Where to eat and what to do if you find yourself with 24 hours in Siem Reap, Cambodia's sleepy yet seductive northern town:
9.00am: Breakfast with butterflies
Hot tropical sun, immodestly green foliage and colourful, fluttering wings form the backdrop to the appropriately named Butterflies Garden Restaurant, probably one of the most charming places I've ever breakfasted in. The quiet garden restaurant is tucked away on the eastern banks of the Siem Reap river, under a canopy of green netting that houses hundreds of live butterflies flitting around as you sip a fragrant cup of Cambodian coffee or devour a fruit-and-syrup doused pancake.
In and around the area: Early morning strolls along the banks of the narrow river, shopping for tourist tat and hidden gems among the piles of silk cushions, paper lanterns, Buddha prints and ornate opium pipes that tumble out of the stalls at Siem Reap's Old Market.
11.30am: A bite of banana rice cake in Angkor
These sweet rice cakes moulded around a piece of banana and cooked in a banana leaf are the perfect snacks to fuel a morning of Angkorian temple discovery. Some versions are better than others, so try a few before settling on your favourite roadside rice cake vendor.
In and around the area: Take your pick - from the ruins of Ta Prohm, woven through with giant roots and tree trunks, the sprawling Preah Kahn complex, the enigmatic face towers of Bayon or the jewel in the crown of Angkorian architecture - Angkor Wat, there are hundreds of stunning temples, ruins and monuments to explore in what used to be the seat of the mighty Khmer Empire.
2pm: Run (for some) amok
Pop back into town for a quick lunch on Cambodia's quintessential dish - fish amok. This coconut curry spiced with chilli, lemon grass, kafir lime and turmeric, steamed in a banana leaf bowl typifies exactly what's right with Cambodian food - all your favourite Asian flavours presented with a twist. Bar the super-touristy name (Pub Street), Siem Reap's main restaurant strip has a great collection of places where you could try this dish. My top pick would be Khmer House Restaurant for a homely vibe and generous portions served on pretty blue & white crockery.
In and around the area: Tuk tuks to take you back to the temples for some more photo ops and poking around impressive ruins.
5.30pm: Sundowners at Angkor Wat
Escape the crowds at Bakheng Hill waiting for the "best sunset over Angkor Wat" and perch in relative solitude on the banks of the moat surrounding the majestic temple to soak in the magic with a drink and some nibbles. Many hotels will pack you a sunset picnic (we got a bottle of wine, chicken satay, cheese & olives). You will find few other evenings compare to the experience of witnessing dusk falling over Angkor Wat.
In and around the area: You won't really feel the need to do much else other than sip and stare.
8pm: Exotic Eats
Frog, snake, crocodile... you can find them all on the menu back on Pub Street and a crocodile bbq may be a good bet for the sake of sheer novelty. For those keen on catching a traditional Apsara Dance performance, the Temple Club puts on two nightly shows that can be enjoyed with dinner on the upper level of this slightly touristy haunt. The food's decent enough and although you could possibly find half a dozen better restaurants in town, the entertainment trade-off may be worth it (the Apsara shows here are free unlike a dozen other overpriced places).
In and around the area: The fairy-light strung night market a few minutes away for more impulse buys and a tickly "fish massage".
11pm: Nurse a colonial hangover at Le Grand Cafe
You couldn't get more French Colonial than this if you tried - an elegant old dame of a building, awnings stretching over the pavement and dark oiled wood inside - grab a cocktail or a cognac and waste away what's left of the evening watching the world go by.
In and around the area: $2 reflexology massages to soothe away temple hopping-induced aches and pains.
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