Cambodia

Halal restaurants and eating places in Siem Reap

Accurate as of Dec 2015.

Along Hospital Street, near Pub Street area

Both restaurants are next to each other. They are opposite the Blood Bank Centre/ Provincial Hospital.

1. Vanakkam India
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2. The Indian
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Along Sivutha Road

1. KFC
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2. Curry Walla
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3. Khmer Chef, next to Curry Walla
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4. Namaste Restaurant, formerly known as Taste of India (Next to 24hr Angkor Mini Mart)
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5. Maharajah
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Near Sok San Road

1. Taj Mahal
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2. Muslim Family Kitchen
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3. Muslim Family Restaurant (also known as Haji Musa’s Restaurant), behind Siem Reap mosque
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4. Cambodian Muslim Restaurant
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5. Wau Restaurant, relocated from National Road to Sok San Road
Location: Next to Cambodian Muslim Restaurant

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6. Toba Yana Restaurant
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Bonus!
Hotel with Halal restaurant
1. Jasmine Garden Villa

2. Kirin Marry Angkor Villa
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Vegetarian
Chamkar
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Kinda difficult to find this place. Walk down the alley next to Pub Street, called “The Passage”.

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Cycling around Angkor World Heritage

Angkor is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s a significant archeological site which dates back as early as 9th century.

It’s really a large area of about 400 square kilometres with various temples within it. At each temple ground, visitors can walk around, but to travel from one temple to another, it’s best to do so on wheels.

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As we were up for an adventure, our choice was the bicycle instead of tuk-tuk or car. There are plenty of shops and guesthouses that provide bicycles for rents, from 1-2USD per day. We got ours from our guesthouse for 1.50USD per day.

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Just some tips before setting off on bike…
1. ensure bicycle is in good condition, such as brake and lamp are working.
2. ensure seat is at a good level for you. it’s better for them to adjust it for you rather than adjusting it yourself after setting off.
3. have a map in hand.

If you think we’re crazy to tour it on bikes, check out the many other crazy travelers too 😁

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Our goal for the day was to complete the “small circuit” route.

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Here’s a timeline journal of our adventure.

9am

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Our guesthouse is along Street 20 which is nearby to Charles de Gaulle, the road to Angkor. The first challenge for us was to cycle through the busy road, towards the junction at the Old Stone Bridge. We were slightly taken aback by the congestion but as long as one keep right, it’s pretty ok. Junction is kinda tricky to clear though as not vehicles obey traffic rules to follow traffic light. If you’re not confident, it’s best to push the bike to cross the road.

The long road to Angkor was slightly busy especially at the main entrance,

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9.30am

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Purchased our day pass!

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Tips:
1. Look good for the camera as that photo will be printed on the pass.
2. Do not lose the pass as you will have to flash it to the staff for entry at all temples.

10.15am
Arrive at Angkor Wat temple.

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This is symbolic to Cambodia and is printed on its national flag. Angkor Wat is the largest site as compared to the other temples on the site and it’s one of the most well-preserve.

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Angkor Wat is also the largest religious monument in the world. Another interesting fact is, it was originally constructed as a Hindu temple for the Khmer empire. Toward the end of the 12th century, Angkor Wat gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple, which continues to today.

Travelers can climb up to the highest part of the Angkor Wat, about level 4 but it’s very steep. But we gave it a miss as the queue was really long and it was noon.

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Last interesting point, no buildings can be higher than Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, which is why the tallest building in Siem Reap is only about 4-5 storey high.

1pm
Left Angkor Wat

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1.30pm
Arrive Bantaey Kdei

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It’d one of the smaller temples on the site..

2pm
Arrive Ta Prohm. It has 2 entrances, East gate and West gate.

This temple is popular as the filming site of Tomb Raider. The popular attractions are…  trees!

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4pm
Set off for Bayon

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4.50pm

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But just a few shots as we were running late to chase the sunset.

5.15pm
Hike up Phnom Bakheng.

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Only to be greeted by crowd.

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Long queue for the sunset view from top of temple.

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And a large crowd on the platform.

5.45pm
But it’s ok..we still got a nice view of sunset.

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6pm
Ride back home in the dark and congested road cuz everyone’s heading back.

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More stories and reflection in another post 🙂

From Bangkok to Siem Reap

Finally setting off to Siem Reap!

Started the day early and checked out at about 5am because we had planned to catch the 5.55am train from Hua Lamphong Station. If we miss this, the next one is at 11am and that means arriving Siem Reap late at night.

Some cab drivers were touting their services outside the hotel, for about 150baht. None were agreeable for metered-fare cab ride, so we walked down to main road. Luckily it was easy to get a cab.

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We were staying at Pratunam area and the cab ride took about 15-20min. It was 60baht, less than half of whay quoted by the touters.

We purchased our ticket  to Aranyaprathet, for 48baht per person. Tickets were still available though we bought them only half hour before departure. Hua Lamphong is the first station, thus not as packed. So, it’s safe to say that travelers need not be at the station more than an hour ahead to purchase the tickets.

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With still 15-20min to spare,we made our way for Fajr prayers before boarding the train at Platform 6.

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The train departed punctually at 5.55am…

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It’s the third class cabin, but it was a comfortable ride.

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We didn’t encounter any cockroach, bugs or other creepy crawlers, so that was good enough. Some cabins are wooden seats, so do avoid that as that won’t be comfortable for long ride to Aranyaprathet.

What was the 6hr train ride like..? The first few stops are in Bangkok, so it was not much of a view. But I think it was quite interesting sight to see parts of Bangkok getting ready for the day.

Then, we slowly drifted to sleep since we were tired from starting the day before sunrise. The next moment, I woke up to this view.

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And this was pretty much what for most part of the journey. Plenty of greenery of paddy fields, crops and plantations, vast field and forested area.

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But not all are beautiful scenery. Some parts were constructions and manufacturing stuff, but it was really few.

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As the train approached town stations, one can get views of temples, houses, schools, roads etc. Somehow, I kinda remembered snippets of Geog Elective lessons back in Sec 3 on something along the line of town planning??!

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Some stations are more popular than others… perhaps because of school, trading or travel destination.

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But some are quite deserted and even dilapidated.

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How did I spent the 6hr in the train?
Sleeping, snacking, people watch, gazing out the window, watching videos on phone, taking photo and… pondering over possible lesson materials, like…

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Serious job hazard =\ oops!

Back to the trip!

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Upon arriving at  Aranyaprathet, we took a 10min tuktuk ride for 70 baht to Thai custom for exit.

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Then, we crossed the friendship bridge to Cambodian custom area. It was about 5min walk.

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And tadaaa… finally we’re a Poi Pet, the border town of Cambodia.

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Our journey sounds kinda uneventful, right…? But, just when we thought we had a good trip, we had a weird encounter on our last leg to Siem Reap.

After completing Cambodian custom, we were ‘ambushed’ by alot of touters but continued to walk ahead to shake them off. One of them was quite persistent though and quoted 20USD for a 2-3hr ride to Siem Reap. It was quite cheap as to what we read online (about 25USD-30USD), and we were wondering what’s the catch. Some stories we read online include drivers making a stopover where tourists will be pressurised to purchase some stuff. But he assured us that it will be a direct ride with no stopover.

We eventually agreed to take his service. During the ride, I did comment to Dayah that it’s quite strange that the driver seems to be always busy on the phone…

So, we eventually found out why. He was actually on the phone with another passengers he gonna pick up- a couple with a baby.

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Yeah, the couple sat at the front seat, so we kinda let it slide as we were still comfortable at the back.

Then, again he was busy on his phone and…

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Yupps, he picked up another passenger.

Remember at the start we were wondering what’s the catch… why he offered a cheaper price? well, we got our answer. He didn’t even ask our permission and simply told us non-chalantly that those passengers were going to Siem Reap. Well, since our safety wasn’t compromised, we didn’t make a big fuss about. Pretty amusing though cuz when we agreed for a ride to Siem Reap, we didn’t expect to be sharing it with others.

So, never ever think a trip is uneventful. There’s always some stories to remember about for any trip 😉