Experience · Travel

Siem reap – Last Day ( Old Market – Hap Guan Street – Mademoiselle Thyda – Vibe)

Last day in Siem Reap! We only had time in the morning until a little bit after lunch time, then needed to head back to the airport. Since we haven’t looked around the Old Market, I suggested to go there. It should be a great place to buy some souvenirs from Siem Reap. Besides, I love walking around in the market and seeing what kind of product they sell and if they have any local / authentic product to bring home as souvenir.

Old Market

This place is in the center of city near Pub Street so it is very easy to reach. If you have been to Vietnam or Thailand, you will not be surprised with the scenery around the market. Although, this one is dirtier than the other two. As expected, there are a lot of things to see! I enjoyed strolling around but I don’t think my friend enjoyed it as much as I do. It is really a great place to look for souvenir or just to shop for yourself. Don’t forget to bargain for a lower price though. I usually try to lower it around 20% to 50% of the offered price, depending of the item. If they don’t agree, just leave and find another shop. BUT, if they agreed with it, you should buy the item. That’s the general rule of bargaining in the market to avoid angry seller, bargain and if they accept then you have to buy it. Unless, you don’t care if they angry at you then it’s up to you 😀 So, try to bargain as lower as you can as long as it’s still reasonable. I bought some peanuts with special spices from this market to give to my friends. They said it was nice but I didn’t buy it for myself. Bummer! Anyway, to see the overview of the market, please take a look at the pictures below 🙂

Indoor stalls
Old Market Siem Reap Cambodia Silk
Cambodia Silk at Old Market
Old Market Siem Reap Cambodia
All about Buddha
Old Market Siem Reap Cambodia
Dried Fruit
Dried Fish and Sausage
Street Food Vendor

Hap Guan Street

Hap Guan street is a very nice area to hang out, and even shopping! There are cafes and small local shops standing side by side along the street. It is a perfect area to hide from the buzzling city center. Too bad a lot of shops were closed when we were there. At least, we managed to visit a local spice shop and a coffee shop!

Hap Guan Street Siem Reap Cambodia
Hap Guan Street
Hap Guan Street Siem Reap Cambodia
Hap Guan Street

Mademoiselle Thyda.

Located in Hap Guan street, this place is a must-visit for spice lovers. They are selling local spices and also the mixture of it. There are some unique mixtures that is great to buy for a souvenir or even for youself. Assorted spices that they sell are kampot pepper (famous from Cambodia), curry powder, wild turmeric, lemongrass, amok spices and many more. While the mixture of spices for example chili & pepper and salt or black pepper and salt. They also have a unique mix spices such as wasabi and salt, sun salt ( turmeric, chili, pepper, salt), flower salt ( white hibiscus, butterfly pea, keffir lime, marigold, salt), healthy salt (white maringa, spirulina, green tea, lime, salt) and many more. All of the salt mixtures are homemade with kampot salt. Other than spices, they also sell Alcoholic Jam. Interesting, isn’t it? Even the jam in Cambodia has alcohol in it! lol

Alcoholic Jam
Mademoiselle Thyda Spices Cambodia
Assorted Spices (Original and Mix)

The Little Red Fox Espresso

After shopping for spices, we found a small coffee shop nearby so we went inside. The name is cute! The little red fox espresso. It was packed inside so we sat on high chairs until we found out there is a second floor! So we moved upstairs. More spacious and artsy. My friend was up to the challenge and ordered Charcoal Latte ($3.75 (small), $4.25 (large)). Unfortunately, it was disappointing. We couldn’t taste anything but milk. Even too milky for a latte.

Charcoal Latte Little Red Fox
Charcoal Latte
Hot Latte Little Red Fox Espresso
Hot Latte
First floor space
Little Red Fox Espresso Siem Reap Cambodia
Second floor

Vibe

After a long chat over coffee, we felt hungry (if you think how is that possible to feel hungry right after a cup fo coffee, it is very possible for us! lol). We looked for a place nearby for lunch and found Vibe. It’s a vegetarian restaurant, but hey it won’t be that bad right?! I ordered Japanese Macro Bowl ($6.5) and it was a very huge portion! It has a lot of vegetables (well doh! it’s a vegetarian restaurant…). So what’s in it? It contains wild seaweed, homemade kimchi, miso tempeh, radish, cucumber, pickled ginger salad, sesame, peanut, with ginger dressing. Yup, really huge and packed with veggies. I couldn’t finished it. Apparently, this restaurant is famous with their campaign . For every meal we buy there, the money will go to The Good Vibe Foundation that aims to feed 10.000 healthy meals to school children in Cambodia. How nice is that! I just wish the food tasted better as well to support that.

Vibe Vegetarian Restaurant Siem Reap
Vibe Vegetarian Restaurant
Japanese Macro Bowl Vibe Menu Vegetarian
Japanese Macro Bowl
The good cause

We decided to go back to hotel by walking (also decided no more vegetarian food for a while). As we walked, I took some photo of the city and enjoyed it the last time before we headed to the airport.

At the airport has a lot of souvenirs to choose. If you don’t have time to shop in the city, or too lazy to haggle in the market, can go directly to the airport and buy from the shops at the airport. They are combined in one big area and you will pass by there anyway to go to the boarding gate.

The trip to Siem Reap has come to an end! Thank you for everyone who gave suggestions to us and for those who stop by at my blog to read the story 😉

Ciao!

Street view siem reap cambodia
Walking back to the hotel
A very sunny day!
Siem reap people cambodia selfie
Lovely to see the smiles
Rental shop for bicycle and motorbike in Siem Reap
Rental shop for scooter and motorbike
Experience · Travel

Siem Reap Trip Journal – Day 3 ( Artisans D’Angkor – Angkor National Museum – Floating Village )

After a tiring day visiting temples in Angkor city, the 3rd day we decided to do some relaxing activity. After breakfast, we met our remorge driver in front of the hotel and headed to Artisans d’Angkor.

Artisans d’Angkor is a handicraft workshop center. They have workshops for wood carving, stone carving, silver plated, fabric painting and so on. They are open daily from 8 am to 6 pm and free entrance. Once we arrived there, someone welcomed us and became our tour guide for the entire stay. And the great thing is it was free of charge! Yes, they also provided free guided tour in our language.

It was very interesting and fascinating to see the process of crafting the product. They are very talented indeed. There were a lot of questions popped up in my head, mainly about “how did they do it?! how did they have such an inspiration?!”. For a person who can’t create any art, these things are always amaze me. It such an amazing trip to this place! Please take a look of some pictures I took there 🙂

Wood Carving Artisan d'Angkor Siem Reap Cambodia
Wood Carving
Step by step wood carving Artisan d'angkor cambodia
Step by step of how they do wood carving
Step by step wood carving Artisan d'angkor cambodia
Using a metal version as a model for wood carving
Stone Carving
From a block of stone to a beautiful statue
Stone carving for Temple Restoration project
Stone carving for Temple Restoration project
Elephant stone carving artisan d'angkor siem reap cambodia
Elephant stone carving (model & work-in-process)
silver craft artisan d'angkor siem reap cambodia
Silver plating
step by step artisan d'angkor cambodia
Step-by-step process. An amazing end product!
Silk Fabric painting artisan d'angkor cambodia
Silk painting. Look at that level of detail!

After we finished visiting all their workshops, we arrived at the shop where they sell their product. The shop is pretty big with a lot of product from every workshop. I enjoyed strolling around the shop and adored the pretty stuff. Make sure you make time to visit this place if you like handicraft. Happy Shopping!

Next place we visited was Angkor National Museum. Another fascinating place to visit! The entrance fee is US$12 for adult. We had to leave our bag at the counter and they gave us a small bag to put our wallet and phone (and camera for me). Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photo in most rooms so my camera had no use there.

Bag Angkor National Museum Siem Reap Cambodia
Small bag for our stuff

When we entered the area, I had a low expectation of this museum. Thankfully I was wrong! This museum is a must-visit for a history lover or an art lover. There are total 9 galleries in Angkor National Museum and my favorite is the Exclusive Gallery which has 1000 Buddha Images. I didn’t count them, of course.. but there are many of Buddha statues in that gallery. All different kind of Buddha. Amazing images. Visit their website to have a sneak peek on how does the gallery look like and to get to know other information. Some people recommends visiting the museum before visiting Angkor Wat, but I think visiting it after Angkor Wat also can give you insight of what you’ve seen at the temple. It might answer your question about the temple as well, if you have any.

Angkor National Museum entrance to Galleries
Angkor National Museum entrance to Galleries

Our last destination for the day was floating village by the lake. It took around 42 mins from the city by car, or about 1 hour by remorge. Sitting on the remorge for an hour was quite a journey. The wind blew so hard on our face but the good thing was it made the weather less hot 😀 (although I was afraid I might catch a cold lol). I think it even rain that time..

On the way to Floating Village

We stopped by at the ticket counter to buy our entrance ticket. We paid for US$23 per person for the ticket. Quite expensive but we had no complaint since we got our own boat with noone else around. Lovely private trip 😀 If you need to go to the bathroom, this is the time because there will be no more bathroom after this point. After we got our ticket, we continued our journey.

We boarded on our boat and went to Floating Village. I wished our guide, Mr Bun Rong, was with us. He can speak English very well. Floating Village is not my favorite place to go. Not because of the view but because I’m scared being on a boat 😅 I don’t like to get on a boat that is shake so much. This boat was actually not bad, but whenever we passed by another boat it would shake because of the wave. Thankfully, I was busy enough taking photos so the trip was not too bad for me. Although I must say it is better to go there near sunset time. For the other time, the view is just like a normal floating village, no special lighting 😀 The villagers have to live and do their daily life from boat to boat. Temples and schools are on top of water as well.

After about 30 mins boat ride, we arrived at sunset point. It was an open space with a lot of other boats around. They were also waiting for sunset like us. We stopped by at one spot and just waited there. There was a small boat approaching us and turned out she was selling drinks and snacks! 😄

Drink seller on boat!

It was a bit cloudy near sunset time so the sky was not as we expected 😔 There was no orange sky in the horizon, but at least we could still see some yellow-ish and magnificent sky. Ah~~ I love sunset! We enjoyed it until the sun almost gone then decided to head back because I didn’t want to go back too late.

Beautiful floating village at sunset
Sunset on the boat at Tonle Sap Lake

Thank you for reading, my story! Have you been to any of these places? What do you think about them? Let me know in the comment 🙂 Bye for now! See you on day 4.

Selfie on boat floating village siem reap
Experience · Travel · Vietnam

Ninh Binh Trip Diary – day 2

I woke up at 7am because I forgot to turn off the alarm. Doh! then we had breakfast at the homestay. Their food is pretty good. While waiting for the food and after the meal, we made plan on what to do today. We heard about the big festival that is going on at the old capital. It is only about 6 km driving. I couldn’t drive motorbike so the daughter of homestay owner offered her cousin to take me there and back. The cost was 100k vnd for that service one-way and I thought it was too expensive because the cost for renting a motorbike is 150k vnd per day. Ugh..

morning view from our hotel ninh binh vietnam
morning view from our hotel

The brother of the girl asked me to try the motorbike and see if I can drive it. I was scared because I never really drive a motorbike before. I did learned a little bit when I was in high school. Only on a small street and my brother used to make fun of my speed because I drove like a snail. But after a trial with the guy (he sat on the back, and me driving), apparently, I can drive a motorbike! In the end, we rented 2 motorbikes. My friend with her son. and me alone. We drove together and slowly to the old capital city.

There are a lot of people who asked us to stop for parking on the way to entrance. We picked the last parking spot and the lady said 20,000 VND. We didn’t agree, and the lady reduced the price. 5,000 VND it is! Luckily, the guy from our homestay told us the price for parking there. Thank you, Em!

ninh binh old town vietnam entrance
Entrance to Ninh Binh Old Town
festival boat ninh binh old town
Boats
Celebration of 1050 years
boats festival ninh binh old town
Ducks taking shower near boats
Entrance to a temple in Old Town of Ninh Binh
ninh binh old town festival

We strolled around the old capital. Taking A LOT of photos, especially when we found out that there is an event in one of the temple there! Many people wearing traditional dresses and there was a ceremony as well. I don’t know what ceremony was that but it was very interesting. We didn’t stay until it finished though.

On the way out, we stopped by at an ice cream place. 20k for celano ice cream. It was lunch time but my friend didnt want to eat there because of the previous food poisoning case she had on her trip to another cities in vietnam so I just hoped that ice cream would make my tummy calm until we found food! We walked a bit to the other gate, and on the outside of the palace there are many small stalls. I found an interesting water bottled brand in one of the stall! I thought it was Aquafina because it has the same design and color, but it wasn’t. It was Aquatoka! I don’t think they are from the same company…

Vietnam Calligraphy
Vietnam Calligraphy

We continued walking until we found a small pagoda. It looks new but still we took some photos there anyway. After we looked around a bit, we walked back to our motorbike and went back to the hotel to have lunch there.

In the afternoon we just stroll around the village riding a motorbike to take some photos. Then my friend’s son need a rest so we went back to the hotel and returned the motorbike.

Later on, my friend and I walked to the street next of the homestay. We met some people who said hello to my friend on the way, including a boy who passed by in a bicycle and showing us his middle finger while smiling! Whaaat?! I wonder if he understand the meaning of what he just did..

Ninh Binh Vietnam

When we were about to take a photo of abandoned boat, a small girl said hello to us. Her name is Yen, and she is 12 years old. She lives nearby. She was so happy to meet us because she’s been wanting to practice her english. And her english is great by the way. When I was 12 years old, I couldn’t speak English at all lol. She was taught since 5 years old by her mom, through youtube! And now at school she is learning English as well. She was so excited to show us around and didn’t want to leave us. I asked her if she needs to go home and do homework, she said no need, she just want to speak english. Cute! There were 2 of her friends joined us as well but their english is not as good as hers so they only responding in Vietnamese.

She asked us if we want to visit her school and we said yes, so she brought us to her school! What a unique experience! Haha. I’ve never been to a local school. It looked awesome though. I missed my school day just by looking at it. When it was the time to say goodbye, she desperately wanted to chat more but we couldnt. We really need to go back for dinner with the boy (who were asking where is his mom, been away for some time while he was sleeping lol).

We were having dinner together at the hotel when the owner lady joined us and she explained about her plants. In Vietnamese. We used google translator by voice and communicate very well with the lady. Very convenient! We decided not to go to the festival to see fireworks and it was the right decision. The daughter said it would be traffic jam and packed with people there. Her mom (the owner lady) turned on television and we could see the ceremony of the festival live! There were a lot of people at the old palace. I felt like we made the rigth decision by not going there. Not that keen to be in a crowded place. The lady also treat us an ice cream! I picked coconut ice cream and it was so good! Its texture was more like sorbet but sweet like ice cream. Delicious!

We finished eating ice cream by 10pm then I need to stay awake for awhile to digest this but I dont think I can do it, too sleepy. Better sleep now. Good night!