Thoughts on Siem Reap

April 3rd to April 6th, 2018

Photo by jiji liu on Unsplash

This note is part of my travel series, Giant Leaps: a collection of my experiences from across the globe. You can view all of my trips on here.

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This is Part 3 of my trip to Thailand and Cambodia

(click here for parts 1, 2, and 4)

What I Did

  • We flew from Bangkok to Siem Reap and stayed at the Onederz Hostel — it was honestly the perfect setup, with clean rooms and a great location. The staff were super helpful in helping us set up a visit to Angkor Wat, plan our bus ride to Phnom Penh, and find various activities. We stayed there for 3 nights total and overall it was a great experience.
  • Pub Street has tons of bars and food and cool things to see. I had very low expectations coming into Siem Reap and was impressed by how much was actually going on.
  • One of the most fun activities we did on our first day in Siem Reap was an ATV tour around the more “rural” areas nearby. More than being fun, it was really really cool venturing around really unique places. There are very few street rules so you can go as fast as you want across the dirt paths. We got some good pictures:
  • The nature on the outskirts of the city was really pretty…saw lots of cool animals.
  • On the ATV tour, we also got to talk to various children who were running around the villages. Was cool to interact with them.
  • As I mentioned previously, we had our hostel help us arrange a tour of Angkor Wat. Given we had five people, we basically rented a van and tour guide to drive us around. The air conditioning came in clutch as it was really hot. The whole experience of visiting Angkor Wat is interesting…you wake up at like 4 am and drive to watch the sunrise. You can do some googling but the whole history and scene of the temples is quite fascinating. While it was really really pretty, and interesting to hear about the various stories that had taken place on the grounds, I will say I found it a bit overrated. It was cool…but orders of magnitude cooler or more memorable than other temples I had visited in Thailand or South Korea? Probably not for my taste. It is definitely really beautiful, I do not mean to be a cynic, but I would not put this item on the very top of your bucket list.

Takeaways

  • Siem Reap was a good 3 day trip but I do not know if there was any great reason to stay for much longer. I know some people come to see Angkor Wat for like a week at a time but honestly, perhaps this is me being tired of seeing temples, but I was pretty tired by the end of our visit.
  • I thought this little fact was interesting…“Cambodia has a particularly homogenous population, with 95% of people ethnically Khmer, and the remaining 5% made of up of ethnic Vietnamese, Chinese and Cham.” Compare that to places like Singapore and Bangkok and you will see a very different crowd. Another part of Cambodia is that the average annual income is roughly $1300 USD. Empathizing with this number is challenging, especially coming from western civilization, but it is important to realize that everyone is playing their own game…living life on their own accord.

Fun Pictures