We start today with an early start to get a 5-hour bus to Siem Reap (yay more hours of sitting) with a short rest / lunch stop half way at a roadhouse type establishment.
As the bus pulled into the depot on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Tuk Tuk drivers flocked like it was a zombie horde to fresh meat. On a plus side, my luggage wasn’t lost! (Referring to Jetstar, in part 1 of this series of posts)
Our Gecko tour organized a bus transfer to the Soria Moria Hotel. This hotel promotes sustainability, community development with on-site hospitality training for the locals and is also 51% owned by the employees, it may not be your flashiest Sofitel place but the hotel is contributing to a good cause in their local community, and there is still a rooftop jacuzzi!
Since I had a few hours to kill before we had to meet back for dinner with our tour guide Ly, I headed into town.
The Royal Residence and Royal Gardens is located along the Siem Reap river north of the “main” area with all the markets. The residence is simplistic in appearance and not open to the public, however, the gardens are free to roam about. As I was here between after work hours and before dinner, there were plenty of locals enjoying the park, out jogging, playing badminton and hacky sack.
The large trees are pretty impressive, but be warned, there’s just so many bats that you are asking to be pooped on. (Yes, I was pooped on)
Now for you shoppers out there looking for legit goods, I did find some stores before I headed back for dinner. There is a store on the corner of Samdech Tep Vuong St and Pokambor Ave selling clothing and accessories that were made in Cambodia for the big labels (e.g. Channel, Armani Exchange etc), most of this store is mainly for females. There is another store(s), Angkor Fashion Plaza on the other side of the river, and slightly more north. In regards to men’s clothing, best bargains can be found for Hugo and Ralph Lauren, that is comparative to Australian prices. Interestingly Nike is the most expensive possible brand you can buy here ($45USD + for a simple tee….)
Ly led us on a walking tour as we headed to dinner, taking us past various markets, clubs and pubs and the main area of Pub Street and its surrounding streets which are full of restaurants. The many laneways filled with more eateries will remind you of Melbourne slightly.
Some good deals to be had if you bargain at the markets, I picked up a silk scarf for $2 USD.
In addition to the standard things a market would sell, there’s an area also stalls with the fish tank spas for your feet and massage areas. Whilst not obvious, some of the Tuk Tuk drivers did approach me to see if I was keen for some “bom boom” time at some of the massage places.
I personally found the Art Centre Night Market more relaxing than the markets around the pub street area, and they all sell the same things anyway.
I will keep this post relatively short as next I will be covering off Angkor Wat and a fairly large day and post
Stay tuned for Part 4, Angkor Wat and eating spiders!