2022-12-19 – Beyond Yangon Boutique Inn, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Today we left Chiang Mai enroute to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Our month in Chiang Mai was great. Enjoyed basically just hanging out with good friends, full relax mode, enjoying all the food choices that are on offer.

The only fly in the ointment was Covid. Even after being the most careful we could have been, we both got it. Glenn too. Seeing that purple line indicating a positive test was jarring. Our apprehension of what we were in for was the big scary unknown, but we all tested negative within 12 days without any apparent lasting issues. Whew!! Lucky for us we had a wonderful serviced apartment and we subscribed to Food Panda for food delivery by motorcycle… often only 80cents plus tip for delivery.

It was so very nice to be back in Siem Reap. We haven’t been here since Christmas 2013. All our friends have survived both Covid and the extremely severe economic challenges. Mr Kat picked us up at the airport in his Tuk-Tuk and delivered us to Beyond Yangon Inn. What a great reunion and we were welcomed like we were long lost family. Hugs, smiles and emotion all round.

Siem Reap is in recovery from the economic catastrophe that comes when tourism is your main stay. During the ride in from the airport it became shocking apparent that an amazing number of large hotels are still not open or obviously abandoned. The tropical jungle takes back quickly with vines and trees growing up the buildings. Lot’s of evidence of closed shops but also new ventures springing up all over. SE Asian resilience right in front of our faces. Difficult to witness such hardship.

We’re here for 8 days so we got a 5 day pass for the Angkor complex (special deal at the moment, buy 3, get a 5 day pass – US$62/person). Angkor info. All 5 mornings Kat picked us up at 6:30 for the 8k drive to the Angkor complex entrance. We were all bundled for the brisk 20C ride, but layered because it would be 28-30C by 11am. Riding through the manicured roads that feed into the complex is very special. The serene sounds of the awakening jungle bird song. Smells of morning cooking fires wafting into your senses.

We never tire of wandering through the staggering number of ruins that fill the more than 400 acres of Angkor city. In the 13th century a million people lived there (the biggest city in the world at that time) Unbelievable carvings and awesome beauty. We never tire of learning about history of this amazing civilization!

The other indulgence for us is sampling the vast array of such good restaurants in Siem Reap. During our 8 day stay we enjoyed Cambodian fusion at JOMNO – Modern Khmer Cuisine, western fare at Spoons Cambodia, a teaching restaurant, first time flavours at Caucasus Georgian Restaurant, middle eastern at EASTanbul and the last evening we were invited to Mr Kat’s home where his mom and sister fed us with a traditional Khmer meal straight from the heart. Fabulous. We felt quite honoured to have a feast in a Cambodian home. Just love our Cambodian family.

Saying “See ya later” is hard to do as we leave these good friends. The Cambodian people are so very friendly and cheerful… always brilliant smiles.

In 48 hours we will be back at Siboya Bungalows.