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Siem Reap is a wonderful place to relax, mostly of an evening after you’ve been temple-ing all day. It’s light on sights but has a plethora of great restaurants and bars.

SLEEP – Angkor Pearl Hotel is a bizarre hotel with funny staff and pretty big rooms. For the price it was a very good deal.

EAT

Sugar Palm – excellent fish amokSiemReap-1

This is the place to try Cambodia’s national dish. Fish amok (amok trei) is a curried dish made with freshwater fish coated in a thick coconut milk with kroeung, the ubiquitous Cambodian spice paste made from lemon grass, Kaffir lime zest and leaves, turmeric, garlic, shallots, chillies, and various rhizomes (roots similar to ginger). Sugar Palm is famous for the dish, and featured on a BBC Gordon Ramsay cookery show. It’s a fantastic curry, attractively served in a coconut on a nice outdoor terrace.

The Touich Restaurant – Siem Reap’s best!

You will need a tuk-tuk to reach this restaurant on the outskirts of town, but it’s definitely worth the visit. Specialities include Khmer Rib-eye beef with kampot pepper ($7.50!!) and Sand grilled red snapper ($10!), both of which were amazing. Touich is famous for its delicious cocktail, the Khmer mojito, made from rice wine, mint, sugar, lime and ginger.

Marum

This is one of a chain of restaurants that trains street kids for the tourism industry, including the two restaurants we couldn’t visit in Phnom Penh – Romdeng and Friends. Marum is definitely worth a visit – the building is great, the waiters and waitresses are incredibly friendly and earnest, and the food is fantastic, with a real variety of inventive dishes on offer. A fantastic experience. See their website.

DRINK

Most bars in Siem Reap serve beers for $1.

Madam Wong’s Cocktail Bar … and the Beatles bar around the corner

Madam Wong’s serves relatively expensive – and very strong – cocktails in a relaxed setting. Nearby there is a new bar we visited with a Beatles theme that had excellent caipirinhas.

Get around: Walk, occasional tuk-tuk to places that are further away (such as The Touich  Restaurant).

Travel Rating (out of five): ★★★

More than just a place to sleep between Angkor stops. Siem Reap has some fantastic restaurants and great bars.

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