Drinks · Experience · Food · singapore · Travel

Siem Reap trip journal – day 1 (The Amazing Residence – The Oasis Siem Reap – Pub Street )

Woohoo! Finally visited Siem Reap! As Indonesian, I don’t need a visa to visit Cambodia, but my friend needed one because she is Dutch. To learn more about whether you need a visa or not and what kind of visa you need to enter Cambodia, please read this post here. Other than a visa, we also needed to fill out 2 forms, an arrival card (and departure card) and customs clearance card. I didn’t bring my pen so I had to borrow from my neighbour on the plane.

arrival card departure card custom clearance card

Once we landed in Siem Reap, we entered the arrival hall and I went straight to Passport Control, while my friend had to go to Visa on Arrival counter with many other people. After she finished with the visa and paid $30, she then proceeds to passport control. I was done before her so I just waited near the baggage belt. We didn’t have checked-in luggage though, only 1 small bag for the cabin. But I think if we checked in a suitcase, it wouldn’t take long to retrieve it since the queue for passport check and visa takes some time.

Arrival Hall Siem Reap Cambodia
Arrival Hall

Once we’ve done inside, we went to customs area and handed over the form to the officer. We tried to find our shuttle from the hotel but couldn’t find my name so we decided to buy a sim card first. The sim card seller is located on the right side from the exit. I bought the one from metfone because of what I read before I flew. It said metfone has the best coverage even in suburb area. The price is $3 for 7 days tourist sim card with 5 GB data. My friend bought cellcard sim card from the next shop because it was cheaper. Tourist sim card for 7 days was $2 with 1.4 GB data and 50 cents balance for call. At first, I thought I needed a lot of data and no need of phone balance but later that day I found out I was wrong…

Metfone tourist sim card Siem Reap Cambodia
Metfone tourist sim card

Once we got our sim cards, we went back to exit area to look for our driver. This time we found him! A guy name Bun Rong held my name on the paper. He introduced himself to us. His english is really good! We walked to the gate where he asked s to wait for him there while he picked his tuktuk. We called it tuktuk because it’s easier. The vehicle is called remorque in Cambodia. Hence, there is remorque tour.

I was excited to ride it! It can fit 4 adults and less shaking than Thailand’s tuktuk.

Mr Bun Rong and his tuktuk
Mr Bun Rong and his tuktuk
Riding a remorque in Siem Reap Cambodia
Riding a remorque!

Siem Reap city view

Siem Reap city view

We arrived at hotel 20 minutes later and proceed to lobby to check in. The staff explained many things but he has an accent when he speaks so we hardly understand what he said. I got better understanding at his English compared to my friend, maybe, because I’m used to Vietnamese speaking English with their accent as well. Even so, I missed some words too.. In short, he explained about the tour and how to reserve it. We told him that we want to see Angkor Wat for sunrise and he told us the normal price for tuktuk is $18 but since it is very early, there is a charge of $5 (so total $23 for 8 hours tour, sounds reasonable!). He also told us that the hotel will prepare our breakfast in a box so we can carry it and eat it at Angkor Wat. Great service!

After all the explanation, he showed us our room at 2nd floor. Holy molly, the room is huge! We picked room with 2 twin beds and it is not two-single beds but two-queen beds! The bathroom also spacious, it has shower area on one side and a bathtub on the other side. They provide bath robe and slippers as well. A fridge, and a safety box. In one corner, there is a dressing table with a huge mirror. Really nice for a very good price!

We tried the safety box but it said error and nothing we could do so we called the reception to ask about it. The staff came to our room to check and he told us how to do it. I explained to him that we followed the instruction on the leaflet but still error but he insisted that we should try again later after 20 minutes. Fine. To be honest I didn’t like that respond but I let it go since we wanted to go out first. We were hungry and want to find some food!

The Amazing Residence Siem Reap Cambodia
The Amazing Residence
The Amazing Residence Siem Reap Cambodia
Lobby area
The Amazing Residence Siem Reap Cambodia
The room with 2-queen beds
The Amazing Residence Siem Reap Cambodia
View from our balcony, pool area
The Amazing Residence Siem Reap Cambodia
The bathroom

Our hotel is located near city center. The famous pub street is about 10 mins walk. Our destination that time was something else. I saw it on the app and it has good review so we were interested to try it. We walked with the help of google map and took some photos on the way. The road was busy and there is no pavement which made it hard for us to walk. The weather was nice at that time and it was almost sunset. After about 15 mins walking, we reached Genevieve, the restaurant that we wanted to try. Unfortunately, they were closed! 😦 We didn’t know there is a holiday going on at that time. We found another restaurant nearby but it was also closed. There is another restaurant, about 6 mins walking, called Wat Damnak which is also nearby. My friend suggested we call the restaurant first. This was what that phone balance for! I couldn’t call the restaurant because I didn’t have any balance on my sim card. Luckily, my friend’s 50 cents balance saved the day. She called the restaurant and found out they are open but they are fully booked for the night. Bummer.

We decided to walk back to city center and find something there. On the way, we saw a Cambodian restaurant in a guest house, named The Oasis Siem Reap, so we decided to try it. We ordered the curry, steamed amok fish and mango salad. For the drink, I ordered Cambodia Beer because what’s more refreshing than beer after a long walk 😀

The mango salad was good, fresh and a little sour. It has fish in it though. Curry was just so-so. It was very bland and the curry taste also very thin. Also, the chicken was very small pieces and less than 10 pieces (yes, I counted it!). Amok fish was okay, a bit bland as well. In the end we didn’t satisfy with our food. I was still thinking that it might be because of the restaurant was not good enough. The total cost for two persons was $11.

We continued our journey to City Center and this time our destination was the famous Pub Street. It took about 10 minutes to reach the Siem Reap old market area. There are a lot of shops on the side of the street selling Cambodian handcraft, souvenir, massage, snacks, clothes, and many more. The streets are very vibrant and lively. And there we arrived at Pub Street! You won’t miss it. They put a big sign with lights on it. Cafes, bars, restaurants are there along the way. Even if you don’t like night life, you will still enjoy it. Okay, maybe for a shorter time. It actually reminded me of Pham Ngu Lao area in Ho Chi Minh City. Very busy and loud street but this one not as loud though.

There are some local restaurants that offer Cambodian Cuisine cooking class in the area. One of them is Khmer Family Restaurant. We went there to order cocktail because we were still full. My friend ordered Kampot Pepper Mojito and I ordered Passion Fruit Mojito. Somehow I couldn’t taste the alcohol in it. The prices for cocktail and alcohol in general is cheap though, especially compared to Singapore (well doh! lol).

Pub Street Siem Reap Cambodia Night time
Pub Street
Cambodian Landmine Survivors Donation Pub Street
Cambodian Landmine Survivors
Khmer Family Restaurant Siem Reap Cambodia
Khmer Family Restaurant
Cocktail Menu Khmer Family Restaurant Siem Reap
Cocktail Menu
Kampor Pepper Mojito and Passion Fruit Mojito
Kampor Pepper Mojito and Passion Fruit Mojito

After we finished our drink, we head back to hotel because we need to get up very early the next day. The pick up to Angkor Wat will be at hotel by 4.30am, which mean we have to get up at 3.30am at least. Eek! We really hope the sunrise and Angkor Wat really worth the effort…

Thanks for reading, continue on day 2!

Ciao!

Drinks · Ho Chi Minh City · Vietnam

Cua Hang Cafe81 – Retro Style Coffee Shop

Going to a coffee shop is actually not my thing. Not because I don’t like coffee but more to the ability of my stomach to cope with coffee! Yup, I have a weak stomach… So then why did I go to this coffee shop?! It was actually a coincidence. I was looking for a place with traditional looking and some grit for a photoshoot. I’ve been in Saigon for 3 years but I rarely walking around the city. Now that I’m leaving Saigon soon, I feel like I need to know the city better. This is what they called to take it for granted. I’ve had all my time in this city but I always thought I could do it later (or more like procrastinating I guess?).

When I researched for something I could go on and on until it’s just too much, including this one. I found an article / blog about the unique coffee shop in Saigon. I noted down the places and decided to visit them. My plan was to invite my coffee drinker friends, but my impulsive side couldn’t wait any longer so I went to one of them by myself.

Cua Hang Cafe 81 Coffee Shop Saigon

I checked the list and picked one nearest to my place, which is Cua Hang Cafe81 in District 1. It was around 13 minutes by car. I have their address but when I entered on google map, it didn’t show up the correct location. Hence we got lost until the end of the road. Apparently, it listed as 81cafe on google map, and it is very near from the intersection. At first, I just want to take photos from my car without hopping off, but when I arrived there I couldn’t hold the urge to enter the place!

They have a very classic, retro interior. I love it. Inside has 2 rooms filled with tables. The room where I sat was a bit dark, while the next room was brighter. The waiter can’t speak English but he was friendly. I looked at the menu and they are mostly Vietnamese drinks, from coffee, chanh muoi to beer. No snack or food available. No smoothies. Their price is still reasonable for a cafe. Coffee was 30k – 35k vnd. Chanh Muoi 40k vnd (this one is a bit expensive for chanh muoi but maybe they are good (?). I’ll try it next time.

cua hang cafe 81 coffee shop interior
A table opposite of mine

I placed an order of ca phe sua da (Vietnamese Ice Coffee with Milk) and waited. The guy brought water to my table. Nice! A proper coffee shop. I took out my camera and started taking photos. Unfortunately, I don’t have a suitable lens for this. My shortest focal length is the 35mm prime lens, and it was too tight to take a photo there. I need a wide lens. In the end, I used my phone to take some photos. Good enough 😀

When the coffee came, I was hesitating to drink since I just recovered from upset stomach. I questioned myself whether this was a good idea or not… After contemplating for a while, I took a sip to try the coffee. It was delicious. Not too sweet. I took my time on drinking that coffee. One sip at a time while editing photos on my phone.

I showed the photos to my friends, in Indonesia and in Saigon (Japanese and European ladies). Funny though that they have different opinions. My Indonesia friends said something like “That looks scary”, “Looks like my grandma’s house”, “Wow, now I know my house can be a cafe as well if it gets a little messier”, “That looks like my old house”. While my friends in Saigon said “That is cute! Are you there now? Where is it?”, “That looks lovely! I want to go there too”, “Nice, retro looking cafe”.

For me, this cafe is cute and very classic. It is quiet enough (aside from some students who keep talking while doing their homework). I think next time I will go there if I want to work in different atmosphere.

cua hang cafe 81 coffee shop interior

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cua hang cafe 81 coffee shop interior

What do you think? Would you go there as well after looking at the pictures? The place is good for an Instagram post. Let me know in the comment below.

Ciao.

PS : My stomach was okay after drinking the coffee, so I guess I can go back there! Yay.

 

Place : 81Cafe, 216 B Nguyen van Nguyen, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.