Place: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hostel: Cambodian Backpacker Guesthouse
Favorite Food: Mexican (just kidding)… Beef Lok Lok?
Favorite Memory: Drinking and eating with the awesome guesthouse staff
Fun Fact: Cambodians love to cheers before every sip (Jul Mouy!)
We left Koh Phangan at 4:30am the day our visa in Thailand expired (i know, i like to live life on the edge). We took a ferry to the mainland where we flew from Surat Thani to Bangkok and caught a connecting flight to Siem Reap. We almost missed our connecting flight with a few minutes to spare. (:
Scam at the Airport
When we arrived at the Siem Reap airport we got in line to get our Visas for Cambodia. We flew to Cambodia thinking we would avoid visa scams at the border. Little did we know that the airport had a little scam of their own. I was asked for a passport photo with my visa application. I did not have one of course, so they said I would have to pay $2 extra to take one. I paid and waited in a line I thought was to take a picture. They ended up calling my name to tell me my passport was ready. There was no picture and no picture to be taken. We got a little laugh out of this because it was a pretty good scam. It didn’t really bother me, as it was only $2 haha. We shared a taxi to town with 2 girls we met in the taxi line. It cost us about $1 each.
Cambodian Backpacker Guesthouse: Things Happen for a Reason
We had 3 hostels we looked up before we left for Siem Reap. We went to all of them and they were all full. At the third hostel a guy offered us a free tuk tuk ride to his friends guesthouse who had room. At this point we were tired of walking around as it was hot and we had not eaten all day, so we took our chances. It was a few minutes out of the center of town on a random dirt alley so we were hesitant at first. Our plan was to move hostels the next day into one of the places we were trying to stay at orginally. We quickly changed our mind and never left.
We had our own room with AC for $7.50ea./night (this was cheaper than the other hostels closer to town) and the beds were the most comfortable we had come across to date. The place was pretty quiet and relaxing during the day. I spent a lot of days relaxing in the hammocks. The local staff were so nice and inviting we did not want to leave. They really made the experience. Our first night they invited us to sit at the table and drink beers with them. They gave us free beers, then handed us chopsticks and offered us their food. It was our first experience with Cambodia and we immediately fell in love. They gave us free tuk tuk rides to town and were so hospitable we didn’t see any reason to leave. We couldn’t have been happier that we unintentionally ended up here. Of course we ended up staying longer than we expected. It was once again hard to leave.
Angkor Wat Temples
Angkor Wat was beautiful. We toured the ruins all day with Monika (our new friend from Slovenia) in a Tuk Tuk. The architecture was incredible!
Pub Street is a small street downtown that was created for tourists. It has all of the main touristy bars and restaurants in Siem Reap. The music is bumpin all night. We spent a few late nights here after we finished hanging out with the locals at our guesthouse. Our friend Kristian (from Koh Phangan) got a job at one of the main bars (Angkor What? Bar), so we would meet him when he got off of work for drinks. Pub Street was a little too loud and touristy for me. I much preferred hanging out with the locals at our guesthouse.
We met Linda our first day. She was selling bracelets at the Mexican restaurant we were eating at. (Yes, I was a happy camper!) Linda is 13 years old and speaks perfect English. It’s funny because her English teacher is from Australia so she has an Australian accent. Linda is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. She buys the bracelets from her mom (who makes them) and keeps the profits to help pay back her parents for school and also spend some on herself. One night we saw her out late dancing outside the bars (this is common at night). A lot of dance-offs happen in the middle of the street and she partakes in the dancing (not in the drinking) …and she’s good! Anyways, this night she asked if I wanted to buy a bracelet and I told her I was really sorry, but didn’t have anymore money (I had spent all my money on drinks). She insisted I borrow some money from her and have a good time. I was blown away by the fact a young girl whom I had just met was offering to loan me money. She told me to just pay her back when I saw her again. So sweet!
We hadn’t found any good food in Cambodia until we told our guesthouse to take us to a local restaurant off the beaten path. It was an awesome experience going to a local restaurant most tourists don’t know about. They don’t even have an English menu. The owner ended up hanging out with us the whole night and some other locals joined as well. We ordered a few large dishes and shared between us. Plus a 7 Liter beer tower, which was only $4! We ate and drank all night for $6 each.
We went to the same restaurant another night (because it was delicious) and had the owner, our tuk tuk driver and 6 locals walk up and join us. Then the chef came out and had a beer with us. (people are very friendly and love to share). After we finished eating, the locals invited us to do K-TV (Karaoke) with them and that was a fun experience.
I’m currently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I’m playing catch up on posts and will try to get current soon. Follow my snapchat story at “Vance13” for the most recent happenings. Talk soon!