Siem Reap, the small city in northern Cambodia, is one of the most dynamic, cultured, and fun places you can live anywhere in the world. Of course, Siem Reap is best known for being home to Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious monument, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and on the list for consideration as a Wonder of the World. While more than a million tourists come in every year from all over the world to explore Angkor Wat and scores of amazing Buddhist temples, there is another temple that I highly recommend visiting when you’re here in the heart of ancient Cambodia: Temple Coffee.
I know – a sappy segue at best. But Cambodia (as well as many countries in Asia) really is serious about celebrating their coffee culture, and there are endless amazing coffee shops that would out your neighborhood Starbucks to shame – both in quality and, especially, aesthetics.
And Temple Coffee (named in honor of Angkor Wat, of course), is one of the best in Siem Reap or anywhere in Cambodia in my opinion. It’s located not far from the Hard Rock Café, across the river from the packed and always busy Pub Street areas and market.
Form the outside; you’ll see a tall (about three stories), modern structure completely made of blacked-out glass from top to bottom. There are also plenty of well-done plants, both in huge pots and hanging by the entrance. Walking up to the patio, you’ll see plenty of outdoor seating that’s tucked away and partially hidden from the street by shrubs and well-placed small trees, and even bigger comfy outdoor chairs you can chill on.
Inside and out, Temple Coffee has an artistic theme that features antiques – especially bicycles. Resting on their kickstands out front in an entrance way and throughout the well-sized coffee shop, there are all sorts of old bicycles, electric bicycles, and even motorbikes from yesteryear in Cambodia. Aside from vehicles, they have a super eclectic mix of antique signs, artwork, and especially devices. In fact, just a quick survey around the room reveals huge oversized novelty desk lamps, spotlights from a century ago, old telephones, some of the first mobile televisions, boom boxes, and other assorted electronics that remind me how old I am because I had some of them growing up.
The giant open area also features brick pillars and intricate ironwork lights and ceiling decorations that look like iron vines. Instead of boring little coffee tables, they have more comfortable glass top tables that are knee high and big comfy chairs. They also feature seating that’s almost like lounge beds, but with wooden trays so you can put your computer and coffee on them. There’s an upstairs with more of the same around the balcony.
Oh, and the coffee is pretty damn good, and the staff very attentive and hard working. The Wi-Fi is smoking fast (always my favorite) and they have specials like live acoustic bands at night. They even have a killer food menu, from big western breakfasts to traditional Khmer food for lunch and dinner as well as hard-to-find western dishes.
It’s not the cheapest place, but still, a meal will only cost you $6-$7, and you can hang out here for hours and sip coffee as you enjoy yourself – and write reviews about Temple Coffee!
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