Siem Reap : The Land of Smiles and Laughter.

Siem Reap Travel Blog

 › entry 128 of 268 › view all entries
Decanted from our bus straight into moto-tuk-tuks.

We’ve been travelling for nearly 28 hours (including the overnight stop in Kompong Cham) when we arrive midday at Siem Reap. There’s a fifth Musketeer for the group now too in the form of Michael from Poland. A man instantly respected by myself owing to our shared obsession with Tori Amos, all the old tour t-shirts for whom he wears unwittingly stirring my envy.

Siem Reap to the northwest of Cambodia, sits upon the north eastern shore of the great Tonle Sap lake. A large(ish) and vibrant town, it is best known by travellers as the city gateway to the mighty Angkor temple complex. Which is precisely what me and the boys are here to see.

Ice trade within the market
Of course. But that can wait until tomorrow.

After we’ve been ferried around by pre-arranged tuk-tuks we get ourselves a couple of nice rooms at $5 a pop ($2.50 a head per night). In case you weren’t aware Cambodia operates on a duel-currency system. Principally the economy operates on U.S. Dollars and it will always be these that are dispensed from ATMs and that most prices will be quoted to you in. Cambodian Rial will occasionally be given in change and of course accepted.

The day is more than halfway done already so we all stroll into the city to have a little explore and some lunch. We walk across and then down the western bank of the Stung Siem Reap river towards the Psar Chaa covered market area. Here I fall in love at first sight. My first introduction to the glory; the beauty; the wonderful illegality of mass Xeroxed books for sale.

This IS Cambodia : wonderful ,happy, laughing people. Ya just GOTTA read her jumper too!! :))
Lonely Planet guides, books pertinent to the recent and ancient history of the nation and region and novels all lovingly, faithfully and cheaply reproduced for a starving bookworm like myself. “Yippeeeeeee!”. I purchase a biography of Pol Pot from a ‘charitable cause’ boy for $3 whilst having my delicious ‘Khmer cake’ omelette style thingamy for lunch.

The girl who is our waitress for the duration smiles and smiles and laughs the entire time she serves us. This also is a first time experience. That of the nature and spirit of the Cambodian people. Time and time again in my all too brief stay in the country the sheer force of free and easy friendship, laughter and happiness that beams forth from nearly all Cambodians will continue to amaze and endear me. They laugh so much and so easily! I mean seriously.

Bananas.
All the time. At everything. Anything! Often at me!! (I’ve been getting used to that one for months, not just in Cambodia). It’s so cool! You just would not believe that the defining, keystone characteristic of a people that have been through what the Cambodian populace has been through only 30 years ago would be laughter. Incredible. Wonderful! I love the Cambodians already.

There’s not a great deal to see from the camera-clicking tourist point of view in the town of Siem Reap itself. The region’s principle treasures lie beyond. We stroll to Wat Bo on the east side of the Siem Reap River but we all immediately slip into the “it’s just another temple” mood. And to be frank, all of our minds are firmly fixed in the anticipation of what’s to come at Angkor tomorrow. Anything would be overshadowed set against such expectations. And its these thoughts that whirl us through the rest of the day and into an excited sleep.

christie0203 says:
It's indeed enjoyable to read your experience.Thanks for sharing!
Posted on: Jul 27, 2010
Stevie_Wes says:
Cheers Steph! :) My passion for writing it's been flagging a little of late... too much time on The Road I think but nice comments like yours'll keep my mind and pen ticking :)
Posted on: Mar 30, 2009
Transitory says:
It is really enjoyable to read your blogs, please keep them up!
Posted on: Mar 30, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Decanted from our bus straight int…
Decanted from our bus straight in…
Ice trade within the market
Ice trade within the market
This IS Cambodia : wonderful ,happ…
This IS Cambodia : wonderful ,hap…
Bananas.
Bananas.
Rice.
Rice.
Tree Print (Siem Reap)
'Tree Print' (Siem Reap)
The Stung Siem Reap river
The Stung Siem Reap river
Wat Bo in Siem Reap
Wat Bo in Siem Reap
Wat Bo
Wat Bo
Wat Bo
Wat Bo
Ill let yall write your own capt…
I'll let y'all write your own cap…
Suger can juice is yuuuuuum! :P
Suger can juice is yuuuuuum! :P
Market.
Market.
LOL :)
LOL :)
A little Mario Madness! :)
A little Mario Madness! :)
Siem Reap
photo by: genetravelling