As I mentioned in my review of the Park Hyatt Siem Reap, you should really set aside a night or two to go into town and enjoy the nightlife. Whatever the comforts of your accommodations, I thought the town was a great and relaxing place to spend the evening. There were dozens of shops, restaurants, and bars all eager to serve.
Trip Report Index
- Trip Report Introduction: Taking My Sister to Asia for Two Weeks
- Review: Cathay Pacific First Class SFO-HKG (Last of the 747s)
- Review: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong (after Renovations)
- Revisiting the Old, and Finding New Favorite Activities in Hong Kong
- Review: Dragonair Economy Class to Chiang Mai (HKG-CNX)
- Review: Le Meridien Chiang Mai
- Visiting the Baanchang Elephant Park in Chiang Mai
- Chiang Mai: Like Bangkok without the Crowds
- Review: Flying Bangkok Airways to Siem Reap and the Best Free Airport Lounge
- Review: Park Hyatt Siem Reap
- Touring Siem Reap: Angkor Archaeological Park
- Touring Siem Reap: Night Markets and Bars
Most of the night markets were like this one, with big neon lights and some kind of organized layout with multiple shops and stands along narrow paths. I don’t normally shop at night markets, but I do enjoy walking through them. This one was no different. I appreciated that there seemed to be more handmade goods and fewer mass-produced ones (though you’ll never avoid that trap entirely). At least the lights made for a more interesting spectacle.
After walking around for a bit, Katherine and I eventually started to look for a place to eat. There are two main streets in the central shopping district. We walked down Sivatha Road (where the Park Hyatt is situated) and took the fork to the left at Street 11. Two blocks further at the intersection of Street 11 and Street 8 is Red Piano, where all the activity seemed to focus. But there are many alleys nearby with shops and restaurants, where we eventually settled on Khmer BBQ.
You can see that the prices are all in USD, though a little cheaper than you’d expect in the U.S. What I appreciated most is that the whole environment was so casual. There were no hawkers in my face, and there was no wait for service. If I wanted to shop or get a drink I could pop in and get what I want or grab a table. It was very unlike most vacation destinations I had been to before. Perhaps some of that was because I was visiting Cambodia (not as much a tourist destination as neighboring Thailand) and in the summer (definitely the off season), but it was overall a great experience like walking around my own neighborhood in Seattle.
Of course, I never forgot that I was in Cambodia. Sometimes being a little rough around the edges is exactly what gave it that charm. Take the fish pedicures for example. They’re popular in Thailand, and we tried them out in Chiang Mai. They were little minnows that tickled. In Cambodia, the veil was lifted, and the fish were much larger, like they’d been allowed to grow because the merchant couldn’t afford a new batch of babies. Despite my sympathies, I decided to pass. These guys looked like they might draw blood!