Tidbits of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap
A Cambodian ‘tuk-tuk’ is a bit different from the traditional Indian and Thai auto-rickshaws. These have five wheels (a two-wheeled carriage attached to a moped), unlike the other which are three-wheeled. Tuk tuk is cheap and an efficient way of transport within the cities of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, especially temple-hopping in Angkor archeological park.
As you travel alongside Mekong river or Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake Tonle Sap, you will see floating villages where people live in stilt houses. These villages receive much attention from tourists who are intrigued by their ‘life on water’. I didn’t visit one; took this shot from aboard a bus to Siem Reap.
Cambodian cuisine/Khmer food has influences of Thai and Vietnamese cuisines, but not as popular. The most well-known dish is the ‘amok’, a steamed dish with coconut milk, curry powder, fish/chicken with some veggies. I love it. But the best dish I had was the delectable Khmer red curry(beef) with baguette (influence from the French colonization) on the streets of Phnom Penh.
The best way to taste a bit of everything Cambodian is to go to a buffet. Many hotels in Siemp Reap have dinner buffets along with a Khmer Apsara dance.
And if you think you are adventurous enough, try fried spiders! No, I’m not kidding. A species of tarantulas fried with some spices is the local delicacy along with other beetles and crickets. I’m a fan of Andrew Zimmern, but will not walk in his footsteps! 🙂
In Phnom Penh, take a stroll near the Riverfront to the Central market. And while in Siem Reap, walk around the Old market to pick up local souvenirs or to just watch the local artists at work.
In Siem Reap, we heard about Apsara dance (Khmer classical dance) from fellow-travelers and that fascinated us. Why? because ‘apsara’ means a fairy in Hindi language (Indian language). And indeed, the dance performance at the Angkor Mondial restaurant lived up to its name—performers who danced with the grace and charm of a divinity.