First impressions of Siem Reap
Siem Reap Travel Blog› entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
Phew!! What a relief. Before we left the UK we had such high hopes of Cambodia and to be honest our experiences in Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh had begun to give us a bit of a negative view of the people if not the places. Our arrival in Siem Reap; off the bus from Phnom Penh was the beginning of the turn around. Luckily we had the foresight to arrange to be picked up by a guesthouse from the bus terminal and although the guesthouse we had arranged it with was full the driver took us free of charge to another guesthouse of our choosing, called Ancient Angkor Guesthouse which was the first hassle free arrival we've had anywhere.
We took it easy all afternoon, had a dip in our pool, drank a few fruit shakes then up to our room and got ready for the happy hour slog in "pub street". Siem Reap is a very touristy town and has been for quite a while so things are very geared up. There is a whole street given over to bars and restaurants which is closed to traffic in the evening and even the hawkers and grubby kids are mostly kept away. Fantastic! The kids are the most annoying thing about Cambodia. They seem to think that being dirty and able to count to ten in english is enough to warrant us giving them money. Of course so many tourists do you really can't blame them for not washing, skipping school and trying it on. The thing is that so many tourists give them candy that their teeth will rot and they'll suffer later, by earning so much hawking and begging they get no education.
We did a tour of the pubs and bars checking the menus for vegan and veggie options, of which there were many, but the best was a place called the Khmer Kitchen in an adjacent street called pub alley!! We had a few happy hour beers at 25p a time in a bar back on pub street which in this heat go down far too well. Having decided on the restaurant the meal we had there was possibly the best all round meal we've had in Asia.
With a very enjoyable beer buzz we stopped off at the night market on the way home and had a very enjoyable spending frenzy and some fun negotiations with the stall holders. Between us we got two tops, a dress and some trousers as well as a few presents for people back home (obviously can't specify but don't get excited!). All for around US$20!! The people in the market were all super friendly and it only reinforced our opinion that the Cambodians here are a totally different breed.