Reaping Culture: Life in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is one of the major provinces of Cambodia. It feels like a city because of its flourishing tourism. Knowing a few things about the place can make your trip meaningful. Here are some quick and easy facts about Siem Reap.

Getting around Siem Reap is easy if you book a hotel in the right place or choose to stay at a hostel that can help you arrange bicycle rentals. A good place to find lodging is around the Old French Quarters area which is practically a 15 minute walk from the places to see in town.

The TukTuk, not your average Tricycle

★ There are no taxis here just the good old TukTuk which can carry 4 passengers. You can get around Siem Reap by taking a Tuk Tuk, a bicycle, a motorcycle, or if you are on a tour package a private vehicle should be provided for you. 
a.) A whole day tour by TukTuk would cost $15USD.
b.) minimum TukTuk fare is $2USD per person

★ You can transact in US dollars. Locals prefer it over their own money when transacting with foreigners.

Fun facts about Siem Reap and the Khmer People.
★ Cambodia used to be a French colony, they speak better French than English. Although French has been replaced by English in their curriculum. Both boys and girls attend school that follows the K-12 system.

Their script is not to be confused with Thai although it looks slightly similar.

For example: បង្គន់ pahkuhn (Khmer) ► ห้องน้ำ hông náam (Thai) ► Baño (Tagalog)
now you can find the toilet

And if you are a keen listener, Khmer sounds like Thai and Cantonese (or maybe that's just me)

★  Khmer pop music is often presented in karaoke. Their Pop music style is influenced by Chinese music. You are better off listening to the ethnic minority music. You can buy this at the airport bookstore. I haven't been able to check out a local music store but I was told that a CD of a particular ethnic group is sold in one of the temples.

★ Cambiodians have an inside joke that where ever there are palm trees that place used to be a part of Cambodia. And so the Philippines became part of Cambodia like that.

The National symbols
★ Their National Flag
★ Their national animal is the Elephant
★ National flower is Lotus
National dish is Amok. Its fish and vegetables cooked in coconut milk, make sure you try it.

★ Their government is Unitary Parliament constitutional Monarchy which means they have a prime minister who practically runs the country. They have a King but he not as powerful as the prime minister. Toto, I have a feeling we're not in London anymore.

★ Peak season for tourisrts is from November to April; The hot and rainy season is from June to August. November to February is winter season (but it doesn't snow here); and from March to May is summer.

The early Khmer civilization heavily relied on a very intricate water system. Baray (water wheels) were used to transport water for irrigation.
A baray replica which can be found in the Siem Reap Art Center.

According to folktale the Mekong River was carved out by the Naga and is believed to be living in the river up to this day. Swim at you own risk.

Spas and massage treatments are popular in Siem Reap but nothing has topped our experience at the fish spa along Street 11 (Near Pub Street) for the price of $1USD. There are a lot of these around the Pub Street area, some even claim "No Piranha, Promise"
Lets give fish a chance
★ Souvenirs to take home from Cambodia are mixed spices (mixed peppers or curry), palm sugar, tiger or monkey balm (for your colds and kasukasuhan) and tea herbs (especially the Lotus).

Every trip is different and you might pick up fun facts about Cambodia that I haven't. I'd love to know what else there is to discover.

Till then, have a fun trip to Siem Reap!

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