Sunday, 29 January 2012

Siem Reap 29th January 2012

Siem Reap Town..

A few hours sleep and now feeling quite hungry it's time to see what the town has to offer. Quite a French feel about the place - in architecture and cuisine. Some smart hotels are here and more being built. According to the guide books all the action is around the old market and pub street, so heading there seems like a good idea.

About a 20 minute walk along the river passing an abundance of cafes, restaurants and guesthouses. Stop here for something to eat, looks ok and not too pricey.  Cross the river to what is called the old market. It's busy, it's big but like any other market between India and Cambodia, once I've  seen the first dozen or so stalls it's all the same.  The place is bustling - down small alleyways lined with cafes. Street food everywhere, restaurants in all directions and street vendors trying to sell anything from ripped DVD's, books etc..

The best place to eat here is just along from the old market area towards pub street. A huge open area is set out with stainless steel tables and chairs, where the food is cooked in full view of customers - deep fried, stir fried and steamed. Everything Asian orientated so don't come here looking for roast beef and Yorkshire pudding or pizza. It's around £1.50 for a dish of fried rice and vegetables. Very busy here, having to wait a while. But at least the food should be safe with such a heavy turnover. The place is clean to. Very little garbage, and just a few flies, not the hoards usually associated with a developing nation, and still haven't seen any Mosquitoes!

A walk along pub street reveals, yes, pubs and bars, and crammed full with tourists. I'm looking for the Temple Bar, in the guide books as having a free daily apsara show. Apsaras is a Cambodian traditional dance in costume. Here it is, and it,s almost full but enough room for me to squeeze in.  Dancing begins at 8 and lasts until about 10.15. Interesting to see their costumes, unique blend of colours on some of them. The dances are accompanied by traditional music - drums, Bongo's and others I've not seen before.

Everything about Siem Reap town is within walking distance of most guesthouses.The biggest, smartest hotels are on the Airport road, the same road the bus stops on.  It's a big walk from that road towards town! No public transport, so it's taxi or tuk tuk. Siem Reap town is clean, although the outskirts are sometimes ramshackle. Garbage is not strewn around here. Having arranged for a tuk tuk to take me to Angkor Wat 4.45am next morning (sunrise, as suggested by the driver) I had better go and get some sleep.

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