Last month, I spent a weekend in Siem Reap with my housemates, and before I went, I did not know what to expect.
Quite a lot of Cambodians working in the tourist industry were very well spoken in numerous amount of different languages. I heard them speaking English, French, German, Mandarin, Japanese and so on. I was truly impressed by how accommodating they were. I also loved listening to Khmer being spoken by the locals.
Overall, my short experience of Cambodia was extremely pleasant. Here are some of the things I did during my stay:
In all honesty, if you ever have the chance to visit Cambodia, you must visit Angkor Wat – this is something perhaps most people would suggest. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, as well as being a beautiful sight to behold. There are several different types of tickets you can purchase when visiting Angkor Wat. The most popular types of tickets are the sunrise and sunset tickets. I decided to buy the sunrise ticket, so that I could watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Be warned, there are A LOT of people, so it can be a challenge to find a decent place to stand/sit and watch the sunrise. There are also many people with large cameras and tripods who will ask you to move out of the way, as they dictate most of the area for their cameras, rather than enjoying the moment as it is. But I guess that’s the downside of visiting a temple as beautiful as Angkor Wat, many others also want to visit it too. Nonetheless, do not let this prohibit you from visiting it.
[Forgot to take a photo of pub street! Sorry!]
Pub street is basically a very touristy area, and as the name implies, with many pubs and clubs clustered together in one area. It had a very friendly vibe and fun environment to be in. There is also plenty of street food to try out, and market stalls on the side. Make sure not to get conned, because some of the sellers will obviously attempt to charge you a higher price for what the product is worth (since I bought a skirt that was immediately ripped after one wash – the material was of very bad quality). You can always bargain with the sellers, as they are more than willing to sell off their products off as soon as possible. Everything is relatively cheap anyways, so bargaining for every item is not necessary.
Rent a Bike
Renting bikes in Siem Reap is a very popular thing to do, and there are many bikes around from different shops that you can rent from. It is a relaxing way to get to know the neighbourhood surrounding one’s stay, but I would only recommend renting a bike for those who are confident on the roads in ASIA! The drivers and roads are not as safe as those in many Western countries. That being said, you can still rent a bike if you choose not to go on the main road, then that is fine.
I took part in a temple tour, which consisted of me visiting five different temples in one day. It felt like I was temple hopping.
Nonetheless, Cambodia is a lovely place to visit, and the Cambodians make it even lovelier. This is definitely one South East Asian country you should visit whenever you can. It is full of personality and friendly people.
(And what made my experience of Cambodia even better, was travelling with amazing and loving friends.)