Monday, June 28, 2010

Cambodia: Siem Reap's Night Life

Siem Reap in central Cambodia is the gateway to the ancient city of Angkor. If you plan to visit Angkor, you will need to book a hotel in Siem Reap, stay in Siem Reap, eat in Siem Reap, buy souvenirs in Siem Reap, etc. Over the years, it has become a tourist hub, a fast-developing piece of land in the heart of Cambodia.

Angkor What?

Being a fast-developing tourist hub, you can imagine that night life would be very exciting and alive as well. And it is. On our first night, after having had a very happy dinner, we went straight to the famous Pub Street.

Alley along Pub Street

Pub Street

Pub Street is a literally a street lined with pubs, restaurants and all sorts of night haunts one can imagine. All types of food from all four corners of the globe can be had here. From Mexican to Italian to French to Chinese to Khmer, whatever your appetite desires and your pockets can afford.

Pub Street

Both tourists and locals come here, I noticed. Which is good. Though, you would clearly notice that the more expensive-looking pubs on the one side are frequented more by tourists, the wooden street-side stalls more by locals.

Fish Therapy, Pub Street

One popular activity is the fish-therapy aquariums. Tourists would sit by the aquarium, feet in the water, and the fish would start eating on their feet's dead skin cells. A little disgusting but hey, these things are everywhere. Maybe for westerners, they are things of novelty. And hand them a bottle of beer while the fish are doing their thing, then you got business.

Lamp, Angkor What?

We chose the very famous Angkor What? pub on our first night. Their beer selection is diverse, to say the least. Each Southeast Asian country is represented, including the Philippines. SMB represent! For that night, though, I chose Tiger Beer, only because we found it everywhere. It's popular in Saigon and now here. I gotta say, though, patriotism aside, SMB's still better.

Dead Fish Restaurant

On our second night, after having dinner in Dead Fish Restaurant, we walked further along Sivatha Road to get to the Angkor Night Market. One has to note that in Siem Reap. The night scene is quite concentrated in a little district. On the one side of Sivatha Road is Pub Street, on the other is Angkor Night Market.

Angkor Night Market

Angkor Night Market

Angkor Night Market is worth the visit. All kinds of things, from souvenirs to the practical, are sold here. Trinkets and dust-gatherers, candles, bags, paintings, everything. I guess we were too tired that day, having climbed up and down Angkor's temples, so really our night shopping just became night window shopping.

Angkor Night Market

Angkor Night Market

Still, to cap off the night, our last night in Siem Reap at that, we thought we ought to try Cambodia's local beer. Angkor Beer, it's called. At first, we thought its price was a little steep. It was around 4 to 5 USD, if I remember correctly. Then we thought, it's our last night. What the hey. Then we saw how big the bottle was. We were not even able to finish the whole thing.

Angkor Beer

Siem Reap and, on the whole, Cambodia, can be like that, I noticed. At first, it will seem small and with prices sometimes a little too steep. But if you're willing to experience it, you can get a lot. A lot of history and a lot of culture. And just like a big bottle of beer you can't finish in one sitting, you won't be able to take in all of Cambodia in one visit. There is just too much to see and learn. You will find yourself promising to come back. Just like I did.

* More photos from Cambodia: Siem Reap, Night Life set can be found in my Flickr account: click here.

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