Siem Reap lonely birthday

Today is my birthday and I am still in Siem Reap Cambodia. I am alone and inexplicably sad. I mostly don’t mind my alone time but today I am down in the dumps. To cheer myself up I try some some back home normalcy. I google a nearby cafe that has brunch dishes. Brunch sounds like a great way to treat myself. I order french toast at Sister Srey Cafe.

After a “taste of home” style brunch I head back to my hotel room because 1. It is another hot day and 2. Still don’t have motivation to do anything. I guess it is normal after all this traveling to take days off but it always comes with guilt – what am I missing out on seeing by taking this day off.

Back in my room I check social media for glimpses of back home and watch some movies on netflix.

I get a call from the hotel staff making sure I am ok since I did not come down to breakfast. I find it odd but charming that they are looking out for me. I tell them I am ok but had breakfast elsewhere this morning. A few minutes later there is a knock at my door.

It is the hotel staff with a plate of birthday fruit and balloons. They planned to surprise me with this at breakfast but I wasn’t there. It is the sweetest thing ever and not at all expected. I spend my time watching movies and now chowing down on yummy fruit.

I go to the pool again for a little bit but then decide I must go out for a drink or two on my birthday, even if I am doing it alone.

I head down to pub street again and find a cute little cocktail bar Miss Wong Cocktail Bar. I order a cocktail and dim sum then wander around some more.

I head back toward my hotel when some horrible karaoke singing catches my ear. I could use another drink so I sit down at the bar with some extremely drunk american expats and tourists. I learn all about the art of living in Cambodia as an American (visa runs and all). One guy is getting too uncomfortably friendly for my taste so I head out after a drink or two, besides I head to Phnom Penh in the morning. Not too terrible a day though considering I started out in a sour mood….

Drunk karoake. No I did not participate.

Siem Reap Dinner

Banana Pancake

After my long day of sightseeing I catch dinner around the corner at The Christa Restaurant & Bar where I get to try Cambodian style curry. It is quite good.

Khmer Curry with chicken.

I call it an early night.

Next Day

I could do another day of sightseeing today but I instead choose to stay close to my hotel.

I start the day at the breakfast buffet at the hotel. They missed me yesterday since I woke up so early to catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat.

I am exhausted from the heat and traveling so I book a massage through my hotel and because it is Cambodia it is very affordable. The female masseuse comes to my room. We don’t speak each other’s language which doesn’t matter too much except I want to make sure she doesn’t do any back/hand/whatever cracking like what happened in Thailand. I try to communicate this in mime and not sure she understands but fortunately my massage had no cracking and was just what I needed.

Afterwards I decide to take advantage of the pool. It is small but only enhabited by two others who don’t stay long. The laps I do are refreshing but once I get my fill I decide I need to go try to find yoga pants for my yoga retreat I have scheduled in about a week. Unfortunately I am a terrible shopper in my home country and even worse in a foreign country. I cannot find yoga pants. It is hot so I give up.

I spend the evening exploring pub street instead.

I settle on a restaurant with balcony seating where I get to try Fish Amok at Traditional Khmer Food Restaurant. The balcony over looks a narrow alley with stores and other restaurants. Not a ton of foot traffic but it keeps me sort of entertained while I eat.

Fish Amok (fish with traditional Cambodian curry made lemongrass, chilli, coconut milk and amok “ngor” leaves, served in banana leaf)
Shrimp appetizer

Tomorrow is my birthday and I have nothing planned. I decide I need to go back to my room and make some sort of plans for tomorrow.

pub street area

Angkor Small Circuit: Ta Prohm

The second most popular temple in Siem Reap Cambodia is the Angkor Ta Prohm temple. It is the second to the last temple I see during my two day temple extravaganza.

Ta Prohm is impressive for its size and the beautiful trees growing in and out of the ruins. It is also the temple from the famed movie Tomb Raider (which I still have not seen). As it is a highly anticipated and popular temple and I try to not let other rude guests ruin my experience. My patience is really challenged here because people are especially inconsiderate at this temple. I even caught myself scolding others for their inconsideration (not my best moment but sometimes you have to stand up for yourself as a solo traveler). Despite the drama it is a lovely temple. I highly recommend this 12-ish century temple.

Look at those trees!

The temple is mostly preserved as it was found but there are some repairs in progress above.

Angkor Small Circuit: Banteay Kdei

The Buddhist temple Bantaey Kdei is actually the last temple I saw in Siem Reap. I didn’t leave it to last in my posts because I believe in ending my temple posts with the more impressive Ta Prohm .

It isn’t as impressive as some of the others but it is peaceful and quiet and a nice end of two days of extreme temple sightseeing.

Nice terrace across the street

Angkor Small Circuit: Baphuon

The next Angkor temple visited is a actually two temples that are pretty close to each other. The large temple, Baphuon, is an 11th century Hindu temple. Being not crowded it was a nice relaxing temple to visit. There isn’t much to it but it is impressive because it is large and in seemingly good condition for its age. If you visit beware that it isn’t as heavily guarded as some of the others and there were men posing as officials who will try to get you to pay for “extra” viewing options…like a dead alligator skull I think? It is bizarre so just be aware.

At the very top

After my visit I walk a small shaded path to a smaller temple. There are some fun trees growing over the bricks in the path.

The next temple Phimeanakas, is not accessible but it is nice to look at.

From the temple it is another short walk to the Terrace of Elephants. For some reason I didn’t actually get a photo of the elephants along the side.

Heading back to my tuk tuk I found a very cheeky monkey hanging out on someone’s motorcycle.