When you travel to Siem Reap, the first indication that you are near the town is when you start seeing big hotels from both sides of the road. Know that you are passing by the national highway of this famous tourist town in Cambodia. If you think booking on those huge hotels along the national highway gets you closer to town, then I’m sorry to burst your bubble. You’d have to travel approximately 2 kilometers more to reach the town center where you can hang out and find cheap places to eat in Siem Reap. If you have cash to burn, then by all means, stay on those posh hotels and spend your money paying for tuktuk rides or bike rentals. Although Siem Reap is a really really small town, it would be best to get closer to the town center as it will be more convenient for you to discover places on where to hang out in Siem Reap’s numerous restaurants along Pub Street.
Pub Street is basically where everyone goes to have a great time after spending the day doing Angkor tours. So if you are headed to Siem Reap, go to google and make sure you find accommodations within a 1-2 kilometer radius from that street, which is also near the Old Market.
At day time, Pub Street, the famous street in Siem Reap, will look like any ordinary establishment in the area except for the presence of tourists who get their daily dose of meals. Some of restaurant’s regular patrons are either expats who got stuck in Siem Reap or those travellers who travel around the globe and have listed Siem Reap in their bucket list of must-see places because of the historical Angkor Wat temples.
Once darkness envelops the entire town, the whole area transforms into a different place. It comes to life at night and you will see the entire stretch of buildings lit up brightly as if telling you to stop by and check them out.
During my stay in Siem Reap, I met different travellers, including Pinoys. Some were just passing through while others really intended to travel to this place to visit the Angkor temples. Some were businessmen and engineers back home and chose to drop by Siem Reap. One was a diabolo performer while another one played poker games online. And every time they ask for cheap places to eat in Siem Reap, my travel buddy and I bring them to Pub Street. We already know some of the best restaurants in Siem Reap and most of them are found in Pub Street.
Alley West, a tamer side of Pub Street
Most of the time, this street gets loud and rowdy so for those who want a more subdued location, you can head over to Alley West for your dinner and grab cheap beers along Pub Street after. Alley West is the artsy area in the area, which is on the back side back of Pub Street (depending on where you are standing. hehe). In there, you can enjoy your Khmer dinner peacefully and practice your people watching skills before you get wasted.
Aside from finding the best Khmer cuisines in Pub Street, book lovers can drop by at bookshops within the area. The night market is also nearby, where you can continue your last minute shopping.
For beer lovers, Pub Street is your paradise as you’d have access to dirt cheap beers. Some restaurants or bars offer Angkor Draft beer as cheap as $0.50 and $1.50 for cocktails (others offer the buy-1-take-1 cocktail deals) so be sure to look for those establishments. Normally, you’d see a signage indicating each restaurant’s deals. Otherwise, don’t hesitate to ask their crew before you seat comfortably.
If you are a fan of Angelina Jolie, don’t miss out the Red Piano bar. They offer the Tomb Raider Cocktail, a drink which they claim as Angelina Jolie’s favorite drink at the Red Piano bar. It’s just a mixture of Cointreau, lime juice and tonic all for $3.50. Spell expensive! And I have to admit that that price tag didn’t prevent my curiosity from trying out the drink. #facepalm
The Pub Street is one of the best places where to find good food in Siem Reap. You can also catch an Aspara dance, Cambodia’s traditional dance, at Temple Club.
So in case you are still wondering where to hang out in Siem Reap, Pub Street is the place to be!