Tags

, , , , , , , ,

I took a car from Phnom Peh to Siem Rep, which took roughly about 6 hours, the road is generally of poor quality and there are a few shanty towns to stop at along the way and well stocked petrol stations though little else and the bathrooms are not great so try to go before hand!

There was a mosque on the way and the only one I actually saw in Cambodia. So if you wanted to pray that would be your point of call. However there was only a few halal places in Siem Rep, all of them being Indian restaurants and also the Airport Lounge at Phnon Peh which stocked some halal food.

Upon arriving in Siem Rep, I stayed at the Le Meridien  (which was approx 120 USD a night for a standard room) which is conveniently located for Ankor Watt as its one of the largest resorts in the area.  The hotel is nice, though a little dated, however the club lounge which is actually a bar (Naga Bar) offered a really good selection of goodies though avoid the humous it does not compare to the humous you taste in the Middle East. Also note there is no sweet dishes on offer.

The Pool at the Le Meridien Hotel, Siem Rep

The Pool at the Le Meridien Hotel, Siem Rep

All the hostels and lower range hotels are located in the old town, near Pub street, which surprise surprise is where the bars and late night massage places can be found if thats what you are into.

During the day however the old town has a real holiday feel with a market and good open aired bars and restaurants lining the streets. There was a certain appeal to the place, it had a very chilled and laid back vibe. With plenty of interesting things to buy and eat…

Vegan Heaven..

Vegan Heaven..

What I thought to be tiny snakes on skewers...

What I thought to be tiny snakes on skewers…

Spicy Spiders...hmmm

Spicy Spiders…hmmm

Fried Bugs anyone?

Fried Bugs anyone?

The main reason most people come to Siem Rep is to explore Ankor Wat, which is officially the largest religious site in the world (though I’m not sure they will keep this fact after the Mecca expansion). It is surrounded by a moat, because much like Europe used to surround its castles for protection in earlier times, the Hindus/Buddhists did the same for their temples. Everyone had told me in order to properly experience the beauty of Ankor Wat, you must be on site for sunrise. Which meant I had to wake up at 4am and head over on a tuk tuk.

I foolishly didn’t wear a jumper, and was freezing throughout the journey. The tickets you can pick up on the way to Ankor Wat and costs 20 USD per day. I would recommend getting a tour guide when you finally arrive (assuming you dont go there with one already) as its pitch black and you want to secure yourself the best spot for when the sun eventually comes up and also it is good to have someone local explain the significance of everything. There are many guides waiting outside the entrance so you just need to grab one and negotiate a good price. It is a truly spectacular sunrise and something I will never forgot.

Batmobile...Tuk-Tuk Version

Batmobile…Tuk-Tuk Version

The famous shot of Angkor Wat temple against the reflection of the lake

The famous shot of Angkor Wat temple against the reflection of the lake

Ready for sunrise

Ready for sunrise

Crowds for the sunrise at the Angkor Wat temple

Crowds for the sunrise at the Angkor Wat temple

After going around Ankor Wat, I would recommend heading to the temple Ankor Thom, which is another temple made up of many faces surrounded by greenery. It is about 10 minutes from Ankor Wat and you can even ride an elephant around the outskirts of the temple.

Elephant rides at Angkor Thom

Elephant rides at Angkor Thom

Entrance to Angkor Thom

Entrance to Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom temple

Angkor Thom temple

After this I would recommend heading back to your hotel for breakfast as you should be done by 9am-10am. Then perhaps catch up on some sleep if you need to otherwise go check out some of Siem Rep.

Whilst in Siem Rep, I had read an article recommending (http://www.latimes.com/travel/la-tr-golfing-cambodia-20131117-story.html#page=1) visiting Navantu Spa and Hotel and the restaurant there. It was exceptional (as you tell from the pictures below) and probably the best meal of the whole trip.

Navantu

Navantu

Prawn skewers on bamboo

Prawn skewers on bamboo

Coconut Chicken Curry

Coconut Chicken Curry

The chicken curry in a coconut and the chocolate fondant are a must!

After a couple of days exploring I flew from Siem Rep back to Phnom Peh as I couldn’t do another long car journey, the airport is quite close to the city and offers flights direct to several destinations such as Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok however there is several fairly cheap flights a day to Phnom Peh and from there you can fly to many more destinations.

Adieu, Adieu…Stormy