Here is a quick summary of our favorite experiences while in Siem Reap. If you're interested in reading more - just click on the picture and it will bring you to the dedicated post! And our detailed Angkor Wat agenda can be found here.
ANGKOR THOM | THE BAYON TEMPLE
I know the Angkor Wat temple gets all the fame, but Angkor Thom was by far our favorite. Maybe it was because we were there so early in the morning, and we felt like we had the temple all to ourselves... but it was just surreal.
Runner up favorites:
CAMBODIAN COOKING CLASS
Other than visiting the temples of course, our other favorite activity was taking a Cambodian Cooking class. It was only $24 each (which compared to what we paid in Paris was peanuts). Prior to even starting the cooking class, they walked us down the street to a neighboring house to visit a local family and learn about food preparations in a typical Khmer home, as well as gave them a gift of rice as a thank you.
As for the actual cooking class, it was so well organized and prepared. Depending on the time of day that you take the class (lunch or dinner) you prepare different menus. To learn what we cooked you can find the blog here: Siem Reap Cambodian Cooking Class.
FAVORITE RESTAURANTS / FOOD
After a long day touring the temples, Chanrey Tree was just what we needed. We started with a red wine (for andrew) and a mojito (for me) with a side of some fresh spring rolls. Followed by seafood green curry, and a fresh fish of the day.
Here is a map which outlines each of the places I mention in this post.
ADDITIONAL SIEM REAP NOTES:
GETTING A VISA:
Being an American, it was actually a very easy process. Right after landing in the Siem Reap airport, we filled out some quick paperwork, stood in line for about 20 minutes, handed over our passports, paperwork & $30 and then about 5 minutes later we had a nice and shiny new visa sticker in our passport. For more info: CAMBODIA VISA INFO
We were very surprised by the fact that in Siem Reap although they have cambodian money, they used US Dollars! Even if we took money out of the ATM, we received dollars.
But... the oddest nuance about Siem Reap... if you go there with a dollar bill that has even the slightest rip, or looks very worn in - they WILL NOT take it. Seriously! We had a $20 that we tried to use in about 5 different places (from our hotel reception to using it at a bar) and we could not get rid of it! Everyone kept telling us "Bring it home with you, they'll take it in the US" - which we'd always reply "we don't use $$ we live in Germany!" Lesson for everyone out there - bring your crisp dollar bills with you!
getting to siem reap:
We took a 1 hour direct flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap International Airport. (for about $75) I have heard of others taking a bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap, although it may be cheaper... its 7 hours in a bus in extremely hot weather. I will pay $75 any day to be at my hotel pool that much faster.
FORMS OF TRANSPORT in siem reap:
There is only one you need to know - the tuk tuk. It was basically our only means of transport and it was perfect. When we rented the tuk tuk for the full day around angkor wat, the cost was about $35. (i believe it was a few extra dollars because of the 4:30am pickup... completely understood).
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the Lotus Blanc Hotel. It was nice, clean, but nothing spectacular. If I were to go back to Siem Reap, i'd find some place new. When booking hotels in Siem Reap, we noticed that almost all of the hotels will do an airport pick up / drop off for free.
hello: (joom reep soo-ah)
thank you: (awr khoun)
If anyone has other favorites from Siem Reap, please share in the comments section!!