Cambodia and Vietnam Day 2: Siem Reap

After sleeping and taking a shower, I felt alive again. I was more than 24 hours awake because of our continuous trip from Manila to Ho Chi Minh City then from Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh. We would have another long trip again on this day. This time we would travel from Phnom Penh (Cambodia’s capital) to Siem Reap City where the famous Angkor Wat  is located.  We’re back on the road again before 8am. This time our travel agency transferred us to a mini-bus (not the same bus that we used from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh). It would take us another six hours of land travel from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

Our driver from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap

For those who couldn’t bear long hours of land travel, there’s a better option for you guys. There is an International Airport in Siem Reap so you could take a connecting flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap or from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap via Air Asia. I think there’s also a direct flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap. Unfortunately, there’s no direct flight from the Philippines to Siem Reap. So for those who are on a tight budget like me, then it’s better to travel by land. Anyway, traveling by bus wasn’t so bad because you could get to see the local villages and observe the way of life of the Cambodian people.

On the way to Siem Reap

Actually, after we left Phnom Penh, all I could see along the way were houses, rice fields and cows crossing the street. Hehe. I’ve read that agriculture is the major source of livelihood of the Cambodian people that’s why you could see rice fields almost everywhere. The next source of income is their tourism industry. That’s how agriculture and tourism play a very important role in their economy.

Stopover at a souvenir shop

We had two stop overs on the way to Siem Reap. A perfect time to use the toilet and stretch our bodies since we had been sitting for a long time. Our first stop was at a small market where they sell liquors and souvenirs. Our next stop was at a local market where they sell Cambodian specialties such as insects and fruits.

Insect Market (I wonder what's inside of those suman look alike foods)

Gotta get used in seeing insects as food

For those who still don’t know, insects such as spiders and grasshoppers are native delicacies in Cambodia. These are  popular foods for the locals. In fact, our hotel receptionist said baby snakes are delicious. Moreover, the American guy in our tour group said that the grasshoppers tasted good. I didn’t try it though. I’m not that adventurous when it comes to eating insects mrgreen. Around 1pm, we finally arrived at the Sinh Tourist Hotel in Siem Reap. It was a pretty nice and clean hotel again.

The tourist bus

The Sinh Tourist Hotel Siem Reap

Our twin bed room

*Our room had two beds, private bathroom, air conditioner, tv and refrigerator. There were computers at the lobby for guests who need to use the internet. You could also access the wifi at the lobby. (Yup, there’s an internet in Siem Reap! biggrin)

After our lunch at the hotel, I went out for a walk with one of my friends whom I met in this tour. We just strolled around the city and took some pictures. After seeing only houses, cows and rice fields on our six-hour bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, I was really surprised to find Siem Reap as a modernized city. There were lots of hotels and foreigners around the city. I heard that the city has modernized a lot since its tourism industry started to grow.

At Siem Reap

We went to Psar Chaa market in the afternoon for some shopping. It was a big market where you could buy different kinds of souvenirs such as jewelries, t-shirts, hammocks, key chains, scarves, foods etc. A Friendly Tip: You don’t need to exchange your money to Cambodian Riel (Cambodian currency). You could use US dollars when buying there. Another tip is to learn how to bargain. Don’t give in at the first price that they will give to you. If you are good at negotiating, then you could really get a high discount.
We bought these Apsara Dancers key chain for 2.50 USD (P112.50) for 5 pieces. Initial price was 5 USD (P225) but we bargained and got half the price.
We bought these nailcutters also for 2.50 USD (P112.5) for 5 pieces
We bought this elephant pouch for 1 USD (P45)

We bought this cute mini-wallet for 0.50 USD (P22.5)

We had dinner at a buffet restaurant that had an Apsara show. Apsara means a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. They are beautiful women that could be compared to the muses of ancient Greece.  The Apsara dance is a well-known traditional dance in Cambodia. It was an interesting show and indeed, the apsara dancers looked beautiful.

The Apsara Dance

And that show, concluded my night. We went back to our hotel after dinner. We needed enough rest for our trip to Angkor Wat tomorrow. One of the advice that I read from the internet is to get enough sleep before going to Angkor Wat. I wasn’t really sure why but I would definitely find out tomorrow.

One comment on “Cambodia and Vietnam Day 2: Siem Reap

  1. Smith Cam says:

    Siem Reap, located in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the world-famous Angkor temple complex, which includes the magnificent Angkor Wat. The province also contains a vibrant capital city boasting many luxury hotels, beautifully-aged colonial buildings, a buzzing Pub Street, silk farms, markets, and much more.

    http://www.tourismcambodia.org/provincial_guide/index.php?view=detail&prv=21

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