Siem Reap

Siem Reap is located in northwest Cambodia.  The city name means Siamese defeated, rooted from the victory of the Khmer Empire over the Thai in 17th century.   It remained quiet for decades.  Until the discovery of Angkor temples, tourism has flourished and hotels mushroomed.  Development and new hotels seem to continue.

Siem Reap is located at the shore of the greatest lake in Asia, Tonle Sap.  A visit and tour by boat is a good alternative to sandstones temples.   The city is catered for all kinds of visitors, from budget to luxury.  Loads of pubs, cafés and restaurants stand in the old market and around.  Quality is unexpectedly good.

It took us 6 hours from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.  Scenes of green fields, poor houses, children going home after school interchanged.  Most common were the dusty road ahead and vehicle horning.

Siem Reap Old Market
Our mini coach stopped at the old market.  We were greeted by tuk tuk drivers, trying to take us to hotel or book the next days.  The trip to the hotel with two luggages cost US3.  Daily rental price depends on the distance.

Our hotel is on Oum Khun Street, not right at the old market but within 15 to 20 minutes walk.  It is good to walk back substituting exercise in gym. We first explored the city by strolling along the river.  It was quiet.   Families, friends, lovers enjoy the transquil moments there.  Along the way is Wat Preah Prom Rath, one of the oldest temples in the country.

Following the river through will come to the centre where more people and vehicles were.  The darker it became, the more vibrant was the city centre.

Another temple on our last day, Wat Bo Lanka.  It is beautiful but  no tourist.  Lots of reliefs on the outside wall show wrestling, quite typical for the country which wars never ceased in its history.



Phnom Penh - Central Market, Wat Phnom

Feb 2014
The Central Market (Phsar Thmei) in Phnom Penh is art deco style.  The site was originally a swamp. It collected rain water.  But it was converted to the current form in 1935-37.  
The building is in the form of a cross with a dome in the central part.  All kinds of stuff were sold here.  Most popular ones are gold and silver, jewelery, souvenir, electronic appliances, mens and womens apparel.  Fruit stalls were limited.  If you wish to stock fruits, it's better to head to the Old Market at Street 13.  The market is opened from 7am to 5pm. Nearby are the highest buildings in Phnom Penh.

Wat Phnom is situated at the only hill in Phnom Penh.  The first pagoda was erected in 1373 to house 4 budda statues discovered by a woman called Penh.

You can reach the top (27m) in all different directions.  One side stand naga and lions, guarding the pagoda.  On another side, a clock on the green lawn. Down there is a park.  Locals enjoy the shadow and nature, sell stuff.  Tourists are charged more for a visit to the pagoda.  I can't remember if it's US1 for 1 or 2 persons. We saw the first apsara there.
We saw the city on foot.  It's the best way to be close to the locals and see how they lead their life. It can be people resting from the heat, busy at earning their life, relax in the river........

Phnom Penh Chaktomuk Conference Hall


Phnom Penh - Phsar Chas, Tonle Sap Morning and Evening

Feb 2014

Our second day in Phnom Penh began at the Old Market (Phsar Chas).  In fact, it's me alone as my partner was still sleeping. The market is located at Street 13, around 10 minutes walk from our hotel at Street 178.  It sells all kinds of food: fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, dry food, noodles, spices, etc.  The hygiene for meat was so so.  I saw sometimes dead hens under the stall, directly on the wet floor.  Fruits were fresh and good.  I bought mango, papaya and mangosteen.

The morning in Phnom Penh was very busy.  Hawkers were moving their food carts around. Low tables and stools lining across.  All sorts of food, smoke.........White collars, blue collars and monks were busy for getting their breakfast in every corners.  Strangers could be connected with food quickly.


For the return I took the river side.  The sights, lights were very different from the day or night. It's much quiet.  The light in the morning casted a romantic, mysteric feeling.

Wat Ounalom

The river side was quite deserted during the day as the heat made ones suffer.  Families, hawkers, friends all pop up in the evening.