Friday, April 16, 2010

Siem Reap, A Pictorial

Cyclist in front of the Wat Preah Prohm Rath
along Pokombor Avenue

Siem Reap, the gateway to the wonders of the Angkor Archeological Park and the Tonle Sap Lake. It's a dusty little town and when we were there it was in the searing hot dry season with tempretures averaging 38 Degrees C.

Would you visit this if not for the Angkor Temples and Tonle Sap?

Yes, if only you have not been to Laos or Myanmar or Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi or basically any other Indochinese territory. They sell the same fine silks and arts and crafts that you would see in the other places. Prices however are great if you're a bargaining machine. The silks, sandstone and marble carvings are not bad, the fake books are a bargain, the beers cheap (see full prices HERE), the food is great in it's simplicity (i tell you, nothing like fresh food cooked without fuss, it simply brings out the flavors beautifully) .

IF you plan your trip with the visits to Angkor and Tonle Sap then Siem Reap is the perfect little town to chill out in after a long day outdoors. Get back to hotel, shower and take a leisurely stroll along river, visits the many markets for trinkets and art works and get those books out and catch up on your reading in the little cafes. Get a cheap massage at the many massage centers (although not as good as Thai massages) and then head to Pub Street if you're into a louder busier night to people watch.

Small pond inside the Angkor Musuem

The Angkor Wat Museum is a great informative experience. I could not take pictures inside but the 1,000 Buddhas Hall is beautiful. The sense of calm and peacefulness within that room must be experienced first hand to appreciate. Most folks say to go to the museum before visiting the Angkor temples so that you can get a sense of history before hand. I went later and found it a topping on my cake being able to enjoy the lost history of the place in a comfortable and educational environment after the temple/ruins/rock climbing exploits under the hot sun of the previous days.

Most of the roads are narrow and buildings are French inspired but the newer ones are taking their inspiration from cardboard boxes. Its the typical scene as time goes by, historical character gives way to industrialized practicality and bad taste.

Multi cinema entertainment - Patrons get to watch 6 TV shows at one time in this little shack along a dusty small road near our hotel. Trying to hear what the hell is going on above all the noise is another feat altogether. The weirdest experience hearing a cacophony of languages from the various programs on the multiple screens, with a Hindi movie, Rambo on a rampage, a Thai talk show and Cambodian news. The owner makes his money by selling drinks and cigarettes.

Another reason to visit the Museum...

I saw this statue as I walked from the FCC to the Old Market along Pokombor Avenue.

One of the realistic looking wildlife statues along the Siem Reap River. You might shit your pants if you stumble on the crocodile statue slumbering further along the river bank after a late night of boozing session.

View of Pub street from the Temple Club. Great place to meet back packer dates. If you're sociable that is.

Tea seller at the Old Market. The various flavors are packed into the colorful packs.

The quaint Night Market. Almost the same stuff as the Old Market and Center Market.

The elegant Foreign Correspondents Club (or FCC). Great if you want to have that romantic dinner before a night of wild animal sex. A bit pricey but you're paying for the ambience.

Some of the alleys behind Pub Street are chock a block with great little diners and restaurants serving everything from French, Italian and Chinese cuisine. Pictures are blur as they were taken at dusk and I was getting hungry and grumpy.

Night Market gangster...

Near Thnou Street near the Old Market.

Damn, I forget the name of this street. This building is next to the Old Market.

The vegetable section inside the Old Market.

Siem Reap is a great place to just chill and read among the many restaurants. They are cosy and the food is good. I find the amok fish over rated though.

You get this ladies selling these salted/chili mussels along the streets. Gave it a miss as there was no beer to go along with it...

Silk goods at the Center/Cantral Market.

Some water supplier beside Center Market

Simply called Chicken and Ant dish. The ants are soaked in the oil so they're not really crunchy. Not bad. Has a vinegarish tinge to it.

Row of shops along Pokambor Avenue just before the Old Market.

Freshly baked 'numpang' baguettes on sale in the early morning.

Kids cycling home from school.

The Ta Prohm Hotel near the Old Market.

The Old Market Bridge are. Great for chilling in the evenings with a cold beer in hand.

Yep, there are punks with spray cans in every corner of the world.


ah lim said...

my eyes bulged when i saw the red ants and chicken dish picture. it is still bulging now...

Chindiana said...

Ah Lim! well its about 5.30 in the pm now. I hope your eyes are done bulging man.

ah lim said...

you really ate that ar?

Chindiana said...

Yes sir. Its not bad dude. The ants taste like slightly oyster saucish. Its better than jungle rat anyway.

Nex said...

Ha ha ha...actually at first we thought it wasn't really ants coz the taste and texture did not taste like ants. We though we've been had and they just chuck some crispy thing on the chicken instead.

Had to check the pics taken using flash to really see they're actually ants...

Word verification: happyr

Chindiana said...

And you forgot the loooooooooooooong wait Nex! which surely MUST be a sign that they went out to look for the little buggers! Can say we at least had 'fresh' ants...

ah lim said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA... If i ate that without knowing it at first, i can accept it. But if i knew before that it has ants in it... i won't be able to bring myself to eat it. Even though it is FRESH!

word verification: peregrai

ghoul said...

Hehehe, the places so familiar :)

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed the FCC food. Ate there, too, with my travel partner. Like you said, expensive... had some white sangria to go with "local" dishes. Cost about USD50 or something for the two of us.

And yes, the markets all sell the same stuff. You been to one, you have been to all. :)

word verification: ainessho

Chindiana said...

Ah Lim, come, follow nex or me next cambodia trip. Ants are good for your eyesight. or so my grandmother told me.

Ghoul! Their amok fish sucked. I would only go to treat myself to the nice ambience and even that just drinks la. And USD50 bucks is a lot dude, you big spending ghoul you...