Breakfast: When in Siem Reap, you have to dine at an NGO café. While there are a few to choose from, we recommend Sister Srey. “A café with a heart”, Sister Srey helps support young Khmer students find a balance between pursuing their education and financially supporting their families. The café also donates a percentage of its profits to an organisation that helps clear landmines. But those are not the only reasons why you should dine here. All the delicious goodies at Sister Srey are prepared fresh daily with produce that is organic and chemical free. The café is passionate about sustainability and 90 percent of its waste is either composted or recycled. Talk about a feel-good start to the day!
Morning and Lunch: After a hearty breakfast, make your way to Tonlé Sap to sail through the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Tonlé Sap is a world within a world. Take half day boat trip to drift past floating villages, stilted houses, paddy fields, lotus fields, crocodile farms and flooded forests. Depending on your tour operator, you will make several stops along the way including at a floating restaurant.
Afternoon: Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world as a consequence of the Khmer Rouge regime and the Vietnam War. The Cambodia Landmine Museum serves as an eye opener about the consequences of wars and landmines. The museum was started by an ex-child soldier, Aki Ra, who dedicated his life to locating and defusing landmines and looking after children affected by the mines. The museum houses a collection of mines, mortars, guns and weaponry, as well as an artificial minefield where you can try your hand at locating and deactivating mines. The money collected from the museum is used to spread awareness and to care for children affected by landmines.
Evening: After a long day spent exploring Siem Reap’s various wonders, head to the coolest of the Cambodian markets, the Angkor Night Market. Leather carving, rice-art painting, silk products, hand painted t-shirts, Khmer kroma scarves, and a variety of flavoured Sombai liquor are just some of the wonderful local souvenirs you can expect to take home from here. And when the shopping gets all too exhausting, the Island Bar, with its big thatched roof and open-air ambiance is a refreshing treat.
Dinner: The Phare Circus is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Using a combination of theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts, the performers narrate uniquely Cambodian stories with a spell-binding performance. Grab your ticket and enter the massive red big top and get to know your performers through the various story panels before you see them in action. Grab a meal or a tub of buttery popcorn from the Phare Café and pick the best seat in the room to sit back and be mesmerised by the unfolding Phare magic.