Never heard of Siem Reap in Cambodia? Well, you are not the only one. When I met up with Neil to do some CabinZero Co-Working in Asia, I never imagined we would end up here. If you never heard of Siem Reap, maybe Angkor Wat means something to you? It was the capital and central temple of the Khmer Empire. It is an impressive place.You can´t imagine how many hours of hard work and craftsmanship went into building the temple if you haven't been there.
But this blog post isn´t about Angkor Wat but Siem Reap. We composed a list of 10 things to do, while you are in Siem Reap which are a bit out of the ordinary.
1. Have a hair cut
Siem Reap has a hot climate. I was sweating throughout my stay till I decided to lose a bit of fur. For guys, a 2 Dollar haircut must be one of the cheapest haircuts around the world, and you will make a local hairdresser a very lucky man. Why? Because foreigners tend to not use his service so often.
2. Get your laundry done
1 Dollar, a kilo. Washed, dried and ironed.
Total bargain and you are supporting a local entrepreneur in the process. When I collected my laundry, the staff were incredibly friendly and appreciative that I trusted them to wash my gear.
3. Cycle to some local villages
Last year, the staff of the hotel Neil stayed in asked him if he wouldn´t like to join them on a bicycle tour around Siem Reap. They took a tour through the most beautiful landscape, passing by rice fields and small villages. Around noon they crashed at someone`s house and cooked lunch. Incredible experience and this time we found out that they start to lent electric bikes which make it far easier to enjoy the beautiful landscape.
4. Have an exotic fruit smoothie
These are on sale all over Pub Street and again, at a Dollar each. They are a must have. Especially the jackfruit smoothies are super delicious. If you are not so into smoothies, fresh coconut water for one dollar. It is a healthy and delicious alternative.
5. Grab a 25 cents beer
You prefer beer over healthy smoothies? In the centre of Siem Reap, the price for draught beer seems to be standard at around 50 cents, except for a few places which buck this trend and sell a glass (around half a pint) of Angkor beer for 25 cents. That´s 20 pence or 22 euro cent.
6. Get some work done
Siem Reap is a great place to catch up on emails, or even new bag designs (if you work for CabinZero). I can highly recommend AngkorHub which is a great CoWorking Space just 10 mins from Pub Street.
7. Visit the circus
Lonely Planet says it is "Cambodia´s answer to Cirque du Soleil", but actually it is even more than that. Similar to a social business, the Phare circus gives people with no perspectives the possibility to do something unique and extraordinary. By using their creativity and talent, they entertain you and bring you closer to the Khmer culture. Each show uses subtle social messages to talk about atrocities like e.g. the genocides happing during the regime of Pol Pot. Important to note that the circus doesn´t use animals in any of their performances. You should not miss Phare Circus if you stay in Siem Reap.
8. If you are daring enough, try Pong Tia Koon
Not so much for animal lovers, but for travellers who don´t fear exotic dishes.Pong Tia Koon is the Cambodia version of balut or with other words a cooked fertilised duck embryo. Ewww right? Myself as a vegan, I didn´t try it, but many of my friends here told me to put it on this article as I am writing about the non-standard things to do in Siem Reap. It is supposed to taste like chicken soup with a lot of spices, but if you really want to know, you have to try it yourself. I won´t.
9. Do a yoga retreat
To equalise your karma points after eating an unborn baby duck, you could visit a (vegan) yoga retreat. There are many options in Siem Reap starting at around $35 a day. Relax from the stress of modern life (or working at CabinZero).
10. Stay in a boutique hotel
If you are not so into this spiritual meditation thing, you could just relax at the pool of one of the many cool boutique hotels close to Siem Reap. There it is easy to forget about the stress of modern life, too. At least till the next email pops up on your screen. The best deals I found on Agoda.com
11. Have a foot massage
As soon as you set foot somewhere close to Pub Street or the Night Markets of Siem Reap, a lot of massage parlours offer their services rather aggressively. Due to high competition, the prices are super cheap, and you can get a 30 min foot massage for $1. After walking for 10 hours straight through Angkor Wat and its neighbouring temples, this is exactly the treatment your feet need.
12. Visit Angkor Wat
Oh, and talking about Angkor, you should visit it too. The temples are as incredible as everybody says. I really enjoyed it!