THE TRAVELOGUE @ THE TRAVEL ROOM
Siem Reap's the benefit of Angkor Wat
How do you describe this gentrified version of a frontier town? Well, first of all I'll explain the frontier town reference as Siem Reap isn't actually near a border or frontier. Its resemblance to these towns is that you can get anything here for a price; the locals realised a long time ago what would bring the cash, thus they and it truly sold their collective soul for the mighty dollar.
There is actually nothing of interest in Siem Reap, but due to its close proximity to the amazing ruins of Angkor Wat and its sister complexes, an industry has sprung up here to cater for every spectrum of foreign traveller. It's a very seductive place to stay as everything is catered for at a price anyone can pay. Cheap food, drink and accommodation are just the start of what is available here. Are you old, pervy and a bit creepy? Then head to Mikey's Bar, where as they advertise, the girls are 'very friendly'. Want a joint or some coke (in a country where the jails will eat up a gringo like you and I), then your friendly Tuk Tuk dealer is just a step away.
But all this being said, it is very soothing to have a fresh cooked meal after a long day cycling and trekking around Angkor Wat, washed down with draft beer, which competition has forced down to 50 cents a mug and your bill comes in at less than $10 for 2.
The only real gripe I have is that due to the ease and availability of everything here, every idiot tourist can find this town and behave as though we are in the flush of the Raj in colonial India, forgetting that the Cambodian they are treating like a fool probably speaks 3 or 4 languages, works hard 16 hours a day and earns on a comparative measure of wealth as much as you. But for a fluke of birth they would own the company that you work for as they are more business savvy that 99% of those who turn up in this town.
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Want to know more about Angkor? Check out our Guide to Angkor.
Just give this a thought the next time you dismiss them with a stern word and dismissive wave of the hand, all because they couldn't quite understand your cocktail requirements delivered to them in a foreign language, in their own country.
The stunning Angkor Wat complex at dusk, Cambodia
Dani enjoying a great meal and beer for less than $10 for 2 people!
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