My Siem Reap Bucket List

1. Crocodile Farm: Went on a road trip with some friends from Siem Reap to Battambang, Cambodia. One of our stops was a crocodile farm where crocs are bred and raised for their meat and skin. Straightaway the owner showed us his baby crocs and offered to let us pick anyone of them up to hold. I didn’t hesitate but misunderstood him when he said, “they don’t bite if you hold them,” he meant to say, “they won’t bite if you hold them (from behind their head).” Needless to say, I was petting my baby croc’s mouth like a puppy the whole time and even got mouth to mouth for a joking kiss. Apparently, I’m a lucky you know what or just a great kisser.

2. Bugs Cafe: I made some friends and we ventured off to Bugs Cafe in Siem Reap, Cambodia where they boast a menu full of insect-based dishes such as tarantula donuts and ant-filled spring rolls. I’ve eaten many bizarre things during my time in southeast Asia but was indefinitely intimidated eating their giant water bug. So naturally, we agreed to split it three ways and I opted for the head because why not?

3. Bat Cave: No Batman but yes, a HUGE, overhead cave boasting 6.5 million bats who fly out every evening around 5:30pm to hunt for insects. The locals love these bats for two reasons: tourism and the bats hunt all the insects that destroy the locals’ crops. I initially thought it would be a quick few minutes of the bats flying out of their cave but this event ended up lasting a solid 25-30 minutes. Locals literally bring out chairs and set up tables for tourists to buy food and drinks and wait and watch for the bats. Luckily for myself and my friends we showed up out of the blue and within 5 minutes the bats were making an appearance. Something I don’t think I’ll ever see in my lifetime again.

4. Killing Caves of Phnom Sampeau: You read that write, this is where Khmer Rouge killed numerous and disposed of their bodies. It’s a weird concept for foreigners like myself who aren’t extensively educated on the history and culture of the Khmer because this sight is now used for prayer. Even our hired driver, who was brand new to the gig, followed our group up the mountain so he could pray and take pictures.

5. Banteay Srei: I have been traveling Asia for quite some time and thought I had my fix of temples, I was wrong. Something about Cambodia where ruins and glorious architecture and art are side-by-side just add this weird spark of history and mentality of diamonds amongst the coal. Cambodia, at least in February, has a very dry, barren landscape so to see these gleaming temples amidst nothing but dirt and debris just made it something special.

6. Angkor Wat: I get it’s a wonder of the world and it’s most tourists goal of going to Siem Reap, but it just wasn’t for me. It’s easily double or triple the price of any other tour or entrance fee, it’s covered with rude tourists and tourist traps such as tour guides looking to rip off naive foreigners and tourist ‘police’ looking for a bribe, and quite frankly it wasn’t anything special. If you had taken someone without any knowledge of the temples in Cambodia and shown them several of them I don’t think Angkor Wat would stand out significantly among them. I should also warn tourists, do not ever feed the monkeys, it might seem cute or fun, but it makes them aggressive like you’ll see pictured below and because they are being fed they spend less time foraging and more time reproducing.

7. Koh Ker: Yeah, it’s big and climbing to the top is very possible due to a relatively new staircase to see the views from the top.

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siem reap 231.JPG8. Beng Mealea: Yeah, I know it looks like just a pile of ruins, but the fact that all of this used to be something glorious and that it was made years and years ago without modern technology. It makes you appreciate the things people are capable of.siem reap 275.JPG9. Roadtrip to Battanbang and trying local bamboo shoots:siem reap 024siem reap 028

10. Pub Street: Infamous for your daily dose of bad decisions. A walking street at night, boasting all the bars and clubs to be, pub crawls every night of the week and restaurants offering every cuisine around the globe – the name is pretty self-explanatory of what you get coming here.

11. Mad Monkey Hostel: I naturally had my reserves at staying in a party hostel, even more so when I decided to book their largest room available, a 12-bed mixed dorm, but I always had the what if thought thinking it could be a really great way to meet people and have some fun so I went ahead and pulled the trigger. Do I regret it? No, absolutely not. Despite a couple classy couples having sex in the room twice, numerous roommates getting up at 4am to make it for the Angkor Wat sunrise, and only 2 bathrooms for a 12-bedroom it was still great fun to meet people from all over the globe such as South Africa, Ireland, and Spain. The tours offered were excellent, the food and drinks were cheap and good quality, and the dorms themselves were actually very clean so I was happy overall with my experience there.

siem reap 00312. Cambodian riel! Ironically, Cambodia uses mostly US dollars to the extent that prices are listed in USD and several ATMs give USD countrywide! From right to left: 2000 riel equals 50 cents, 1000 equals 25 cents, 500 equals 12 cents and 100 riel equals 2 cents

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Fucking Ringworm: You read that right. I caught the worse case of ringworm I’ve ever had in my life. What happened? Got a massage that wasn’t so great in Vietnam where I caught the initial infection then got bit by a bunch of mosquitoes in Cambodia where I spread it like a fool. Ringworm is a super contagious skin infection that’s passed or spread through direct skin-on-skin contact so when you’re itchy all over it’s bound to spread from sheer habit of scratching especially in your sleep state where you’re naturally scratching without thinking. A heavy supply of antibiotics and weeks of spreading and fighting infection occurred as a result. A reason why I wear jeans so often regardless of the weather.

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