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|Travel & Resources: SIEM REAP / ANGKOR
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SIEM REAP -- Area Code (855-63)
Siem Reap, a bustling trading post sprung up at the gates to Angkor's magnificent world wonders and the majestic wildlife haven of the Tonle Sap lake, is now home to the revival of traditional Khmer arts and culture as well as being Cambodia's capital of cool.
Funkiness, the fantastical and the sublime all co-exist in this friendly, safe and easy-going tropical holiday destination. You'll be doing yourself a disservice if you just fly in and out for an exhausting 2-day temple tour. There's so much to discover and the pace of life so pleasurably lazy that you can easily spend a week here without being bored.
Hidden jungle animal sculptures that pre-date Angkor, peaceful Buddhist temple compounds housing vibrant 200-year-old murals (including a market scene with four arm-in-arm same-sex couples), an air-conditioned modern Museum explaining the art and iconography you'll encounter at Angkor (do see this first before you begin your temple trek), contemporary art exhibitions by emerging Khmer artists, market places bulging with the stuff of everyday Khmer life, cheap and delicious hole-in-the-wall eateries, eco-tours to floating villages and silk farms, more than a bit of gay life and a chance to interact with friendly and approachable locals, worthy social projects addressing the many needs of a largely poor rural population, a "beach" on the edge of a cosmic ocean where locals go to swim and picnic, a chance to get all your Christmas shopping done in a day -- Siem Reap provides vivid memories at every turn.
The population is about 100,000 (that's nearly 4,000 Utopians).
- Men in Siem Reap message forum
Navigating the local gay scene is easy with our interactive Utopia Map of Gay & Lesbian Siem Reap:
Siem Reap Countryside Cooking Class UTOPIA VERIFIED JUN 2013
BBU Rd (inside the 3 Hours Laundry, near by Thunborey Hotel), reservations by email. Different from other cooking classes in town - learn to cook plus learn about Cambodian culture and customs. Help support the local communities and villagers. Gay and lesbian-friendly. Utopia Member Discount
ABOUTAsia Travel UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2014
+855 978-992-221, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly travel agency. Experts for luxury private tours in Cambodia and Angkor Wat, away from the crowds.
Affinity Angkor UTOPIA VERIFIED SEP 2013|
012-254-554, 015-254-554, email. Professional, licensed and openly gay guide to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap vicinity. Explore the wonders of Angkor as well as the charming small-town points of interest. Find out what's new on the local scene and experience an insider's view of historic and contemporary Khmer life. Flexible hours and completely custom intineraries with your interests in mind. You'll steer clear of tourist traps and commission shopping. Honest, friendly and a good sense of humor about life. English and Mandarin spoken. Reasonable rates. Car and tuk-tuk arrangements.
Cambodia Tour Services UTOPIA VERIFIED JUN 2013
Tep Vong St, +855 92-999-717, email. A professional, English speaking tour guide who is gay-friendly, licensed, experienced, responsible, honest, punctual, reliable and takes exceptional care of visitors. Being that he is native to the area, he has extremely good knowledge about archeology, history, culture, society, nature, philosophy as well as Cambodian daily life. He provides exciting, adventurous private tours so that travelers may visit more beautiful and authentic places than average tourists, without the crowds. He can arrange hotel accommodation and comfortable, aircon transportation with gay-friendly, English-speaking drivers. Reasonably priced.
Gold Tuk-Tuk UTOPIAN VERIFIED FEB 2014|
092-501-691, email. Gay and lesbian-friendly tuk-tuk driver who is prompt and honest. He knows the gay scene venues, the temples and also the off-beat places and cheap laundry and Khmer food joints. Reasonable English and sincere service. Call when you arrive or send a simple email request well in advance of your trip. You can call his mobile phone whenever you need to get from point A to Z in Siem Reap and Angkor.
Comments from Utopians:
"We engaged the services of Gold Tuk-Tuk after reading his reviews - this was to prove an excellent decision. Sovan was engaging, professional, and, more importantly for a tourist on holiday, very reliable. On our first day we had a 5-hour stopover in Siem Reap heading to Sihanouville and instead of this being a chore Sovan took us on a quick sight seeing tour which would help us when we returned to Siem Reap. He also took us to a great local restaurant for a meal. After our time in Sihanouville we returned and arranged for Sovan to meet us at the airport and he was there waiting for us, ready to take us to wherever we wanted to go, always helping with our luggage or suggesting places to see. Each day Sovan was at our hotel in plenty of time for our trips and helped us plan our itinerary to maximise our Cambodian experience. Sovan took care to plan our route and where we could eat - all we had to decide is if we wanted local, western, cheap or more expensive food - when you are in in a strange place this is a great benefit! Sovan is a really reliable driver and really made our trip. --Kee and Mikey, Feb 18, 2014
"My Thai friend and I just returned from a very nice trip to Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. Before our departure, we had contacted Gold Tuk-Tuk by email and told him that we had three full days to spend. We asked Mr. Sovan to arrange our programme. We got prompt and relevant answers from him. After our arrival at the hotel, he came to see us and to discuss our itinerary. We followed his advise and spent two days with him and his tuk-tuk to see Angkor Wat and several other temples in that area. The third day he took us to visit Tonle Sap, the enormous fresh water lake, south of Siem Reap. He arranged for a spacious boat, with which we made a cruise to one of the floating villages. Sovan turned out to be an excellent guide, who made an interesting, and at the same time relaxing, program. He was a careful driver and an amiable companion. We don't hesitate to recommend him to future visitors to Angkor Wat and surroundings." -- gerritjan, Nov 16, 2013
"We booked a one and a half day tour. Sovan is a very professional, nice and honest guy. At the end, we were
completely satisfied and we did not regret our 'Tuk Tuk option' - instead of taxi - to visit the temples." -- G and G from Paris, Aug 14, 2013
Mr Vuthy Transport UTOPIA VERIFIED JUN 2013
017-703-257, email. Gay-friendly tuk-tuk, aircon car, driver, and tour guide in Siem Reap. English and Chinese spoken.
Click here for Siem Reap hotels and accommodations.
Navigating the ruins of Angkor is easy with our interactive Utopia Map of Angkor:
Phare, The Cambodian Circus UTOPIA VERIFIED DEC 2013, UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013|
Comaille Rd (behind the Angkor National Museum), Utopia Map, 015-499-480, email. Spectacular, don't-miss entertainment with lots of eye-candy for Utopians! Uniquely Cambodian, daringly modern, The Big Red Big Top hosts nightly themed performances that touch deeply on Cambodian tradition, ethos and spirit. The music is Cambodian, the artists are Cambodian. The skills are daring: contortion, juggling, acrobatics, balancing mixed with dance, modern and traditional theatre. The essence of the young, vibrant Cambodia Cool cultural movement that has emerged in the Kingdom in the last decade. Nightly shows at 7.30 p.m. Utopia Member Discount
Click here for Siem Reap massage and spas for men.
- Along the west river bank river at dusk, starting across across from the FCC and continuing a couple of blocks south, Utopia Map. Young men studying foreign languages sit on the benches and eye passersby. They may be needy, but it's fun to flirt and a lovely place for an evening stroll. UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
Abacus Restaurant Garden & Bar (fine dining) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013|
432 Salakanseng, Svay Dang Kum, Utopia Map, 012-644-286, 092-318-528, email. Relax in an elegant, yet casual ambience, as professional, knowledgeable staff serve superb modern European and Asian favorites cooked with the finest local and imported produce. Abacus provides an extensive list of wines from France and the New World. The restaurant boasts a luminous, aircon dining room, accommodating up to 50 diners, an al fresco garden terrace seats an additional 60 guests and a gorgeous, secluded private dining room hosts intimate groups of up to 14. Open for lunch and dinner daily with a la carte weekly specials and creative set menus. Opened in 2004, gay and lesbian-friendly.
The Blue Pumpkin (bakery and ice cream) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
Utopia Map, 063-963-574. Where else in the world can you find a fresh baked "chocolate linga" but in Siem Reap? This hip bakery features superb goodies including breads, tropical fruit pastries, cakes and Cambodian-inspired ice creams. Sandwiches, quiche and drinks are also on the menu. The perfect place to refuel after a long, hot day climbing stone temples.
Cuisine Wat Damnak (Khmer fine dining) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
Utopia Map, 965-491, 077-347-762. Foodie alert! Perhaps the best Khmer fine dining in the country. Indigenous food traditions are rising like a phoenix from Chef Johannes' experimental kitchen. Formerly the chef at the 5-star Hotel de la Paix, he is in the process of creating an encyclopedia of Khmer cooking and has opened his own venue to perfect his voyage of culinary re-discovery. All ingredients are fresh-sourced from Cambodia, including cocktail ingredients. Two multi-course fixed menus to choose from each week. Flavor-filled and artfully presented, the meals are filling and full of color, texture and surprise. The interior is modern and understated, allowing the food and the conviviality of the diners to take center stage. Closed Mon.
Hawaii Pizza House (pizza and pasta) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
Same road and side of the road as Home Sweet Home guesthouse, Utopia Map. Favorite haunt of local expats who love the excellent pizza and pasta in this unpretentious and inexpensive local dive. Consistantly delicious and easy on the wallet.
Red Lantern Restaurant UTOPIA VERIFIED JAN 2014, UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
Golden Banana Boutique Resort by Rambutan, Wat Damnak Area, Utopia Map, 012-654-638, 012-885-366, 012-287-988, 063-761-259, email. Poolside dining in a stylish, gay friendly atmosphere with attentive and friendly staff. Serving lunch and dinner. Fancy a dip in the pool? Be their guest and enjoy a wide variety of western and Khmer favorites, with weekly chef suggestions. Utopia Member Discount
Sugar Palm (Khmer cuisine) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
Tapul Rd, Utopia Map, 964-838. Open air, fan-cooled heritage terrace on 2/F with local art on the walls and superior crafts in the bookcases. Order their fantastic amok first thing as it needs time to bake. Good variety of Khmer specialties and fruit smoothies. Relaxed ambience and great service from the charming staff.
Viroth's Restaurant (Cambodian) UTOPIA VERIFIED APR 2014, UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013|
242 Wat Bo St, Utopia Map, 012-826-346, email. Gay-owned restaurant whose gorgeous and understated Cambodia Cool design is as much a showpiece as its refined Khmer home cooking. Specialities include chicken satay, green bean salad, yahorn, and roast chicken. We loved the tender lemon pork and large pots of iced Earl Grey. Beautiful urban garden setting and romantic atmosphere. Recently added 2-story addition is super stylish and the perfect setting for birthdays or private parties. The all-male service staff are gorgeous and friendly. Moderately priced food and drinks, good selection of cocktails and wines. Drop by for lunch or dinner. Reservations are a good idea in high season.
Artisans Angkor UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2013, UTOPIA VISITED JUN 2013
Stung Thmey St, Utopia Map, 963-330. Superb traditional arts and crafts shop with a modern twist. You can wander through their on-site workshops watching stone carving, metal-working, silk painting, wood carving and more.
Eric Raisina Haute Couture UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2013
53 Veal Village, Kok Chork, Utopia Map, 012-965-207. By appointment only, but don't miss a chance to see Eric's studio workshop. He's designed fabric for top fashion houses like Lacroix and Gaultier. Born in Madagascar, trained in Paris, he's established a cutting edge workshop on the outskirts of town that produces hand-made, vibrantly colored scarves, hats, bags, shirts and dresses at very reasonable prices. Inventive and artful use of local silk and organics, combining Khmer, African and modern European techniques, in surprising textures and super saturated colors that match the visual energy of modern life in Asia. Pieces also available at select 5-star boutiques, such as the Heritage Suites.
FCC (Foreign Correspondents' Club) UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
Pokambor Ave (on the river, next to the Royal Residence), Utopia Map. Many high quality, small boutique shops with a breezy, beautiful view of the river.
Garden of Desire UTOPIA VISITED JUL 2013
The Passage, parallel to Pub St, Utopia Map, 012-319-116. Superb contemporary Khmer jewelry and wearable art. Truly world-class designs by owner Pisith and other top local craftsmen. Besides being a fascinating artist (almost every piece has a compelling conceptual story behind it), he is also dedicated to cultivating artistic creativity in young Cambodians.
Prolung Khmer Pottery and Weaving Center UTOPIA VERIFIED JUL 2013
Bakong, Roluos area, Utopia Map. Fantastic Khmer pottery workshop and cotton/silk weavers. Prices here are much lower than at the market shops in town and it's a just short tuk-tuk drive out into the countryside. You will also get to interact with the craftspeople and watch the process of producing the wares on sale here.
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Out and proud at VietPride 2013, Hanoi (photo by Jiri Pasz).