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Roaming Around Siem Reap Oct. 2-6, 2014

Roaming Around Siem Reap

GPS waypoint: 13°21'42.5"N 103°51'36.0"E
Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Hindsight Thinking
Having finished Vipassana and explored Battambang, it was time to return to Siem Reap for the ruins. In hindsight, I should have seen the ruins when my plane landed in Siem Reap - that would have freed me to explore other places after Battambang.

Meeting Risa
When I was told that there is a river passage to Siem Reap by boat, I knew I had to avail of it - even though it's more expensive at US$20 (compared to the bus fare at $6). At the pier, I met a fellow lone traveler from Japan, Risa. We bonded well throughout the boat trip and we would become travel buddies that entire day in Siem Reap.



The Boat Ride
Because it was the rainy season, the water level was high and allowed the boat to make shortcuts which reduced travel time to 6.5 hours (7:00am to 1:30pm). The trip was a visual array of floating and riverbank-side villages, fishermen, narrowing river until the passage is completely covered by water lilies, a myriad of mazes through mangrove and temples lined up along the river bank. It was a sharp contrast to what I saw on the bus. I would recommend this water route, if you can spare the time. Your hotel can make this arrangement for you which includes hotel pick-up. The $20 price is the same even if book it directly at the pier.

Food and Beer
Aside from lodging, a traveller's usual expense is food and beer. Cambodia is a good place for this as cheap good food can be had for about $2 in a modest restaurant - cheaper if you prefer street food. Beer starts at $.50 for a mug of draft beer. All around the old market, the night market and surrounding area is full of good eats. The dilemma is where and what to eat as there are many choices. Freshly pressed sugar cane juice mixed with lime is the best value at $.25 - it's refreshing, natural, healthy and cheap.

On a Bicycle
The best way to explore Siem Reap is by a bicycle. At $1/day, you cover so much ground without spending on tuk-tuks - which are quite expensive. You can bike it to the Angkor Natioanl Museum, the War Museum, the temples, etc. You also get to see some of Siem Reap's colonial-styled hotels. The best words to describe some of these hotels are elegant, grand and finely architectured.

Angkor Wat
With just hours left before the sun sets, Risa and I rented bicycles and biked out to Angkor Wat...just the outside as there is a $20 day fee. Even from the outside, the site was impressive with tourists being drawn by the flock. With the long ride back, it was already dark by the time we reached Siem Reap proper.

Time is Short
With only 2 days left before my Cambodian visa expires, I had to devote one entire day visiting the temple ruins - which is one of the reasons I came here for (the other one is to do a Vipassana course).

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: the temple ruins of Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and other temple complexes

with Risa on top of the boat...excellent view if it's not too hot temples lined up on the river bank floating neighborhoods the river narrowing down
boat stop on a floating village stretching a leg and getting a cold drink river snakes caught by locals....I would be eating a barbequed snake tonight more floating villages
the river completely disappearing in a sea of water lilies...amazing how the boatman can navigate his way through with no landmark finally reaching Siem Reap and getting onto a tuk-tuk...$5 for me and Risa from pier to town proper Risa brought me to this good eats place in the market...$2 for a meal fresh produce at the market...if only I had a kitchen
paintings at the nearby bazaar...mostly Buddha paintings rode to Angkor Wat on a bike...stayed outside only but I learned how to reach it on a bike. I would bike it again on my planned visit with Risa...we both rented bicycles and rode it there headstand...a signature yoga pose on essential landmarks
at the risk of taking a 15-foot drop on the other side, I gambled on a handstand yummy dinner with beer at the night market with Risa roaming around town in search of balut for Risa (her brave attempt to eat one) when we stumbled on to Bug's Cafe and meeting fabulous peeps - Pauline, Rathanak and Marjo if you look closer, this haute cuisine has tarantula, another big insect, crickets and grubs
a reclining Buddha in one of the temples my Cambodian fav - freshly pressed sugar cane juice! at $.25 it's the best deal in town! going around town on my bike and stumbling upon many obscure temples deep-fried street food...enjoyed by locals and ME!
at the Anchor National Museum. At $15 admission fee, it was a deal I just took this picture coming across an open park system in Siem Reap...locals hang out here just for leisure one of the magnificent hotels I's not hi-tech but grand colonial Siem Reap has numerous bazaars selling crafts, clothing, art, etc.
seafood selection at the public market mine-blast victims playing outdoor music for would see a lot of them there is a Buddha for everyone - laughing fat Chinese Buddha, slim Thai Buddha, etc. the night market
resting after long walks, window shopping, street food eating, etc. more temple and Buddha paintings would you believe this sumptuous meal is only $1? I tried all the exotic food I could find - bbq river snakes, fried grasshoppers, etc.
meeting new friends...what's her name again???? Pub Street is animated at night where bar parties happen after a long day's walk, a $2, 30 minute foot massage is in order looking ruffled the morning after, planning my day's activity

Siem Reap Cost Index (US$1 = Riel 4049 = Php 46.47 as of Mar 26, 2016)

  1. $2.00 haircut (they'll price you at $3 but local price is only $2)
  2. $0.50 one mug draft beer
  3. $0.50 1.5 liter drinking water
  4. $4.00 one hour massage
  5. $2.00 muesli breakfast
  6. $0.50-1.50 coffee
  7. $2.00 pad thai
  8. $1.00 bicycle rental, 24 hours
  9. $0.25 sugar cane juice in a plastic cup
  10. $0.50 fresh coconut
  11. $5.00/day single fan rooms
  12. $4.00/day dorm lodging at Garden Village Guesthouse
  13. $18.00 starting price for Phare circus
  14. $1.00/kilo laundry
  15. $1.00 regular tuk-tuk ride around town
  16. $15.00 tuk-tuk ride for a short tour of Angkor Wat
  17. $20.00 Angkor Wat admission fee
  18. $8.00 1-hour drop-in yoga session
  19. $5.00 Alibaba pants (asking price is usually $8 but they'll go down to $5)

Siem Reap FYI / Tips

  • no need to convert your dollars into riel. All establishments in Cambodia accept US dollars.

How to Get to Siem Reap Proper from the airport

  1. take a tu-tuk at the airport $5/trip (you can split the cost with other passengers from your plane), 10 min

Cambodia Blogs by TheLoneRider

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Oct. 2-6, 2014

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