How to NOT ORGANIZE a trip to Siem Reap
Editor’s Note: Here’s a fun take on a trip our traveler, Morgane, took on a first solo trip in Cambodia. Morgane recounts that not all trips to Siem Reap have to be perfectly organized from the get-go. All content and images are from the contributor.
My mother is the best trip organizer I know. Unluckily we cannot say the same thing about me.
It has been a few months since I’m living in Phnom Penh. It is a busy and crowded town and after a few weeks, you just feel you got to go out of it.
The thing is I am really busy working on several projects for work. I ended up booking a guesthouse online and since I had the BookMeBus application on my phone, I just took a bus ticket on it.
As I wanted to arrive there on Friday, I took a night bus with Seila Angkor Express. My friends were telling me I wouldn’t be able to sleep on the bus, but I was positively surprised by the bus and enjoy a nice night on it. They even changed drivers after the first half of the ride.
I arrived at 5AM in the morning and just walked to the nearest market to enjoy the early activities there. After a while and arming myself with some hot bananas, I went to the Riverside and sat there a bit, just watching the sunrise turn the sky into an amazing and colorful show.
As I am a coffee lover, I headed towards the first coffee opened, which happened to be Brown Coffee and drank a lovely mocha. The space was great and the staff adorable.
Well, I had a team meeting at 9PM, so I went to The 1961, which is an art gallery and a coworking space in the West Upper Riverside to work for the day. I basically just worked remotely for the day into this nice and spacious environment.
Siem Reap surprised me, I was expecting a bigger city, with a lot of infrastructures and roads, but basically, in comparison to Phnom Penh, it just looks like a huge village to me. But a very peaceful and interesting village. I didn’t borrow a bike and just enjoyed walking for the weekend. The tuktuk drivers were asking me every 5 meters but I still enjoyed the atmosphere there.
On the Friday evening, I went to an event organized by AngkorHUB, another coworking space located next to the Night market to hear Robin Biddulph talk about his experience in Cambodia. I’ve learnt a lot from it and met the Hub’s community.
That is why I decided to go back there on the Saturday morning to work on my programming skills. I lunched with the team and met new people full of projects before heading to a meeting with the game studio Direxplay. They explained me everything I wanted to know about their business and their vision for the future. I walked out of the interview and downloaded their most famous game ‘Sok and Sao’s adventure’.
I went to Wat Bo on my own, walking through the streets and stopping at the Old Market. I took the time to play with a kid and asked for directions before entering the Wat. It was really quiet and there weren’t a lot of tourists there. I took some pictures and admired the architecture and the wall paintings.
Afterwards, I visited to the brand new Biolab Café as a good friend of mine told me to check the place out. I stayed there enough to enjoy some coffee and snacks. Accompanied later with two friends, I discovered the khmer BQQ and spent the dinner talking and laughing. It was then the time to discover the famous Pub Street and the Temple. We have a drink over here and keep on spending the night talking.
My Sunday morning was about waking up smoothly, walking in the quiet streets, discovering new coffee places such New Leaf, doing some writing.
I left Siem Reap in a mini-van with Golden Bayon Express and it was very punctual. I slept during all the ride so I didn’t notice the 5 hours.
It was my first solo trip in Cambodia, and I loved it.