Siem Reap is teeming with tourists. It’s hard to gauge the disposition of the life here withOUT being a major tourist destination. This city is the gateway for temple adventures. The tuktuk drivers are just chomping at the bit to take you on a temple tour. I’m pretty vocal about not loving a tourist attraction, like ever. But I’ve promised to bring my best attitude and take in the worlds largest religious monument.
I’d like to thank Mr and Mrs Smith for guiding this one. It’s such a breath of fresh air when you covet a hotel online, and then discover it doesn’t break the bank. Viroth’s Hotel did everything right. From checking in – the lobby and bar/restaurant are dripping in classic mid-century glamour, the pool is sleek, the rooms are perfect, the staff was 100% on point at every turn.
I suppose one doesn’t travel all the way to Siem Reap and NOT visit Angkor Wat…or something like that. After all, this was the whole reason Adam was so keen on Cambodia in the first place. I appreciate the grandiosity of these temples and the magnitude of their impact – I do, I swear. It’s juuuuust that, well, my threshold for grasping this is quite quick. I was awe-struck in the first 10 minutes and then bored to tears for the remaining six hours and 50 minutes. Did I mention it was 40c/104f? Baking. Direct sun. Sweating in my maxi dress (no kneecap shall be exposed). We purchased a three-day pass as Adam had hoped we’d do the minor circuit of temples on day one and then the grand circuit on day two. When I realized seven hrs was just the short tour, I hit him with a hard NO for day two. Broke his heart all over him. But I was in self preservation mode.
‘Go without me’.
‘You’ll have more fun anyways’
‘I’ll be fineee here (at a swanky mr and mrs smith pool).
No he insisted, he might be over the temples day two as well. Shocking.
And so we looked elsewhere for entertainment. And found it immensely in a private off-roading quad tour around the countryside. I was surprisingly not scared at all and was “yeehaw-ing” through all the muddy puddles and over the dirt moguls.
A GIRLS GOTTA EAT
Our other major good time came in the form of a food tour. Always a great way to experience a new culture. Siem Reap Food Tours is owned by an American food writer and guided by her Scottish chef partner. Got out of town a bit, tried some weird, but tasty shit.
Best meal of the trip came from Cuisine Wat Damnak. French culinary technique by Joannès Rivièrechef, using Cambodian flavours and ingredients – a beautiful marriage of customs. Two separate six-course degustation menus that changes every week.
PROTIP: Divide and conquer the menu!