Smiling in Siem Reap

Welcome to Siem Reap!

IMG_0716.jpgComing from Sophisticated Singapore, the arrival in to Siem Reap, Cambodia definitely set us back in time to a simpler mindset.


The arrivals terminal was quite small.  We disembarked and filed our way into the terminal.  The weather was Very hot and Very humid, though the terminal was air conditioned.  Cambodia is a country you need a Visa to enter.  Luckily we had done the paperwork online in advance, so we were prepared.  The immigration officials were very business like, bordering on unfriendly.

Once we were processed we continued on to meet our tour guide Bhutan, who our travel agent booked through the AboutAsia  group.  These guides definitely seem to have a lock on the market in Siem Reap.  We saw their guides throughout our stay.  We were very happy with Bhutan, as well as our driver, who remained with us all during our 3 days in Siem Reap.

We went immediately to our hotel to check in and get settled.  We were super excited to check in to Bill Bensley’s Hotel,  Shinta Mani Angkor .  Bill Bensley is a design genius, and we were anxious to see the hotel in all it’s fabulousness.

It did not disappoint!  The black & white theme is carried throughout the  hotel.  I especially loved these swings in  front of the restaurant.


The Cambodian interpretation of a Christmas Tree


The pool which is surrounded by guest rooms.  Our two rooms were just alongside the left side.


There is a preponderance of marigold colored touches- the same color as the monk’s robes.


Details in every corner!


Our very cozy bed.


A very sophisticated bathroom.


An almost outdoor shower.


My motto! This sign was posted right outside our bedrooms.


The one little negative I could find- there were inadequate places to store our clothes- no dressers or drawers in the rooms. This happens to be a major pet peeve of mine.  I dislike living out of a suitcase.


As soon as we settled in, it was time for LUNCH! We were meeting our guide again in the late afternoon to get our first taste of magical Temples- so we headed off to Malis Restaurant .  Malis is well known for their modern interpretation of classic Cambodian Cuisine.  It turned out to be one of the best meals of the trip.


Everyone was in the Christmas spirit!





This Pork & Banana Blossom Salad was beautiful, and delicious!


A mountain of soft shell crabs


Perfect Fried Rice (more crab)


Roast Pork (with cold local Beer)


Rock crab Curry


and though it may be counter intuitive on such a steamy day- hot spicy Bang Kang Sour Soup.


The food was delicious, beautifully presented and clean and light.  We were ready to tackle the Temples!

Our first stop (after we picked up out three day Temple pass) was to the Banteay Kdei Temple, which dates back to the mid 12th Century.  It is hard to describe just how spectacular these Temple sites are.  Our guide timed our visit perfectly- the crowds were not too heavy, and the sunlight was just perfect for taking photos.

At the entrance of the Temple we passed these two elephants.


You can’t help but smile in Siem Reap!


The details are astounding everywhere you look


The best part is the ability to explore among the ruins.


The spectacular root systems in these trees are especially photogenic.


Like an enchanted forest.


After wandering through and soaking up some of the magic, we embarked on a sunset boat ride on the moat of Angkor Thom.  This was incredibly peaceful, aided by cold beers and Vodka Tonics provided by Bhutan!




Spectacular sunset.


At the conclusion of our ride we were taken back to the hotel, and enjoyed a quick dinner in the hotel restaurant.  We were exhausted!


On the way back to our rooms we couldn’t help but admire the lotus flowers decorating the path back to our rooms.IMG_0770 2.jpg

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