Siem Reap PhotoJournal
Better late, than never right?...
It has been four whole months since we have been back in the states after a year's worth of travel. Our "homeless honeymoon" began to evolve back in December one morning as I woke up in Siem Reap, Cambodia certain that I was pregnant. My period was bound to begin any day, but my typical symptoms were entirely different. The first morning that we had decided to temple hop, the boys had stopped for some gasoline and drinks as I wandered behind a hut to vomit. As I hacked into the dirt, I talked to a mama dog who I knew had some puppies somewhere, because she was heavy with milk. Something incredible stirred inside of me, but at the same time, I questioned my intuition.
Later that day, after feeling like I was seeing the world differently, I took a pee test that yielded a negative result. Our time was going to be short in Siem Reap, so I did not want to spend it hanging onto a false feeling. We filled our few days with motorbike rides that departed before the sun rose and endless temple explorations.
Siem Reap is a magical city that, in contrast, can feel overrun by cheesy tourist traps and stressful crowds. A great way to pull away from the tourist population is to rent a motorbike (which many people will tell you that you cannot do). This will save you money, but also give you the freedom from being hassled by drivers and allow you to create your own schedule when you visit the notorious Angkor temples. Below our photos, I will highlight some great dining options and tips for navigating around the ancient city.
Below are our top tips for exploring Siem Reap:
-Rent a motorbike: If you or a partner you are with are knowledgeable and capable of riding a motorbike, ask around about rentals. We paid less than $10US per day, and were able to be in full control of our schedule. Most locals will try to convince you that you cannot rent or ride a motorbike, but once we found some, no one bothered us with any more questions. It is very popular in Siem Reap to hire a tuk tuk driver or bicycle rickshaw for the day and tour the temples. This option is affordable, but you will be tied to your driver for the entire day and may only experience restaurants/temples/shops/ect. that the driver has connections with.
-Get out before sunrise and as the sun is setting: We were able to experience some of the best sunrises over temples with little to no people interrupting the moment. It is totally worth it to get up in the dark and be at a destination before first light anywhere in the ancient grounds. The tour buses and hoards of tourists will start filtering in within a couple hours of sunrise, so explore and get all of the amazing photos that you can. We found it really nice to head back, get some breakfast, and take a morning nap before heading out again. Sunset is also a great time to get into the temples. Most of the buses are gone, so it is much easier to get great photos and have a more authentic experience.
-Eat at Marum Restaurant: For a dining experience that also gives back to an issue that Cambodia struggles with, Marum is tasty and authentic. Cambodia does have challenges with wrongfully profitable orphanages and children being "pimped out" to beg. Because of this, and the fact that Cambodia is a very poor country, children are taken advantage of and, a lot of times, miss out on education in order to make money from tourists. Marum Restaurant is a great start to educating tourists on beneficial ways to help the children, rather than encourage them and their families to beg. It provides service-industry knowledge to youths, so that they are able to someday make a living within the growing tourism industry. Also, be sure to read up on the scams and orphanage issues that Cambodia has before giving money to children or volunteering.
-Make the trip out to visit the Cambodia Landmine Museum: If you have rented a motorbike, this is an awesome drive through the countryside to this destination. The museum was founded by an ex-child soldier who has made it his duty and passion to find and disarm landmines throughout the country, especially in remote villages where many children and families are personally still inflicted by this issue. Along with loads of information, this museum also doubles as a school and home to children who have personally lost limbs or have been hurt by landmines. It truly is an eye-opening and life-changing experience.
Thank you so much for reading along! Our info and tips on here are just the bare minimum, so, as always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions you have. We always love chatting with other travelers and exchanging tips and ideas!
Love- Trevor and Bree