The title of this post is quite random amd that’s because my time in Siam Reap was a bit like that. I ended up spending a week here as the girls were still in Thailand and I wanted to wait for them to catch up so we could do the rest of Cambodia together. It was definitely too much time but it was a fun week nonetheless!
The whole journey from Koh Chang to Siem Reap pissed me off quite a bit. I bought a bus and boat ticket from a travel agent in Koh Chang and everything was fine until we got to the border, or near the border I should say. They were meant to take us to the official border control where we would then complete the relevant visa forms and pay $30. Instead they took us to their offices/cafe which was miles away from the border and left us with no other choice than to do it through them. For $42. I spoke to a lovely man who thought it necessary to raise his voice at me and he informed me that the bus wouldn’t wait for me if I went to the border myself. I’d have to make my own way to Siam Reap. I know it was only a $12 difference but I absolutely hate getting ripped off, and there was no need to be so rude. I’ve been travelling long enough now to know that getting ripped off is standard procedure sometimes but it just aggravated me.
I spent the first two days exploring Angkor Wat and chilling at the hostel. I also found a great vegetarian cafe called Peace Cafe with a nice outdoor area.
After three days the girls finally arrived so we had celebratory reunion beers in a bar on pub street. How was it a whole month already since I’d seen them?! Pub street is a bit like Khoa San Road in Bangkok or Bui Vien St in Ho Cho Minh in the sense that there are loads of backpackers drinking beer in noisy bars, except it’s so much more colourful! There are so many lights and decorations hanging above the streets. I also love how there’s a huge ‘PUB STREET’ sign at every entrance. It was actually a civilised night, everyone was knackered.
The following day was a chance to get creative at the Khmer Ceramics Centre and try our hand at pottery. Which by the way, I am terrible at! It was very messy and I seemed to do a particularly good job at splatting clay across my whole body. The spinning wheel is manual so you have to peddle it yourself while trying to concentrate on moulding the clay. I managed to make five bowls but if it wasn’t for the assistant helping (basically making bowls for me in such an effortless way) I would’ve just ended up with a clay mess!
We spent most evenings wandering around the night market. It sells the usual garb and there’s cheap street food. Cambodians love snacking on bugs and I was peer pressured into trying snake. It was weird! The outside was so hard like a boiled sweet and the inside tasted like chicken. You can tell by my face whether I liked it or not…
Being here for a week gave me plenty of time for people watching. All of the Cambodian people I met were so lovely and the kids are adorable!
I did experience another scamming incident again, but this one was completely unexpected! I was standing in the street and a barefooted girl around seven years old ran up to me, smiling and holding my hand. She was dragging me to the shop and I was a bit reluctant but like the softie I am I thought ahh she just wants some food I don’t mind buying some for her. Anyway, she took me to a shelf stacked with powdered milk and made a baby gesture with her arms. Again, I assumed her family needed it so I took it to the cashier. “$25 please.” What?! There’s no way I could afford that. A smaller tub was $15 and I couldn’t afford that either. I said sorry to the girl and asked if she wanted some other food or drink but she just threw a tantrum. We walked out of the shop and she tried to stop me from walking on. She then proceeded to say “fuck you” and punched me (lightly) in the back. Urm what just happened!? I googled ‘milk scam siem reap’ afterwards and apparently it’s a common occurrence. The milk is sold back to the shops who split the price with the gangs, hence the extortionate price. If only I knew that beforehand!
Aside from the scams, Siam Reap was a great intro to Cambodia and made me very excited to see what else it has to offer!