Cambodia Calling: Siem Reap

We went to Cambodia for a long weekend. We were able to go just for a weekend as we went on a direct flight into Siem Reap. This direct flight is not a well known fact to people in Hong Kong. We went with our friends Teddy and Allie, and their baby Cooper. What do you do in Siem Reap? Lots of temples!

We arrive at our hotel, Angkor Village Hotel & Resort. Good location, friendly staff, convenient location and a great breakfast. 


After breakfast, we meet our guide and head out to tour the temples. First stop, Ta Prohm. This is the temple where the film Tomb Raider was filmed.

Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm has been left in much the same condition in which it was found.  Trees  are seen growing out of the ruins, but some are being chopped down for preservation purposes.


Teddy and baby Cooper

Totally snuck a picture while this girl was posing

Exit gate

Terrace of Elephants outside Phimeanakas Temple

The 350m-long Terrace of Elephants was used as a giant reviewing stand for public ceremonies and served as a base for the king's grand audience hall.

Just in case you weren't sure

Phimeanakas Temple

I was wearing a tank top (did I mention it was hot) so I wasn't allowed to go into this temple. I stayed on the ground with the guide while the boys went up.

This was a Buddha lying on his side. I can barely make it out in the photo, but it was easier to see in person.

This diagram tries to show you the Buddha in detail

We made our way to Prasat Bayon

This temple was built in the late 12th as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII.  Its most distinctive feature is the multitude of massive stone faces on the towers. Our guide said all the faces were just slightly different.

Local monks

A refreshing beer at lunch 

Next up, Angkor Wat. Built in the early 12th century, this is the largest Hindu temple complex and the largest religious monument in the world.  It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.

I wanted to take home all the little Cambodian children.


Paul explained that people were "cooking" these clams by letting them "bake" in the sun. It was hot, but not so sure I would trust this form of so-called cooking. They smelled quite ripe.

Boys being boys.

Giving the monkeys a drink.

Unfortunately, right about this time, the heat gets to me and I nearly faint (a first for me). We have to call it an afternoon and head back to hotel. Little Cooper was also over heated so it was good we called it when we did. It is no understatement that it gets hot here, and we went at one of the coolest times of the year. I can't stress enough to drink lots of water.

After a cold shower and a cat nap, we are ready to take on the evening.

Dinner at Sugar Palm- great food and cheap. You must eat here if you go to Siem Reap.

Allie and Teddy headed home with the baby while Matt and I explored the "Pub Street" area.

 All the fish pedicure places specified "No Piranha", just in case you were concerned

The next morning, Matt and I head out on our own with guide. Teddy and Allie join us later for the afternoon.

This is the womens temple, but some refer to it as the pink temple as it is carved from red sandstone. Banteay Srei means “city of women”. It is smaller but I think this was my favorite of the temples. Such detail!  Built  in the late 10th century, half of it is dedicated to the Hindu god, Shiva and the other half to Hindu God Vishnu. Its ruins were discovered in 1914 and its first restorations began in 1931.


This temple only have 5 pillars in the window (vs. 7 at Angkor What) and this style is significantly older.



Loved the monkeys in the courtyard

We walked to the van on a "VIP path" as our guide called it.

Matt with our guide, Paul. I forgot how little he was.

Before the next temple, we stop along the small villages that we had passed on the way. No electricity in these towns. This woman is selling sugar palm candies. They make this when rice is no longer in season. The candies tasted like a really sweet praline with no pecans.

This is what a sugar palm looks like. These were used as decoration at the Sugar Palm restaurant we went to, but didn't know what they were at the time.

Boiling of the sugar palm sugar.

Of course I bought some baskets. I didn't even try to bargain with these people. Figured they needed the money more than I did. Gasoline is in the yellow bottles below.


More palm sugar. 

Paul even buys a fishing basket.

One more temple before we break for lunch, take a break from the heat. Not sure what the name of this one was. 


It was steep


Back on the road again.

Lunch time.

A restaurant full of people and the cat sits next to me. How do cats always seem to know you are allergic?

After the hottest part of the afternoon is over, we head back out over to the floating village. Chong Kneas is a floating village located by the border of the Tonle Sap Lake (about 30 minutes away from the heart of Siem Reap). It cost $20USD but we enjoyed it. It gets terrible reviews on Trip Advisor, but we went with our guide and we weren’t forced to buy anything as the reviews claim. If you run out of time, you can skip this part and just head to the hammock bars. Keep reading for more details on that.

Yes, I am aware that my husband is wearing the ugliest tank top ever made (in his defense, he bought it as a joke). Looks great in the pictures honey. Good job.

 Know anyone at UNICEF? Maybe they should see this excellent school they donated. Keep up the great work guys.

Time for a pit stop.

I am not sure I fully understand what all the boats were doing. From what I gathered, they were begging for our bottles so they could recycle them and just begging for USD. Paul discouraged us from doing either. All the kids had pet snakes which was odd.

Aboard the floating restaurant, they had crocs. This one was missing a hand.

There are no words. Did I mention I love this tank top?

Another kid with a snake. He just and kept asking for one dollar, one dollar...I gave in.

Before heading back to the hotel, we take a load off at this hammock bar place. These little huts where everywhere along the road. When it is the wet season, the water comes right up to the deck and fishermen sit in the hammocks and fish. For us, it was just beers and hammocks. I should thank the person who got this idea going. Now if we could just get one of these in Hong Kong.

Paul hangs out with us for a beer (we have a driver that remains sober, not to worry). Paul also tells us that he has never been asked to stop at one of these places in all of his years of being a guide.                                                                              

Our view from the hammocks

As we end our tour, I had to get a photo of our driver (left) and our guide Paul (right).

Our last day, we headed back to Angkor Wat sans tour guide. Matt wanted to do Round 2 since our first trip was cut short due to the heat. The morning was nice a cool.

Note- try to plan to come to this temple in the morning or at sunset while the water lilies are in bloom.

I wore a skirt so I wasn't able to climb.

It was an amazing trip. If you live in Hong Kong or are just passing through HK, make a pit stop here. We did 2 full days with the tour guide and one day on our own and I think that is the way to do it. Definitely try to go in their winter months as it is cooler. We went during their winter and it was still close to 100 degrees every afternoon we were there.  It is cooler in the morning and at night so plan accordingly.

Paul is the top tour guide from our hotel. He is native to the area, has a wealth of knowledge and priceless stories. 


Sugar Palm Restaurant: Ta Phul Road, Siem Reap (400m south of the Caltex gas station)

Flight: Details: Tonlesap Airlines Corp. is an airline with its head office in Phnom Penh. It is a regional carrier operating domestic and regional flights to neighbouring countries. Its main base is Phnom Penh International Airport.  Not set up in the traditional way of booking flights (we had to speak to a travel agent in Taipei to set it up), so if you want to book, reach out to Matt and he can give you the details.


  1. LOVE the post. Thank you for sharing these amazing photos. Looking forward to our next trip!! XO


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