By Weixuan Lu, MA Education
Part one of the series consisted of things to expect when visiting Cambodia – the people and its temples. Here’s Part Two, consisting of more highlights Cambodia has to offer, and some traveller’s tips at the very end.
The amazing sunrises and sunsets
Angkor Wat is also famous for its sunrises. There’s no time in the day more impressive than the sunrise. People are willing to get to Angkor Wat before 5:30 am, to find the best spot to wait and watch the sunrise. And you can tick off one thing from your bucket list after seeing the sunrise in Angkor Wat. The view will never fail you either. It all sounds very crazy, but it’s definitely worth waking up early for the moment.
Personally, I’m a sunset person. I love chasing sunsets wherever I go. And Cambodia is a good place for it.
Whether you love waiting for sunset or not, Tonle Sap Lake is another place in Siem Reap you can’t miss. It’s best to go with a local guide you trust, to avoid being over-charged when you take the boat.
Tonle Sap Lake is also known for its floating villages. Some living on the floating villages are originally from Vietnam, but don’t have nationality.
If you’re not a fan of places tourists go for sunsets, Siem Reap airport might be a good alternative for you! How amazing to see so many locals here for sunset as well! When they see the aeroplane take off, will they desire to see the outside world? I think they do.
Or you can also ask your tuktuk driver where they go watch the sunset with their friends and family!
Watching the sunset in the countryside could be really fun for hill walking lovers! Who’s going to say ‘no’ to the extra walk and amazing sunset?!!
The Street food
Almost all kinds of food can be found on the pub street. If you can’t live without food from your home country, it won’t be a big problem. But why not try the local food as you’re already in Cambodia? Its street food will never fail you. You can get a decent portion for 1-2 dollars only! Can you imagine that?? And it tastes good. Just go to stalls local students line up for.
Arts and crafts shops
One thing I like to do when I travel is ‘get lost’ in the city. Exploring the city without any plan, and following the way my heart tells me to.
There are many charity handicrafts shops in Siem Reap, supporting local women and children.
The Hidden Places
Travelling with locals is the best way to experience the city. You get to know what their life looks like, and visit places only locals know.
Visiting the countryside of Siem Reap, I have the chance to see different sides of this city. Most people’s lives are harder than what I thought. What makes me unforgettable is their genuine smiles never fade away. They are still seeking the pure happiness in the life they have.
A glimpse of local people’s life.
During my time in Cambodia, my tuktuk driver also took me to a rural mountain where tourists will not be able to reach, without a reliable local friend. If you are also an adventurer and want to get rid of your phone for a day, this place is highly recommended.
Travelling to Cambodia is quite affordable for students. It normally costs less than 10 dollars to stay in a hostel, and some hostels even include free airport pick-up and free breakfast at this price. Nonetheless, Cambodia is a country with adventure and kindness. Going to Cambodia was my first time travelling alone, staying in a hostel, and making friends on the road. It’s always hard to take the first step, isn’t it? But after choosing to be brave, and open yourself up, the world will open to you as well! That’s what I always remind myself when I travel. Siem Reap is the only city I visited in Cambodia. The capital city Phnom Penh and south coast are definitely worth going as well! Have you ever been to Cambodia? If yes, please share your stories with us!
Some tips/facts about Cambodia:
Currency: They use US dollars and Riel (their local currency), when the change is less than one dollar.
People: Khmer people are really artistic and amazing language talent.
Custom: You need to take off your shoes before going into someone’s house. If you are staying in a hotel or hostel, you still need to take off your shoes before you go to the reception. It’s a way of showing respect.