Love at first sight: Pub Street

Siem Reap might be big, but there aren’t a lot of things happening in this town. Pub Street is the biggest night out scene in REP and I bet the partyphile on you won’t be able to resist the happenings around here. From night markets to street food to restaurants to pubs (duh), you won’t run out of things to do in Pub Street. It’s an organized chaos around here, that’s why I loved it the moment I laid my eyes on it (not exaggerating — even before going, while browsing online!)

20140510-091253.jpg Big ol’ Jenny-no-Jenny Johnny is kinda big around here

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20140510-091312.jpg This massive and random bookstore is a welcome peaceful corner in the midst of all chaos

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Pub Street is a mish mash of everything in a tiny convoluted array of streets. It would be easy to get lost, but hey we really didn’t mind if we got lost a bit — because everywhere you go just seems lively and so… full of boys (there I said it!) Everyone’s so friendly and cheerful — them foreigners and locals alike love to holla at ‘ya whenever wherever. You’ll feel like this is just your usual pub in your usual city… just with a tropical climate to boot.

20140510-091345.jpg The neon signs signals your entry to the playful streets

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The food doesn’t disappoint as well. As long as you have a nose for good food and great crowd — you’ll never run out of places to eat at. Choices are abounding as well – some with apsara dancers, and some with that music you might have left at home but were badly missing. There is something in Cambodia that tries so hard to make you feel at home.

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20140510-091437.jpg We were just in time for the Angkor Photography Festival when we went there.

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If you’re tired chugging Angkor beer and spicy chow, head to the night market – a few struts away from the main happenings. Don’t be apprehended by “You lady, what you want,” or “Mister, mister you want?” from the locals who are trying to make a living. Just politely say no if you don’t want to buy. Or feel free to haggle — I  did have more shopping done here than I did in Bangkok because haggling is just so fun to do!

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The best part that I liked about Pub Street is how the whole street is a hotpot of different cultures – whether local or foreign, Asian or Caucasian. Everyone’s just there to have fun – get drunk, high, or bloated. Everyone wants to meet everyone. You just need to have your best brave intoxicated self (as for me, that is) to introduce yourself and ask for names. Ask people where they’re from, what they do in life. What brings them to Siem Reap? Most relevantly, have they been to the temples? This French couple we met were just incredible travellers – having been in Siem Reap for the second time around and absolutely loving it so far. I really enjoyed listening to stories of far away lands, where I might have never been. It makes me long to see the world more. It makes me long to learn more, walk more, climb some more. It makes me feel alive.

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Ella left me for a while. I followed where the lights are, and where the people are dancing. I’ve made some friends, some I flirted about. Thanks to the buzz I have in my head til the morning. But some are just lonesome rangers of the night that won’t budge (that Latino wearing a muscle shirt in Linga is one tough nut to crack.) Meeting eyes with eyes, a shot for a shot. I found myself in a shithole where the sobriety of the night is only the hush whispers the walls make. A young Moroccan with the most expressive deep-set eyes to my left, and a seasoned (emphasis) British businessman who has seen half of the world to my right. Hush talks, laughs. Let the serendipity work. The alcohol did its work as well. But not that day, I thought.

20140510-091616.jpg In those intoxicated days in Pub Street, the tuk tuk is one’s only respite. 

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I was back to my friend, who enjoyed her banana-milo crepe in the middle of the street, and who wishes she can bring it to Manila. Ella thinks of the endless shift hours she makes at the hospital she works at. I thought of the guys I could’ve done that day. But we were in the middle of a happy street. And we were just happy. That’s all we need to know.

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Photos taken from iPhone 5

Selfies In The Angkor

Nope, my Cambodia series is not yet over. But I’ll take a break from temples. Because at the end of the day, the amount of selfies taken in a day matters. No kidding.

20140415-144815.jpg Gone drinking at the famous and never-miss Angkor What?!

20140415-144956.jpg I may be a scaredy cat but a selfie while trembling atop the Angkor Wat is a must.

20140415-144831.jpg Ella couldn’t resist as well!

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20140415-144939.jpg Mommy, save meeeeeeeeee! Those are stairs but half steps are still half steps!

20140415-144840.jpg The Bayon temple is a great spot for meditating… and getting your vanity fixes.

20140415-144947.jpg And more in the shadows please 😛

20140415-144932.jpg The silhouette of the Khmer stupa is sucha nice backdrop for a morning sefie, post-hangover.

20140415-144851.jpg Take others’ selfie when they took yours. (But isn’t that a non-selfie already?)

20140415-144908.jpg Two things (no not because you’re seeing double of me) — This is a panorama experiment gone fail, and that caucasian hunk at the right side

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20140415-144919.jpg And we’re off to Pub Street for some drinks and boys!!! 

Up next: Pub Street! Read the other entries on my Cambodia series here!

Where to stay at REP: Banyan Leaf Hotel

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This is the view that will greet you upon arriving at Banyan Leaf Hotel, and most prolly the one thing that made me choose this — plus some other things! On a serious note, it really doesn’t look so big (picture in Agoda looks so big) but it does look like somewhere to dip yourself after a hot day at the Angkor. There’s a dedicated time for pool time in the itinerary, I tell you! That and a cocktail, aaaaaaaah.

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It’s not that bad, really. I got the room for under PHP2500 ($60) for two nights and it was a lovely stay. Even I can’t believe that this is already a 2-star hotel rate. In Singapore, it’ll cost the same for a hostel. I am truly amazed how affordable Cambodia is so far.

DSC_0020 I really like that the walls are green, very refreshing!

DSC_0018 Not bad at all! I just wish they have hot shower

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While the room is nothing to rave about, it’s comfortable enough to shelter us in our stay in Siem Reap. One cannot deal with bad room and service after temple tramping, shopping, drinking, and more temple tramping in this land of wonder. I like that when you arrive – backpacks, heavy stuff, and all that shnazz – they offer you a drink. And immediately, you’re led to your room. Wi-fi is complimentary — and more! Breakfast is complimentary! It’s nothing local, though. Sausages, eggs, beans, pancakes, bread. Usual stuff, but still really important!

It is a small place, that the bar is right across the pool and the concierge, and behind is the dining area. No frills, if you ask me. Pretty much how I live now, so who the hell cares. I like that they offer drinks til the wee hours of the morning. It’s a quiet alternative to Pub Street if you’re in for a quieter night. (Not for me that time, lol)

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And if the temple run becomes too much to bear and you just need a good kneading, they offer massage in your room. This one I didn’t get. I’m not the massage type of person, but I did ask if you get to choose between a masseur and a masseuse and they do offer that!

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I think the most important thing to consider here is how near it is to Pub Street and the night market. It is a 15 minute walk from everything, even 10 if you’re a brisk walker.

DSC_0021 Banyan is roughly 30 minutes away from the Angkor

Plus you can always take a tuktuk for a couple of dollars. Really essential thing to remember when you’re going home a bit more drunk than you’re used to (hello people who make me drink so much at Pub Street!)

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Banyan Leaf Hotel
Taphul Road, Taphul Village
Khom Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap
www.banyanleafhotel.com
+85563967968

P.S. I can’t wait to blog about the temples!

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