Siem Reap being the base for the Angkor Temples, caters for all types of tourists, budget, luxury and everything in between and because of this the city ends up being over touristy in many aspects, food being one of them. This city reminded me so much of Aguas Calientes in Peru, the base town for Machu Picchu, which if you read my post on it, was not my favourite place in the world.
For a city built so close to one of the wonders of the world (okay maybe not the official list), Siem Reap is not that easy on the eyes. Actually, its quite hard on the eyes. Even though it has some of its own in your face character, it lacks the charm to make it pleasant to stay there.
Though for all of the things we didn’t love of Siem Reap, we ended up staying three days longer than initially planned, but this had more to do with the constant bus rides in Vietnam than anything else.
We ended up using two hotels due to one being fully booked, but the second hotel we stayed at, had a pool which made for a very pleasant couple of days while we chilled out and prepared and planned for the rest of our trip.
Pub street in Siem Reap, is the tourist trap of the place, offering reasonable at slightly exaggerated prices, with pubs, bars and club all jostling for their share of tourists. The problem with this street for us was that, as both of us don’t really drink and do not enjoy the company of drunks (especially the English and Aussie revelers), there is not much reason for us to be there.
And the blatant prostitution on the street made it even worse to be there for us, but it clearly seemed like a popular hang out and many just to chose to ignore the strangeness of it all. Raquel was shocked to walk past two drunk English lads negotiating with a prostitute and one telling her price was too much because, as they so eloquently put it “Were simple people!”
However there was one thing, both of us enjoyed in Siem Reap: The night market. We liked it not only because of the shopping and opportunities to buy some interesting things to take back home, but also because it was a great place to do some people watching, which one night included a lady boy show, which I found quite frightening! The night market is filled with stalls, massage parlours, and places where you can get fish to nibble on your feet while you drink a beer.
Siem Reap, with all of its touristy kitchness, is a must, if only for the fact that is the gateway to the Angkor temples.
This post is based on our days of the 23rd September to 30th September
Hotel: Golden Temple Villa – Double room including AC, TV, Fridge, Breakfast and ensuite bathroom $20 per night (see our review of hostel here)
Hotel: Ancient Angkor Villa – Double room including AC, TV, Fridge, Breakfast and ensuite bathroom, and a pool with use of towels $21 per night (see our review of hostel here)