The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Siem Reap was that a lot of the local guys have beautiful tanned bodies which are also nicely toned. This is likely because they have worked in the rice fields at some stages, if not all of their lives (very similar to Isarn guys).
I immediately fired up the Hornet gay app hoping that some of these younger dark guys would contact me and to my surprise I received a few messages immediately. I was keen but I didn’t have time to reply and chat (more about Hornet meet ups in another article) as the hotel transfer van was waiting to take us from the airport to MENs Gay Resort. I had read a lot of reviews about the resort and was really looking forward to staying there.
It was noticeably humid when we arrived. We were met by the owner and the reception staff and given a welcoming and refreshing glass of iced lemon tea which went down really well. The owner was extremely helpful and friendly. We had a nice chat for 20 mins whilst the reception staff checked us in and sent our bags up to our rooms. These are spacious and have a modern industrial theme which was a nice touch. We settled in and headed straight for the pool where we had a refreshing swim. Cocktails are a specialty at the resort and I recommend the piña colada. I consumed numerous during my stay there.
First day we met up with our Siam Roads gay tour guide Sareth at 9am sharp who promised us a day full of activities and Khmer hospitality. We headed out to Tonle Sap Lake for a boat trip. It’s the largest fresh water lake in SE Asia and its size decreases by a whopping 70% during the winter months. It’s a lovely one hour drive to get there. I was surprised to see so many tourists heading in the same direction. Long-tail boats leave every 15 minutes to cater for all the tourists. The trip involved heading out along the water ways and then on to the main lake which is expansive and then returning back. There is mobile internet coverage all the way so you can post live updates on FaceBook.
Next stop was a traditional Cambodian lunch at a roadside market comprising of local dishes like Khmer Red Curry, Fish Amok, Lap Khmer (lime beef salad) and Bai Sach Chrouk (pork and rice). There were plenty of gorgeous working Cambodian guys coming in and out for lunch which made the experience even more memorable. We then went to a traditional Cambodian market which was huge. Fruits, vegetables, meats and live fish were plenty as well as nicknacks and souvenirs of every description.
By this stage we wanted to relax a bit, so Sareth took us to a nice quaint gay friendly coffee shop. The Little Red Fox Espresso is owned by an Australian gay couple. It’s located in the heart of Siem Reap’s new Kandal Village precinct. They serve coffee and light meals and play music from the golden era of Cambodian rock and roll. We had a delightful time there chatting to one of the gay owners and the coffee was great!
Final stop with our gay tour guide Sareth was The War Museum Cambodia which covers the last three decades of the 20th century. There is a vast array of vehicles, artillery, weaponry, landmines and equipment on display. A friendly museum guide who is a war veteran was happy enough to show us around and tell us some wartime stories. He told us that the genocidal Khmer Rouge had been active for a few years in the mid-1970s when they massacred between 1 and 2 million Cambodians. In December 1978 the Vietnamese invaded and pushed the Khmer Rouge back to the forests.
We had heard so much about it and so in the evening we went and saw Phare, The Cambodian Acrobatic Circus. “Expect the unexpected! It’s more than just a circus!” Phare performers use theatre, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories. The artists will astonish you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm and talent. It was an entertaining and spectacular performance! I highly recommend going to see it as the troupe mainly comprises of hot and fit Cambodian guys. Most of the acrobats are orphans who grew up at the circus school.
Adult tickets vary in price from $18 to $38 depending on how close you are to the stage and can be purchased online via their website. Or you could treat yourself to the full Phare evening experience, starting off with a spa massage treatment, followed by a Khmer dinner at Phare Cafe and then followed by the Phare Acrobat Spectacular. Details of the spa and dinner packages are on their website.
The next day we hired the service of a van driver for the full day which is inexpensive and can be organised through any hotel reception. First stop was the Angkor Enterprise ticket office to get full day passes to visit the temples. Tickets were $20 USD but prices are increasing to $37 USD from Feb 2017. There are also 3-day and 7-day passes available for those with more time. They issue you with a photo ID which you must show when entering each temple area.
I didn’t realise it but the Angkor complex consists of a vast number of temples. In area it is the largest religious monument in the world. The main and most visited temples are Angkor Wat, Angkor Tom (where you can find the stunning Bayon with many faces carved out of the rocks) and Ta Prohm.
The temple of Ta Prohm was magical for me and was used as a location in the film Tomb Raider. Although the film took visual liberties from other Angkorian temples, its scenes of Ta Prohm were faithful to the temple’s actual appearance, and made use of its eerie qualities.
I was expecting a stack of Caucasian tourists but that wasn’t the case and I was delighted by how many Chinese and Indian tourists there were. Everywhere I looked there were lovely Asian guys wearing t-shirts, sweating away in the humidity, which was a pleasant sight. I was hoping that some would message me on Hornet or Grindr 🙂
Most evenings we hit Pub Street and it rocks all night long. Once the sun goes down it’s packed! The nightlife scene comprises pubs, bars, cocktail lounges, restaurants and nightclubs that stay open and are busy until 4 am every day. There is a lot of action at street level with noisy pubs, clubs and massage shops. We had a a number of soothing massages with prices just a little higher than Thailand. Most shops have guys doing massage as well.
For dining look up and you will see there are numerous restaurants on balconies above street level. It’s much quieter up there for a delicious meal. There is everything from European and Asian to local Cambodian delights. Catering for budgets and tastes from fine dinners to backpackers and take away and everything in between. We ate at Cafe Latino a couple of times and the food and service there was excellent. The in thing at the moment is Fish Massage. There are shops all over the entertainment district. It’s a little ticklish to start with but you get used to it and the fish are happy to munch away on your dead skin. Health authorities in some countries however have issued warnings about this massage practice.
Apparently there are quite a few gay bars in Siem Reap but we got stuck at Bar Code for two nights in a row as we enjoyed it so much there and it’s easy to find. If you ask a Tuk Tuk driver to take you to a gay bar, they know Bar Code and will take you there. They have lovely Cambodian guys on staff but the thing that was obvious to me was there were quite a few hot local guys cruising the bar looking for a date. So picking up a guy for the night is easy.
The bar serves a mix of classic cocktails, mocktails, fine wine, bubbly and good beer. The modern, sleek, dusky ambiance provides the perfect setting to get you in the mood…. which I was! Their famous nightly cabaret shows are what makes this place. No two shows are the same. They have a rotating troop of dancers, vocalists and lip syncers who perform every 30 minutes from 9.30 pm till 11.30 pm.
In a previous article Callum McLeod posted a picture of a Colourful Spider at the Chengdu Panda Reserve. So we will start a bit of a fun trend with AGN writers and post pics of spiders from different locations from time to time. Here is my picture of Tomb Raider Scary Spider.