The Golden Temple Residence in Cambodia is one of the most enchanting hotels you could wish to visit. Located in the heart of Siem Reap, this modern hotel offers free airport shuttle services, and is only 4 miles away from the famous Angkor Wat – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Angkor Night Market is 100 yards away and whilst the hawker food market is an enjoyable experience, I'd steer clear of eating any of the street food. (Safe to say it did my constitution a disservice).
The hotel has this free architecture design, where nature and architecture are combined. This is achieved by an open restaurant that overlooks the pool and performance stage where daily Apsara entertainment shows can also be enjoyed.
Remarkably the food is very cheap but it's the quality of the service that really distinguishes this hotel from its contemporaries. Getting a lift back to the airport in the owner’s vintage Cadillac was a real treat.
Where to eat in Siem Reap?
Well thanks to getting knocked out for a day or two by some dodgy street food, I was unable to dip into the local cuisine. By the time my stomach had climatised I just made do with the hotel food.
Although to say 'made do' is something of an understatement. There is a delectable spread of authentic Khmer-style meals and popular Western delights can be enjoyed at the on-site restaurant.
On the last night I summoned the strength to eat out and we ventured down Pub Street. Yep, that's a real name and a real place. It's like a gentrified version of Ha Noi, decent enough to kill a couple of hours.
Things to do in Siem Riep
I would say you'll only need one day in Angkor Wat. You'll need to get there as early as possible to avoid the mania. That said, it's still out of control with Chinese tourists. Everyone will head to the Ta Prohm Temple featured in Tomb Raider, which is understandable as it is spectacular.
The foot massages are fun and relaxing. You'll get endlessly heckled into having one so you may as well. Take a book to read or something because you won't be stimulated with conversation.
Food tour. Ok I am going to recommend this because it was utterly bananas. I watched our guide eat a whole manner of creepy crawlies. It was like something out of Temple of Doom. However, I will caveat that by saying I felt demonstrably ill the next day. It could have been the scorpions, the ants, the tarantulas (yes they eat them out there) who knows.
For this tour we used Urban Adventures and a gentleman called Kim showed us round. He had a great sense of humour and I enjoyed his company immensely.
There is the Reclining Buddha in at the top of Phnom Kulen. However, this was on the day where I was becoming dependent on nearby facilities so I let the group go on without me.
I got 'ok-ish' reviews from the group on their return, but we had seen a lot of Buddha’s already in Bangkok by this point.
The waterfall in Phnom Kulen was the only highlight of the tour for me that day, most of it was spent in the van convalescing.
Last crucial tip about traveling to Cambodia
We got stiffed at the airport for not having any US dollars. We had to pay some odd VISA fine that really took the jam out of my doughnut. The airport is a zoo, not Cuba-zoo standards (that really is where travel bloggers go to die) but a soul destroying experience.