My first international travel destination for 2016 was Siem Reap, Cambodia! I wouldn't say that it's part of my bucket list; it was more of an impulsive plane ticket purchase, but I was also curious with Angkor Wat. I went there with Panda, my sister, and three friends. We were able to get our tickets at a very affordable price thanks to Cebu Pacific's seat sale, but tickets like that usually have a not so nice time slot. Our flight was scheduled 7:45PM; the flight was 3 hours and since Cambodia's time is GMT+7, we got there around 9:30PM.
This post is marked Day 0 in my Cambodia Travel Diary since there's hardly any time left to do anything but to eat and rest having arrived late at night. I'll show you where we stayed!
We booked several rooms at King Boutique Hotel. King Boutique Hotel offers complementary pick up service from airport/bus station to and from the hotel. The place had mostly positive and a bit of mixed reviews, but we didn't need a super fancy place to stay, since we're out most of the day anyway. The personnel here in the hotel were very kind, probably the kindest people we've encountered in our trip to Siem Reap.
Directly to the right of the door was the bathroom. It's nothing special but I'm thankful it's clean. If you're planning to use the tub, better bring Lysol just to be sure. Throughout my 5-day stay I never saw any creepy crawlers in the room and bathroom which was good.
They also provided complimentary toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and tissue paper rolls.
The room was simple, but it had aircon and WIFI so we're good. The room was spacious enough. Outside the room was a shared balcony for the guests to hang out. In front of the hotel was a nice clean pool, which I got to see and appreciate the next day. Also, the hotel had complimentary bottled water if you ask, so don't hoard them from the convenience store like we did.
The best thing about King Boutique Hotel is its proximity to touristy spots such as Central market, Old market, Night markets, famous Pub Street and other major attractions. There are also ATMs, banks, and convenience stores nearby. It's 15 minutes away from the Siem Reap International Airport, and 10 minutes away from Angkor Wat. Before sleeping, we got hungry so we walked to Pub Street for some midnight
We got there on a Tuesday night, and Pub Street was alive and brimming with lights and energy. Our first foray into Cambodian cuisine was in Khmer Family Restaurant. It's a Khmer run business and we were curious about their specialty that is the amok (usually a steamed curry dish cooked in banana leaves).
Tip: The main currency used in Cambodia are USD bills. They don't accept USD coins, and they will give you Cambodian Riel bills and coins as change. @_@ Try your best to spend whole dollar amounts so you don't end up with their currency. It's very hard to manage and use because 1 USD = 4,027.71 Cambodian Riel as of press time.
The interiors were nice but the WIFI here was very slow.
Khmer Amok ($5.25)
Pieces of fillet, fish, beef, shrimp, chicken, or pork with fresh coconut cream, onion, cauliflower leaf, egg, and traditional mixed Khmer spices served with steamed jasmine rice
Tom Yum Soup ($5.00)
Your choice of pork, beef, chicken, fish, or shrimp with tomato, mushroom, coconut cream with tom yum paste and served with steamed jasmine rice
Khmer Curry ($5.25)
Traditional Khmer curry with your choice of chicken, beef, fish, pork, or shrimp cooked with carrot, onion, long bean, potato, and fresh coconut cream served with steamed jasmine rice
Fried Mixed Vegetables ($4.50)
Fried mixed vegetable served with steamed jasmine rice
I've been to Thailand last year and was so amazed with their cuisine, so I expected the same with their dishes (since Thailand and Cambodia are neighbors), but they're just okay for me. Most of them tasted similar to each other. The coconut milk drowns out the curry's kick, so the dishes end up tasting okay but not WOW. Prices of the dishes in Pub Street were also a bit on the pricey side since it's a touristy place. But still, I was excited to discover more of what this country offered. Stay tuned for my next Cambodian Travel Diary post - it's a 5-part series! :D
Let's keep in touch!