About Sarah R
Lives in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Since Aug 2013
25-34 year old female
Environmentally friendly and responsible traveller. Don't be surprised if you see me collecting rubbish in national parks or on beaches. I love socialising and anywhere I visit or live I take every opportunity to get involved in what's happening around town and get to know my favourite places. I'm always willing to try new things; whether that is a new restaurant, community activity, event or festival in the local area. I love getting out and exploring, seeing the things that a place is known for and then digging a little deeper to find some lesser known gems. I've been known to use online media (TripAdvisor and FourSquare) to find places when I'm new to a town and have often impressed my friends for finding great cafes in out of the way places.
Bodies of Water
Cultural Tours, 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours, Historical & Heritage Tours, Motorcycle Tours, Eco Tours
Health/Fitness Clubs & Gyms, Sports Camps & Clinics, Sports Complexes, Lessons & Workshops
Ancient Ruins, Historic Sites
Gift & Speciality Shops
West Baray Lake is only 10kms from Siem Reap town and is a really nice day out in the countryside. It’s an easy bicycle ride, though you can travel by tuk tuk if you prefer. Once you reach the water, most of the facilities are right there, and the Baray stretches out for about 5km. This is the closest thing to a seaside destination in the vicinity of Siem Reap, and it’s a pleasant and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. It’s entirely unlike any seaside location I’ve been to before. Hammocks are strung up under shelters throughout the main area, so you can select a hammock and a mat to camp out for the day. You won’t see many westerners here; this is where the locals hang out, so be prepared to relax their way — perhaps with noisy YouTube shows and music, as well as many mobile phones ringing. All in all though, it’s very chilled out. Lay back in your hammock and a smorgasbord of local snacks will parade by that you can purchase from the vendors — they go back and forth all day! Drinks are on hand in large red cooler boxes (eskys for any Australians reading,) and just ask and you can order barbecue chicken and rice — perfect Khmer picnic food.
This restaurant and rum showroom and bar is a short way from the main hustle and bustle of Siem Reap. They also have a stand at the Made in Cambodia Market every weekend where you can taste a selection of their delicious flavor-infused rums!
Once a week Dr Beat Richner performs a free cello concert, sharing his talents as a performer, with a request for donations to the Jayavarman VII Children’s Hospital. As a founder of the children’s hospitals in Siem Reap, ‘Beatocello’ shares his music in a heartfelt way that connects with the audience, and is another special contribution that he makes to the community and to visitors to Siem Reap.
See Cambodia by motorcycle! Get into the countryside and see Cambodia like a local. The guides from Khmer Ways are all local, and the thing I love most about this company is that the majority of the team worked together previously in a moto workshop. This then evolved into the tour company it is today, with the assurance that if your moto breaks while you’re traveling, you’ve got an expert on hand to fix it!
Eric has an impeccable reputation for his tours in Siem Reap. Sure you can take a snap on your smart phone, or click away on your camera, but if you want to capture Angkor Wat in a way that you can print and hang proudly on your wall when you get home, then Eric is just the man for the job. See the temples from a different perspective and learn some new photography skills at the same time. Eric is one of a number of very talented photographic tour leaders in Siem Reap.
This gym is a short distance out of town and teaches all levels of Khmer and Muay Thai boxing. Beginners get a great introduction to Asian style boxing, and more experienced boxers can train in mixed martial arts and even enter tournaments. The owners are all experienced boxers and run regular classes, training sessions, and sparring sessions.
On my most recent visit to Siem Reap, I asked the guys at my guest house, who I’d gotten to know quite well, what was one more thing I should do before I left town. They suggested the silk farm, so I went. It was pretty interesting and showed the production from start to finish, some traditional dress, and then ended in the store. I was really impressed with the quality and style of the clothing and products they sell, and that they even had iPad covers! It was a great little trip for an hour or so.
This is one of my favorite Sunday getaways. About a half hour's moto ride from Siem Reap, there are about a dozen ‘hammock cafes’ set up along the rice fields here. Take your pick; there is one with really good coconuts (I don’t know all of their names,) but anywhere you go you will enjoy the same beautiful sunset. If you continue past the hammocks you will enter the village, and if you’ve got your temple pass with you, you can climb to the top of the hill and visit the small temple there. There is also a lovely pagoda and temple at the bottom of the hill — take the road heading right as you approach the mountain. It’s very grand and worth stopping by to make an offering, or make friends with the locals.
Get away from the mainstream temples and take a day trip to Beng Mealea. Some people say it is even better than Angkor Wat, and it’s a photographers' paradise. Primarily a Hindu temple though, like so many others from that era, there are also Buddhist artifacts and carvings. It’s definitely worth a visit if you want to see more than just the ‘main temples’ and it’s a peaceful day out away from the masses.
The main format for the visit here is the same as many of the Angkor Wat temple tours, however, this one is by mountain bike along an unexpected jungle path, and makes for a really fun day! Having been to the temples a number of times, I thought I knew my way around...until I did this tour. The jungle track is really pleasant, following a small creek, with birds and insects chirping along the way. You're guaranteed lots of laughs in some of sandier parts of the track, as well as a chance to chat with locals enjoying a dip in the water as you cross the weir. The guides are also immensely knowledgeable, and will happily talk for hours about the history of the temples and the Angkor Empire.
This incredible museum began as a small shack run by a strong-willed individual — Aki Ra. Forced into the Khmer Rouge as a child and made to lay landmines across Cambodia during the war, Aki Ra immediately set about removing the mines when the war ended. He also took local children into his care to help them recuperate from the atrocities they had suffered, and helped others injured by landmine explosions. Since then, his mission has grown, and he now runs an education and building program that supports 11 schools and more than 1,200 students and local communities.
I am a total war history nerd. I admit it. I believe that the past brutalities of war are vital to learn about, in order to ensure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes in our future. The Cambodian War Museum is the only war museum in Cambodia, and it’s great that it’s right here in Siem Reap. One thing I enjoy about war museums in Asia is that they’re generally set outdoors, and this place is no different. There are tanks, planes, and helicopters, and you can get right up close for a good look. The after-effects of the wars in the late 1970s are still strongly present in everyday life so this is a museum also worth visiting to get a more complete cultural understanding of the people of Cambodia.
For something a little bit different, learn how to do silk screen printing on t-shirts! There are a number of workshops you can book onto, and you'll be in good company - this is the activity that Angelina Jolie did with her children that last time they were in Siem Reap!