Saturday, August 25, 2012

my travel notes: siem reap, cambodia

it's high time for me to end my narratives about cambodia. it doesn't mean though i'm tired talking about it but i fear that this would become a slow drag towards oblivion. i certainly hope not. i need these posts to fill in the gaps of my short-term memory.

the highlight of our stay in siem reap was the angkor temples and i already came up with a post on my thoughts regarding my experience -- that i wouldn't have to go back and get dizzy in an endless loop.

i'd be writing instead, about the other events that had transpired during the few hours that we weren't out scouring for the centuries old angkor temples.

  • night markets

i'm not really into buying souvenir items because i want to travel light as much as i could and my hand-carry luggage allowance serves the defining limit. i fly in budget airlines which suit my needs because it lets me opt not to buy a check-in bag allowance.

as per usual, haggling is the way to go in siem reap's night markets although they tend to have standard prices. i normally don't overdo when i haggle because it feels like i'm robbing them off in their only means of livelihood. i set a reasonable price and in my head, i swiftly do some rough comparison with the prices in the philippines. the prices should be more or less the same, i guess.

what i only bought in siem reap that i considered as a souvenir item was my right-for-the weather green pants  which was sold at 5USD but at 3USD in the small market near the lady temple! but it's okay, a 2 USD difference is not something i'd be sulking.

  • the pub street

We're scorched!

night life in siem reap seems to revolve around this pub street. there are restaurants also in between the pubs, where you can grab your dinner. some serve the local food flair and some the western cuisine. most of the establishments advertise that welcoming sign of a free wi-fi.

  • spa & massage

Tea at the Lemongrass Spa & Massage

it was the best way to treat ourselves after a whole day of excursion around the angkor wat! eva got a whole body massage while i treated myself with a relaxing foot massage and i should say that the khmer lady did it really well and surely deserved a tip!

my foot massage cost me 5USD while eva's massage was less than 20USD.

  • guesthouse stay

so far, i have only done do-it-yourself trips. the entire preparation, booking of air tickets, finding the place to stay, the places to visit; these excite me before the actual trip itself. because this is the google era and the internet is a wealth of information, only waiting for you to hit the search button, finding where to stay in siem reap wasn't hard in our case. although sometimes when confounded with a lot of choices, it gets difficult to decide on which one.

Bousavy Guesthouse

in the end, i chose the bousavy guesthouse for my brother's stay and for our stay. the reservations were only through email without any advance payment. our communication was smooth and i got my replies promptly. we availed their package that came with a tuktuk service for one day. our 2-night stay in an air-conditioning room and a tuktuk service was priced at USD48.80. the package even included breakfast!

the only inconvenience we experienced was when they mistakenly turned off our room's electricity and i had to take a shower with an ajar door, to let a speck of light come in. but what impressed me was when i got an email from them after a few days, asking me how our stay was and i raised my concern on our room's electricity. i then got a reply about how they had mistakenly turned it off. it was my first time to receive an email asking for my feedback regarding my stay which made me think that they do their business seriously and they're willing to make room for improvements.

Bousavy Guesthouse's Business Card in a pretty woven pocket

  • tuktuk service

to save us from the hassle of haggling for a tuktuk service during our angkor tour, we welcomed the tuktuk service included in our guesthouse's stay package.

A very humble business card of our tuktuk driver

mr. sina was our helpful tuktuk driver in almost the entire duration of our stay. he lent his angkor booklet to us knowing we didn't have a guide, volunteered to take our pictures and drove my brother to the airport, even if it was the opposite direction of where we wanted him to originally drop us off -- which was at the night market in the city center.

the only thing that i could point about him was the lady temple that he suggested which cost us some precious time due to the long commute and USD15 for it wasn't part of the guesthouse's package. before we began our tour, we told him to follow my brother's itinerary. it could probably be a miscommunication between us but as always, no regrets. we couldn't ask for a better tuktuk driver who was so versatile that he helped in preparing our lunch during our angkor tour. of course, it was the restaurant that belonged to someone he knew.

My big Angkor lunch!

  • the US dollars

i have this small sling bag that can magically fit all of my essentials when i roam around a certain city or place. one of my essentials is a pack of wet tissues because it can do instant cleaning on the go. but in cambodia, my pack of wet tissues turned against me by smudging my USD100 bill with a red ink from the red packet, where i kept my dollar bills. i had the red packet because i didn't want to lug a bulky wallet. the evil doing of my wet tissues was during our fiery saga from phnom penh to siem reap.

i am in no way a rich kid that i could throw away a USD100 bill just like that. to my relief, i was able to have it exchanged when i got back in singapore. heartfelt gratitude to the auntie who accepted it.

it was indeed a lesson learned, and that i shall keep my foreign bills crisp and clean. apparently, bills shouldn't be cleaned by wet tissues.


even if i'm ending this travel notes post in a somewhat low note, i still can say that i was blown away by siem reap's charm. how could i not be? :)


No comments:

Post a Comment