I’ve been a little apprehensive about Cambodia and have been fretting over how much I hope I enjoy it. Cambodia is my final destination in SE Asia, I have 1 month to explore it before I officially have to start the daily grind once more.Granted my daily grind will be teaching English in Thailand-but still, no more frolicking around Asia with zero responsibilities. I also read online that Cambodia was really similar to Vietnam-which I really really really didn’t like so I was getting a little worked up about the whole thing.
It turns out…I LOVE CAMBODIA! So far anyway. My expectations for Siem Reap were seriously low, I was told it’s; dirty, too busy, too touristy, tacky etc. I’ve found the opposite to be true. After spending almost 4 weeks in sleepy (and a little boring) Laos I welcomed with open arms the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap. The local cuisine is absolutely delicious, the locals couldn’t be friendlier, it’s cheap and there’s so much going on. Siem Reap for me was one of the few places I’ve instantly loved, from the first step off the tuk-tuk I thought- ‘Yep! This place is for me’.
Let me make one thing abundantly clear. No I didn’t, nor do I have any intention to visit Ankor Wat. Admit it, you’re a little shocked aren’t you? I know, I know Ankor Wat (the largest religious monument in the World for those of you that don’t know) is the only reason 99.9% of people even grace the streets of Siem Reap, hell, this city was created specifically for this temple. And yet, I’m not going. First of all, Ankor Wat is crazy expensive- $38?! I don’t think so. When I’ve told people I’m not going they’ve said ‘Isn’t it worth the money just to tell people you’ve been?’ Nope, absolutely not. In my eyes if the only reason to visit Ankor Wat is to tell people you’ve been to Ankor Wat, then Ankor Wat can’t really be worth visiting in the first place (and it’s a little sad to go somewhere just so you can boast about it to your friends). Second of all, literally thousands of people visit this place on a daily basis, it’s almost impossible to be able to enjoy it (or even see it) when there are crowds of people around you. And finally, my main reason…I just didn’t really fancy it.
Instead, I’ve spent two days wandering around the endless streets of Siem Reap; bathing in the Sunshine, soaking up the culture of a new country and getting hassled by Tuk-Tuk drivers (68 times in a few hours to be precise). I’ve been sampling the vegan delights this city has to offer-more on that later, and simply losing myself in the buzzing, dynamic atmosphere Siem Reap has to offer. I’ve loved every minute here and I cannot wait to delve deeper into my Cambodian adventure.