The Kingdom of Cambodia is situated west of Vietnam in the Indochina peninsula of South-east Asia.
Our trip was a short and sweet one – we spent two days in the historical area of Siem Reap, home to the biggest temple complex in the world – Angkor Wat.
You can fly into Siem Reap or come in by road from Phnom Penh. We took the Cambodia Angkor Air flight from HCMC, Vietnam (check out our Vietnam blogs here) – the airport was one-part resort, one-part temple and zero-parts airport.
Our tuk-tuk was waiting outside (the hotel had arranged a complimentary transfer for us as part of the stay).
Our plan was to spend the first day exploring the town and head out to the ancient city early morning on day 2.
Where to Stay
Cambodia is quite inexpensive, and you can easily find very good hotels for reasonable prices. With some bit of checking out websites and using coupon codes, you can get 5-star hotels for as low as US$ 85 per night. What this also means is that for US$ 35-50, you can get really good hotels as well. We stayed at Chheng Residence – it had nice rooms and was quite close to the Old French Quarter. Make sure you stay close enough to the Old Quarter so that it is easy to walk around and explore.
There are 2 broad seasons in Cambodia – dry (Oct-Apr) and wet (May-Sep). Oct-Dec is considered the best time to visit as the temperatures are moderate as compared to other times in the year. The moderate was not what we expected. After checking into our hotel, we stepped out to get some brunch. It was hot! After pleasant weather in Vietnam throughout, it felt like we had been dropped into a hot oven.
Most places were closed as it was past breakfast time and before lunch started. We found a cozy little place called Fresh Fruit Factory where we had smoothies and pancakes (a bit on the expensive side but very fresh and tasty stuff!). We also didn’t see many people around – this was the time of the day to enjoy the hotel and the pools and bathtubs. That’s exactly what we did – we headed back to the room and waited for the sun to go down.
Cambodian Riel is the local currency, but you can easily get by with USD. You will see price tags in supermarkets and menus in restaurants have USD mentioned and that’s what they prefer.
What to do in Siem Reap
The number one thing to do here is visit Angkor. But we’ll take that up in another post as it deserves one of its own. After sunset, we walked and explored the town. Here are some recommendations:
Walk/Jog along the bank of the Siem Reap river
Visit the night market (on the other side of the river – close to the Hard Rock Café) – really good place to pick up some souvenirs
Visit Pub Street – the place has a crazy party vibe
Get a massage – you could probably get one at your hotel too
Sample some Khmer cuisine – we ate at the Khmer Grill – the food was really good!
The insect eating frenzy is quite overhyped – try it out if you really want to, but not recommended.
Siem Reap is in many ways a signature “touristy” place and one day is enough to explore the city. You can make this a base location for a few day trips – the Angkor complex, Tonle Sap Lake and the Phnom Kulen National Park.
Check out our Angkor itinerary here.
If you have any questions on how to plan your trip, feel free to leave a comment! You can subscribe to our blog for all the updates and travel tips. For a lot more pics and stories about our latest travels, follow us on Instagram @fridgemagnet.tales