60 Road in Siem Reap
In the evenings ’60 Road’, across from the new Angkor Wat Ticket Booth and what I call the ‘North Korean Museum’, is buzzing with hundreds, if not thousands, of Cambodians. They travel to this hangout in Siem Reap by bicycle, car, motorbike or tuk tuk. The traffic is strong, and definitely not for the impatient. Up and down the road there are endless stalls selling fruit, cooked food, second hand clothing, homewares and everything in between.
Parallel to this road there is a big section where you can sit and eat a variety of cooked meats at ‘restaurants’. They are usually full, so it is best to get in early. You can also pay $1.25 to play a game and win an assortment of toys, ingredients and cooking supplies. And then of course, there are the amusement rides. A dodgy rollercoaster which killed a tourist and tour guide in 2013, bumper cars and a big wheel that makes me feel nauseous just looking at it.
Visit there in the mornings, however, and you will see a whole different side to 60 Road. It is difficult to imagine, looking at the photos below, that the place is so bustling in the evenings. In the daytime the area is empty, apart from construction workers or a few people who stay with their stalls overnight. There are multiple dogs around who will chase you if you attempt to get the perfect photo (yep, dodged a bullet there). There is rubbish everywhere. The food stalls are packed away into locked carts, numbered and named by the owners. Yet there is something serene about it.
If you do visit Siem Reap, I would suggest taking a trip by tuk tuk to 60 Road one evening after 6pm. It is the perfect place to get a feel of the Cambodian lifestyle, and it won’t break the budget. Unless, of course, you are committed to winning that bag of laundry detergent at the balloon popping stall.