Ivy Guesthouse Siem Reap – Siem Reap has no respect. It’s true, it’s a western enclave. There is not much to see in the city and it exists mainly as a base camp for Angkor Wat. And if you’re looking for immersion in Cambodian culture, this is not the place to be. But when all is said and done, it would be wrong to conclude, as many people do, that Siem Reap is not “real” or somehow unreal. Siem Reap is a real city, albeit a more western one. I say that because there are many places in the world where people live and work very much like Siem Reap. We know, because we used to live in, and still love, a place.
For us, Siem Reap felt like the Hoboken of Southeast Asia. Now, that probably means nothing to anyone who doesn’t live in our former city, but suffice it to say, Siem Reap feels like home to us.
Ivy Guesthouse Siem Reap
There are bars and bakeries; banks and brewers; laundry, restaurant, grocery store, pharmacy, clothing store, doctor’s office and optometrist, all within easy walking distance. Put another way, it’s all anyone needs to live a normal life, in the city itself.
Page 6. Hotels With Picnic Area In Siem Reap, Cambodia
It is very different from the typical chotchky and t-shirt shops one can enjoy in tourist towns. This place really has life in it.
Oh, and also, we ate better in Siem Reap than anywhere else in Cambodia. And when I say better, I don’t mean we ate exclusively authentic Cambodian food. What I mean is that the dishes we had here tasted better than anything we ate while in Cambodia, “authentic” or otherwise.
Every Friday, Ivy Guesthouse runs a special where everything on the menu is just $1, including drinks. All tapas, but the menu is huge, the portions are generous, and the food is amazing. Where Ivy really impressed us was their attention to detail. Each dish has that little extra touch that seems like more than you’d expect for a place that serves $1 tapas.
Vegetable samosas are served with a delicious mint yoghurt dipping sauce. The fried sweet potato, on the other hand, comes with a beautifully spiced and delightfully complementary sauce based on mayonnaise. A dish of tender beef fillets and crispy beans comes with its own garlic sauce. And pickled grilled fish medallions served with sauteed marigold. Each dish seemed well made and each flavor worked well together.
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Mixed drinks were less of a hit. At $1 each, they’re a bargain if you’re looking for a good drink value. But after a terrible margarita and a so-so mojito, we moved on to a $1 glass of white wine which was actually quite tasty and a nice break from all the mediocre beer we’d been drinking in Southeast Asia.
Or at least that’s what we think this little roadside eatery on the corner of Taphul and Achamean is called. Regardless, this place has become our go-to restaurant when we want a quick and tasty meal. One day we ate a white broccoli and vegetable mix, another day a baby corn mix, both with sides of rice. More than enough food for us to share for lunch with drinks for less than $3 each.
The best part of this family-run establishment is that during lunchtime the owner’s children, who are not at school (and still in their school uniform), help mum and dad wait tables. They gave us the best service we have had anywhere in Asia. And that includes goodness and totally overrated Sugar Palm where the service is absolutely abysmal.
This place gets high marks from foodies, but this pretentious and mediocre food leaves us cold. Their signature amok is just a running fish in red curry sauce. The satays were below average with a tasteless peanut sauce. And while crispy spring rolls get high marks for appearance (they’re little woven bundles), they get low marks for taste.
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Worse, we got better service from the 10 year old girl waiting on us with a budget of 9999 than we got from the entire Sugar Palm team. Our meals weren’t served together, we couldn’t get a glass of water to save our lives, and everyone in the place treated us like they were doing us a favor. Cambodia is best known for Angkor Wat, and a trip to Siem Reap to see one of the world’s greatest wonders is a must. Although I’m not a big fan of the country, there are some interesting things to do:
Most people who visit Siem Reap want to see Angkor Wat, but the city has more to offer than temples, as I showed in my 5 things to do in Siem Reap outside the temple post my 5 things to do in Siem Reap besides the temple post . Needless to say, Angkor will always be the main attraction, so I have 3k words of an Angkor Wat guide. But there are many other things to talk about in Siem Reap, especially for first-time visitors. Before we dive into an itinerary, here’s an overview:
Cambodia visas are relatively painless to obtain for most nationalities. There are many ways you can get it. I just got it through the embassy, for a more detailed guide including land entry,
>I just got it through the embassy, if you need a more detailed guide including land entry, my friend Mary has a complete Cambodia visa guide for you.
Ivy Guesthouse And Bar Ii Map
After searching the internet, I decided to go to the embassy in person to get visas for me and my sister. It costs 320 HKD (about 41 USD). The girl only takes around 15 minutes to process both visas and they don’t need anything other than your passport.
The only drawback is the opening hours of the embassy, which are Monday to Friday 9-12 and 2-5. But it is in Hong Kong and may be different no matter where you come from.
Some women get visas online. You will need to send additional information, such as your photo, and it will take a few days to process. You also need to print it out, but the process is easy to do and can be done anywhere.
Siem Reap Airport supports visa on arrival. Although none of us have done this, the whole process is quite simple judging by the speed of the queue.
Check Out The Trendy Kandal Village In Siem Reap
I can’t speak for other cities in Cambodia, but you can just use USD in Siem Reap with no problem. You should try to have as many small notes as you can, because most sellers don’t have enough change and will give you Cambodian money back at a bad exchange rate.
While there are many factors that go into this decision, most people are here to visit Angkor Wat and I’ve covered the number of days that are best for that in this Angkor post. Overall in Siem Reap I wouldn’t spend more than five days if you’re just here for sightseeing.
Most tourists get around Siem Reap by tuk-tuk. There is no shortage of them unless you live in a remote part of town. Since our hotel is located between the airport and the city center, our tuk-tuk fare to and from Siem Rap is slightly more expensive.
Normally the tour costs 4 USD and 5 USD. If you are late, it will increase to $6.
Hotels In Old Market Area, Siem Reap
Siem Reap has many markets, more than I thought before. If you are short on time, the two you should visit are the night market and the old market. The latter opens from the morning, so it is a safe option if you are short on time and need to visit during the day. A good rule of thumb when it comes down to it (which should be done) is to lower the price by 30% and you should get it by 50%. But this does not apply to cheap goods such as spices and elephant pants.
The original Siem Reap night market reminded me of Camden town for some reason with the flashing lights and mix of street food and shops. There is a wide variety of items here and I successfully bought a cute drawstring bag for $6. Less than expected so we only spent less than an hour there.
There is a wide variety of items here and I successfully bought a cute drawstring bag for $6. Less than expected so we only spent less than an hour there.
Siem Reap Old Market is located in the center of the city. Although it sells everything, including things for tourists, it is also a market for locals. You’ll find meat, fresh produce and other goods for sale here, and it’s worth a stroll if you have the time.
Chenglay Guesthouse, Siem Reap
Across the river from the other two, Siem Reap Art Center Market doesn’t sell anything the other two haven’t already sold. That which