May 02 2012

Air-con in Siem Reap

Published by at 1:28 pm under Food & drink

The English have a quaint little phrase to the effect that horses sweat, men perspire, but women glow. Which is all very well if your name happens to be Fanny or Violet, but I actually thought I might be the first person in history to be electrocuted by their own body fluids as I slaved over a hot computer the other day in Siem Reap. Even my phone got heat-stroke; which is as good an excuse for not calling my father as I’ve ever had.

It's getting a little bit hot around here

It's getting a little bit hot around here.

Public displays of sweating that gushes rather than glistens can be unnerving when you’re not used to it. I wore nothing but black for my first few years in Asia, not as a Goth revivalist but for fear of being that person with the enormous damp patch on their arse that everyone on the bus silently laughs at, before suddenly realising that they have to get up too. And how exactly do you check whether you’ve got a great soggy bum without the whole world knowing what you’re doing? I haven’t worked that one out yet.

Avoidance is therefore the best strategy, which is why the good gods invented air-con (the bad ones invented polyester, in case you’re wondering). Oddly enough though, bars and restaurants with air-con units are pretty thin on the ground in Siem Reap, possibly something to do with electricity in Cambodia being among the most expensive in the world. So, if you’re at melting/breaking point, here’s where to go:

If you can't get yourself one of these

If you can't get yourself one of these ...

Cafe Central: They’ve just installed windows and air-con which, together with the fastest WiFi connection that I know of in town, their excellent coffee and yummy burgers, makes here a truly cool place to hang out, pretend to work and annoy the staff.

AHA: It’s hot, you can be posh; people will understand. Plus they have the most amazing desserts, so there’s nothing more that needs to be said really.

Then check out one of these

... then check out one of these.

Blue Pumpkin: Not only will you find the air-con refreshing, but Blue Pumpkin’s house-made ice-cream is just the creamiest, tastiest, yummiest you’ll find in town. I don’t even like ice-cream, but have still been caught conducting knee-buckling midnight raids on the tub in the freezer (it’s there for guests, I swear…).

Champey: Tucked away upstairs at one of the smarter venues on Pub Street Alley (the little pedestrian lane parallel to Pub Street), you’ll find a large air-con room, perfect for cooling off with a nice fish amok.

Hotel de la Paix: Although you’d better strike while the iron is hot, as they’re closing in June, Hotel de la Paix is where half the town’s expats flee in moments of crisis, i.e. when there are power cuts, floods, heat waves, or they’ve run out of forks and the cleaner isn’t due in until the next day. On top of that, the build your own salads and sandwiches are a little bit expensive, but an awful lot delicious, and big, which means that they’re not actually expensive at all on balance.

And, finally, remember the Buddhist way: all things will pass, even this seemingly eternal, infernal heat. (Also: see our tips for staying cool while in Cambodia.)

Cafe Central
Beside Old Market
T: (017) 692 997

The Pub Street Alley

Blue Pumpkin
Old Market Area
T: (063) 963 574

The Pub Street Alley

Hotel de la Paix
Sivatha Boulevard
T: (063) 963 000

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Air-con in Siem Reap”

  1. Deanaon 02 May 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Totally agree on Blue Pumpkin. I was in Siem Reap for 6 days last December, when it was also hot hot HOT, and an ice cream or yoghurt shake from that wonderful place did the trick. Try the mango yoghurt shake, green lemon sorbet and the raspberry yoghurt ice cream. Very refreshing!

  2. Simonon 03 May 2012 at 8:06 am

    Brilliantly written, and just when I needed another excuse to go to Cafe Central for their scrummy Pork loin with mango salsa :o)

  3. […] that you don’t skid in great lakes of your own sweat and break important things like a neck), and take in as many liquids as you can. Which sounds like a perfect prescription for going to the pub if you ask me. But because we like […]

  4. […] phase seems to have started some time back in February. Oh joy. This is when temperatures regularly soar, soar up into the 40s causing me to whinge incessantly, flop, flail, and worry about drowning in vast pools of my own […]

  5. […] feels a little too formulaic for me to warm to, notwithstanding the fact that they blessedly have air-con, still a rare thing in Siem Reap. Others, however, rave about their food, especially their comfort dishes like lasagne and sausage […]

  6. Simonon 26 Oct 2012 at 3:43 am

    Air con at Cafe Central is no more :o( Thank goodness for the fans :o)

  7. […] to the nightlife hub that is Pub Street. But this understated shopfront belies a cool, welcoming air-con interior and somewhere that could easily become a regular haunt for any discerning oenophile in […]

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