Siem Reap is one of the most amazing destinations I have had the opportunity to visit. There are a number of reasons I enjoyed being in Siem Reap, but the main reason was the Khmer people; I am yet to find people as kind, inviting and accepting as the wonderful natives of Cambodia and they made my experience there worth every single minute of my time.
It is hard to put in words everything I enjoyed about Cambodia but here are a few reasons why you should seriously get up and go to Cambodia!
1. The Temples
It is no surprise that people travel from far and wide to come see the magnificent Angkor Wat, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. However, besides the Angkor Wat, there are so many other temples in Siem Reap and all of them are different in their own ways. What’s hard to fathom is the impeccable detail found within these magnificent temples and how preserved they still are to this day.
Some other temples that are worth your time are; Bayon temple, Banteay Sri and Ta Phrom. Make sure you pace yourself and allow ample time as ‘temple fatigue’ can really get to you. Also, a tip for when you visit Angkor Wat; you do not have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get a good view. I ended up visiting at around 1 pm and it was not crowded at all and the view was still impeccable.
Two words; Pub Street! This is the center of Siem Reap and where all the action happens. If you’re looking for lively bars, pubs, clubs and somewhere to just hang out and meet people, this is the place to be. There is an abundance of places to visit and things to do here; and if bar hopping is your thing, you will not be disappointed. The drinks here are always flowing, and Pub Street is always lively well into the wee hours of the morning. The prices of the drinks were also very affordable; a draft beer cost 50¢ while a cocktail was about $1.50 with drink specials all over as early as 10am.
I have to admit, whenever I’m travelling, shopping is not usually at the top of my list, but I could not help myself when I got to Siem Reap. First of all, they have everything you need here. From markets, boutiques, silk and silver farming factories, you name it. The best part of all is the prices! The markets were my favorite places to shop at. I do not recall buying an item that was priced at more than $10. Even better, haggling at the markets is acceptable and I managed to walk away with some wonderful items after bargaining. If you ever make it here, please do not forget to go to the markets!!
4. Getting Around
Although the main mode of transportation in Siem Reap is tuk-tuks and motorbikes, I hired a driver for the entire time I was there. This ended up being cheaper and convenient for me and since we had been communicating before I got to Siem Reap, I felt comfortable with that arrangement. The cost of hiring a driver for an entire day was about $25 which included waiting time. On my first day, I had my driver pick me up from my hotel and take me to the markets where he did wait on me for about 4 hours then brought me back to my hotel and later picked me up and dropped me off to an event later that evening and back to my hotel room after I was done. I felt safe in the tuk-tuk and it was so easy and painless getting around using them since they are literally everywhere on the streets.
As a solo traveler, one of my main concerns when considering a new destination is safety. Siem Reap was really safe, even walking around Pub Street at night as a solo female, I never at once felt unsafe. As I stated before, my favorite part of Siem Reap was the wonderful Khmer people. I found that they were very accommodating to my questions, or whenever I needed help finding directions anywhere as well as just talking to me about their wonderful country. However, do not forget to exercise caution and use common sense whether you’re back at home or visiting a new place. Remember, anything can happen anywhere at any time. Always be alert.
Overall, Siem Reap exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait to go back and visit again. My only regret is that my time there was too short but I will definitely be back soon. If you are considering or thinking about visiting Cambodia, you’re in for a treat and if Cambodia is not on your bucket list, it’s about time you think about visiting this wonderful gem of a country.