Solo Backpacking Siem Reap Cambodia
- UPDATE: Starting February 1, 2017, the cost of the one-day pass will increase to $37, from the current $20, it said. Ticket prices will also rise for a three-day pass to $62, from the current $40, while a week-long visit pass – valid over a one-month period – will cost $72, from the current $60.
- Siem Reap uses 2 currencies, Cambodian Riel and US Dollar, you can use any of those, they don’t choose
- Most locals know basic English especially tuktuk drivers so no need to worry
- Expect long, long walks when touring around the Angkor temples and always bring water!
- There are lots of bus companies so you can haggle for the cheapest prices if you’re really thrifty
- Befriend a local because most local sellers will rip the price too high if you’re a tourist #sadstory
Siem Reap was the best part of my mini SEA solo travel and these are the reasons why. I was in touch with Betul( Betty ), now a good friend of mine 🙂 She’s the most energetic and jolliest person I met in Siem Reap and I’m so thankful I met her! She suggested for me to stay at this crazy good place – Traveller Cat Guesthouse. I was pretty nervous at first since it’s gonna be my first time to stay in a hostel-like vibe. They gave me a warm welcome, hugs and stuff and pointed me to my bed. Just a few minutes after I arrived, it was in time for their daily afternoon playtime showers. Everyone takes a bath outside! They say there’s nothing more fun and better way to combat the heat in Siem Reap( I really miss the fun every afternoon because of this, it was just so fun! )
It was then dinner time ( they always serve the best vegan dishes! It’s the best ever for me! That’s coming from someone who doesn’t eat vegetables back home haha – Sonai and Denis I really miss your dishes ) After dinner they said, “Get ready we’re going to a party”, and I was like – cool, I really love to just go with the flow 🙂 I met a lot of crazy good people at the party, I won’t go into details, let’s just say we had so much fun haha. The next morning our friend Akram cooked us Indian breakfast, he was leaving then and it was his way of saying thank you. And I was shocked when he spoke the Filipino language fluently, such a smart guy. Everyone were such good friends in there, that was one of the reasons why I loved it there! And also, every morning they serve the best iced coffees ever( I think the hot weather added to why it was the best 😉 )
I toured the Angkor temples for 3 days and it’s the best time frame to cover the best temples. And when you plan to go there I highly suggest Chum( his fb page is here ), he’s the best tuktuk driver and local friend you’ll have in town! He will bring you to the cheapest places to buy food and water. Because one thing I hated about most locals in Siem Reap is that they will really rip you of if they know you are a tourist. Like, the very first day of my tour with Chum, I bought a sandwich and they charged me for $2 and Chum said tell to him next time if I’m gonna buy because they will rip the price. The next day Chum bought a sandwich for me and damn, he got 2 sandwiches for $2, come on, that was like 100% overpricing – that’s just so sad. I’m not saying that locals will always rip you off, but it will happen, most of the time, sad reality.
Anyways, on the brighter side, on the 3rd day of my tour we were set of to Khulen Park where temples and the only waterfall in Siem Reap was located. And my friend Chum had this ingenious idea. Since I looked like a Cambodian(brown skin and handsome haha) he told me that I will be able to skip the $20 entrance fee on the park because tourists need to pay $20 entrance fee to enter the park. He said if I just smile and not talk, and pretend I’m Cambodian I can go in for free. He brought his son and his friend Choun to make it look like it’s a friendly get together in the park. And the plan worked! I had a FREE entrance and we had so much fun at the same time! $20 saved thanks to Chum and my Cambodian looks haha! It was also there where I ate a frog for the first time, and yes, taste like chicken – delicious.
I was also lucky that on my stay at Traveller Cat they were sponsoring a Water party and the Full Moon Party, and I was like, “Oh, yeeah! Party party!” Because back in PH I rarely go to parties like these, I only go to parties for food haha. The water party was so much fun! I thought our afternoon playtime showers outside were fun but the Water Party was way more fun, we had water guns, and there were more people, totally unforgettable. And the full moon party? So dope! So much fun playing beerpong with wasted people haha. Merve served all kinds of drinks for us and Cihangir made sure everyone was in the zone( if you know what I mean 😉 Merve and Cihangir are the part-owners of Traveller Cat and they were the best owners I’ve hangout with by far ) We partied all night until sunrise! It was here where I met an american girl, Kate. She had so much tattoos all over her and you can never really judge a book by its cover, another fun friend. We drank with moderation but most of the guys there had no control, they just wanna get wasted. We just sat and had so much fun watching those wasted people being their wasted selves haha! People dancing around like no one’s watching, hearing drunk peoples stories, it was another experience booster night :))
On my last day in Siem Reap we just chilled, watched movies, talked about life and all other silly stuffs, and that was the best way I could think of to end my stay there. The togetherness and closeness of such different people and nationalities at that place was just too damn high. When it was my time to leave, I didn’t expect everyone to give me the truest farewell hugs I’ve ever felt for new friends(it was like they were my long long friends). To make it short, Westerners are really more sincere in expressing their feelings towards others. Because most Filipinos are not like this, even to some close friends, they always tend to hold back their emotions, it’s like they want to contain their feelings, look more “composed”. If you’re a Filipino and you’re reading this, you know it’s true 🙂 Do it because you mean it, it feels better 🙂
click the “Buddies” tab on top to view stories of some of my buddies
My daily buddy at the guesthouse was Ozcan( Oscar to make it easy ). Funny Turskish dude, he was like my buddy for most of the day because Betty was working so she would only be back late afternoon. He knows lots of languages and plans of learning more. I taught him Tagalog(Filipino language) because he wanted to brag on his Filipino skills on her Filipina girlfriend. He’s a stand-up comedian too that’s why he’s really good in connecting with people (don’t worry Oz, I still haven’t forgotten about your website, it’s on my list haha ).
It was also in Siem Reap where I met again my crazy good Russian friend, Sonya. She’s one of the most crazy, fun, and real friend you can have. And she really knows how to bargain and you can always get cheap prices if you’ll be with her :p She’ll make sacrifices for you that’s why I didn’t hesitate to sacrifice myself, drinking the Durian shake she mistakenly bought! Both of us are not fans of it but yeah, that was an easy sacrifice for me to take for her haha. Seeing her smile drinking my mango shake was worth it. But everytime I drink her Durian shake, the smile kind of goes away haha. But Durian is sweet and healthy, not just our type.
I also met my long-time chat mate Joanna, we’ve kept in touch for a while in Couchsurfing and I must say, I was really impressed by her English skills but when I met her in person, I was like, wow! I could listen to her forever! And good thing is she’s talkative too haha that’s why you will never ever have a dull time with her. Maybe only when she’s on her period, any girl will be on a bad mood on her period :p
And to the other guys I befriended at Traveller Cat, I’m sorry I forgot your names(I really suck at remembering names) but the way we had fun, that’s totally unforgettable. And the next time we’ll meet, I’ll make sure it’s gonna be a different story :))
Before my solo travel(on the planning phase), I really thought the Angkor temples were the best part in Siem Reap but god was I so wrong on the outcome. It was in Siem Reap where I did a lot of crazy and some pretty hardcore stuff for the first time *wink* haha. My traveler experience really went up a notch on this travel 🙂