Photo: Within the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Cambodia forum

Away from the tourist ghetto in Siem Reap

Posted by choobydoo on 23/12/2006 at 16:13

Hello all travellers,

Here is a little hint for those who have legs and a brain...

Tired of the ghetto of Pub Street (a smaller Kao San Road in Siem Reap, with security agents preventing the Khmer from coming in...), I crossed the river and looked for places where you're not seating right in the middle of the street, and found a different Siem Reap.... The streets are much calmer, you're not hassled by massage girls or tuk-tuks and there is some green... Already much better...

Then, in a small street off Wat Bo road, I stumbled upon a sign saying... "Singing Tree, Café & Community"

I never saw or heard a "Singing Tree" ?! And what kind of Community is that ??

Well, let's have a look then...

And there it is... a huge garden, with trees (not singing though...), a beautiful loan, quiet world music and a very friendly waiter (that also changes from Pub Street!!). Ok, it's a café, it's peaceful and the "Peanut Butter Yum Yum" (smoothie) was definitely yummy, but that's not it!

The so-called "Community Centre" is a range of activities as well for locals and tourists ranging from Yoga & meditation to English conversation club with Khmer students or even Jam Sessions. Leaving Siem Reap the day after, I couldn't try any of these... Too Bad!

But the best about this place is that it is INTERESTING! They present information on social and ecological projects in Siem Reap, like The Green Gecko (school for street kids), a Biodiversity Conservation programme etc... It's a great idea! Every town should have a place like this!

Well, for those heading to Siem Reap, you should definitely look for this place! It's not easy to find, but basically, if you cross the bridge near the Old Market and turn left along the river, it's on the second street on your right hand side ( you'll see the sign).

And they also have a Website:
Enjoy as much as I did!!


#1 choobydoo has been a member since 22/12/2006. Posts: 1

Posted by marigeri on 22/1/2007 at 17:51

sometimes i m wondering why the old market area is so popular.
true there is nice pub and restaurant but a lot of beggar, of tuktuk, of book seller.
there is nicer place quiet in siem reap with good spot, like the river side.
some cafe are very nice and wat bo.
there are also good place on national number 6
or thapul road.
late at night also you can have dinner at zone one club, it is very good food and relax.

#2 marigeri has been a member since 25/6/2006. Posts: 23

Posted by prairieox on 30/1/2007 at 15:57

We just had lunch at Singing Tree and the Khmer food and the crepe dessert is absolutely mind-blowingly amazing. And the prices are so good compared to other places in town. Well worth a visit if you are in Siem Reap. It's a really nice place to chill as well, and the garden is very soothing from the noonday heat.

#3 prairieox has been a member since 30/12/2006. Posts: 13

Posted by Introverse on 12/2/2007 at 21:04

I was working in the biodiversity conservation centre...if you're heading out to the River of 1000 Lingas then check it out, they have free tours of the centre at 10.30am each day. It's a great little joint and is trying to do very good things for Cambodian wildlife. Essentially it's like Phnom Tamao in that the animals there are part of a captive breeding program to try and ensure the survival of endangered SEA species...and all the animals are confiscated, either from poachers or people who are keeping them as pets. Look up WildAid for a bit more info about the NGO's behind this sort of thing...

The important this though is that along Wat Bo Rd there are some amazing places. The Japanese cafe opposite the river, The Singing Tree (if you haven't tried the tuna and eggplant quiche...or just eggplant for those who don't like meat and consider tuna to rightfully be so...Starrise Cafe (on Wat Bo Rd, near NH6), the new cafe that's just open near the French Cultural Centre...or if you're taking a tuk tuk the driver might know the Future Bright Institute (FBI) better. Also Wat Bo? Cafe. They have possibly the most amazing food in SR, but we stopped going there because they got a bit dodgy price wise. They only ripped us off maybe US$1 or US$2 a night with two of us dining there, but since we went there maybe three or four nights a week this lack of loyalty just was not on. We thought anyway. Damn good fish and chips though. Not sure of the exact name of it on the menu, but they're little chunks of fish that have no bones in them. Might even just be called fish and chips...very moist and amazingly nice. I'm still not giving them a plug though because of them being $US hungry...

#4 Introverse has been a member since 12/2/2007. Posts: 11

Posted by Introverse on 12/2/2007 at 21:09

As an extra mention to those who have a brain but not legs (as many Cambodians do, thank you you insensitive bastard Choobydoo, the Singing Tree also supports various NGO's around town, including one which does a just super performance about the difficulties faced by disabled citizens of Cambodia re: landmines etc.

Plus, Singing Tree also has Coopers Sparkling for US$2.50. As an Australian I very much appreciated that. Try it on ice for a thrill of a different kind...

#5 Introverse has been a member since 12/2/2007. Posts: 11

Posted by Marie74 on 2/2/2010 at 04:22

The Singing Tree has been renamed to "Peace Café" but continues in the same spot.
Everything else has remained the same to all the other comments: It's beautiful, friendly, the food is fantastic (!!!) and whoever is tired of temples (or Pub street, yes) will find it to be a true oasis - including an interesting programm of Yoga, Pilates, Workshops and Meditiation. Oh, and free movies on Mondays.

#6 Marie74 has been a member since 2/2/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by Archmichael on 8/2/2010 at 00:12

This from the singingtree website:

Welcome to the Singing Tree Café
Please note: WE HAVE MOVED!
After almost five years of work and fun
And much deliberation
We have decided to move downtown
Find us the entrance of Alley West
Just 20 meters from Pub street.

Marie74: did Singing Tree move, do you think, and Peace Cafe took over the space?

#7 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by KirstyB on 8/2/2010 at 13:29

The change of name is to do with new ownership/partners falling out, but this explains it quite well....

#8 KirstyB has been a member since 27/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 151
 Where has KirstyB been?   Website   Twitter   Facebook  

Posted by Marie74 on 8/2/2010 at 14:02

@ Archmichael:
I have no idea. Is that important.

#9 Marie74 has been a member since 2/2/2010. Posts: 3

Posted by Archmichael on 8/2/2010 at 21:58

@ Marie74:

Just curious to know, that's all.....

#10 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by Archmichael on 8/2/2010 at 21:59

@ Kirsty:

Thanks for the link.

#11 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by somtam2000 on 9/2/2010 at 08:05 admin

Thanks for the link KirstyB -- smaller the town, more intriguing the intrigue!

#12 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,575
 Where has somtam2000 been?   Website   Twitter   Facebook    Flickr    Google+   Instagram   Pinterest 

Posted by Archmichael on 9/2/2010 at 09:53

Intrigue ... and, apparently, soap opera.

#13 Archmichael has been a member since 23/7/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 396

Posted by Deadpoets on 16/3/2010 at 09:34


The Singing Tree Cafe was one of my favorite spot. Great place!

#14 Deadpoets has been a member since 31/8/2009. Posts: 14

Please login to add a reply

You need to be a Travelfish member to be able to add a reply to this post. Please use the button below to log in. After logging in you'll be returned to this page automatically to add your post. Not a member? Join up here.