Google the words Siem Reap and blog and up comes a plethora of travel posts. Everyone from scruffy backpackers to luxe flashpackers want to wax lyrical about Temple Town, posting reams of photos of early mornings at Angkor Wat and late nights at Angkor What?
Most blogs about Siem Reap are by people who passed through for a fleeting few days. As a sometime blogger myself (Freedom and Freelancing…ahem, shameless plug) I am obsessed with all things blogospherical, so I had a root around the world wide web for some of Reaper residents’ own blogs: sites which offer up more than the three-day-two-night view of town.
First up is Siem Reap’s best-known art-repreneur Loven Ramos. His blog The Spool Artist introduces itself as “”Unravelling the works and journeys of someone out to conquer the world, either through a spool of thread, a roll of canvas, a click of a camera or by a mere lucid connection of two dots…”
The eclectic nature of the tag line, offers insight into the blog itself, and the man behind it; a collective mishmash of musings and pictures as well as Loven’s ongoing creative endeavours. After a blogging hiatus for much of the last year, The Spool Artist is back with a bang of regular posts, well worth a peruse for anyone artistically inclined, or simply looking for a unique perspective on life in the Reap.
No rundown of Reaper blogs would be complete without Travelfish’s dedicated Siem Reap blog written by our very own Nicky Sullivan. The independent review site, which works throughout Southeast Asia prides itself on up-to-date material on popular travel destinations, thus Nicky’s posts from Temple Town provide readers with more than just your average tourist lowdown.
With everything from basic Siem Reap 101, to where to eat, drink, swim and play, along with the kind of insights no guidebook would ever give, the blog has become a go-to resource for both long-termers and travellers alike.
One popular post, which had Nicky waxing lyrical about appropriate attire, went close to viral a few months back. Entitled Dress Code in Cambodia, Nicky’s sharp prose detailed, “…the now annoyingly common sight of a guy standing over the dairy fridges wearing nothing but shorts and flip-flops. He was sweating on my yoghurt. Yeuch!” And “another girl came in wearing a dress whose entire relevance was up for question since it barely skirted the arse which it was in any event too transparent to conceal. Someone forgot to tell her there's no beach in Siem Reap.”
All in all Siem Reap’s rep on Travelfish makes for hoot-filled reading that’s informative to boot.
The Siem Reap blogosphere is chocka with personal blogs, giving a unique peek inside the journal scribblings of those who reside here, hoping to chronicle their adventure online for folks back home.
One such blog is Hillary Vance’s Khmericana. With the tagline Occidentally Orientating, Khmericana is a personal account of Hillary’s time and travels around the Kingdom.
One popular post, Living abroad is NOT scary (and you should totally do it) gives Hillary’s candid insight into life in the Reap. “I’ll put it this way. I could have a job and an apartment, and a boyfriend and a cat and great friends and a fun life back home where everything is familiar and normal and convenient, or I could have those things abroad with the extra benefit of like each day in a different, interesting place, where even my daily commute is fascinating.”
Packed with Hillary’s touristic escapades, from a road trip to Anlong Ven, a homestay in Bantaey Chmmar or a day away at Phnom Kulen, Khmericana is a great tool for those trying to pack in as much punch as they can to days and weekends off.
Another personal blog is Camden to Cambodia, Miranda Glasser’s spin on her journey “from tube to tuk tuk”. Dishing up amusing anecdotes about everyday situations, Miranda’s blog is a relatable account to life in the Reap, with witty narratives on Khmer aerobics classes or learning to ride a bike.
Packed too with great shots and travel tips for destinations within Siem Reap’s reach, Camden to Cambodia describes the transition from West to East in a series of witty yarns and delightful musings.
NGO Insider is a blog featured a few weeks back here in The Insider. While based in Siem Reap, the blog takes a multi-media look at human stories around the world through the eyes of photographers and videographers.
Meanwhile many of Siem Reap’s talented photogs have their own blogs too showcasing their wares. Among them are Omar Havana whose blog features his atmospheric photography, and Oyen Rodriguez whose blog shares stylish videos, stunning portraits, and an array of event shots from around Siem Reap.
George Nickels posts striking pics of the places and people he encounters around town, with a few familiar faces in the mix, while Eric De Vries’ blog has news on the acclaimed snappers latest exhibitions and assignments.
And last, not least, but definitely littlest, are the Tweeters. The microbloggers who relay Siem Reap life in 140 words or less. While most businesses and NGOs have Twitter accounts that tell you what’s going down, @SiemReapLife is the pick of the bunch.
Originally a blog, which has now found its short-form home on Twitter, regular Tweets keep followers up to date on everything that’s going on around town.
Whether it’s one-liners or lengthy prose, travel snaps or touching photography, the Siem Reap blogosphere has it all, and then some.
To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Byrne at [email protected]