We’ve finally set foot in the land of Cambodia after several months of planning and waiting. This was our first point of entry before heading to Vietnam. Short it was, I’m still glad to fulfill and check out Cambodia off from my travel bucket-list. We explored the country over the span of 2 days only.
Embarked for Cambodia via Cebu Pacific flight, we arrived safe and sound around 10 PM at Siem Reap International Airport. Upon entering the Immigration area, what welcomed us was a long queue of backpackers busy taking some photos while waiting for their turn. I was shocked when I saw the massive amount of tourists interested to explore Cambodia. Anyway, moving on, tourists are required to fill in an arrival card and present it to the Immigration Officer along with the passport. They will also get your biometric data.
FYI: Philippine Passport Holders can visit Cambodia without visa.
WHERE WE STAYED?
We stayed at Blossoming Romduol Lodge during our trip.
A complimentary tuk-tuk airport pickup was arranged for us by the guesthouse as part of our stay. The guesthouse wasn’t actually far from the airport and just a walking distance away from Cambodia’s main hub, which I really liked!
They’ve upgraded our room to a superior category with a private balcony overseeing the pool & the basketball area. The room was basic yet huge and complete with everything we need for an overnight stay.The guesthouse isn’t equipped with an elevator. Our room was on the top floor so getting back and forth was really a hassle for us.
During the check-in, the receptionist asked us if they can pack the complimentary breakfast to bring with us during the tour since we will be leaving very early in the morning. I was, of course, delighted to hear that from them. To my dismay, they didn’t prepare anything for us when we left in the morning.
They also have a restaurant on site and a fish spa beside it. All of their receptionists speak good English language and very helpful with all our queries. Overall, our stay was great.
EAT & PARTY TILL YOU DROP AT PUB STREET
After dropping our bags, we began walking our way en route to the well-known Pub Street to have a late dinner. Most of the people go there to drink but for me & my boyfriend, we went there to do some food trip.
This is the place in Siem Reap where all kinds of craziness happen! It offers a lot of interesting options from restaurants to cool party spots wherein you can grab a beer for only 0.50$. There are also plenty of mobile bars scattered across the road of the entire Pub Street.
Do you want to try their exotic street foods such as tarantulas, crickets, bugs or baby snakes? Then Pub Street has it all for you! But, if you only want to take some photos of the exotic foods & no plan of eating them, you must pay 1$. (nothing in this world is free nowadays)
I can say that this vibrant street is a “one-stop shop” for all the tourists. It was fun walking through the pub street and enjoy the lively atmosphere that it gives to the tourists.
We ended up eating in a restaurant located at the entrance of the street. We only had fried rice with pork (good for two) and chicken curry for dinner.
START OF ANGKOR WAT (HALF DAY) TOUR
We woke up at 4 AM to get ready for our Angkor Wat tour. We were scheduled to leave at 4:30 in the morning. The tuk-tuk driver was just right on time when he picked us up. During these hours, the street of Siem Reap is already busy.
The ticket booth is far from the main entrance of Angkor Wat Complex. Before, a one-day pass costs only 22$ but the price increased to 40$/person. They said, the rise of the entrance fee took place just this year only, February 2017, to be specific. The ticket is undoubtedly expensive but it’s worth it! The queues at the ticketing booth were already long when we arrived so be sure to be there as early as you can to beat the crowd. Tickets are not refundable so be sure to take good care of them.
When we reached the area, Angkor Wat was already flocked with a gazillion of tourists trying to get a picture-perfect shot of the sunrise. It is once in a lifetime experience to see the sun rising at the back of this majestic temple. The best vantage point to take a photo of the sunrise is at the left side of the lake. Did you know that the lake is just an artificial? Yes, you read that right!
You will be asked several times to present your ticket to each temple. Pilgrims can also be found inside the complex. Next to the pilgrims are monks performing rituals. Monks offer free bracelet to tourists as a token or a lucky charm. A tour guide is required if you want to know the in-depth story of the complex. I regretted that we didn’t have one during our visit though.
Our body gave up easily after a couple of hours exploring the place. The weather was also being bipolar during that time.
A piece of advice: be more on guard as there are a lot of tourist guides a.k.a scammers around the area and not to mention the pesky vendors who will literally annoy you just to buy their products.
REST OF THE DAY
The tour ended earlier than expected. It was nearly 12 noon when decided to go back to the city. After touring the mighty complex, we stopped in a travel agency near to our guesthouse to buy a bus ticket going to Phnom Penh. We chose the Virak Buntham’s sleeper bus even though we heard a lot of negative feedbacks about it. I’ve read that traveling at night going to Phnom Penh is dangerous but we took the risk.
Upon returning to the guesthouse, the staff immediately handed us a cooling towel and water. Sweet, isn’t? Then, we immediately ordered meals for lunch. The service was fast and the servers were all polite. Their mango juice was really refreshing!
After having lunch, we took a nap first. We didn’t have enough sleep and rest before the tour so we immediately fell into a deep sleep after eating.
We had thought of maximizing the time left for us in Siem Reap by doing a last-minute exploration of the place a.ka. food trip. Our feet brought us to a public park across Siem Reap’s Old Night Market. We bought our foods from one of the food stalls parked in the same location. We had shrimp tempura, sweet and sour chicken, fried chicken wings and fried noodles for our dinner. The prices were really cheap and the foods were all okay, value for the money. Before heading back to the guesthouse, we also bought some souvenirs at the Old Market. For the price of 1$, you can already have a decent tank top or shirt.
I wasn’t able to take a photo of the sleeper bus because my phone was low batt. The bus was clean, with free water for its passengers, equipped with WiFi and with bathroom attached. They also prepared a blanket and a pillow for all. The pillow wasn’t comfortable so I didn’t use it. The travel time going to Phnom Penh was 6 hours.
We left Siem Reap with a happy heart. Even for a short period of time, we enjoyed exploring Angkor Wat, Pub Street and Night Markets. 🙂