Pretending to be a Tomb Raider

Visiting the temples in Siem Reap.

Pretending to be a Tomb Raider

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by vagabond77 on January 17, 2006

The temples are definitely worth the trip. But, don't expect too many Western luxuries outside of your hotel. Though if you stay at a nice hotel, I wouldn't consider it "roughing it."

I do recommend trying the Cambodian massage; similar to a Thai massage, they pull, push, press, and crack most of your body, and it feels great.${QuickSuggestions} Bring at least two passport pictures; if you're an American citizen, you'll need one for your on the spot visa and you'll also need one for your multi-day pass at the temples.

There are three different cities to fly into Siem Reap from Bangkok, Singapore, and Phnom Phen. I flew in from Singapore. (I have another journal on that trip.)${BestWay} Either hire a tour guide and car or rent a tuk-tuk/moto. They're about comparable in price with the tour guid and car being only a few dollars more per day.

Sokha Ankor Hotel and Spa

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by vagabond77 on January 17, 2006

The Sokha is rated as a five-star hotel and just opened in December 2005. It is also the largest hotel in Siem Reap. We paid US$175 per night, which is significantly less than their posted rate, and it was definitely worth the $175. One of the reasons is because our rooms were way at the end of the hallway, even though I was travelling with my 84-year-old grandmother, who has had knee replacement surgery.

The service at the Sokha was absolutely excellent and the staff was courteous and friendly. For example, I couldn't find a ponytail holder when I first arrived and the front desk found one and delivered it to my room.

The facilities were also excellent. The pool is absolutely stunningly large, with two parallel waterfalls running down a mock temple. The spa is also very nice, with large hot- and cold-water Jacuzzis, a steam room, and a sauna.

Overall, except for the long walk, this hotel was excellent.
Sokha Angkor Resort
National Road 6 And Sivatha Street
Siem Reap, Cambodia
+855 63 969 999


Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vagabond77 on January 18, 2006

Most of the restaurants that I ate at in Siem Reap were not what I call very good. The hotel restaurant was good for breakfast (since it was included with our rooms) but not much else. The other restaurants I ate at, including the Red Piano (the owner is supposed to be friends with Angelina Jolie), were not very good.

So, I'm writing about Viroth's the only restaurant that I truly liked in Siem Reap. The type of cuisine is Indo-Chine, an Asian-fusion style of food. In Viroth's case, the menu was a mix of Cambodian and European foods. The only thing we didn't like that we ordered was the papaya, which was a little bland but still edible.
No 246 Wat Bo Street
Siem Reap, Cambodia
+855 0 1695 1800

The Temples of Ankor Wat

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vagabond77 on January 19, 2006

I could go on and on about the temples of Ankor Wat, as they are beautiful and well worth the trip, so I'm just going to post some pictures.

Some recommendations: buy either a book specifically dealing with the temples of Ankor Wat and/or hire a tour guide. If you hire a tour guide I recommend requesting one with many years of experience and/or a background in Cambodian history.

I did both. My family and I went around with a tour guide for a few days. Then I spent one day going around by myself on a moto/tuk-tuk. Our tour guide wasn't great; in fact, his knowledge of the ancient Hindu temples was extremely poor. (I should note that I majored in religious studies, with concentrations in Buddhism and Hinduism, in college. So, for me, going around by myself was the most entertaining.) The moto experience was really fun; just bring a scarf or a handkerchief to cover your mouth when the road gets dusty.

There's also a lot of walking up and down stairs, and they can be quite challenging for those with physical disabilities.
Temple Complex of Angkor Wat
5.5 Km North of Siem Reap
Angkor, Cambodia

Street Food in Siem Reap

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by vagabond77 on February 11, 2006

Depending on whether your system can handle it, or if you're adventurous enough, street food in Siem Reap is pretty good and extremely cheap. Some people will tell you to try the candy, but actually what I really recommend is the bamboo stick. They fill a column of bamboo with rice, coconut milk, and red beans and place the bottom over a fire to cook. To eat it, just snap the bamboo and peel it open. There will be a thin layer of bamboo wrapped around the cooked rice. The tourist price is US$1 for three, though I’m sure you can haggle it lower.

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