When we started planning our Thailand Trip we decide to dedicate 5 days to visit Siem Reap in Cambodia. You know the feeling when you want to visit many places but you feel you don’t have enough time? In 10 days we manage to visit Bangkok in 24 hours, Phuket and Siem Reap. We prove that it is possible to explore 2 countries in such a short period of time. And we still have visited places, which we had planned.
In our last destination of the trip we have not only spend time in the famous temples, but also met the culture and people. Cambodia is one of the most interesting destinations we have visited so far. The country is still trying to recover after the terrible war carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime. About 1.5-3 million Cambodian people were killed. This tragedy only happened 35-40 years ago and most families are still affected by this on a daily basis. Its a life lesson being surround by all this people and knowing what they have been through. But they still can find happiness in all the little things, what makes it beautiful.
Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries in southeast Asia. Food, transportation and accommodation are all really cheap, so you don’t need to worry about the money. Everything is affordable.
Top things to do and see in Siem Reap Cambodia
Where to stay?
We have stayed in Jaya River house hotel. We highly recommend this luxurious and unique hotel. It is number one in Siem Reap Cambodia on trip advisor. The hotel is plastic free and extremely environment friendly. The management of the hotel is running many different campaigns, which are helping the community, nature and economy (read more community effort). We loved staying there and support this huge cause.
Is there anything to do beyond beautiful temples of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap Cambodia?
We questioned it ourselves before visiting this place. After spending there few days we can say that there are few different options.
During the day we were exploring the ancient temples of World Heritage Site. In the evenings we were trying cheap local food and experiencing the night life on the Pub Street with many bars, restaurants and massages.
One of the places where we have eaten Khmer traditional food was Golden Temple Club on the Pub street. Another place was Marum, which we really recommend. It is run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO that has been working with street children and other marginalized young people. Most of the profit of this restaurant goes towards giving better future to local kids.
There are two markets to visit.
The market Made in Cambodia supporting artists selling handcrafted traditional products. We bought there small souvenirs to support the community.
Another one is the Old Market which is nearby and also offers lots of local goods and food. Maybe it is not the most hygienic place but it is definitely worth experiencing it.
It is the center of Siem Reap where you find all pubs and is full of life at night. It feels very international. Beer costs U$0.5 and cocktails U$2. It’s a MUST for at least one of your nights.
Another very unusual thing you can find and experience there are bugs to eat. Wide variety – scorpions, spiders, snakes and others creatures. Michal decided to go wild and have eaten a scorpion! Good news he is still alive haha
Artisans Angkor is a Cambodian social business which was originally created to revive Khmer cultural heritage while helping young rural people finding work near their home village. You can go there for a small tour to see how all this beautiful goods are made. Very interesting place and definitely worth supporting !
Cooking class in Siem Reap Cambodia ?
When it comes to learning about a new culture, we are big believers that food plays a big part of the learning process. How, when, and what people eat can give you a lot of insight into not only their diet, but also their culture and beliefs. One of the ways to learn is to attend to a cooking class. We have chosen Lili’s secret garden cooking class, which is very popular experience to do in Siem Reap. We found it on VizEat.com
We were picked up by Chris in his Tuk Tuk – super fun being driven around small roads and waving at the local people.
Chris took us to the local market that we wouldn’t be able to find without him. This market experience was an eye opener for the poverty and we have learned a lot about the life of
people in real Cambodia.
Our teacher, Darwin, was very patient and an excellent chef. He has showed us Lili’s beautiful herb and vegetable garden than we cooked in the open area under the traditional Cambodian house.
Its impossible not to feel the passion for food when Chris, Darwin or Lili talk and pass their knowledge. We have learnt how to do spring rolls, noodles and an Cambodian special desert.
At the end they even gave us a small recipe book, which we use at home.
We truly recommend this class if you are visiting Siem Reap.
In the next post we will write about ancient temples of World Heritage Site in Siem Reap. Sign up to our blog to be the first one to see all our adventures 🙂