Before my visit to Siem Reap I had not heard the word “templed out” and never knew that something like that existed.
But its really hard not to get templed out in Siem Reap as almost every nook and corner of the city has some ruins of some long forgotten or long lost temple that has only recently resurfaced thanks to the efforts of historians..
While the first few days can get really overwhelming just looking at the sheer size and scale of the monuments, actual symptoms of being templed out don’t really start showing up until a week later.
A week later the mere mention of a sunrise or sunset is bound to send shivers down the spine and just cause frustration!!!
So this post is for all those people who are done with ruins and temples and are completely at a loss for things to to do in Siem Reap.
Yes, you read it correctly and no I don’t blame you for trying to tell me that you are in Siem Reap and not in Napa Valley or some other wine country.
But folks, you are in for a surprise and a pleasant one that too!!!
Cambodia has its own version of local wine produced from rice and its called as “Sraa Tram” in the local language or simple rice wine for us travelers and this wine can be a little too strong with a unique smell of its own too.
But fret not as the folks at “Sombai” have come to our rescue!!!
Sombai was started by an expat couple who found that Siem Reap really did not have good quality international wines and the local rice wine was a little too much to handle for international guests.
After giving it some thought they came up with the brilliant idea of using the local rice wine and infusing it with various flavors while still retaining the original taste.
After a tired day of walking and exploring the temples, Sombai is the perfect place for some relaxation and also to get a taste of local wines.
Sombai organizes wine tasting everyday and all it takes is a phone call to make a reservation. Please call ahead and make a reservation as the place is quite small and cannot accommodate large crowds.
Another reason advanced reservation is required is that the place is located a few kms away from the main city but they offer pick up and will also arrange for a tuk tuk to drop off after the wine tasting is done.
Sombai is located in a traditional Khmer style house and upon reaching there we were greeted by a friendly girl who asked us to remove our shoes and escorted us inside.
There is a small room that has neatly lined shelves full of the wine in bottles hand painted by a few local artists. This room also is where the tasting will take place after a tour of the laboratory and infusing place that are located on the first floor.
The tour of the laboratory lasts about 20-25 minutes depending on the interest levels and is completely optional. But I recommend the tour highly as it is very interesting to watch the entire process of the infusion and the way the flavors are combined.
The tasting itself is a very short event that lasts about 15 mins. They have 8 different flavors and each of them is unique. My personal favorite was the Anise – Coffee and Green Mango – Green Chilli
Another unique feature of this place is that the bottles are hand painted by local artistes and make for very good souvenirs.
Overall a very good place to spend an evening after a day at the temples!!!
2.Afternoon Tea at the Grand Raffles:
If rice wine infused with Red Peppers is a little too hot for your palate then head to the afternoon tea that is organized daily at the Grand Raffles located in the heart of Siem Reap.
While Siem Reap is definitely not the best when it comes to Afternoon tea it still does a decent job and does not disappoint.
The Afternoon Tea at Raffles is held in one of their restaurants called the Conservatory which overlooks the huge swimming pool surrounded by heavenly smelling frangipani trees.
It is the perfect place to unwind after a day at the temples as the atmosphere is calm and soothing and the tea is good.
They have options of the Traditional Afternoon Tea or the Khmer Afternoon tea and they also accommodate requests for vegetarian food.
They require advance reservations and its priced at 23 USD per person. It is the most expensive activity I did in Siem Reap but a nice luxury experience.
Note: While 23 USD is a lot of money in this part of the world, do remember that this is for an experience and not just for the tea or scones. Its just a nice way to spend an evening relaxing away from the hustle and bustle of the city and the noisy pub street.
Bonus points: They serve water in ornate glasses like this one
3. Play mini golf amidst the Angkor Wat:
Well not quite literally at Angkor Wat but at the miniature replica of the temples.
If not for the golf, do visit this place to see the miniature replicas of the temple.
It costs 9 USD per person and they arrange for pick up and drop off.
Unfortunately I do not have pictures for this place.
These are the activities that are very different from the usual ones and are only local to Siem Reap Cambodia.
The other activities include getting unlimited massages for as low as 2 USD for 45 mins, pub hopping on you guessed it right Pub Street, for the brave hearts eating crocodile meat burgers.
Apparently Crocodile Meat Burgers are a delicacy and you will find restaurants in Pub street with boards claiming theirs to be the best in town!!
Of course I was not brave enough to try the crocodile meat burgers, but Siem Reap is so much more than just temples and it is a great place to have an amazing vacation..
Did you travel to Siem Reap? If yes, what your experience like???