March 29-April 5, 2017 – My first week in Siem Reap, Cambodia!

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Traditional Apsara Dance in Temple Club

See more photos here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskSWSjJ6

My first week teaching vinyasa yoga at The Siem Reap Hostel was great! I feel like I’m really getting into the groove of it. The hostel has lots of amenities including a pool! It’s situated near the old town and the staff are wonderful.

Siem Reap is a very different from India. The roads are quieter and hardly anyone honks their horn. Traffic as well as bikes also drives on the right side of the road. Everyone smiles and is very friendly. I find it interesting that businesses accept both US and Cambodian currency. Siem Reap has a little bit of everything in terms of cuisine and activities which is wonderful!

With friends I’ve met at my hostel, I’ve had the chance to explore much of the night life in the city. It is mostly centered on “Pub Street” and is very easy to find.

The Phare Circus was amazing! I especially liked the acting and story line that went along with the acrobatic routine. The performers also had unwavering energy throughout the performance and used a lot of humor.

I also caught the Apsara Dance at the Temple Club on Pub Street happening daily at 7:30pm. Apsara dance is traditional Cambodian dancing accompanied by live music. It was well done and included several different acts with costume changes in between. The dancers focus on the careful movement of their feet and fingers. The only downfall was that the background music from the street and different levels of the Temple Club were competing with the traditional instruments which took away from the performance.

One of my favourite bars in Siem Reap is X Bar. It’s just past Pub Street and provides a panoramic view of the city. It also has a half pipe on the roof!

Through my hostel I joined a “Food Walk” where we explored the main market and tasted different foods. We tried an assortment of snacks, spring rolls, and traditional desserts. We even tried lotus seeds which taste like beans.

The Night Market in Cambodia is much like the markets elsewhere in Asia. One particularly interesting booth they have are miniature bars set up. I’ve also tried the fried ice cream. Bug, tarantulas, and snakes are also sold at some food carts.

Fish Spas are popular in Siem Reap, so I definitely had to try one! They had tanks with small fish and big fish and I tried both. After about half an hour I finally felt less ticklish. I did go in the morning though so I think the fish were extra hungry.

To learn more about the traditional crafts and trades of Cambodia, I visited Artisans Ankor. It is a small workshop where carving, painting, and sculpting takes place. I was admitted for free and joined a tour group in progress to get more information. Artisans Angkor provide a great model to engage young artisans to keep their traditional arts alive!

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