If you’ve read my blog post ‘Cambodia, Part One – Where to stay in Siem Reap and what to do‘ this post shares where to eat and a guide to the temples…
Where to eat in Siam Reap, Cambodia
For dining out we followed the recommendations of the Singapore Expat Wives Facebook group. We ate at Malis the first night and upon walking in I thought oh god the husband is going to kill me, it looked like it was going to cost a fortune. But thankfully it was really reasonably priced, mouth watering tasty food and superb service.
Haven restaurant is another social enterprise (there are a lot of these in town, it’s very inspiring) and it trains 15 disadvantaged young people every year in the catering industry. Their restaurant is in a cute garden on the edge of town. The menu was child (and husband) friendly and we all had a lovely meal here.
One of our overall favourite places to eat was Vibe Cafe, we actually had our driver take us back into town from the temples so we could eat here twice. It’s a cute vegan cafe with a lovely seating area on the 2nd floor. The food was amazing, even the meat eating husband was happy.
Top tip: you must try their probiotic drinks and the buffalo cauliflower wings.
Next door to Vibe Cafe (see above) is a very trendy, uber cool mexican called Maybe Later. Now I know you’re thinking why eat mexican when you’re in Cambodia but trust me on this it was really nice.
On our last night we tuk tuk’d over to The Chanrey Tree. The setting was cute, it felt very Balinese and the food was tasty too. They were just a little too efficient with the service and we felt a bit rushed.
Top tip: when you eat at the Chanrey Tree you get 15% off their spa next door.
Temples of Angkor Wat
You can certainly do all the temples in one day, but we had two kids in tow and a husband who’s partial to a coffee break, so we opted for the three day pass.
The Angkor tickets can only be purchased at the official ticket centre, located just 4 km away from Siem Reap town and open from 5am to 5.30pm every day. We went the evening before our first temple trip to save time in the morning. Everyone will need to be present as they take a photo to put on the pass.
As of February 1st 2017, prices are
- 1-day pass – US$ 37
- 3-day pass – US$ 62
- 7-day pass – US$ 72
Top tip: The 3-day pass is valid for 10 days from the issue date. Children under 12 years old are not required to purchase an entrance ticket. A passport may need to be shown as proof.
The best sunset is from the top of a pyramid shaped temple called Pre Rup in Angkor Wat, be sure to get there in plenty of time to get a good seat. It’s hot up there so pack lots of water and portable shade like an umbrella or hat.
Top tip: it’s also one of the only temples where kids under 12 can climb to the top. Plus everyone can climb the ‘stairway to heaven’ not the wooden safety steps with railings which are at all the other temples. Scary but a fun adventure.
The family favourite is quite often Ta Prom temple which is the one made famous by the original Tomb Raider movie featuring Angelina Jolie. I highly recommend viewing the film before you visit. The temple has trees growing through the very foundations of the buildings.
I was also really pleased to see so much conservation happening here, so many corridors have been rebuilt and it’ll hopefully be there for generations to come. It’s beautiful to view this temple in the afternoon, the light is really surreal. It’s also the temple where I tamed a butterfly, this little guy kept fluttering off and coming back to land on my arm.
Aside from Angkor Wat my personal favourite temple was Bayon. It’s the temple with all the faces on columns. It used to have a face for each region of Cambodia before they lost a few to neighbouring countries.
After Bayon it’s a short walk across the road to view a couple of other temples too. This was the steepest staircase I’ve ever walked on the way down from a temple, I thankfully followed a lovely monk down who didn’t seem to mind me having a small freak out. Kids under 12 aren’t allowed up the staircases here. But they can climb all over the Bayon temple.
I’ve saved the best for last… Angkor Wat temple. We’d heard so many good things about being here for sunrise, so we got up at 4.15am and left the hotel in the dark to get there before sunrise. It also meant that we got to explore the temple before it got too hot.
Our tuk tuk driver found us a guide when we got there and I’d highly recommend having someone take you around. He found us the best places to stand at sunrise, pointed out so many interesting things as we went around the temple and it helped keep the kids attention. He took us to get blessed by a monk, months on we’re all still wearing our red bracelets. Plus he knew all the good photo spots. It’s also worth noting that kids can’t go up the very top of the temple here but there is still a good amount they can explore.
I’d love to hear what your favourite memories were in Siem Reap if you’ve been…