Temple fatigue crept in after spending several hours at the Angkor Archaeological Complex. I explored Mad Monkeys Hostel Siem Reap and stayed on its roof-top to wait for sunset. I had no intentions of joining the roof-deck party because my goal for that night was to visit Siem Reap’s Pub Street. After booking a transfer from Siem Reap to Bangkok, I went straight to the infamous street in Cambodia.
SIEM REAP KFC FOR DINNER
With a friend bugging me to try KFC for a meal in Siem Reap, I complied when I saw a branch on my way to the Pub street. It’s surprising to know that the food chain offers free Wifi connection, a rare one on their branches in the Philippines. I joined the queue of locals reciting their orders to the crew. Since I was starving, for a day of exploring the temples, I got 1pc chicken with steam rice, veggies, and a cup of soda for 2.8USD.
In the Philippines, KFC serves chicken with gravy for a dip but for the Cambodians, it’s tomato catsup. I had a hard time identifying if the side is a stir-fried veggie or pickled ones. Nonetheless, an expensive meal to take a break from the local food.
COFFEE NIGHT IN BLUE PUMPKIN
Few meters from the happenings of the Pub street is a cozy coffee shop, Blue Pumpkin. The cafe has two floors with the first for their counters, selection of bread, and some tables and chairs. They also have this mezzanine with lower tables and colorful couches. The second level, on the other hand, offers a great lounge atmosphere. One part of the hall has a long connected couch (you can actually lie down and sleep) and has several lap desks. Apart from that are expansive tables perfect for working individuals.
Blue Pumpkin is a local eatery and bakery but also offers beverages from coffee and tea, shakes, and juices. They also sell ice cream and gelato, cakes and pastries, burgers, and spring rolls. Coffee is good and a 2.8USD cup of it can wake you up all night while joining the fun on the Pub street.
BARGAINS AT THE NIGHT MARKET
Cambodia is a great place for shopping especially if you’re a master in bargaining. From shirts, pants, bags, decorative stuff, and other items for souvenir; the night market awaits you. Few blocks away from the Pub Street are booths set-up to cater tourists and locals alike. Crossing the bridge over Siem Reap river will give you access to a larger complex offering varied kinds of stuff.
During my tour, I was able to buy 2 tank-top shirts for only Php150 (3USD). Places like these are hubs for scams so it’s better to go around first, check for the items you’re looking, and hop from one booth to another to ask for the prices. Some vendors will provide you almost double of the original worth, so try to haggle. As to the benchmark, I usually start from half and up to a price where the vendor and I meet.
DANCING ON THE STREETS
Most restaurants on the main street offer deals on beers apart from the bands that entice partygoers to settle for a table. I didn’t drink anything that night but the entire place was a fun spot to wander. You can join the crowd of locals and foreigners grooving and singing with the bands. Colorful LED-lit boxes add funkiness to the whole experience.
STREET-FOOD FOR MIDNIGHT SNACK
When you plan to dine in restaurants along the main street, prepare your budget because they have higher rates compared to the places away from the happenings. If you are not picky and brave enough, street-foods are a lot cheaper. From my walk that night, there were stalls selling noodles topped with sunny-side up egg for only 2000KHR (~0.5USD).
Siem Reap’s Pub Street is a great place to visit even when you’re alone. There are a lot of happenings in the area from coffee shops, bargains on the night market, cheap street-food, and lots of drinking and dancing. The party vibe on the streets will make you groove and join the cheering crowd. I was glad that Mad Monkey Hostel Siem Reap is just several blocks away from the party scene.