Around the world travel, Backpacking, Bucket List, Cambodia, long term travel, Siem Reap, Southeast Asia, Travel

Discovering Siem Reap, Cambodia

We travelled by bus from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and had an uneventful journey, but stopped for some great street food on the way. I’m really not sure what it was, but it was good, and sometimes, it’s best not to know. I also discovered freshly juiced sugar cane, that they pour into little plastic bags, which then serve as your to-go cup. Handy!

Our first afternoon in Siem Reap was spent just getting our bearings and making plans to see the wats, temples and ruins over the following days. We made our way into town to stroll around, and I have to say this was by far the most surprising city I’d been to. It was just the opposite of what I expected. Based on my time in Phnom Penhm, and from what I had seen by travelling through Cambodia, I expected Siem Reap to be like any other Cambodian city- dusty, crowded and a little run down. But what we discovered was this small metropolitan city, with a ton of restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as galleries, boutiques, museums and markets. It didn’t feel like Cambodia at all. We were thrilled to find that every restaurant and bar seemed to have a never-ending happy hour of $0.50 Angkor beer so we decided to chill out and have a couple of cold ones before dinner.

After that, we made our way to a small restaurant we had passed on the way into town. What can I say? We liked the man who we had been talking to there, so it was an easy decision. I had banana flower salad with shrimp which was all tucked neatly into a banana leaf. The spices were perfect. The lemongrass and chilis used in each dish ensure your meal is never bland. We also sampled some Amok, which is a Cambodian curry made from chilis, coconut milk, kaffir limes and served most commonly with white fish, although you can choose chicken, pork or beef. I was quickly transported back to India, and knew Siem Reap was going to be a culinary highlight.

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