Siem Reap: Days 1 to 4

I’ve been in Siem Reap for four days now. Today, I’m changing my hostel from White Rabbit Hostel to The Twizt Lifestyle Hostel because they played music until 11 PM at the White Rabbit and I had a hard time getting sleep for the past few nights.

The White Rabbit is a party hostel and I met a few people there, including Nelce, Ciaran, Tommy, Juan, Martin, and Joe. They are a mix of people from Indonesia, Germany, UK, Argentina, and other parts of Europe that I don’t remember. The greatest thing about staying at hostels is to meeting people from different countries. It was a good change from staying at quieter places.

I didn’t do much exploring during the first day and just chilled at the hostel, relaxed in the swimming pool, and played pool. It’s only $3.25 to stay per night at this hostel, the cheapest price on my trip.

I was glad to see that people drive on the right side of the road in Cambodia, compared to Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, where everyone drives on the left side of the road. For some reason, it reminds me of home.

Also Cambodia uses dual currency, Cambodian Riel and US dollar. The exchange rate is 4000 KHR to 1 USD. Since I heard about fake dollars in Cambodia, I mainly use the Cambodian Riels.

On the second day, I signed up for a floating village tour at Kampong Phluk in the afternoon for $18. The tour guide explained that the four main economies in Cambodia are farming, rubber trees, clothing, and tourism. I was surprised that tourism is ranked fourth and not higher.

The floating village is interesting because there are so many houses on stilts. They can be as high as 10 meters above the ground. When the wet season comes the water level can reach that high. And there are so many of these houses, over 2000 in one village. There are four villages nearby.

On the tour, I met Ollie, a Canadian traveler and Pat, a retired American who lives in San Diego. I got along better with Ollie because he wasn’t as political as Pat. Hearing Ollie’s stories about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and hiking through New Zealand impressed me. He’s 32 years old and will work in Australia at a mining company before going to Belgium to meet his girlfriend.

Pat is 63 years old and divorced with four children. He told me that he only reads sports news, but informed me that the upcoming US presidential election will be won by Trump because the polls show that Trump is winning all the swing states. I don’t know where he got that information if he only reads sports news. He dislike Biden and called him a warmonger because the US is involved in four wars. I got a sense that Pat is Trumper and avoided talking politics with him.

The next day, I walked to downtown Siem Reap in the morning and did some exploring. It’s a small town so it’s very walkable. I had breakfast at the old market. My meal was only $2. One can live comfortably for $10 to $15 per day here, including housing and meals. I walked all the way to Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chorm Shrine then came back to the hostel. In the afternoon, I was supposed to go on a bicycle ride that’s organized by Tommy, the hostel staff, but he canceled it at the last minute.

Yesterday morning, I woke up at 4 AM for the Angkor Wat sunrise tour. I didn’t sleep well because of the music that played late into the night, so I was tired during the entire tour.

The tour itself was $13. Plus $37 for an one day admission fee of the Angkor Wat temple and other temples, the total was $50. I felt the tour guide was nice, but I wish I had more time just roaming around the temples. In the end, I saw Angkor Wat, which is the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, then Ta Prohm Temple, also known as the Tomb Raider temple because it was in the movie of the same name. The last two temples we saw were Prasat Ta Keo and Bayon Temple. Every temple was unique, but the weather was so hot that I looked forward to coming back to the hostel, which I did at 12:30 PM.

This morning after breakfast, I got a haircut for $5. The shorter hair definitely feels better due to the heat in Cambodia. It’s over 100 F everyday. With the humidity, the temperature is around 115 F.

I heard that there isn’t much to do in Phnom Penh, so I decided to stay in Siem Reap for seven days and six days in Phnom Penh. I don’t know what else I want to do in Siem Reap, but I want to relax more and take it easy. I have about two weeks left of my travels and I feel a sense of closure coming on. I also hope at The Twizt Hostel I’ll get better sleep without the loud late night music.

My first meal in Cambodia

White Rabbit Hostel

I love this message from Tevy's Place, a restaurant nearby.

And the food was great at Tevy's Place!

Morning coffee at Dialogue

Street view from Dialogue

Houses at floating village in Kampong Phluk

Boats at Kampong Phluk are docked on land until the wet season.

People chilling underneath the houses to escape the heat.

Dried fish. Flies are free.

Woman putting fish on skewers.

More Kampong Phluk

Imagining growing up here.

The narrow wooden bridge that we had to cross one by one.

There are shops on the ground level.

Crossed another narrow wooden bridge to get back.

Inside a floating house

This is the kitchen.

This is the dining area.

Boat ride to a floating restaurant to watch the sunset.

Sunset over Tonle Sap lake

Me, Ollie, and Pat

The boat's steering wheel is from a car.

The old market in Siem Reap

This meal cost $2.

A street in Siem Reap

Preah Ang Chek Preah Ang Chorm Shrine

Statues by the shrine

Large kite in the park

Pub Street in Siem Reap

All cigarette packs in Asia have these images on them to discourage people from smoking. Why not the US?

Temperature on a typical day in late April

Only $2!

Dawn at Angkor Wat

The typical reflection shot of Angkor Wat

Sunrise over Angkor Wat

Inside Angkor Wat

Another photo inside Angkor Wat

The carvings at Angkor Wat

On top of Angkor Wat with the sun

A plaza on the top of Angkor Wat

Buddha statue

More carvings

The king of Cambodia depicted on a mural.

Ta Prohm Temple

The famous tree inside Ta Prohm

Headless Buddha statues

Inside the temple

More old trees

So cool!

Another one

One last one

A temple passage

A dinosaur carving in the temple?


Prasat Ta Keo temple

Prasat Ta Keo close-up

Steep steps to the top

Buddha at the top

View from the top

Bayon Temple

Into the temple

The face of a Cambodia king as the Buddha face 

Sam, the tour guide, has a similar face as the face of the carving

Carvings on the Bayon Temple

Leaving Angkor Wat from the south gate.


  1. Angkor Wat is a bucket list item for me but I think I'll go in Winter after reading your blog. There is a reason why Pat is divorced.

    1. Definitely go in the winter months. It's a must see! If you know how to ride a motorbike you might want to rent one here and visit more temples. You can get a three days ticket to Angkor Wat for $62 and explore the complex for much longer than I did.

    2. Sick burn Joan 🔥


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