My 3 Days in Siem Reap, Cambodia were some of the best 3 days of my life! My friend Carly and I tried hard to find a place to go last December with our 2 weeks off for holiday break and were mainly looking to go to SE Asia, but weren’t sure where.
Thailand was ruled out because we wanted to go somewhere that hadn’t yet been hit with major tourism. We ended up settling on Vietnam, but after after thinking how close we’d be to Cambodia we decided to go there too! Why the hell not?
We didn’t have a ton of time in Cambodia so we decided to target our trip around Siem Reap so we could do temples and get a feel for the Cambodian culture before heading to Vietnam. Let’s just say we didn’t scratch the surface of Cambodia, but we had an amazing time in Siem Reap.
We were overwhelmed by the prices (cheap!) and how NICE everyone was. Please, please go if you can! 🙂
Here’s what we did in our 3 days in Siem Reap!
We ended up flying with EVA airlines out of SFO. We had a connection in Taiwan and flew to Phnom Penh. From Phnom Penh we took Cambodian Angkor Air to Siem Reap. Side note on Cambodian Angkor Air- when we got to the airport in Phom Penh I realized Carly and didn’t book on the same flight or time (WTF?). Mine had already taken off and we were just in time for her flight. The best part about Cambodia was that they didn’t care! They just put me on her flight without even asking questions. On our trip back we took Cambodian Angkor Air to Saigon, Vietnam. Easy peasy!
After a long day of flying we ended up finally getting to Siem Reap airport. Our hotel had scheduled a tuk tuk to come and pick us up at no additional charge. We tipped of course, but it was so cool to arrive and get straight on a tuk tuk taking you right through the rice paddy fields.
Our hotel was called Golden Temple Villa. We booked it for 3 nights and I believe it was roughly $30 a night with a free hour massage included. UHMMM OKAY I’LL TAKE IT. The staff was incredible and the place was clean, beds were comfortable and it was the perfect location. Upon arrival we were welcomed with a “welcome drink”, warm towel, and salted nuts. They also showed us all of our options to tour the temples the next morning.
That night we were exhausted, but we rallied and went to Koulen II restaurant to watch a traditional Aspara dance show. This was cool, but the food wasn’t that amazing—i think we were also so tired that we couldn’t enjoy the food! That night we passed out around 9pm in order to wake up around 4am for our temple tour!
Today was all about touring the Angkor’s (city/temples). There are many different packages you can choose from but Carly and I opted for the 1 full day pass. We knew we’d be “templed out” if we did 2 or 3 days worth. Our tuk tuk was waiting for us outside of the hotel bright and early and took us to the first temple, Angkor Wat, to watch the sunrise. This was magical! Yes, there were millions of tourists crowded around trying to get pictures, but being there before it got hot and before there was even more of a crowd was amazing. These temples are like nothing I’d ever seen before and watching sunset rise over Angkor Wat was phenomenal!
For the remainder of the day we toured the rest of the temples in the tuk tuk. There are a million tuk tuk’s waiting all day so make sure you remember what yours is wearing and make sure he can find you and he tells you where to meet up after each temple. 🙂 Carly and I really enjoyed riding the elephants around the Bayon temples and grabbing fresh coconuts whenever we could.
The day got hotter, but we had the best time ever checking out the history and touring around. Remember to bring something to cover your shoulders. I brought a scarf to wrap around my shoulders.
We made it back to the town of Siem Reap, went to our hotel and went to the main part of town and got fish massages. This is a must try! Later we had great Cambodian food at Khmer kitchen, got our 1 hour Cambodian massage (heaven) and fell asleep for a million hours. literally.
We woke up early because we’d had 15 hours of sleep the night before! We went to the Old Market to walk around and found a place to eat. Good thing we ate before because inside the Old Market I lost my appetite :). There were all types of dead animals, frogs, chicken, fish. It was actually really cool to see how busy the markets were.
Afterwards we went to shop a bit more in the night markets, got another massage ( $3 for 30 mins or $6 for 1 hour) and booked our sunset ATV tour of the rice paddy fields. We’d been told by our friend who backpacked Cambodia for a few months that this was one of the highlights of her trip so we HAD to do it!
They actually let you drive the ATV’s which is kind of scary but so fun. You see all of the farm land and how the farmers live. Lot’s of poverty, but again, everyone seemed so happy! At the end of the day we got ready and went to the Cambodian Circus aka Phare. This was like a circ de souleil show! Talk about flexibility wow!
Since this was our last night we decided to rally and head down to Pub street to have a few beers. We went to the Red Piano which is famous from the movie Tomb Raider we also ventured to the famous Angkor What? which was packed with a ton of tourist, but super fun.
Fried tarantuala’s were on the street as well. I tried to get Carly to eat one, but they looked really disgusting so it was a definite no go.
We were sad to say goodbye to our amazing hotel staff and tuk tuk driver and knew we’d miss Cambodia, but our next stop was Saigon where we had another adventure awaiting!!