missing Sock Laundry Cafe. This is a wonderful little spot where a coin operated laundromat is out front and the cafe behind has the best homemade waffles. The barista has won awards in the past and the cafe has been recognized a few times by TripAdvisor. They also have Khmer foods but I go for the waffles and latte.
- Red Piano Lounge on Sok San Road. One of my favorites. There are two Red Piano lounges with one being on Pub Street that somehow does not have the vibe that the one on Sok San Road has. I go there to eat when I want something different.
- Little Casablanca Restaurant. A friend turned me on this to restaurant and its a small place if you are not looking for you will miss. I had one of the best steak dinners there and the attention to detail is superb. I really like the atmosphere and friendly staff there.
- Sok San Road at Large. All up and down Sok San Road you will find restaurants and bars. I’ve enjoyed eating traditional Khmer foods for great prices like Amok and Lok Lak and some of the best Khmer curry.
Since I talked about food, its only fitting now to discuss the things I like to do in Siem Reap apart from the Angkor Historic Park. Give these a try if you make it there:
- Walk along the river and find the three or so shaded bridges and take a break with a coffee at the benches. Very relaxing by the river.
- Visit the Old Market by the River. Shopping is fun there and some of the shops will haggle but some I believe are fixed price. I don’t always like to haggle and if something only costs a few dollars it seems a waste of time to go after some deal. At the Old Market you can find cheap sandals, t-shirts, shorts, socks and all kinds of souvenirs.
- Night Market and Pub Street. These are fun to visit on an evening. The shops start setting up to sell crafts and clothing, shoes and other goods by nightfall and the Pub Street gets going then too. You can find just about kind of food along the Street and often pay more for it. I had some nice Mexican food at both the Night Market and Pub Street. One night before when I was there I found a street food stall selling tacos which were quite good.
- Walk from the river in either direction and enjoy another Siem Reap from the touristy one. Small residential streets, kids yelling hellos and waving, small food and coffee stands all along the streets. You can also walk north to the Royal Residence area and find a nice park to stroll in. I think Siem Reap is pretty nice if you like walking. Nothing besides the historic sites are so far you could not walk.
- Finally on the opposite side of the river than Pub Street is a nice market area with local crafts to go through. I walked most days before along the river in both directions and found the river walk area to be very nice. As you get away from the tourist areas along the river, you will see smaller residential areas but businesses still thrive!
So many other things to do while in the city too. I mentioned shopping but there are very nice supermarkets catering to foods you may want to find but are limited sometimes. There are also tailors and shoe shops and some shops which sell a variety of good away from the river but still within walking distance. You can find the business districts by just walking to the Residence and Park area and walking west of there a bit on surface streets.
So its gonna be really nice to get there and enjoy some time not spent exploring in the different directions but still getting the walks in that I so enjoy doing with the camera. The markets and evening scenes are fun to capture with the camera and sitting with a smoothie or beer and watching life go by is one of the big things I enjoyed doing there. I never felt there like there was a loss of different restaurants to find. One can walk along Sok San road and find just about anything to eat.
Finally there is the Angkor Historic Park to get to which I left out of the rest of the things above. The park is a wondrous thing but I want to do it differently this time. I don’t want 5 temples. I want to focus on just a few like Bayon and Angkor Thom and a few others. I want to get a tuk tuk for a day and visit on my schedule, take photographs and walk around the site areas.
After this time at Siem Reap I don’t know when I will get back again. This year is pretty booked up with stuff like Vietnam, Laos, Taiwan and Philippines. Next year is still being thought about. I would love to get to Sri Lanka but it depends on how things are there after the horrible incidents of the past. I may substitute India and also reach the Maldives for some bit of time next year after the states.
Anyways, that’s about it for now looking forward to Siem Reap and the foodie stuff that awaits there. I really like the city and people and things to do there. Having another month means slowing it all down and taking it on a day by day basis and mostly moment by moment.
I’ll catch you all on the flip side of my arrival back in Cambodia on Tuesday.