Siem Reap, Cambodia : Back to Heritage

I am not a seasoned traveller and have not covered most part of the world but I am starting to feel that dreary frequent travellers get when they fly too often. It can be tiring on most parts and less exciting especially when it comes to countries you’ve frequented before.
Travelling to merely see and explore the place is no longer that exhilarating coupling on the fact that we are the internet to bring us virtually to any part of the world. To me, travelling would be more purposeful and meaningful when you fulfilling a goal or a desire which you have always wanted to do, see, eat or simply experience. For instance, a few years back, I’ve always wanted to visit Bali to do yoga and try their vegan dishes there. I’ve visited Bali when I was much younger so the sights and sound of Bali is nothing new to me. But when I was back in Bali 2 years ago to fulfil my ‘yogi’ dream, I felt it was one of the best travelling experiences I garnered over the years. That’s because I get to experience what it is like to practise yoga with the people living in Bali and eat true blue natural and organic vegan food made with their local ingredients.
So, since I’ve been to Siem Reap before, what am I doing here? This time, I flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia to visit The Heritage Suites Hotel. I was invited to do a review for them and I really think it was worth the air ticket to fly there just to experience what The Heritage has to offer to their guests.
It was also a quick get-away for me from the urbanized landscape, leaving my worries about work behind, and bringing only an open heart to receive what the universe offers.
Though Cambodia isn’t too far away from our little red dot, the travelling time was long because we had to transit in Bangkok. I chose Airasia because it offers the most value for money tickets at that point in time. These days, budget airlines are stepping up with their service level so one doesn’t have to compromise much in terms of quality and standard. Besides, it’s a short flight.
I invited my friend, Wynne, along with me for this 4-day 3 night trip to Siem Reap. Since we were only given a 2 night stay at The Heritage, we decided to bunk into another hotel just to get a different experience of other Cambodian Hotels.
Prior to this trip, I did a great deal of research on accommodation in Siem Reap and I found Boutique Cambo Hotel which offers great rooms at very affordable price. The rooms were very basic but more importantly, the place is clean except for the pool area which didn’t look as welcoming with the fallen leaves.
This hotel provides free airport transfers and a free one-way tuk-tuk service to Pub street and old market area.
We had dinner at this rather high-end restaurant recommended by the hotel. The food was average though the plating looks good. Looks can be deceiving.
We spent our evening at Pub Street area combing the streets and did some shopping. Siem Reap is all about Ang Kor Wat and the Pub Street Area. That’s pretty much about it.
The next morning, we waited for the hotel pick-up to transport us to The Heritage Hotel. There were bubbles of excitement looming over my head as I saw the vintage Mercedes stopped right outside our hotel. ‘Wow, we were treated like VIPs!’ – that was the first thought that popped up.
And this VIP treatment didn’t end there because once we hopped into the car, we were served with a cold refreshing towel and a cup of freshly-squeezed pineapple juice taken straight out from the icebox placed at the seat next to the driver. Yes, we are cruising the dusty roads of Siem Reap in style. What have I done to deserve this?
The hotel was hidden away from the main street. Even its signboard didn’t look very conspicuous. You would miss the entrance to the hotel if you did not look closely enough. Unlike those big 5-star hotels located near Ang Kor Wat, Heritage Hotel is stow away from the bustling part of the city. It made a perfect retreat for anyone who loves nature and enjoy quietness, like myself. If only, they offer some yoga classes there. It would be perfect.
I was over the moon when I entered the bungalow suites where we would settle in for the next 3 days. Each night here costs around 200 USD for a bungalow suite. It’s a very spacious room with a balcony area, steam room and outdoor shower place. The interior was really beautiful and everything is new because most of the rooms there have just been refurbished.
I wish we had more time to dance and prance around in the room but I knew that I had to get out exploring the city on foot since we’ve expend so much carbon footprint, money and time just to get out of Singapore.
We checked out one of the most highly recommended restaurants, Genevieve, in Siem Reap by Tripadvisor. TripAdvisor has been my favourite travel companion ever since I first started using it to plan my solo Bali trip!
This small and cosy restaurant is named after an English Teacher called Genevieve who volunteered in Siem Reap. There are many teachers, like Genevieve, who volunteered to teach here in Cambodia.
There’s a menu catered just for vegetarians only so I ordered veggie quesadilla which was really good! The portion is generous and it’s one of the best meals I had in Siem Reap.
This was the friendly waiter who served us. It’s nice to know that this restaurant welcomes everyone to work for them and treats everyone equally.
We spend the rest of the day hiding in air-conditioned cafes because the heat was unbearable. I didn’t mind walking in the sweltering heat but my partner do so we had to stay in cooler areas. It wasn’t too hot when the sun went down.
The next morning, we decided to spend the whole day exploring one of the world’s heritage site, Ang Kor Wat. We rose up early at 4.30 am to catch the sunrise.
It wasn’t that spectacular partly because the sky was cloudy and there were way too many tourists. It just spoils the whole peaceful and tranquil atmosphere.
So we took a sunrise picture and decided to head back for breakfast at the hotel. The breakfast was served ala carte so we ordered our dishes the day before and requested them to send it to our room. It was quite a spread!
There were egg benedicts, pancakes, crepes and other Khmer delicacies … all served in small portions. So I guess you could probably call everything off from the menu and share it between 3 to 4 people. But the food was delicately prepared.
Since we’ve hired the tuk-tuk driver to ferry us around for the whole day for 18 USD, we decided to head back to Ang Kor Wat again to explore the ruins.
This place would make the photograph backdrop. If there is a photographer on board, I would get him or her to take portrait shots here. The background is beautifully texturized with the eroded stone walls and weathered tiles.
For lunch, we headed to this restaurant close to Ang Kor Wat area for some delicious fried rice.
We were back again to catch the sunset but we failed to do so because we spent some time looking for our tuk-tuk driver and we missed the sunset!
At around 5pm, Ang Kor Wat closes its gates and the tourists were asked to leave. I could spend the whole day there just walking and exploring the site even though everything has been reduced to ruins.
The next morning, we slept in and called for room service again. We ate merrily like a King because it is our last meal in Siem Reap before we flew back to Singapore. It was a short trip. Though we didn’t do much, I get to really unwind and relax.
I do miss Singapore for some reasons because I knew that I had a goal to fulfill and also I’ve been missing my boo while I’m away. Do you feel that way sometimes when you travel?



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