1/18/2015

Siem Reap 2014 Day 1

I went to Siem Reap for the 3rd time in Dec 2014, this time with sisters. It's my 1st time visiting during a peak season; the cool weather was pleasant but the downside is huge crowds at the attractions. Many asked me why Siem Reap again? Simply put, I experience something new every time and it is really a nice place to visit! 
Hotel courtyard
Hotel restaurant
Breakfast menu
We checked into Malika D'Angkor, a boutique hotel not too far from town. We had breakfast while the hotel prepared our room. The breakfast menu was simple but the portion was quite filling; the pastries are baked by the in-house chef and of all the main dishes, the noodles was the best. Our room was on the top floor and there was no elevator but it was nice to have 3 x single beds in a spacious room and a nice view of the pool below. 
Local coffee - too bad no condensed milk!
Raisin danish, sausages and omelette
Pancake drizzled with syrup
Croissants
Beds fit for 3
1 sis decided to sleep off the fatigue from the early morning flight, so me & the other sis hopped into a tuk tuk to get postcards from the post office. It was a liberating experience to feel the cool air on our faces and the tuk tuk driver expertly navigating through the traffic. The post office had a simple facade and it was near the palace. We then continued on through the countryside towards Tonle Sap lake.
The post office
Rice fields
En route to Tonle Sap
We paid 50 USD each to get a boat ride to the floating village and it was my worst experience ever: the guide was complaining about tourists from other countries (namely US, UK, NZ, Australia) for being stingy and lamented about the poverty of his people. He also insisted we visit the orphanage and buy a bag of rice (for a ridiculous 30 USD), despite me telling him I did so during my last visit
Out on the lake
Part of the village
His rude nature turned me off and I was a little afraid that we were both 2 girls alone with 2 men on a boat in the middle of a huge freshwater lake. So I insisted we head on back, I didn't want to spend another minute going to the crocodile farm or to the village center. The bugger insisted on a 10 USD time, so fine, that was my little charity of the day.

Note to self: next time I will take a proper river cruise when the water isn't muddy and without a rude guide. 
Good to be back

The tuk tuk driver informed that the villagers on the lake are actually Vietnamese and he personally feels the boat rides are a rip-off; he called them cheats and thieves. I agreed in this particular instance! >( It was good to come back and have a good rest. However this was when we realized we didn't bring enough cash! I spoke to the hotel manager, Mr. Rith and he was helpful - he informed that there is a Maybank ATM in town and allowed me to use his phone to call Maybank and credit card banks back home about my location overseas. We decide to have dinner at the hotel since we can charge it to our credit card and pay upon check out. 
Restaurant interior
Fish amok
Sour seafood soup
Grilled pork chop
The restaurant was quiet: we were the only guests there along with a single Caucasian guest. The menu had the must-haves; amok and lok lak. We had the fish amok, sour seafood soup (that tastes like mild tom yam) and grilled pork chop. The fish amok was the best dish - the coconut milk was light and the ingredients were fresh. We slept early for the adventure of Day 2! 

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