We arrived in Siem Reap for a February 13th – February 17th stay. In a short time we’d see the city of Siem Reap and the temples of Angkor Wat.
I saw a few documentaries and National Geographic exclusives on Cambodia when I was 18 and ever since then I’ve wanted to see it for myself. What I learned is it’s a country of extremely welcoming and resilient people who have managed to slowly come back from a tragic and horrific past. What happened in Cambodia in the 1970s should be remembered so it will never happen again. 1.7 million people died during Khmer Rouge rule. Even though the Cambodian Genocide was carried out by the regime of the Khmer Rouge over 40 years ago, (1975-1979) the country is still fighting back against the consequences of this genocide.
After landing at the Siem Reaps airport, we checked into our hotel at Angkor Vattanak Pheap Hotel. The hotel was clean, affordable (I think we paid $18/night) free breakfast, quiet, had a pool, and the front of the hotel had sidewalk lined with a bamboo forest leading up to the lobby.
After a quick nap and some work we took a tuk-tuk ride (for $3.00) to Hup Guan Street. Hup Guan Street is located in the sweet Kandal Village neighborhood. The street has a laid back, peaceful feeling. Lots of greenery and outdoor seating. It boasts fantastic mom and pop shops that have Cambodian hand crafted items – weaved blankets, jewelry, carved opal or onyx tableware. This street is where ex-pats hang out, shop, work, and eat. One establishment had a sign saying “We do not support sex tourism!” I appreciated this having just seen on Phuket and in certain neighborhoods in Bangkok the ugly side of tourism in Southeast Asia.
We ate at Little Red Fox Espresso café. We sat outside on the balcony in the sun and sipped ice coffee and ice tea. I ate a salad that not only tasted good, but looked good too, with its little purple flowers.
After lunch we walked up and down the neighborhood and in and out of the stores.
For dinner we put on our best and headed to Georges Rhumerie. We wanted to have a bit of a splurge since it was February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day. So we did!
But is it still considered a splurge if the food isn’t insanely expensive? I think so.
The Georges Restaurant in Siem Reap is inspired by the head chef (Georges) multicultural background. The chef’s homeland is Reunion Island, off the coast of Madagascar. His food combines so many influences! Primarily French creole it also includes Asian and African influences.
This restaurant is all about in house made ingredients. The sausages, jams, spicy chutney, and rum is ALL made in house. Incredible. There are 22 different types of Rum distilled and infused on site!!!
There are two seating areas; one in the garden and one inside. We opted for outside. The garden setting is so cool because your near a bamboo bar and surrounded by huge green palm fronds. The bugs aren’t bad because the staff is sure to leave you an organic mosquito spray on the table.
The service was impeccable and we got a bunch of free little treats, like rum and desserts. The chef visited everyone’s table to see how our meals were.
We had apps, drinks (2 each), free rum shots, two entrees, dessert, and a surprise free Vday dessert for $50.00. Can you imagine getting that same quality in the USA for that price?!!! If you’re looking for a fabulous vacation that’s affordable but luxurious, Southeast Asia is your place. The most expensive part is the plane ticket!!!
If you are in Siem Reap, book Georges Rhumerie!