Siem Reap – Part 1


Assalammualaikum and Hi there!

Our 5 days trip to Cambodia was already over. It was such a short trip. There is always a lots of things to be discovered. We only managed to cover Siem Reap and Phnom Penh this time around. But hell yeah, there’s always nice place like Sihanoukville, Battambang, Kampot, Kampong Cham and others. As mentioned in the previous entry, we were at the Land of Smiles from 18 to 22 May 2012 recently.

Started the journey as early as 3.00am from home since our flight departed from KL at 6.50am in the morning.
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We arrived at the Siem Reap International Airport after 2 hours journey and 7.50am local time. We did a lot of research before we were on this trip. Endless reading, browsing and blogwalking. We just hope we did fine at the other part of this planet earth.

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We managed to secure a guesthouse near to the Pub Street via Agoda.com at a very cheap price (plus breakfast) which is The Explorers House. Seriously, at a very affordable price. Small yet clean and worth the money. We emailed them to pick us up since they’re offering free pick up from the airport / bus station. And another plus point of this guesthouse is that, they have HALAL food here since the owner are Malaysian. Check out the room. Just good enough for both of us. Katil king ok!
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Once reached the guest house, we’ve made a few phone calls to our tuk tuk driver, Nasir. Ya, we booked Nasir a few weeks before we arrived. There’s a lot of good review about him among blogges and forumers. Without any doubt, we emailed and engaged him for 2 days in a row. He basically knew all our initial plan. The fees is just USD25 and another plus point is that he speak fluent Bahasa Melayu and he’s a muslim. We just love the way he interact with us and at that point of time, we knew that we’re already become friends. This is the back view of him.

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We chit chat and discussed on our itinerary for a few minutes and we then proceeded to Tonle Sap lake. Our initial plan is just to move around the Siem Reap town but he advised us that his brother, Salim (a tuk tuk driver as well) is now on his way to Tonle Sap with another 2 Malaysian. It would be easy and we can pay less for the boat tickets. Please be reminded that all visitors shall not group up while you are at the Tonle Sap lake unless we came as a group. It’s prohibited. That’s the main reason why our tuk tuk driver asked us to join another 2 Malaysian so that we should only paid USD15 per pax. The price might differ on the number of person in the same group. If not, we have to charter the whole boat and it will become more expensive. Hell no! Budget constraint here!

On the way to Tonle Sap, paddy fields can be seen on both directions. And lotus pond as well. We just discovered that the lotus seeds can be eaten raw and taste slightly macam makan kacang panjang. Serious tak tahu. Pity us huh!

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A little facts of Tonle Sap Lake (or Great Lake) where this lake is the biggest freshwater lake in South East Asia. There are thousand of peoples who stayed in the Floating Village. They even had their own church, school, basketball court, mini market, hardware shop and etc. We did impressed on the way they live but they don’t have any proper sanitation system.

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Us, with Salim and another 2 Malaysian friends. Our new friends who travelled all the way from KL – Saigon – Phnom Penh – Siem Reap – KL for 7 days.
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Oh ya, it’s a dry season now. During the wet season, the water level are as the same as the embankment. Tinggi gile! During our trip, all the boats have to pass only after one another since air yang dalam cuma at the center saja. Please think, couldn’t explain further.
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Local people’s. During this dry season you can eventually saw people’s fishing at the side of the lake and small kids swimming around.
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After 20 minutes on the boat, we’re now reaching the Tonle Sap Floting Village.
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The school. As mentioned by our Tuk Tuk driver Salim (which are on the same boat with us), sometimes the boat driver will just stop you at the school and forced you to buy and give all the school kids a souveniors (school stuff such as pencil, eraser, exercise books and etc) with a very ridiculous price. That’s the reason why Salim followed us up all the way for the boat trip at Tonle Sap.
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After visiting all the floating village, the boat will stopped over at one of the floating R&R area selling snacks, drinks and local products. There are also a information area of the lake itself and fish together with crocodile farm. Just near to the boat pitstop, there’are a few local families (mum’s and kids, there are even babies) holding phyton and asking for tips as part of the show and if you want to take picture of them. This is exactly how the earn the money for living. Kadang-kadang sedih tengok on how poor they are.

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The overall view of the jetty. This pix was taken on our way back. Can you see the construction going on at the back of the jetty? They are constructing a resort there owned by the Korean.
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Its almost lunch time when we arrived at the jetty. We opted for the first lunch here at Muslim Restaurant owned by Haji Musa since it’s just next to the Siem Reap mosque. Hubby’s took the chance to have his Friday Prayer here while i stayed at the restaurant to wait fo them to prepare all the foods. We tried the local dishes such as Beef Lok Lak! Must try! They do have soup such as Tomyam (just to suit us) but you should try the chicken/beef sour soup, A’mok (something like our gulai lemak here in Malaysia) and etc.
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Once lunch done, Nasir advised us to go to the Cambodia Cultural Village. I insisted and convinced my hubby not to go, since it will cost us USD 14 per pax and from all the reading made earlier, most of the previous bloggers who are there before did not recommended this place since there’are nothing there. It’s just like an empty recrational park with all the monuments miniature. Nasir still insisted us to go to the place where as mentioned by him, its Friday and there’re long list of show till 8.30pm. He managed to convince both of us and bet that we will enjoy all the shows. Lebih kurang termakan hasutan dia la nie.

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And i was totally wrong! The 1st show started at 2.30pm and we was there somewhere around 2.00pm. We visited the museum and walked around the park. There’re about 10 shows on that day itself. It started with The immortal life of Khmer soul – Charming of Phahum – Khmer wedding ceremony – Chinese traditional dance – Dreamy prince’s daughter and magic peacock – Choosing the fiance – Khantremming dancing – Rice praying – The Greatest King Jayavarman (The highlight of all). You’ve to move around to all the villages and it looks just exactly like the Kampung Budaya as what we got in Kuching, Sarawak.

The immortal life of Khmer soul and Charming of Phahum at the Mini Theatre
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Choosing the fiance at Khroeung Village
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Khantremming dancing at Khmer Village
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Rice praying at Phnorng Village
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The whole show was fantastic! I would said that the local traditional dance and movement of Khmer are a lil bit sexy and attractive eventhough is just a feet movement. We completed the whole shows somewhere at 8.30pm and we asked Nasir to drop us at the Pub Street just to feel the nightlife of Siem Reap town. You can shop around where there’re 4-5 night market near to the Pub Street. We had stopped over for drinks at Blue Pumpkin! Should try their cakes, macaroons, ice cream and drinks. Day 1 mission accomplished!

We will continue our journey on Part 2 – The Angkor Archeological Park.

Simply us,
Zara AB & FF
The Province of Chroma

14 thoughts on “Siem Reap – Part 1

  1. Dr Singa – Have fun in Siem Reap! It was such a beautiful place. Do enjoy their local food as well. Till now, masih teringat kuih traditional bought by our Tuk Tuk driver. If you were there on Friday, why don’t you spend your evening at the Cambodia Cultural Village. Worth the money

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  2. cik siti fatimah says:

    Hi, nak number Nasir tu boleh? E-mail pun takpe sbb nak nego harga for upcoming trip pergi Siem Reap early Sept. Thanks!

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  3. Assalamualaikum,

    How much is to stay one night in Explorer’s house? The price on their website and other hostel booking is different. Id the wifi works fine inside the dorm room or it only in the lounge? Is it far from the old market?
    Can Nasir speak English fluently?

    Thank you!😀

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