siem reap, cambodia

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Our time in the "Kingdom of Cambodia” was all too short.

The first and main reason we were in Siem Reap, Cambodia was to see Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom. The largest religious site in the world, Angkor Wat, was built by the Khmer Empire in the 12th Century but it wasn’t discovered until early 1900s. Now that they have cleared the jungle from the ruins, it has become a very popular tourist destination. We were shocked at how crowded the temples were, but did not let it stop us from admiring it all. Our ND friends Kelsey & Devin gave us a great recommendation to do a Vespa Tour; it was the perfect way to navigate through all of the ruins in a day. To start, out of respect for the temples and Buddha, we had to buy some pants/skirt from the local vendors to cover our knees. Seeing the city by Vespa was exhilarating and added to the excitement of visiting the ancient ruins. We had lunch at a local spot, in a hut complete with hammocks for relaxing after your meal. By 3pm, it was 100 degrees and we were exhausted. 

In the evening, we went to the Cambodian “Circus” and finished with a traditional Khmer dinner. The circus performers (more similar to Jesse White Tumblers) were amazing! The show is student run and helps to put the local performers through school. We loved it the show (and it wasn’t even in English!)

Our next day we jumped on bikes with a group and went into the Cambodian countryside. A few different things we experienced:

  • Poverty in the Cambodian countryside is very apparent. We rode past many young kids who should have been in school. However, it all depends on where you live in proximity to the school - if your parents cannot take you or cannot afford to have you taken to school, you do not attend. One of our guides was from the countryside. He never had the opportunity to go to school because he lived too far away. As an adult, he went to work for an NPO. The non-profit paid for his education and now he was in tourism so that he could provide for his family. All of our guides knew firsthand the importance of education in their own lives and in the future of the communities’ children. 
  • Education - we visited a school and got to briefly play with the kids at recess. We could have spent the entire day there with those kids. They were excited to see new faces and could not have been cuter. The school was government funded and the classrooms looked like they could have been in the US. Most of the kids wore red soccer jerseys, that they bought second hand, as their uniform. The children that could not afford the red uniform were instructed to wear anything blue or white.  
  • Every home relies on buying and selling in the markets. So if your house grows vegetables, you have a stand at the local market selling and bartering for food, clothing and goods from another household. 

We finished our time in Cambodia exploring Siem Reap before flying to Hanoi. We found a really cool hipster street, Kandal Village, with curated shops and vegan cafes run by a group of younger generation Cambodians. The juxtaposition of these new shops, ancient temples in Angkor Wat and the Cambodian countryside made our experience unforgettable! 


The Vasconcellos Family - we did our Vespa Tour with this family of four and had a blast. They are from Singapore and made the day really enjoyable. Also, their 4-year-old daughter Anna could not have been more adorable!


  • Siem Reap
  • Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom
  • Heritage Suites Hotel
  • Kandal Village


  • Vespa Adventures
  • Cambodian Circus
  • Grasshopper Bike Tours