Siem Reap Restaurants and Cafes

Here are a couple of restaurants that I tried on my visit to Siem Reap that are sure to excite your taste buds!

  1. Khmer Kitchen (Price:$$)

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Located on Pub Street, this restaurant has great tasting Khmer food. It was recommended to us by our hotel and we were so glad that we tried it out. The servings are well-sized and the price was very reasonable. If I’m not mistaken rice is free and better yet, you can have as much as you want! The potato dish on the top left was just amazing. The service was quite pleasant too.

  1. Temple Sky Lounge (Price $$)

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Not to be confused with Temple Club on Pub Street, Temple Sky Lounge, located near the river, has a great ambiance and is located on the rooftop of a building. Food is good with a mix of western and Asian dishes on the menu. When we went for dinner there was live music as well. I noticed that there were a number of locals eating and drinking here also which is of course a nice change from tourist ridden Pub Street. Overall, this was an awesome place to have dinner and drinks. At the ground floor is a cool looking coffee shop which also had live music and a nice vibe.

  1. Il Forno (Price: $$$)

Great pizza and pasta that tasted truly authentic. It is a little bit pricier than other options, but still won’t have you breaking the bank. Although it took a while to be seated and served our dishes because there were just SO many people wanting to eat here, it was worth it in the end. Just be sure that when you do go, you aren’t starving when you arrive.

  1. So Wat Coffee Roasters & The Gelato Co. (Price: $)

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So Wat shares the same shoplot with The Gelato Co. which makes for a great place to have both coffee and dessert on Pub Street. The restaurant has a cool, laid back vibe and free wifi to boot. The coffee is great and you can be sure to get a decent espresso or cappuccino here, gelato is pretty good too! They also sell coffee beans in case you want to bring home a little piece of this shop along with you.

Off to Myanmar next to tread the path that (still) only a few know. If you want to know more about Siem Reap’s temples and accommodation just click the links! Otherwise you can learn about my itinerary here. Bon Voyage and enjoy your travels!

The Temples of Angkor

Siem Reap, which means “the defeat of Siam”, is the gateway to the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor.

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The thing any traveller to Siem Reap must first figure out it is how long one wants to spend visiting the beautiful complex. Passes are available for a single day visit ($20), three days ($40), and seven days ($60).

To make your way around the temples you can take one of three modes of transport. First, you can hire a tuktuk to take you around which is pretty reasonably priced and quite convenient ($18 to $20). Another option would be to hire a cab – more expensive ($35 to $40) but definitely more comfortable especially when it starts to get hot at around lunch time until 2:30 in the afternoon. Or lastly, you can choose to hire a bicycle and find your own way through the complex. I’ve tried both the tuktuk option and a hired car and I would definitely recommend either of these. Riding bicycles sounds very enjoyable and picturesque but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. The temples in Siem Reap are a bit more spread out than one might imagine which means longer distances to bike. This would be alright if not for the sweltering heat and insane humidity – even for someone from a tropical country. But if you’re feeling adventurous, why not? Biking is definitely the most affordable choice, costing as low as a couple of dollars, and for those that love it, I can imagine it must be quite an experience to bike around the historic temples of the once great Angkor Wat.

A tuktuk or hired car will let you choose between the small and large tour depending on how many temples you would like to visit. These are also priced differently, the smaller tour being the cheaper choice. Personally, I prefer the smaller tour because you get to see the highlights and spend more time in each location. Plus, after a while it starts to get really hot and I just didn’t really want to see every single temple, just the more notable ones. However, for enthusiasts who may want to see most of the temples I suggest breaking it out over a couple of days so that you can visit all the temples and spend enough time exploring each one at a leisurely pace. Consider the 3 or 7 day pass.

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You will also have the option of waking up early and catching the sunrise at Angkor Wat. DO IT! On both of my visits to Angkor Wat I did this and it absolutely breath taking. Because of the volume of people visiting Siem Reap you’ll want to wake up extra early so that you get a good spot and don’t have to take photos above people’s heads or catch someone else’s arms in your pictures. Believe me, when you see the sun rising and hear nothing but the sound of shutters going off in the hushed silence as the sky transforms from black to dark blue then to different shades of red, orange and pink – it will all be more than worth it. It was the highlight of my entire stay and I will always remember that first sunrise at Angkor Wat.

Now, here are some photos of the different temples to get you inspired for your own trip to Siem Reap!

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Check out my other posts on where to stay in Siem Reap and more on our itinerary through Siem Reap, Myanmar and Chiang Mai.

Stay tuned for my next post on must try eats while in Siem Reap! x

Where to sleep in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a great backpacker city. Besides the fact that it’s home to the magnificent Angkor Wat, it has a (surprisingly) lively night scene, good restaurants and outdoor cafes (more on this later), plus it has a ton of budget accommodation options that are not only low cost but have great service and a cool ambiance to boot.

It was my second time in Siem Reap but figuring out where to sleep was a bit challenging because honestly there are a lot of awesome looking places to stay at and so many hotels received top notch reviews online. After going through the arduous process, I would definitely recommend finding a place close to pub street which has most of the restaurants and the best nightlife in the city. Staying further away will set you back a couple of dollars per tuktuk ride, so it’s best to spend a little more to be closer to the action. We for instance ate at restaurants on pub street or near to it so we found ourselves going back and forth from our hotel to pub street a couple of times each day.

We stayed at La Residence Blanc D’ Angkor which was farther out, close to the airport and about a 10 minute tuktuk ride to pub street. I chose this hotel because the price was super reasonable and there were only a couple of centrally located options left since we booked at the last minute. Second, I wanted somewhere quiet at night and a little way off from all the bars. However I found that if you book early enough, there are good places close to pub street that offer both proximity and peace and quiet.

With all that said, La Residence Blanc D’ Angkor was excellent. The service was better than in five star hotels I’ve stayed at. The staff was super helpful with booking tours, tuktuk rides and answering all our questions. The room was simple yet had its own unique touches such as a bamboo towel rack and a mural of Angkor Wat behind the bed.

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The hotel also had an awesome pool, large rooms and a decent hot shower. Not to mention, the amazing breakfast! It was just an excellent thing to look forward to each morning. They even packed us a small breakfast when we left early to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. Overall, if you don’t mind paying a little extra for tuktuk rides I’d recommend it!

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Thanks for reading – like, comment, subscribe! If you have any questions feel free to message me, I would be happy to help 🙂 Watch out for my next posts on the temples of Angkor Wat and the restaurants and cafes we loved in Siem Reap.

Day Zero: Where to? Siem Reap-Myanmar-Chiang Mai

Our little journey begins in Manila, one of the most densely populated cities in Southeast Asia and home to millions of Filipinos including myself. With the hustle and bustle of living in a crazy city congested with traffic and a huge population plus having busy schedules because of our jobs, my boyfriend and I wanted to snatch the opportunity to travel for an extended period of time during the holidays. We had 16 days in December and early January to do something new and exciting, the question left for us to answer was: where to?

When deciding on our destination(s), it was important for us to go somewhere we hadn’t been before, or where we were unlikely to go anytime soon. On my part, I had been wanting to travel Myanmar for at least two years now, but was never able to set aside enough time to do it justice. My boyfriend on the other hand, wanted to see Siem Reap and the famed Angkor Wat. We also considered where we would want to spend Christmas and New Years, leading us to choose Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand for the latter. These were the building blocks of our little backpacking adventure covering 6 cities and 3 countries in a matter of only 16 days. Were we crazy? Perhaps. Was it worth it? Most definitely.

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So, not having the luxury of time and wanting to maximize the little time we did have, we settled on the itinerary below. We tried to schedule it in such a way that if were staying somewhere for only a night, we would stay at least 2 nights at our next destination. Later on, this would really help us not tire ourselves out too much, and give ample time for us to rest after long bus rides.

Day 1 – Depart Manila; 1 night layover in Kuala Lumpur

Day 2 – Arrive in Siem Reap

Day 3 – Siem Reap

Day 4 – Depart Siem Reap for Mandalay

Day 5 – Depart Mandalay at night

Day 6 – Arrive at Bagan early morning

Day 7 – Bagan (Christmas Day)

Day 8 – Depart Bagan at night

Day 9 – Arrive at Inle Lake early morning

Day 10 – Inle Lake

Day 11 – Depart Inle Lake

Day 12 – Arrive at Yangon early morning

Day 13 – Depart Yangon for Chiang Mai

Day 14 – Chiang Mai

Day 15 – Chiang Mai

Day 16 – Depart Chiang Mai for Manila

For sure, it was not going to be a leisurely experience, this we knew. But being the savvy and seasoned travelers we were (*ehem* at least one of us anyway – not me), we knew we could take it, it just might mean getting a few massages here and there. What we did not know was how much of an “experience” it would be. We would soon find out that navigating some cities was a bit more challenging than we thought. That a guidebook doesn’t always come in handy. That we would be so relieved after having been done with all the night-long bus trips we needed to take. That sometimes the unplanned journeys are the best ones yet. And that in the end, it would be one of the best travel experiences we’ve had yet!

New Years in Chiang Mai

After travelling through 5 cities in 13 days often spending nights on buses en route to our next adventure, we finally landed in Chiang Mai on New Years Eve ready for some much needed rest and rejuvenation. We chose to cap off our Southeast Asia holiday here knowing that Thailand has the best to offer in terms of nightlife. Plus, we simply couldn’t resist the lure of endless lanterns floating above our heads, disappearing into the sky, as we welcomed in 2016.

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Close to the old city gates there were rows upon rows of stalls selling food, clothing, and handicrafts. It was so expansive that the stalls flowed onto nearby streets. We spent the late afternoon walking around and eating sumptuous food. There was everything from Thai dishes and desserts to sushi to lobsters and seafood galore! Awesome coffee shops, restaurants and bars lined the streets. We saw a cool looking bar on Thapae road and went in to have a few cocktails on the second floor which looked out onto the street – which was by now (at around 8 PM) filled with a sea of people hunting for bargain finds while a number of lanterns were starting to light up the night sky.

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From here we decided to find a place to ring in the New Year and walked over to the other side of the old gate on Ratchadamnoen road. We found a little courtyard bar beside an ice cream shop with decent live music and people already dancing barefoot on the grass. We spent the rest of the night here listening to western covers, big bottles of Chang beer in hand, and a ton of awesome memories from our little Southeast Asian adventure as the promise of a new year brought even higher hopes and optimism for what was to come next.