Reaping culture: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Before I left for Cambodia, the Angkor Wat was the only thing that made Cambodia significant to me. Siem Reap has made me see the value in Asian social studies back in high school.
because visiting "Kingdoms" is like catching a unicorn dancing on its back.

To get to Siem Reap we took a connecting flight from Vietnam. Alternatively the more popular way to get there is by taking bus from Thailand, Vietnam or Laos but the group I traveled are set in investing our time in touring over traveling. (Kaya hindi ko kayo bibitinin sa kaka-intro).

The time in Cambodia is an hour late from Manila time but you know, any time is a good time to eat. Our tour guide Mr. Hol Ny whom we simply call "Ny" and our trustee driver named "Mum" (who is not your mother or mine) brought us to Randonal for a taste of Khmer food. I made it a point to try their national dish "Haa mok trey" or "Amok" for short.

Amok is made of vegetables and fish cooked in coconut milk. It is often served during the water festival of Tonle Sap Lake to celebrate the reversal of the water flow of the river. Because the flow of water in Tonle Sap changes seasonally.

Amok served in a coconut. Cambodia is rich with coconut and palm trees, true story
After checking in Casa Angkor Hotel, we took a river tour at Tonle Sap Lake. It is the biggest freshwater lake in the whole of Southeast Asia. It is both a geographical and sociological wonder that makes it worth the visit. There we visited a floating village called Chong Khneas. Its population is made up of Vietnamese and Cham settlers. One would be amazed with their floating mini-marts, market, school, and church. Their main source of livelihood is fishing and tourism.

Marz Today: Tonle Sap, Cambodia from Marz Ren on Vimeo.

Although it is the start of the rainy season the lake has not yet expanded thus making the water murky and shallow. Just imagine Marikina River + Badjao = you do the math.
A floating school. With more of these we won't have to worry about missing classes because of floods

Another interesting thing about this place is the people and some striking similarities.
Plus a lot of exotic finds at a floating restaurant which include ginseng wines with scorpions, snakes, in-house fish ponds and a crocodile farm (as seen in the video). Parang SM, they have it all for you.

On the way back to the Old Market Area I was able to go to a lotus field. I even got to eat lotus fruit. This shower head looking fruit is harvested from the flower once the petals fall off. It can be consumed without cooking. The seeds tastes like peanuts. They say that eating lotus seeds makes you forget... about your past and think brightly of the future.
Mum having a hard time opening a lotus fruit.

By night we were dropped of at the Old Market Area, just a 15 minute walk from our hotel Casa Angkor. Pub street is the heart of the provincial night-life in Siem Reap. Nearby shops centers being the Night market, Old Market and Art Center which are all walking distance away if you are coming from Street 11. These establishments close at 10p.m. or until their are customers.
Pub street is literally what it is named, a whole street of must-try restaurants and pubs mostly aimed for tourists and expats. You can't go wrong with any of the restaurants you'll find on Pub street just let your crave of the night decide. Some of the popular pubs and restaurants here are Champey, Amok, Banana Leaf, and Cambodian BBQ where my dinner was served raw with coal fired hot pots.
Cambodian BBQ specializes in all sorts of exotic meats like Snake, Ostrich, Kangaroo, Goat, Frogs, Crocodile (photo on the right, which is what I had because of the doctor's order that I can't have beef). I am sorry vegetable diet, I had Lacoste for dinner.

For palette cleansing we walked down the street to Red Piano Bar where their signature Tomb Raider cocktail is a must add in your travel itinerary.
End of day 1 in Siem Reap, Cambodia

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