Friday, 15 February 2013

Siem Reap, jolly good.... Wat wat!

Our bags are having an adventure.

Our visit to Cambodia started well with the coolest tuk tuk ride from the airport. Here they have motorbikes pulling very comfortable tuk tuk carts. Not only that, but the transfer was free, along with the free bananas, free tea and coffee, free pool table, free massage, free wifi, free bike hire and free smiles all included in our room rate of £18 a night. Not bad, we thought.


Angkor Wat
The town itself is totally geared for tourists who are all headed for the infamous temple of Angkor Wat. We discovered however that it is not just one temple to come for but hundreds spread out over miles and miles around Siem Reap. We decided on just one day of touring the temples but some people spend three full days exploring these ancient ruins. Hardcore! We also declined the 5am start in order to see the sunrise as we had had a seriously early start the day before for our flight and we're pleased we did as it sounds like thousands of Chinese and Koreans (all on their Chinese New Year holidays) were elbowing their way to prime photoshot position. Whilst Angkor Wat was impressive in size and would have been astounding in its day, we were not really blown away by it, instead preferring some of the other temples surrounding it. As most of them were from the 11th and 12th century, they were ruins, often incomplete and with lots of the stones fallen or scattered around.

Smile for the camera!
Good views from a temple.
Bayon temple was our favourite with its 216 faces sculpted into the temple towers.

Where are we?
The centre of Siem Reap would certainly appeal to a few of our friends as it is heaving with places to drink and eat, where you can while away a lot of hours watching the show with a coffee or a beer. There's even a road called "Pub Street" in case you didn't know what to do there.

Apsara dancing.
Also crammed along the pavements are many massage chairs for a quick street-side massage, lovely if you're not looking for peace and relaxation! Tourists also seem to be falling hook, line and sinker for the rather gimmicky "fish pedicure" where you can dunk your feet into a fish tank so that the fish can eat the dead skin. You are promised soft feet, a giggle and no piranha!

For our kind of relaxation, we took a couple of bikes for a tour of the lanes and streets, soaking up the sun, dust and local area. Bumpy unmade roads and gravel are not the best surfaces to ride on a bike but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless and managed to escape with only one scuffed toe in collision with a tuk tuk.

Our final day was the best as we went on another cookery course, this time to learn how to create typical Cambodian fare. A bit out of the town, we visited a local house in a rural setting and then spent the day cooking outside and eating our meals on a shady pontoon over a lake. Very relaxing and very filling.

Green mango salad.
Fresh spring rolls.

Proud of my cooking.
Gorgeous lunch and dinner setting.


  1. Sonja, you are amazing. The next time I need to book an hotel I will ask your advice! £18 a night and all those extras thrown in. We are looking forward to you both cooking us a Cambodian meal on your return to England. Love Marlene and Geoff xx

  2. I have been thoroughly enjoying reading your blogs to date. You are writing a book when you get back arn't you? I laughed at the thought of Rob diving across the bed in fear! Hope you enjoy the last couple of weeks on your journey. You do realise it will be very quiet back here in the UK!! Safe journey and look forward to the picture show!! Love Viv, Jim and family xx