Our first stop in Cambodia was Siem Reap. It is situated in the North and is most popular with tourists because of the Angkor Wat Temple Complex – this is a must do in Cambodia. There is plenty to do here and we managed to squeeze a lot into three days; party on Pub Street, go to a cooking class, explore the temples and plenty of eating out. We stayed at Mad Monkey Hostel which I would recommend if you are wanting to stay at a backpackers. It has a pool which is essential in this weather (high 30’s) and a cool bar/restaurant which goes off most nights.
- A day at the temples – it would be a crime to go to Siem Reap without visiting the temples. It is very common for people to get a 3 day pass to visit the temples as there are hundreds to see, but we decided on a 1 day pass which was perfect for us. We hired a taxi to visit the temples as it gets so hot walking around that it is nice to hop back in a cool car before heading to the next one. We started our day off at 5am so we could catch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. The three main temples we visited were Angkor Wat, Bayon (consisting of 216 faces) and Ta Prohm (where Tomb Raider was filmed). Tip: cover your shoulders and wear something down to your knees.
- Cooking class with Cooks in Tuk Tuks. We firstly ventured out into the local market where they do their food shopping. There were lots of interesting things to see, including lots of fruits and vegetables I had never heard of. Lots of interesting smells too – I did have to hold my breath a few times. We then went back to the River Garden Hotel where we made a three cousre meal which tasted wonderful; a banana flower salad with chicken, fish amok and a tapioca pudding.
- Eating out: Try The Chanrey Tree and The Sugar Palm (Gordon Ramsay was taught some tricks here during his ‘Great Escape’ shoot). Both are recommended in the Lonely Planet. You must get the spring rolls at The Sugar Palm and Char Kreung at The Chanrey Tree.
- Don’t come in May like we did unless you like it hot – the temperature regularly hits 40 degrees. Also it is too dry to visit the floating village markets.