Thursday, May 14, 2015

siem reap, cambodia



everyone agrees, angkor wat is a must see. and they aren't wrong; it's spectacular. but angkor wat is just a small part of a larger complex. there are ruins upon ruins and you could easily spend a week exploring them all. they are overgrown with beautiful banyan trees and the walls are covered with busty dancing ladies. there are friendly monkeys, carved elephants, and large faces. and although, the place is crawling with tourists and peddlers, it's still a breathtaking sight.



  

 

 



 





 









  








a quick guide to siem reap -- 

eat: the roads near the old market in downtown siem reap are packed with places to eat and most of the restaurants have pictures of the food. everything we ate was delicious and cheap. (we didn't spend more than $6 on a meal.)

drink: lots and lots of water. there are places to buy drinks and snacks at the ruins, but it's best if you bring your own water bottle so you can stay hydrated.

see: angkor wat and the surrounding complexes, obviously. (1/3/7 day pass, $20/40/60) sunrise is an obvious time to go, and you should definitely go then, just know that there will be a million other people there with the same idea. (ps. if you're planning to spend all day at angkor wat, be sure to bring snacks. there is food for sale, but it can get hot and the hunger can sneak up on you.)

do: rent bikes and ride to angkor wat. you can take a taxi or hire a guide too, but we enjoyed the ride, and our hotel rented them for $1. also, make sure your hotel has a pool; it was great to come back after a hot day and a long bike ride to relax by the pool.

sleep: garden village guesthouse

tips:
  • in cambodia, you can use riel or dollars to pay for things, both are equally acceptable. in fact, most people would prefer USD. 
  • taxis from the airport are $7, be sure you have cash. 
  • you can fly from siem reap to other parts of cambodia, but it can be quite expensive. a better option would be to take an overnight bus. we bought our bus ticket at our hotel, but you can visit the bus company's offices too. (a ticket from siem reap to sihanoukville, direct, was $17; the bus was a sleeper so your only option is to lay down and rest. just be careful not to dally too long at the pit stops during the night; i was almost left behind!)