You read that right, western. Geographically speaking Cambodia is obviously in SE Asia but Siem Reap definitely attempts to appeal to Westerners in a no shame fashion, such as “Gringo Hamburgers Here!” Understandably, it is a city built on tourism since it is home to Angkor Wat, which is amazing, but Siem Reap was a little too cheesy for me!
Don’t get me wrong we had a BLAST, probably too much fun, but I wasn’t getting the “googley-eyed in love” vibes I had with Thailand.
We chose to visit Cambodia for 3 reasons:
- Our friend from college lives there and works at The Mad Monkey Hostel.
- We already had plans to travel to Thailand so we wanted to take advantage of seeing a neighboring country
- Grant needed to visit a new country for 2014 (He had already been to Thailand.)
Things to know before visiting Siem Reap:
The Mad Monkey Hostel is a blast!
By far the most popular hostel in Siem Reap the Mad Monkey is one of my all time favorites. They have a pool, a beach bar, and great food. Anyone who has stayed at a hostel knows what a luxury these things are. If you’re feeling squirrely you should compete with your fellow countries in the hand-grenade challenge!
Research the floating village river tour before you decide to go.
Angkor Wat is a must do!
Being the main attraction in Siem Reap Angkor Wat is an amazing glimpse into ancient times and VERY impressive. Plus you’ll get to take a picture with that tree wrapped door you see on Pinterest! Insider tip: It’s worth going at sunrise. Extra insider tip: The night before you can get a foot massage outside while you watch a documentary on Angkor Wat. This way your tootsies and your mind are prepped for your visit! Boom.
You will see more elephants and maybe monkeys!
Best Part of Cambodia = THE PEOPLE.
They are seriously the kindest, most selfless group of people I have ever met. I am eager to return and check out more great cities in Cambodia!
For more information on Cambodia, grab this Lonely Planet guide book.
Wat stress, Wat worries
Inspired Recipe: Cauliflower Rice Lettuce Cups by Veggie and the Beast
This recipe isn’t Cambodia specific, but these lettuce cups are an Asian inspired recipe I like to make from time to time. You can’t go wrong with a savory peanut sauce, and the cauliflower “rice” is another way to trick your brain (and family) into eating MORE VEGGIES! That being said, shredding cauliflower at home is super messy so I buy mine pre-shredded at Trader Joes. Bag to pan in 2 seconds, oh yeah.