On our last day in Siem Reap, we took it easy and visited a modern Buddhist temple for a change, close to the Royal Palace. The locals believe this temple to be very powerful, as many who have prayed there attest to their wishes and prayers being answered. We donated some riels and the guys sitting by the foot of the steps will also ask for a small donation for “guarding” your shoes. You are to take off your shoes before entering the shrine hall. Not far from this temple, there was a cacophony of loud shrilling chirps. The sound came from thousands of large fruit bats hanging precariously on the trees. They are really huge! It is quite a spectacle to come in the evening to see these giant bats fly off.
The Raffles Hotel is just across the road and if you continue towards it and further down the road you will come to the Angkor National Museum, where some of the actual artefacts from the ruins are being brought in for preservation and protection from theft. Below is a diamond shaped relief from Banteay Srei. We turned back towards the city centre walking along the Tonle Sap River, passing FCC, the Cambodia Post Office and the Cambodia People’s Party office building. There are many cafes in Siem Reap, and one particular charming street is Hap Guan Street – we stopped for lunch at Common Grounds. Food is so -so, but it had free wireless and great service! There is a the famed “Little Red Fox” for coffee on this street too and many small quaint shops for browsing. There are few things we missed which we would love to come back and explore more of. One of them is a trip and hike up to the waterfall at Kulen Mountain, walk by Kbal Spean. Another would be a visit to the Tonle Sap floating village and do the war memorial museum. While at it, why not do a tour to Beng Melea & Koh Ker plus a stopover at the Roulous group of temple ruins and last but not least explore further locations in middle Cambodia for e.g. Battambang and the Laos/Cambodia border to catch the Irrawady Dolphins, hmm maybe – the list just grew.
As for eating places – I would have loved to try what other Asian bloggers have recommended “Chanrea Dom Makara” close to the KFC. Well Siem Reap is pretty bustling with places to fit everyone’s taste buds and wallets and it is very tourist friendly! The country itself has a lot to offer – so discover it for yourself.
We could certainly return to Siem Reap – I have to admit I didn’t expect it to be so well organised. It is very easy to travel around the area here. No sweat!