Mastering our skills – cooking… and eating! You definitely can do that in Siem Reap…

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Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap
September 7th 2013
Published: March 14th 2014
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When we were leaving Phnom Penh our tuk-tuk driver (he has been ‘around’ us since day one so kind of became ‘ours’ I guess…) gave us the details of his ‘cousin’ who happened to be living in Siem Reap. He also said not to worry, as his cousin was going to take care of us while we were there... Well, as far as I could remember, we didn’t really ask anyone to take care of us while we were in Siem Reap so I was wondering what we were getting ourselves into with this deal… But then nothing bad could happen in the end right? In the worst case scenario we would just thank the ‘cousin’ for his interest, hoping he would take it calmly and be very understanding about it and simply leave us be… It was actually pretty funny to get off the bus in Siem Reap and in between all the tuk-tuk drivers see this one guy looking hopefully at all the passengers, holding up a piece of paper saying ‘Grant’ on it… Almost felt like a VIP pick up of a kind… 😉 So far so good! Our new friend took us to our guesthouse and got straight to business asking us what our plans were for the next few days and if we were interested in seeing Angkor temples. Well, Angkor temples were the main reason we came here for! Still we needed to do a bit of a research before we committed to anything so just asked our friend to come back a bit later, so we could have a chance to think about it and freshen up a bit at least (I have to say that after seeing my backpack all wet and dirty I needed to cool off a bit before making any decisions whatsoever – it looked like during our journey some kind of liquid burst all over my backpack and on top of that somebody threw it right into a pile of dirt when taking it off the bus… thankfully everything was dry inside, still stinky backpack needed a good wash for sure!). We considered all our options and decided to give our friend a chance. He said his brother (or maybe brother in law? Don’t remember now, but a relative of a kind for sure…as long as it stays in the family, right? 😉) was a guide as well and could show us around. All set then! After two days driving and walking around Angkor with our new friends, we thanked them for their services and company as well. We surely weren’t disappointed with our decision in trusting in these guys… Then there was one more day of Angkor temples, this time on our own and it was time to give our legs a rest and relax…

We got a pretty good deal for accommodation – a room with a fan (and breakfast!) for $8 per night. A bit away from the centre of Siem Reap but we actually thought it was an advantage as well so not bad at all I would say! The only thing we didn’t take into account was the humidity though… Despite having the fan on full speed, the temperature in the room was reaching boiling levels – during the day at least… We could’ve upgraded to a room with conditioning, still since we wouldn’t be spending much time in the room anyway we decided to toughen it up and stick to our original plan in the end – if only to save these few bucks...Or maybe to spend them elsewhere instead? 😊 There was a nice terrace on the floor so good enough for a few days… I thought it could be a good time to catch up on blogs a bit, take it easy a few days and get myself organised … Well… Not everything goes according to plan unfortunately… My netbook decided to play tricks on me… It just wouldn’t even start at all! It seemed unlikely to be able to repair it in Siem Reap so all disappointed and ‘slightly’ frustrated I was ready to give up on my netbook, but then I thought it would be wise at least to check out online whether there was any info about repairs around here. Well, who would’ve thought? There were actually several places repairing computers around … Checked out some reviews, Grant sent out some emails (so helpful! 😊), got a response from one… we only needed to find it now... Piece of cake! We brought the netbook to the store, left it with the ‘pros’ and… hoped for a miracle! When I was searching for the repairing services and read some of the comments of people on numerous forums, I started thinking that I was actually pretty lucky that none of my electronic devices broke until now… Netbook, camera, ipod, phone… all travelling with me… not to mention all the chargers and cables that go with them… and additional batteries and cards for the camera… and an external hardrive… So many things to worry about… Twenty years back (maybe even less) you wouldn’t see any of these in your luggage – maybe except camera… and maybe a Walkman instead of an ipod I guess... but that would be it really but now the list seems to be endless… It’s sure up to you how many of these ‘essentials’ you take on your journey with you, but would you be able to travel without any of them though? I doubt I could… Camera sometimes feels like an extension to my hand almost… 😉 So when I was starting this trip I thought that at some point I might have to deal with a situation like this, but at the back of my mind hoped I wouldn’t really need to… it sure was a big relief to see my netbook working again after a few hours and on top of that to find out that only a power button was broken. Total repair cost: $15! Wow! That was honest! They could’ve easily said that the hardrive or some other parts needed to be changed – just like it happens everywhere else, specialists taking advantage of costumer’s lack of expertise, but instead they actually looked at the cause of the problem and fixed it! I was really impressed with the service!

I decided to give my repaired netbook a break and just enjoy the art of doing nothing for a while. The next two days we spent just chilling around Siem Reap. Walking around, having a drink here and there and above all enjoying the beautiful food they had at every corner here. There sure were a lot of restaurants to choose from and quite a range of cuisines as well – apart from the lovely Khmer foods a Mexican restaurant caught our attention as well – what can I say… we got tempted by their tasty chimichangas… twice! Beside that we walked around the market, watched some rugby (when All Blacks are playing it is a must 😊) and even went to a cinema… Special kind of cinema actually… with private screenings… and a very wide range of movies to choose from as well – I don’t think some of them were even out on big screens yet? Once again you see what copyrights mean here… or maybe I should say what they don’t mean here at all… Basically they had a catalogue full of movies, you choose which one you want to watch, then go to your ‘room’ and watch your movie on a big flat TV with massive speakers, not to mention enjoy the comfort of big couches as well. Needless to say that all around you could see posters reminding the costumers the cinema’s rules – the main one being ‘no sex!’. Haha! But then it’s pretty sad actually that people need to be reminded about that… At some point our screening was interrupted by a girl who sold us the tickets – she walked in the room and started getting all ‘excited’ saying that we gave her some dodgy note… What? We knew how funny they were with notes being slightly torn here, so were paying attention to getting these kinds of notes in exchange as well (more or less at least – we got a dodgy $20, which nobody wanted to take from us at all, so just kept it in the wallet for later, to exchange it once we were back home I guess)… We were almost sure we gave her good notes and since there were quite a few people around at the time we were buying the tickets, it could’ve easily been one of them rather than us… and she should’ve checked the notes right there, rather than walking around the rooms and trying to give back the ‘dodgy’ note to one of the costumers… sorry, but a little too late… Anyway… As much as we enjoyed our private screening, sipping a beer and chilling on the big couch, the movie wasn’t that great as it simply seemed to be missing a few parts… Looked like they censored a few scenes… meaning they basically cut them out! Ah well… We had a good time nevertheless…

One evening we went to the Apsara dance show as well. I really enjoy these kinds of shows – getting to know the traditional music, costumes and dances, so this time I wasn’t disappointed either! What’s even better, we got to the restaurant relatively early, so got a very good table
Peacock dancePeacock dancePeacock dance

at Apsara dance show
right by the stage. Enjoying a beautiful Khmer meal while watching a dance show, will be hard to beat that I’d say! I wasn’t exactly sure what happened at some point – whether one of the dancers made a mistake or simply did or saw something funny, but for a good while the main performer was fighting through laughter, trying to keep her face still and not to burst out laughing… which kind of seemed to spread out around the other dancers eventually as well… It found it really cute actually! And it added a special twist to the performance as well... At the end of the show you could have a picture taken with the dancers as well, but we left before that…

I have to say that we really enjoyed the food during our stay in Siem Reap and after seeing lots of offers around for Khmer cooking classes, we decided to give one of them a try. And it turned out to be one of the highlights of our stay here actually. It was only a two-hour class, still we managed to make (and eat!) three courses in that time anyway… There was no visit to the market (not like the full day course we did in Chiang Mai) and basically most of the things were already chopped for us and ready to mix and throw in the pan, still the chef provided a lot of information, we got little booklets with the recipes (and a T-shirt!) and above all – it was a lot of fun! We had a nice bunch of people in the group as well which made the whole experience even more enjoyable. There was a lovely older American couple among the group and it turned out that they had been coming to Siem Reap for years now! No wonder why… We loved this little town as well and we could definitely see ourselves staying here for another few days, still time was ticking… We already had booked our tickets to Australia and still wanted to see a few other places before we left… So many to choose from… In the end we decided to head back south. Next stop: Sihanoukville!

Additional photos below
Photos: 26, Displayed: 26


No tuk tuk, no massage...No tuk tuk, no massage...
No tuk tuk, no massage...

so funny that they sell this T-shirt here! I wonder where the idea came from? ;)
these fishies will not get my dead skin!these fishies will not get my dead skin!
these fishies will not get my dead skin!

the idea of these little carnivorous creatures biting on my flesh kind of freaks me out a bit I have to say... one day maybe...

15th March 2014

VIP treatment
Always a good to be treated well and have a connection. Siem Reap has a lot to offer. We enjoyed the local dancing a shadow puppets. The temples go without saying..... Loved the food photos please keep them coming.
18th March 2014

Thanks Dave and Merry Jo! We really enjoyed Siem Reap. And food above all!
15th March 2014
mmm... yum... and yum! and beautifully served!

Now this looks fantastic
YUM, keep those photos coming.

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