Upon entering Siem Reap, I didn’t have any prior expectations. The only thing I really knew about the town was that the Temples of Angkor were close by. And that’s just what the town was. A settlement that developed because of the World Wonder six kilometers down the road.
But that’s not a bad thing.
I loved the slowness of Siem Reap. Or I guess a better word would be sleepiness. It did not have the urgency of Bangkok. It did not have the traffic of Phnom Penh. It did not have the strict rules of Singapore or an extensive railway system like Kuala Lumpur. The roads were quite bumpy and worn, the people appeared the same and the town seemed to know its very significant role in Cambodia and more importantly the world: the gateway to the Temples of Angkor Wat, one of the Wonders of the Ancient World.
Moto drivers still hounded me, but with a more blasé attitude. The shops were all set further off the road and walking down the street, I didn’t feel like something was constantly being sold to me (of course, this all drastically changed when I visited the Temples of Angkor).
I didn’t explore downtown Siem Reap until later in the day and it was definitely a little busier than Airport Road, or National Highway 6, the street that I first encountered when entering the city. There were cute shops selling knick knacks and souvenirs extremely similar to those found in Thailand (although, naturally, the “Thailand” was now changed to “Cambodia”), small guesthouses and of course, cheap beer everywhere.
My kind of town!