Visiting Southeast Asia: Exploring Siem Reap, Cambodia

Welcome back to the Friends That Carry On Podcast! We're a group of friends that like to travel the world together. We want to share our passion for travel through travel tips and tricks we've picked up along the way and stories of our adventures!

This episode is part two of Friends’ series on their most recent trip to Southeast Asia. Continuing from Bangkok, Thailand, this week they will talk about exploring Siem Reap, Cambodia. You won't want to miss this, where they discuss some great food and unique temples. The host and tchotchke holder is Tony Price and is joined alongside Brian Romine, Eric Fargo, Jim Scott, and Jim Read.

You can listen along here:

Arriving In Siem Reap

Cambodia is home to Angkor Wat, a Hindu temple complex. December and January is the best time to visit because it is the coolest time of the year. It is still hot for Western standards but there are no rains and the weather is just fine.

The Friends stayed in a boutique hotel around the old part of Siem Reap. Despite having boomed in terms of tourism compared to 7 years ago, there are still dirt roads that make it feel like a third-world country. They met an Australian guy who never left Siem Reap. He convinced a local restaurant owner to let him have a standing bar on their store-front, where he began selling a 1-dollar shot of whatever drink he decided to feature in a day. The Friends loved his business model.

They also had a crocodile pizza. Stringy, not very strong, like a pizza. One night, they decided to spend $10 on drinks alone. Terry did not make it temple run the next day.

Seeing Angkor Wat

Even after having visited it, Tony says that no words or pictures can ever describe it.

Angkor Wat temples were built in the 11-13th century, around the same time Roman architectures were being built. Today, it is recognized as the largest religious ground in the world. It’s hundreds of acres and would take you more than 3 days to see all of it. In most castles, there is a moat. But Angkor Wat’s moat is lake-size, about 4 miles wide! They also spent 20 minutes filming and taking pictures of a monkey family. They were stealing bags from people, ripping the trash out, and mostly having a blast.

They also went to Bayon where a Friend lost his pass. The tuk-tuk driver contacted several people and found his pass which was mind-blowing. They also visited Landmine Museum which was founded by Aki Ra, an ex-child soldier, as a way to tell the world about the horrors landmines had inflicted on his native Cambodia.

Jim Read’s Monkey Story

Watching the monkeys, it reminded Jim of the pet monkey he had when he was 12 or 13 yrs. old. According to him, they were horrible things to own. One day, his father brought home a monkey named Chuckie. Her owner had to move away and couldn’t bring Chuckie with him, so Jim’s family kept it.

Her former owner was an alcoholic, so Chuckie was used to taking a shot of whiskey every night. But being good Southern Baptists, they decided to put her back on the wagon and drive her out. Every moment after that, she hated them. She’d pull their hairs and make them sit for an hour while she searched their heads for bugs. If you moved, she’d bite you. Jim still has a scar on his knees because of that monkey. She’d steal car keys, stick it inside her mouth, and they would have to wait until she spit it back out. To make it all worse, she also would fling her poo.

One day, Chuckie went nuts. She kept attacking Jim’s sister, so Jim had no choice but to grab her by the scruff of her neck, throw her in the bathroom, and lock the door. By the time Jim’s father got home and opened the door, they found Chuckie had pried open the medicines, taken God knows what, eaten and smeared lipstick on her face, and then passed out. They were dirt poor back then and couldn’t afford to take her to the vet, but had it been today, they would have taken her when they found her.

They put her back in her cage and kept her in the cellar. About two weeks later, she got up and came back to life, but she had since looked like a veteran with a thousand-mile stare. You knew then that something was off. A year later, they sold her off at an auction. The last thing Jim can remember was her attacking the auctioneer.

High-End Restaurants That The Friends Loved

The Friends loved these restaurants:

1. Mango Cuisine

2. Cuisine Wat Damnak

You have to make reservations online because these restaurants are small. For the 6-7 course tasting menu, it will only cost an average of $30 plus $15 to pair it with a drink or wine. Until today, the Friends are still impressed with the meals they had there.

If you’re interested in following along and hearing more about our adventures, make sure you follow us wherever you listen to Podcasts or find more here.


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