Amazing things to do in Siem Reap
There are many more things to do in Siem Reap than what the average traveler or tourist gets to experience. Siem Reap city and surrounding countryside is a lively place that offers a unique set of activities not easily duplicated
First and foremost, you have more than 200 temples in the Angkor Wat collection to choose from. Secondly, we have 50 cent beer almost everywhere and 25 cent beer in a few secret (see below) places. While most travelers will feel now they know all they need to know–I mean, cheap beer and 200 temples, how can one possibly want more… Not so fast, we can add some wow to the list of things to do in Siem Reap.
Chakra Balancing in Siem Reap
Why on earth would you want your chakras balanced in Siem Reap?
Well, Siem Reap is situated on one of the world’s most important Ley Lines. These are bands of higher-than-usual spiritual energy that connects Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza, Easter Island, Puma Punku, Lhasa Tibet, the ancient ruins of Mohenjo Daro, Findhorn in Scotland, the Bermuda Triangle, the Arizona vortice, Angkor Wat, and the Nazca Lines. Here in Siem Reap and especially in the Temple Complex universal spiritual energy flows more freely. It is especially stronger at dawn and dusk. If your personal spiritual energy is not flowing freely because of a blocked chakra or whatnot, you will miss out on exceptional opportunities for soul growth and spiritual benefit.
Get Your Energies Flowing and Your Chakras Balanced
As with massage in Siem Reap, practitioners offer various qualities of work. As with all things in SE Asia, the buyer must beware and remain diligent.
Chakra balancing can be had at the Night Market for $3 and if you haggle you will get a foot massage thrown in on the deal. Most people do don’t care for that type of energy. In fact, most people try hard to stay away from that type of energy but you may have a different experience.
Several spas (and there are many!) offer energy therapies. Prices range from $30 to $90 (2015/2016)
Our Wayist spiritual energy center specializes in Chakra Balancing and all else that flows from that. A Chakra balancing costs $30.
Angkor Bodhi Tree retreat offers chakra balancing as part of their retreat package.
Navutu Dreams Resort offers chakra balancing in their therapeutic packages.
Yoga in Siem Reap
Peace Cafe on Riverside road (close to Wayist Spiritual Energy Center) offers FREE asana yoga classes in various styles
There are several bona-fide asana yoga retreats in Siem Reap. Most of the retreats offer asana yoga morning and evening with a lot of free time every day. We have had experience with only a few whom we can recommend, but will add more as we learn more.
- Hariharalaya is known to many of our clients, and so far not one had a bad word to say about it.
- Ahimsa Yoga Academy offers various styles of asana yoga and a retreat.
- Wayist Spiritual Energy Center offers Yogi Philosophy and Karman Yoga Meditation classes, and combines these in a 6-day spiritual wellness retreat in Siem Reap.
Meditation in Siem Reap
As with massage, there are many, many different meditation offerings of varying quality in Siem Reap. Some centers offer to teach but cannot because they simply know not. Some offer an experience where all that one gets is a spot in a room with 5 other people who sit with their eyes closed–hardly worth the trouble and the tuk-tuk ride.
- Peace Cafe offers free meditation
- Ahimsa Yoga Academy and other asana yoga studios offer meditation sessions. At Ahimsa one can learn something.
- Wayist Spiritual Energy Center offers the unique active Karman Yoga Meditation and a workshop to learn more about the many different styles and techniques of meditation.
Spiritual Healing and Wellness in Siem Reap
Every year ten of thousands of people travel to SE Asia to “find themselves’, and many in fact are successful. We are witness to the fact that almost every pilgrim who have come through our doors eventually uncover that hitherto hidden part of their Self. People’s lives change here.
While travelling in SE Asia in itself does a lot to help people discover their true selves, often one needs a bit of help to overcome a block, a something standing between you and success or healing. That is what we are best at.
We offer individual counselling sessions and spiritual energy therapies to help clients overcome those hurdles and blocks that held them back in life.
Floating Village in Siem Reap
As with massage, Siem Reap offers floating villages of different qualities and degrees of satisfaction. One is an outright scam, some are not outright scams, others are real floating villages worth the trouble, cost and (sort of tough) trip.
Ask your Tuk-Tuk to go to McCrae Village. Ask him how much the boat ride is. If he doesn’t know, get another tuk-tuk. The boat rode is $20 per boat, not per person. Tuk-tuks get a commission on the spoils and often the uprepared visitor treks and bumps all the way there, only to be told they want $40 per boat or $20 per person. This goes for all floating villages. At McCrae at least the floating community (and your tuk-tuk) share in the spoils. At the two popular tourist trap floating villages it is the tour operators who make the money, not the village.
Angkor Wat tuk-tuk and other traps
Sun Heng (prime minister) did not float the Riel along with the rest of the world, no, he pegged the Riel to the USD. Therefore, over the past two years as the USD strengthened and the world currencies adapted, the Riel just became stronger. In terms of currency exchange, Siem Reap became 35% more expensive for travelers over the past two years. In terms of price increases, Siem Reap became 40% more expensive (on most items) during the same time, therefore a 70% to 80% increase in cost of your holiday. The price gouging is still ongoing, awaiting the market forces to show them where to stop.
Tuk-tuks are on the bandwagon as well. There is a gross oversupply of tuk-tuks in the city. The average salary in Siem Reap for someone with typical tuk-tuk skills is $120 per month. Tuk-tuks are now pushing to get $20 for the half day ride to Angkor Wat, meaning they are trying to work no more than 8 days a month (which is exactly what happens). Just a year ago the price at which we started negotiating was $12 and the average price settled on was $8-$10 and we all complained because 80% of tourists to Cambodia are from China and Korea and they organise buses that cost like $4 per person max.
Apsara Authority who manages Angkor Wat shows $7 million profit per quarter. They are now (Nov 2016) increasing the day rates from $20 per day to $37 per day, that is as near as double as can be!. Additionally, Apsara Authority moved the ticket booth outside the say, off the road to Angkor Wat, so tourists cannot any more reach it by themselves. The road to Angkor is now 2km further and highly inaccessible to those on bicycles.
Moral of the story, show the vendors that the market forces are pushing back Negotiate Hard, it is the Asian way and even locals do it every day. Walk away from tuk-tuks who insist on inflated prices.
Get involved in the Milk Scam and Rice Scam
One more exciting thing to do in Siem Reap is to buy powdered milk for a baby, or buy a bag of rice for starving children at a floating village.
In Pub Street there are two women who rent babies, Valium them up and walk around the street the whole day, dressed in tatters, begging not for money, no, only some milk for the little baby sucking on the empty bottle. The milk turns out to be deeply expensive and the collaborating pharmacist explains that importing milk is not easy. That same tin of milk is sold over and over and over. All expats living here know the women and we have seen the babies grow up all Valiumed over the years only to get replaced by new rentals. We calculate that the women make upward of $100 per day, in an economy where school teachers earn $180 per month and senior managers earn $500 per month. Confront them and they will yell at you in perfect English that it is “better than fu^# whoring” (It is not! prostitution does not abuse the baby) and they will certainly tell you things about your mother that you had hoped nobody would ever have to hear.
The Chong Kneas floating village operators expose you to a floating school with dirt-poor children dressed in tatters, and they look so very hungry. Only children in a school play adept at ham acting can pull off that big a hunger. Admire them for their skills, but don’t buy the rice. That bag of rice has the name of thousands of tourists written all over it. And $50 for a bag of rice…nowhere in Asia can rice cost that much but at the floating village in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap is safe. It is truly a pleasure sharing space with the lovely Khmer people. But for the Russian drug lords, the handful of scammers and politicians this would be heaven on earth. Sounds like back home in Canada when I write it like that…
Keep an eye out. Beer is mostly 50 cent but you have to ask, else you will pay the menu price of $2. In the Pub Street area there are several places that charge 25 cent before 9 in the evening when the price doubles to 50 cent. Ask a tuk-tuk driver.