Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and is the gateway to the Angkor Archaeological Region.
The name Siem Reap literally means the “defeat of Siam” (present day Thailand) and refers to the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer peoples. These days, however, the only rampaging hordes are the tourists heading to the temples of Angkor.
This once quaint village has become the largest boom town and construction site in Cambodia but still remains a laid-back and pleasant place to stay. After a long and hot Mekong Express and tuk-tuk adventure from Phnom Penh, we arrived at the magnificent Terrasse des Elephants Hotel.
Only a few blocks from Pub Street, the hotel has an incredible rooftop, saltwater pool complete with a beautiful, lush garden.
We booked a standard room (which was the size of a suite) complete with a giant, stone Buddha fountain and separate stone bridges, one leading to the bathroom and sink, the other leading to the gorgeous, open air rain shower. Each morning, while eating breakfast on the terrace, the fountain’s pool is replenished with fresh, fragrant lotus flowers and lily pads.
The bedroom area is large, with a/c, a couch, desk, flatscreen TV, fridge, and of course, a comfortable king-sized bed with mosquito net. Our room on the second floor also had a balcony, but not much of a view.
The alley parallel to Pub Street has several great little restaurants and we recommend the “AHA wine bar.” We were surprised to find such a chic menu and impressive wine list in northwestern Cambodia, the pate de foie gras with pickled mango and the pandan leaf creme brulee were both excellent.