Sunburn, walked miles for a day and gain so much of weight is all the upside to know you’ve truly enjoyed your vacation over the week. When you’re not getting off the three upsides mentioned earlier, then seriously, what are you doing?! In all seriousness, travelling is made with a combination of a great company and the activities you’ll be doing while you’re on your holiday. I have set for myself of the mandatory once(or twice) a year travelling, I’ve always wondered where should my next budgeted holiday be?
Every single time I logged into my social media accounts, it’ll be flooded with travelling pictures from Siem Reap, Cambodia. With that being said, it’s a sign that it’s time for me to pack my bags and head on over to the glorious country of Cambodia.
This time, my travel plans to Siem Reap was made a memorable experience and it’s with the best company – my family. Cambodia just has a way of bringing all of us closer as a family and truly, a fulfilling experience. There were just some of the most amazing places that I’ve seen in this historical city and I can’t wait to show you some of the snaps that I took.
We reached our place of stay in an Airbnb house located in 3 Monkeys Road, Siem Reap Province – slightly further out of town. Booked the room we wanted to sleep in (high importance when there are siblings that will fight you for the best room) and get places info from the house owner.
To make our way to the town area for lunch, we had to book for a tuk-tuk ride. We had to book two of it as there were seven of us and each tuk-tuk maximum can only accommodate to 4 people. WeGo Taxi was the app we used to book, and those who want to use this app while in Cambodia, please don’t even try. The tuk-tuk drivers were slow to arrive although it’s written they’ll come in a minute, most of them are clueless on where to drop us off and would rip us off of our money when arrived. Feeling frustrated and hungry, almost 30 minutes later, the tuk-tuk guy arrived and drop us around the area of the Angkor National Museum. All of this happened in less than 3 hours to have reached in Siem Reap.
Note: Always use the app PassApp Taxi, recommended by locals and is efficient.
Well, once we reached the restaurant just a stone’s throw away from the Angkor National Museum, the food did bring our holiday mode back on. The food was simply super duper amazing and of course, the cold Cambodian beers to soothe our soul with peace in the 32-degree hot weather.
The first thing we visited was a 10-minute walk from the Angkor National Museum, the Buddhist shrine of Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chorm. Said to represent two Angkorian princesses and is sacred to many. Due to its overcrowded visitors that they receive in a day, we paid our respect and listened to the sweet serenade of the Cambodian musical instrument, and we made our way back home. As we took the early morning flight with AirAsia so we could explore and have more time on our first day there, turns out we were so wrong. All of us just needed some rest after having lack of sleep and the good Siem Reap food.
Feeling refreshed and energized after 2 hours of nap, time for the real party to begin. We set out to what I would call it the “Bukit Bintang of Cambodia”, Pub Street! Located just walking distance away is also the famous Night Market for your daily cheap shopping.
As we filled our tummy with more amazing Khmer food, there was always one cafe we’ve as a family been bugging to try (pun intended). Bugs Cafe has appeared in many international videos/ news including FOOD INSIDER, Business Insider and AJ+. Of course, being the adventurous tourist that we are, eating bugs is something we needed to cross off our bucket list.
Bugs co-owner and chef, Davy Blouzard welcomed me and my family in and explained to us the bugs that we’ll be eating. As we were there to try and was full from earlier dinner, we ordered the big platter and also the chocolate fondue. In the big platter (3-4 pax), they were 3 Wild Spring Rolls, 2 insect skewers, 2 Mediterranean Feuilletes with Ants, 2 Cupcakes (obviously with the insect in, duh!), 1 tarantula doughnuts, 1 feta and tarantula samosas, 1 scorpion fresh salad and 1 cricket and silkworms Wok ($27)
To be honest, the bugs were pretty tasty and crunchy. The fusion of dish that incorporated the insects in did take our mind off. It doesn’t really feel like you’re eating a bug. Normally, a big sized portion of tarantula would be cooked but because it’s a rainy season in Cambodia, we could only try the small ones. Either way, this place is the one you need to try if you’re ever in Siem Reap.
So much of things to see on our second day here in the beautiful country of Cambodia. Our tuk-tuk driver from the tour we got was Mr Alex and he was one of the reasons why our trip was super amazing. He was very informative on our visits, took us to places we’ve never thought will go and also what an oh so friendly person he is.
We headed towards the floating village which took us about 45 mins from town area. Before reaching our destination, Mr Alex stopped halfway for us to break and also to explore the morning wet market that the villagers are selling. The weather was blazing hot that time so what better timing than to try their somewhat of an “ABC cendol” and how cooling it is for us. (also, bought some cold beers back to quench our thirst :P).
Once we reached the floating village entrance, we sat in the boat and the driver showed us around the village. The villagers were super friendly and welcoming as we waved to them, feeling somewhat of a superstar. Oh well, our 15 minutes was fun while it lasted. Here are some of the pictures I took while on the boat ride.
When we finished our tour, we were pretty lucky to have escaped the rain but we still couldn’t leave anywhere in the tuk-tuk. After the rain and strong wind subsided after about half an hour later, we went on our way for lunch because the ride to the countryside will be further in.
What was so cool about this countryside is the fact that they weren’t any tourist when we came there. Driving through the muddy road, cows as the pedestrian, beautiful greenery around us and just out from the social media connectivity world for while is when we felt so relaxed. Mr Alex so happened to be staying in the countryside as well and made it all better when he stopped by the lake with the sun almost setting. Oh, how wonderful it looks.
Since it was Mr Alex’s birthday, he invited me and my family to his humble home and dine like a true countryside mode. Sat on the mat, overlooking their vintage wooden house and surrounded by coconut trees. Such bliss. Ate a pretty good roasted duck dipped with three different sauces and danced the night away.
Note: Entrance for floating village is USD 20. 2 Tuk-tuk rental for 2 days is USD 70 (Tuk Tuk Okay – Sightseeing Tour )
It was raining in the wee early morning so we have no choice but to skip the sunrise in Angkor Wat (which we were looking forward to). So, we started with the temple sightseeing around 10 am.
There are dozens of ruins in the Siem Reap area, but the temples vary in importance, interest and condition. Your itinerary MUST include the legendary Angkor Wat and Bayon temple. These two offer the most spectacular and unique examples of Angkorian art and architecture.
In total, we went to about 6 temples including Ta Prohm -the famous Lara Croft movie, starring Angelina Jolie was shot here – Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei and watched the sunset up into the hills of Bakheng temple. We learned a lot on the history and the making of the temples that is regarded as one of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Note: Dress appropriately as a sign of respect for the locals and the temples and wear lots of sunblock / bring an umbrella. The sun can be a killer! Also, wear practical shoes because you’ll be walking a lot there.
Entrance fee: Angkor Wat and the other temples are USD 37.
After 20 thousand steps later walking from morning to the evening, time for us to head back, refresh ourselves and explore our last night here in Siem Reap in Pub Street.
For after drinks we went to, an Irish Pub called Finn McCools. The people and everyone there was so welcoming and made us felt like home.
Time for us to go back to reality and flight back to our homeland, Malaysia.
Beef Lok Lak
Fish Sour Soup
Khmer Sour Soup
Cambodia fact file
Country Name: The Kingdom of Cambodia
Currency: Riel but always use in USD
The population of Cambodia: 14 million
Simple Language: sousdey (hello), or-koon (thank you), Sohm dtoh (Sorry/excuse me) , Goodbye (li-hai)
Siem Reap is definitely a place where everyone needs to experience at least for once in your life. I am so glad to have documented this event in my life and will be missing the Cambodian food and the smiling locals there! Till next time.