Old French Quarter, the best area to stay in Siem Reap
There is nowhere better to stay in Siem Reap than the Old French Quarter, which prides itself as the main area of the town, which is the loveliest too. It is a big-sized area for the town but is actually a small neighbourhood, where you will find a good selection of French and Chinese-colonial houses dotted around it. The area is full of little narrow streets that are lined with cafes, shops and restaurants, which are wonderfully lit up at night time and provides a fun and beautiful walk. The Royal Residence is found here, although not a palace, it is still used by the King of Cambodia when he comes to visit the town. Although it is not open to tourists, the Royal Residence still offers a good photo opportunity with the face of the King and a shrine just outside the entrance to the building.
Opposite the residence is the Royal Gardens, which is the ctown centre’s only public green area and really is a great escape from the dusty streets and cars. Here you can explore the many religious and animal sculptures that are dedicated to the King and you can sit and relax whilst having a picnic. Another popular place to visit is the McDermott Gallery, which is known for its world class photography of Angkor by John McDermott and also showcases work of local artists that have taken photos of Asia. The river offers a wonderful stroll where you can soak in its lush green surroundings and tree-lined pathways as well as spotting local fishermen and kids playing traditional and modern games.
The area is also home to Angkor Market where you can bargain with sellers and you will be able to purchase various items and objects including food, clothes, jewellery, souvenirs and much more. There are also numerous massage parlours, gyms, cooking classes and yoga classes to participate in and you are never too far from a tuk-tuk or taxi who will take you to see the ruins of the ancient city of Angkor, which is a few kms from the town.
The reason why so many people come to stay in this part of the town is because of the amount of hotels, hostels, pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants that are located here. Being the main strip, Sivatha Road is the focus with bar after bar blaring out the latest tunes and serve various drinks and food. There are also many food stalls at the southern end of the strip, which have tables and chairs and is where you can sample the cheapest and tastiest foods available. The little narrow streets between Sivatha Road and the river are also home to many cuisines including traditional Cambodian, American, European, Japanese, Chinese and even some places offering kangaroo, ostrich and snake as a main meal. The area is full of accommodation with the best ones being just off the main streets as these tend to be quieter and a little cheaper.