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jcontreras Jan 10th, 2005 07:00 AM

Siem Reap what to expect from the town
 
Hi,
We are considering a four day stay in Siem Reap as part of a SEA trip, We would like to know how is the town besides/on top of the Kmer temples?.. Are there other things to do/see? some evening entertainment? restaurants? nice bazars/shopping? how`s the mood of the town? thks for your advise...

Kathie Jan 10th, 2005 10:43 AM

The town of Siem Reap itself is not especially interesting, though of course it has a good market area. There are also several shops worth visiting if you are interested in arts and crafts, There is a small shop in town that sells crafts made by amputees. It has some lovely, inexpensive items. There is also Artisans d'Angkor which makes absolutely beautiful items. The prices are rather high, but the quality is exceptional.

As far as entertainment is concerned, there are several places that feature traditional dance shows with dinner (the one at the Angkor Village Resort is nice and the food was very good).

Do amke sure you visit some of the temples afrther away from town (especially Banteay Srei), as it's worthwhile to see the countryside. You may also want to visit the villages on Tonele Sap.

Lyndie Jan 10th, 2005 02:01 PM

SR is a bit of a dump with a dirty river, dusty main street, lots of landmine victims trying to sell you stuff or beg. However it has some great restaurants like Dead Fish Tower-truly amazing, unique place, and as Kathie says, Artisans d'Angkor- a perfect place to pick up some of the finest silk and artwork, just the fact that the mighty Angkor Wat is 20 mins away was enough for us to find the town, a great diversion and another real taste of Asia!

jcontreras Jan 10th, 2005 02:30 PM

Kathie and Lindie, thanks v.m. for your adivice. Pls. dont take me wrong Im convinced that the mighty temples of Angkor worth the visit. But since we will stay around five days and we will do justice to the temples in a slow pace. We are woundering what else to do especially at the evenings...

How about hotels I have the following in my list suggestions??
Pansea
Angkor Village
Shinta Mani

Lyndie Jan 10th, 2005 04:54 PM

Hi again. We stayed at Siem Reap Ponleau Villa for US20 per twin per night. Lovely little budget hotel with friendly, kind owners. We then moved to Sofitel Royal Angkor (for Christmas period and it had a pool)and were disappointed with the service, room quality, awful smoky smell of the rooms and public areas. I could go on but have already expressed my displeasure here. I haven't stayed at your choices so maybe others could fill you in.

You may be a bit bored with Siem Reap as it just does not compare to Luang Prabang for river bars & restaurants, nightlife, bars, discos, however
you'll probably be so tired (as we were) from all that temple hopping, you'll fall into bed in an exhausted state, unless you are under 40 then you will find lots of places to eat, drink & party.

Don't miss Dead Fish Tower! Have a great trip!

rhkkmk Jan 10th, 2005 05:17 PM

i agree that the town is nothing special...four days will allow you some breathing room but do not feel that you are having a leisurely visit....you will fill every minute...its difficult to visit the temples mainly because of the heat and some are quite large and take quite a bit of time...most people can not do it for 8+ hours per day....its too much...
hopefully you are hiving a guide and driver as this helps significantly...

most days you will be quite tired at the end of the day and so will not need to be entertained too much....

we liked la noria near the grand hotel for dinner...also red piano in the center of town for both dinner and lunch....

we stayed at angkor village which is quite authentic looking but i found the beds very hard and uncomfortable and the food only so so....they have a nice little pool...

sofitel would be my choice on another visit...

orgy7 Jan 10th, 2005 06:40 PM

five days..ouch.. you best be a temple jumky and love laying around doing nothing for days..

Kathie Jan 10th, 2005 06:41 PM

The traditional schedule for visiting the temples is to get up early and visit as close to sunrise as possible, then return to your hotel for several hours for lunch and relaxation, then return to the temples until dusk. It's a sensible schedule.

I stayed at the Angkor Village Resort. It is lovely, though Bob is quite right, the beds are traditional and therefore, very hard. On the other hand, the hard beds made it easier for me to get up early to get to the temples at sunrise.

I liked the food at the Angkor VIllage. Order from the a la carte menu - lots of excellent Cambodian food. (Bob, I think didn't know about the a la carte menu so had the fixed menu which didn't look as good to me.)

The staff at Angkor Village were very gracious, and went out of their way to meet any request.

alice13 Jan 11th, 2005 03:54 AM

There is a great eaterie on the river front just around the corner from the old Market. In an old French mansion with tables at street level and fans, and a real Graham Greene vibe too. Can't remember the name - but, hey, isn't it part of the fun to find your own places?

The meals there were excellent and cheap.

Have you considered going to see one of the Cambodian dance offerings? If I'd had longer I would have, but my free night was taken up with a visit to a hospital concert instead. You will see it advertised on the left as you drive towards the temples.

If you are there on a Saturday, do go. And make up your own mind about what the long time Swiss expat doctor has to say.

mrwunrfl Jan 11th, 2005 04:14 AM


It is a very busy town with buses, trucks, cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians headed in every direction. It is the place to find an internet cafe $1.25 per hour vs 20 cents a minute (and v. slow) at the Sofitel.

jcontreras Jan 11th, 2005 09:44 AM

Thks all again for your guidance. We now have a better idea and we are very excited too because of your comments! We wil keep you posted. greetings.

towkay Jan 16th, 2005 06:11 AM

Stayed at Pansea Siem Reap(04/2004). A boutique hotel with nice,large rooms. Great buffet breakfast. Nice pool to come back to after a hot day sightseeing.Friendly staff,and convenient location,if you have a car & driver. Highly recommended hotel.

caligal Jan 17th, 2005 09:59 AM

Hello, I visited Siem Reap in November and have to agree with the responses in regards to the town... not beautiful, but, special in the kindness of it's people. I stayed at Raffle's Grand Hotel d'Angkor and was really disappointed. I don't want to go into any details because I am waiting on a response to my written complaint. Depending on your price range, the Victoria Hotel (www.victoriahotels-asia.com) was highly recommended by some fellow travelers from the states. Impeccable service and beautiful rooms. I tried getting a reservation via the internet and did not get a response, but, was told by the travellers that they didn't have reservations and went directly to the front desk. They had no problems getting a room ($120US?). You might also try the Foreign Correspondence Club (the "FCC") at www.fcccambodia.com. The bar is world famous in both Siem Reap and Phnom Phenh and their rooms look awesome. I had dinner at the Bayon 1, tourist friendly, great food (great price) and there is a shadow puppet show at 7:30 (nightly?). The Red Piano is also nice, the "Tombraider" cocktail is actually pretty good. Be sure to hire a guide before you leave for SEA. Check out http://andybrouwer.co.uk/guides.html. I used Kim Reing, he was great! He will even offer you a free transfer to/from the airport. It's about $20/day for his services plus an optional $20/day air-conditioned car.

JKinCALIF Jan 24th, 2005 11:43 AM

The town of Siem Reap has very little to offer that is particularly special. But there are things to do to break up the temple trips.

Don't make the mistake of trying to see them all in one day - or seeing them all day. Most guides will offer morning and afternoon visits with a mid-day break. Take the break!

Visits to the Artisans d'Angkor are wonderful. The schools provide an in-depth view of silk making and carving.

If you can get into the Angkor Conservatory, do it. It's not really open to the public and I'm not sure it's entirely legal to enter. The conservatory warehouses the sulptures and relics that were stolen from the temples and recaptured. These really are the best of the best.

The FCC Angkor is a wonderful place for lunch or dinner. The open-air diningrooms overlook the river. It's also a wonderful palce to stay. The hotel is small but spetacular in it's modern simplicity.


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