Siem Reap is a dream. There’s a fantastic boutique culture where you’ll find trendy women’s fashion, hand fashioned silver jewelry, vintage clothing and crocodile accessories. Chic cafes vend macchiatos and witty postcards with bold type font that read: ‘Impossible. A word not known in Dubai.”
Buy anything and everything under the sun at the Old Market. Tour its winding stalls, gawk at mystery meats, try to identify vegetables in the produce section and contemplate teas and spices to bring home. After the sun falls, head over to the Night Market and barter for silverware, sustainably made goods, name brand polo shirts and Kroma scarves.
For an informative lesson on stone and wood carving, silk painting, lacquerware and other handicrafts head over to Artisans Angkor. This organization teaches disabled persons the skills necessary to create the aforementioned, providing them with a sustainable income.
Not only are their goods sold for a good cause, they are top quality pieces. Flawed pieces are not sold but showcased, try to spot the defect. Artisans offers free guided tours of the workshops daily. It is mind blowing to watch raw materials to be transformed into ornate artwork. Finish the tour by perusing the gift shop.
Wander the alleys to find the real gastronomical gems. Flanking both sides of Pub Street you’ll find these narrow alleys packed with Cambodian BBQs (which is a social and labour-intensive way to eat), Italian and fusion restaurants. Cafes turn out fresh baked goods and feature build-your-own sandwich menus. Catch Aspara dancing on Pub Street or indulge yourself in a little Mexican fare. Eat some Amok, dare to dine on snake and especially make a point to sample some Khmer curry, to die for!
Have a glass of red wine for the first time in a while. Visit the Red Piano where Angelina and the Tomb Raider crew dined while filming in the area. Stumble into Angkor What?, the iconic club that is a quintessential stop on the backpacker circuit. Grab a beer and admire the city lights from the skateboard half-pipe atop the roof top bar.