Siem Reap - 01/14/16

Siem Reap is the gateway to Angkar Wat and the ruins of other ancient temples which were home to the Khmer kingdom from the 9th - 15th centuries.  This sleepy city with a population of 174,265 (as of 2008) in northern Cambodia has been transformed by the influx of tourists visiting the temples beginning in the early 1990's.  As the number of tourists from Europe, Australia, the Americas and other parts of Asia has grown each year (7,650 in 1993 increasing to 2 million in 2012), Siem Reap has prospered.

The main tourist area is the Old Quarter or Phas Chas which has become a bustling area of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shopping and local art.  Lodging in Siem Reap varies from hostels to accommodate the back packer community to boutique hotels to luxury resorts.  The official currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian riel although American currency is preferred by most businesses.

Siem Reap, literally means "defeat of Siam" which is a reference to the period when Siam (now Thailand) ruled what is now known as Cambodia, is a picturesque town with many green areas. 

Our hotel, the Royal Crown Resort, was on the other side of the river and a quick easy walk to the Old Quarter.  While the room was fairly basic, the hotel itself was lovely, with a large lobby, restaurant, roof top bar, two pools and an in-house massage salon.

We even had a resident gecko in our room who startled me more than once with a sudden appearance!

The food in Siem Reap, while not as exciting as what we had in Saigon or Hanoi, had it's moments.  What it lacked in seasoning or creativity was made up by presentation.  And, the service in Siem Reap was among the best we've experienced anywhere.

Yep, that is the crocodile burger!

 It was very hot and humid during the afternoon and many people either hung out in their rooms or by the pool.  Siem Reap came alive at night after the sun went down and the temperature cooled off a bit.

Late night snack, anyone?

What I did not expect to see was a Hard Rock Cafe of all things!

One of the many bridges that cross the river lit up at night.

In addition to the many shops and galleries, there are several large markets in Siem Reap where one can find almost anything.

A few random sights spotted while walking around town.

A future fire jumper

A load of coconuts

My sentiments exactly!
While we found Siem Reap uncomfortably hot and humid during the afternoons, we had a lot of fun here and enjoyed our visit.  The people were wonderful - so friendly, cheerful and often going out of their way to accommodate others.  One of our main reasons for coming here was to see Angkar Wat and some of the other ruins which is the subject of my next post.  Stay tuned!


  1. Enjoyed seeing the elephant fountain at the edge of the swimming pool. And, hey! was that a temptation or what...the bug,etc. display of food..whoa. How many did you try?
    Can't imagine shopping there; way too many choices.
    Thanks for the update. Looking forward to more. Keep on having fun.

    1. Try as I might, I could not bring myself to sample the late night snacks! I had the same problem with the shopping; found it a bit overwhelming. Actually, it's the haggling over merchandise that intimidates me.