Finally the day arrived, 17th April and we left for the mystical land of Cambodia from Kuala Lumpur by Air Asia. We hadn’t taken an e-visa (Visa is needed for all nationals except for people from ASEAN region). It is a 2 hr flight from KL to Siem Reap (pronounced Siyam Riap)
You could get your e-visa done from this website it is the same USD 30 per person, plus an additional USD 7 processing charges.
There are several other sites where you could get it done but they will rip you off, better choose the govt recognised website. You could decide to get it on arrival, you have to fill up 3 forms and stand in the queue, will take about an hour. The airport is pretty small, so can get congested if your flight had been full!
We had booked our stay at the Angkor Palace Resort and Spa through Agoda and this promo came with a free airport transfer service. We were impressed by the reception, the welcome at the hotel was lovely. They offered us wet towels to freshen ourselves up along with a glass of fruit punch along with a Cambodian scarf!
It was a breeze and the bell boy brought us our luggage to our room. The room was very very spacious, we hadn’t expected so much from this hotel ( we paid more for something like a backpacker’s home in Sri Lanka than for this) Definitely worth every dollar we paid.
We reached the hotel at around 430 pm local time, so we just freshened up and left for the Night market and the famed Pub Street for an early dinner (since we had skipped lunch).
It was my birthday that day and my special request to eat mexican and we headed to Viva Restaurant near the Old Market road, after reading all the positive reviews on Trip advisor. For the first time in my life I had some cocktail lol… yeah it was a Bloody Mary, we feasted on tortilla chips and salsa, enchiladas were awesome, although my daughter was more than happy to enjoy the tortilla chips alone for her dinner, we made her eat the enchiladas and she enjoyed it.
We followed it up with some homemade ice cream from The Blue Pumpkin right next door, I had Japanese green tea flavoured ice cream while A had Caramel Cashew nut ice cream. Both were heavenly.
You may have read it on other blogs, in Cambodia, all shops accept USD but the small change doesn’t exist there, so if you have a bill of USD 3.50, you can pay them either as USD 3 plus 2000 Cambodian riels or USD 4 and get 2000 riels as change. Try to dispose the Cambodian riels when you have the opportunity, for change or donations, there is not much value for the currency (USD 1 = Cambodian Riels 4000)
So, Day 1 at Siem Reap was lovely. Ah I forgot to mention, April is one of the hottest months, so be prepared to literally get wet in sweat any time of the day and evening. The temperatures are around 38-40 degree Celsius at this time of the year, so stay hydrated and wear summery cotton clothes. We could see a lot of little kids bare-chested, reminded me of Chennai summer days as kids when we used to roam around the house half-dressed unable to bear the heat!!
The tuk tuk ride from/to the hotel to market area is approximately a 4 km ride and costs USD 3. The people are very friendly and ever smiling, I thought Thailand was the land of smiling people but Cambodia beats Thailand at that. Very courteous and friendly people, who wave at you when they see you travelling on the tuk tuk…
When we returned back to the hotel, I was in for a surprise, since it was my birthday the hotel staff left a note and a lovely chocolate cheesecake in the mini fridge for me to cut! This was a real surprise for me, and a lovely birthday!
We hit the bed early excited to start off our expedition in the mystical land.