Following up from the last post where I spent a long weekend with Hubby to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We were celebrating our 5th year wedding anniversary and it was also both our first time to Cambodia.
Last post, I shared pictures of the great Angkor Wat, must-see wonder of the world. It was indeed an amazing place to be and definitely something I’m happy to check off my list of places to see.
Other than visiting temples in Siem Reap, you also get to do other cultural and non-cultural activities in Siem Reap. Although our trip was rather short, we didn’t get to see more places that we intended. We also didn’t want to jampack our days with activities and wanted a chilled out time to check out the city on our own.
Le Meridien, Angkor
Yes, spoilt little me was very happy that we got to stay at a 5 star hotel.
Honestly though, we were lucky to be able to use some of Hubby’s Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide points to redeem free night stays at the hotel. Hubby did splurge for an upgrade to a suite for the celebratory weekend.
Le Meridien, Angkor is located close to the airport, not too far from Angkor Wat. It’s the perfect location for us, right in between the temples and downtown area.
The room was a one bedroom suite, with a sitting room (living room) with a desk area and a powder room for guests. You open up a sliding door to access a bedroom area, a giant wardrobe area then to the bathroom with a big tub and shower area.
I took a quick walk around the hotel and spotted the beautiful pool.
Unfortunately though, as beautiful as the pool is, I didn’t get a chance to sneak in a swim. It would’ve been great because it was quite empty and the weather was hot.
Pub Street, Siem Reap
Tuk Tuk rides are easy to find around Siem Reap. If you’re in a bigger group, or you feel like splurging, or prefer an air conditioned ride, you can always opt for hotel cars or vans. Since tuk tuks are aplenty in Siem Reap, it was our main mode of transportation around.
Because of the central location where we are, almost every tuk tuk ride costs us USD$2.
Note : US Dollars are the common currency here. You can also opt to change to the local Khmer currency if you wish.
Every city has the “Tourist” Pubs and Clubs area. In Siem Reap, there’s Pub Street downtown.
Pub Street is very much like any pubs/clubs/bars area in a lot of Southeast Asian tourist town. It looks and feels like Bali in Indonesia, Patpong in Bangkok, Patong in Phuket, and the list goes on. Bright neon lights with loads of tuk tuks parked on the corner tells you you’re at the white man pub area part of town.
The interesting thing about Pub Street in Siem Reap though, is that it’s not as aggressive or sleazy as the places in Thailand. The Khmer people are friendly. There are touts, of course, for massage, food, drinks etc but they’re not “in your face”. You get a simple, “Massage, sir?” or “Massage, lady?” and if you say no, they retreat.
Note : Instead of “Ma’am”, they say “Lady” here. “Sir” and “Lady”. Awwww…
We had dinner one night at Khmer Family Restaurant in Pub Street. We wanted to enjoy all the local food has to offer and managed to eat local food throughout the weekend.
Khmer food is very much like a mix of Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food. You have your spring rolls, morning glory (aka kangkung) vegetables, curry dishes, etc. The curry dishes were not very spicy, to be honest. Even though we have asked for it to be extra spicy.
Nevertheless, as long as I get my rice and vegetables, I am a happy camper.
After having our dinner and a couple of drinks around Pub Street, we walked along a little bit to the other end of the street where we come to the Angkor Night Market. The night market is like most night markets as you’d find in Thailand. Stalls setup selling souvenirs, T-shirts, island wear and knick-knacks.
On one of the nights, Hubby was feeling uncomfortable from a likely toe infection. So, for relief, we stopped by one of the fish spa places along the side of the road, called Doctor Fish. Traditionally used to treat patients with psoriasis, it’s a nibble fish that nibbles away at your dead skin. At first I didn’t think it was right for Hubby to feed the fishies his (likely) infected toe, but the guys operating the place didn’t seem to care.
We didn’t think that this “fish spa” is anywhere close to hygienic or reputable as the ones like Kenko Fish Spa in KL, for example. But for USD$ 3 for as long as you like, PLUS a bottle of local beer? That’s a good bargain, no?
Look at all the giant fishes nibbling at Hubby’s foot. Some of them were really big, and not the tiny ones that you’d normally see in the size of an anchovy. There are some here as big as your palm!!!
As much as I wanted to, I was rather bummed that I didn’t get a chance to watch a sbaek show. Sbaek is like Malaysian’s wayang kulit shadow puppet show. Traditionally these puppets are made of cowhide, carved into figures and performed with a backlight over a white cloth.
These shows tells a story, usually a cultural or historical storyline, that survived over the many generations.
In one of the walks around the Angkor Night Market and streets surrounding the place, I came across this chain of stores selling handbags made of crocodile skin. Other than the fact that there are way too many such exotic animal skin handbag shops around for my comfort, this particular chain uses the picture of Hayden Panettierre, the actress famous from her performance as the “cheerleader” in Heroes TV show.
In case you didn’t know, Hayden Panettierre is quite an animal activist. Back in 2007, she was a part of a group staging a protest to stop the annual slaughter of pods of dolphin in Japan. Read about it here.
As such a strong animal activist, I don’t think Hayden would appreciate that this Cambodian business is using her face to model their crocodile skin handbags. I don’t reckon she’s a paid ambassador here.
Also, what the f*** is with that crocodile handbag she’s holding?
Anniversary Dinner with Hubby at Viroth’s
On our last night in Siem Reap, I arranged for a nice candlelight dinner with Hubby to celebrate our 5th Wedding Anniversary. Thanks to the help of the hotel’s concierge, I managed to book a table for 2 for Viroth’s Restaurant.
Viroth’s serves local Khmer food but in a nicer upmarket settings of low lighting, al fresco dining with red drapes and mood lighting.
Normally, a traditional local restaurant meal would cost anywhere between USD$15 – $30 for the two of us in Pub Street. Considering we wanted something a bit more fancy for our anniversary dinner, Viroth’s here still served us great local food but in a nicer setting, with lovely wines and privacy.
Our meal including a bottle of very nice wine came up to about USD$50 +/- for a fine dining restaurant. Not bad. Very reasonably priced indeed. Would definitely love to come back next time I’m in Siem Reap.
I’d definitely recommend you go check out Viroth’s Restaurant. Check their FB page at https://www.facebook.com/VirothsRestaurant
After a long weekend at Siem Reap, visiting temples, walking around Pub Street and drinking cheap margaritas (check out my previous post here), I almost didn’t want to say goodbye to Siem Reap.
I love this town. It’s quiet, friendly and relaxing. Although poverty is still a big issue here, the people are lovely and simply trying to make a living, without being rude and ripping off tourist for it. I truly enjoyed my time in Siem Reap and hope to come back again soon.
And to get to celebrate it with the love of my life, is the biggest icing on the cake.
Happy 5th Anniversary, baby!!! And to many many more years to come… I love you.