15.01.2012 - 15.01.2012
Back to travel blogging..let me add the missing pages, before I add the recent ones. Starting from Siem Reap, which we visited back in 2012.
We had arrived in Siem Reap around noon after a 10 hr journey from Bangalore, with a connecting flight in Kuala Lumpur. We were picked up by our hotel van and reached the hotel within half an hour.
Being a heavily touristed town, Siem Reap has good roads, but very less traffic. On the way from the airport, we saw plenty of hotels, I never expected there would be so many for a town of this size, hotels of all ranges and tastes and they are quite inexpensive, even comparing to those back in India. But yes, the town is mostly meant for tourists, after all this is the most touristed location in Cambodia, many arrive in this country just to visit the famous Angkor temples near the town. It is nice to see a small town of this size to have an active international airport, plenty of hotels and restaurants, supermarkets and the usual touristy stuff we encounter in Asia - fish spa, night markets, souvenir shops, currency exchanges and cyber centers around every corner. And it isn't difficult for a tourist in this town, unlike the rest of Cambodia. USD is the de-facto currency in touristed towns in Cambodia, only for small changes, you get paid back in Riels (1 USD makes about 4000 Riels), a currency which is virtually useless outside Cambodia.
On reaching our hotel Somadevi Angkor, we rested until the evening and then went for the Smile of Angkor show. The show isn't a must for a Siem Reap itinerary, but it fitted well for the time we had on this Sunday evening. We had booked the tickets online, it cost us 33 USD/person incl. dinner and hotel pickup/drop. The show is organized at Angkor COEX, which located in the outskirts of the town... it took us around 15 min to reach by car.
The buffet dinner started early at 6 pm, mostly with S.E Asian dishes, though I wouldn't rate it high for quality, quite OK, it certainly was the largest buffet dinner I had ever seen considering the number of dishes. The show started at 7:15 pm, a commercial cultural show with Acrobatic performers, lasers, water fountains and modern light and sound effects, I would say it is the Siem Reap equivalent of the show at Gurgaon's Kingdom of Dreams back in India. The show is 75 min long and tells the story of ancient Angkor through costumed dancers, with scenes such as the churning of the sea of milk for Amritha. It is not meant to be compared with traditional Cambodian dance shows, it is purely an entertainment show with dance, colorful costumes, sound and light effects, plus with a dinner thrown in. Though I had read mixed reviews of this show while booking it, we did enjoy our visit and felt worth the money and time.
The hotel where we stayed while in Siem Reap...
A snap from the Smile of Angkor show...