Siem Reap

DSCN3236If you plan to visit Angkor Wat and its surrounding temples you will likely find yourself staying in or around Siem Reap. Whilst Siem Reap is relatively small, it has plenty to offer. There are a wide range of restaurants to choose from serving all kinds of cuisine (Khmer to Swiss to American and even insects!) and plenty of opportunities to grab some souvenirs or unwind with a full body massage or spa treatment.

If you’re looking to pick up some gifts for your family then there are a wide number of stalls and markets that will surely provide you with everything you need. From t-shirts and vests branded with the logos of local beers to Khmer styled wooden carvings and hand-painted canvases of the nearby landmarks you’ll no doubt find numerous ways to burn through wads of cash. Prices are reasonable but haggling is expected. I didn’t partake myself as winning a dollar for myself from the often needy stall holders held no sport for me. The Night Market is sizeable and definitely worth a look if you want to do some shopping.

Massage and other therapies are likewise reasonably priced and I can highly recommend Khmer Relief Spa – that’s if you can find it! I spent a good half hour walking in circles and puzzling over my map before I eventually stumbled upon it! Hidden in a small alleyway it offers a spotless and inviting interior and the staff are polite, warm and friendly. Before and after your treatment you are offered tea and a small plate of fruit and the massage I had was relaxing and eased the knots my muscles had acquired from my busy temple trek the previous day. If you are looking for a bargain massage there is a street that specifically caters for your needs. Steel yourself to be approached aggressively for your business – proprietors will literally try and manhandle you into their establishments.

During the day Siem Reap is relatively quiet and finding a seat in a restaurant or bar should pose no problems. The town really comes to life after sundown when the tourists return from the temples and pack out nearly every establishment there is. Certain roads are closed off as the writhing mass of bodies make any mode of transport bar walking impossible. Pub Street becomes especially lively and lives up to its name providing a number of different drinking holes that should cater for every possible variety of visitor.

If you are looking for peaceful spots in the evening then there are a few dotted around the outskirts of the town. I found YOLO to be a little more relaxed than what Pub Street had to offer and was able to watch a few minutes of the football away from the madding crowds with a quiet beer.

Regardless of age or interests there should easily be enough in Siem Reap to keep everyone entertained between temple hopping and cooling off around your hotel pool.

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