I recently backpacked to Siem Reap, Cambodia for 4 days, 4 nights during Chinese New Year [21st February-25th February 2010 – yes it spells 5 days but the fact that I was on an early plane home (read: 8am GMT+7) on 25th mean I only have 4 days].
Ok here’s the shocking news: I was ‘templed out’ way before I step in the plane. LOL What a joke ya??
Unlike my other trips, I didn’t plan my Siem Reap itinerary until the very last moment due to some reasons. It was a week before the departure day that I started frantically googling and reading all about the temples, things to do, thing to see, etc. I was looking at so many photos of the temples in the web and reading so many travelogues of Siem Reap until… until… I was templed out! (read: sick of looking at temples) I decided not to read anything more about Siem Reap 2 days before departure as I was getting nausea from looking at ANGKOR TEMPLES!. Will tell you later how I fare during the temples visit. Hehe
I witnessed a stunning deep orange sunrise during the morning Air Asia flight to Siem Reap. What a way to start your day ya?
I thought of what Angkor Wat would look like with this stunner as the backdrop. And I thought ‘hey, never mind if I don’t see the sun rises at Angkor Wat, this is impressive enough.’ –> mistake!!!
There was a minor complication inside Siem Reap airport. We need to fill a custom form in order to ‘get out’ of the airport. Thank God we were stuck only for about 10 minutes… I thought it was going to be longer.
When we stepped outside the airport, there were a group of Cambodians surrounding the exit. They’re there for picking up tourist to their respective hotels. Very easily I noticed my huge name on the signage of Hotel 89.
This is our tuk-tuk driver, Dee (not his real name. I made that up as I couldn’t pronounce his name).
We’re riding along Airport Road.
Notice the numbered vest he’s wearing? That’s the tuk-tuk driver’s license number. Always go for these official tuk-tuk drivers as they are reliable and safe.
About 20 minutes later, we arrived at our ‘orange’ accommodation. I was a little surprise of the location because I didn’t expect this cute budget hotel to be situated at a dusty 1 lane road. Not really a problem… just that I imagined it to be on a main road.
As soon as we stepped in the wood-theme lobby, we were greeted with warm smile from the staffs & manager of Hotel 89. Before we can utter another word, refreshment was served to us: cold ginger drinks (YUM YUM) and cold towel (a savior! we get them every time we return to hotel; nice) to refresh our body. The staffs also explained to us the various transportation packages available for the temples escapade.
After resting for a good 2 hours, we decided to check the town out. Because the weather is so hot, we choose to travel by tuk-tuk instead of walking (and throughout our trip!). I figured it would take about 5 minutes by walking but as I said the weather is so hot hot hot. Dee would be our ‘personal’ tuk-tuk driver during our 4 days stint in Siem Reap.
First thing first we need to fill our tummy with food. And what better way to start our gastronomic adventure in Cambodia than the local Khmer cuisine.
This is Khmer Kitchen Restaurant. The one that we patronized is located beside Pub Street Alley. There are 3 locations in total all within walking distance.
Not even a soul except us and another lady. That’s because it isn’t lunch time yet. Hahaha
Stir-fry vegetable tofu @ US$3 (L) and amok fish @ US$3 (R)
Rice is complimentary. We also ordered 2 glasses of carrot juice @ US$1.50/glass.
Total: US$9 (~RM30) expensive!
Two of us couldn’t even finish the meal. What a waste. Aiya. If only I can tapau back. Hehe
Verdict: The Amok Fish, a famous Khmer cuisine is a creamy, non spicy steamed curry. I kinda like it. Not a big fan of the vegetable but tofu is good. Our carrot juice tasted funny… not sure how to explain. Hmm
After our hearty lunch we proceed to Artisan d’Angkor, workshop that showcases Cambodian craftsmanship like silk painting, stone & wood carving, lacquering, etc.
I wanted to buy one but they are too expensive. 😛
Lacquered gold statue.
Saw this cat (kinda posing for me) with the lovely backdrop at the lacquering room.
I like this too.
These are the tools used for making bronze boxes.
Hard at work.
Elephant stone carving.
How cute is that?
Need lots of patience. 🙂
Another part of the stone carving workshop.
This place reminds me of my primary school. Haha
Finally we’re in the wood carving workshop.
Masterpiece. Don’t you think so?
After that we went to Artisan d’Angkor’s retail shop which is just next door. The arts & crafts are beautiful no doubt but we’re mainly there for the air-cond. Haha It was freaking hot!!! I ended up buying a cotton tee. The rest are too $$.
I actually wanted to book the free shuttle to Silk Farm but was told the tour is going to take half day so I had to let it go. Next time then.
Just around then we felt uncomfortable in our stomach. Must be the carrot juice we consumed earlier. We decided to head back to our orange accommodation to chill plus it was really really HOT. So the logical thing to do is sleep. Hehe
To be continued…