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Things to see in Siem Reap

The skill level and enthusiasm were exceptional during the performance.

On our flight on Silk Air from Singapore to Siem Reap there was a group of young Cambodians that were just returning from the OzAsia Festival in Adelaide, Australia. They were members of a group called Phare, The Cambodian Circus. We only chatted briefly with a couple of them but they came across as very sincere and a fun loving group. When we arrived in Siem Reap it did not take us long to realize this group was part of a larger organization that does some amazing work in Cambodia. We got tickets to their performance of “Influence“.

Amongst the many social comments there were many awe inspiring acrobatics.



The other new experience that came along with the Circus was the tuk tuk trip to the circus. Shortly before we were set to be picked up the rain started. And I mean pouring sheets of water. Our driver Ms. Kim showed up exactly on time with a big smile and an amazingly well sheltered tuk tuk. Despite the torrential rain, ankle deep water everywhere being splashed about, we remained dry for the entire journey to the “big top”. When the show was over Ms. Kim was waiting right where she said she would be. Customer service of the highest level.

Plenty of demonstrations of strength and balance. No doubt this is an incredibly fit group of individuals. Bear in mind it is about 30C and 80% humidity where they are performing. The amount of sweat was over the top.


If you are ever in Siem Reap you would be letting yourself down if you didn’t take the time to take in a performance of the Phare. The tickets in the “B” ($25US) section are the best value I believe.

Another tour we took the time to enjoy was some local cooking lessons. Through the magic of Google and Trip Advisor we discovered Countryside Cooking Class. For $20US per person we were picked up where we were staying in a very clean, air conditioned van and driven out of Siem Reap to a town called Phumi Puok Chas, about 16km NW of Siem Reap. It was nice to support a company that appears to be giving back to their community. A portion of the proceeds are funnelled toward schooling and health care for the children of the village.

The village marketplaces are busy places with an incredible range of items for sale.

In the town, our guide, Ben, took us for a tour of the market. A bit of an introduction to what is available and what different items could be used for. It was nice getting a distance out of town. The market definitely has more of a local feel. And judging by the way the children looked at us, they did not see a lot of white people there.

This seems to be the prevalent way to cook meat at street and market stalls. This chicken smelled delicious. I had a quail the day before done like this.


All your fresh herbs and seasonings available in one place. The aroma as you handled the merchandise was amazing.

The ladies who ran these stalls were amazing. They were always doing something. Whether selling, preparing, or cleaning, there was not a lot of down time.

This lady was cutting up bamboo stocks for some culinary purpose. The variety of items and their purposes could overwhelm you at times.
Fresh pork anyone?
The meat section of the market is always interesting. Most the animals are brought to the market alive and slaughtered first thing in the morning. Therefore the meat is very fresh and there is no need for refrigeration. All the product is sold off each day. And yes they sell and use it all. The head is not for display, it is for sale.
This is what my lunch would have looked like the previous day before being chef’ed up.

After our tour of the market we headed back a couple kilometres to Ben’s village. It truly is a small Cambodian village. The track into it is small and rough but once you arrive they have everything you need.

The ingredients for the banana rice cakes we built for desert. Rice plays an astronomical role in the diet here.

We were guided through the preparation of Banana Blossom Salad, Beef Lok Lak, and Banana Rice Cakes. Ben kept things going and Mrs. Phat La, the village chef corrected any poor techniques she observed.

Mrs. Phat La about to steam our carefully crafted Banana Rice Cakes. One hour later, umm num num!
There was lots of communal spoons, and preparing with hands. This was the washing station. Cool water with fresh limes squeezed to clean your hands. It seemed to work very well.
Karen was assigned the job of separating the skin husks from the roasted peanuts. Low tech and minimal equipment is what it is all about.
Another student added ingredients while I cooked the beef in the wok.
Here is our main course, Beef Lok Lak. A tasty creation, with fresh ingredients and enough spice to make it enjoyable.
The students about to enjoy the fruits of our labours. A great meal for a great cause.

Obviously when you come to Siem Reap, Angkor Wat is the primary destination for most. However there are many activities, museums, and tours available to you. Enjoy as many as time allows. Speaking of Angkor Wat, stay tuned. It is next.

Welcome to our travel blog. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to say, "I'm out of here?" Well we did, and in 2013 we made it a reality. We sold or gave away all of our possessions other than what fit in our luggage and we set off on an endless adventure. Part of our goal is to share our experiences with others and hopefully provide some information, motivation, or just a moments escape. The general idea was to look for a place that would be ideal to settle down in. However in the meantime it is about experiencing life in different countries amongst different cultures and learning how to understand and appreciate each other. A large part of our time is spent housesitting which provides an excellent opportunity to experience more of the "normal" neighbourhoods as opposed to the tourist locales. Though we make sure to enjoy those as well. So through plenty of photographs and a running commentary come and share with us our life on the road.

3 comments on “Things to see in Siem Reap

  1. Jennifer Pecksen

    WOW – what an amazing experience. I loved it! As always great photos:) Love to you Jenn

    On Tue, Oct 11, 2016 at 6:08 AM, Peter & Karen Pecksen wrote:

    > peterpecksen posted: ” On our flight on Silk Air from Singapore to Siem > Reap there was a group of young Cambodians that were just returning from > the OzAsia Festival in Adelaide, Australia. They were members of a group > called Phare, The Cambodian Circus. We only chatted briefl” >

  2. Very interesting! Not like going to Safeway is it? We should all see where our food comes from and maybe learn to appreciate it more. Nice story Peter thanks!

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