Exploring Indochina: Pub Street and Apsara Dance

Three days of tours and crossing borders proved to be exhausting so I intentionally placed a ‘free day’ midway through the trip so we could recuperate.
 
Having no itinerary for the day means that we could dillydally. 

True enough, it was already around 11:00am when we finally decided to move and head to Pub Street. Unfortunately, Ta Som’s tuk-tuk driver was not around to take us to the Old Market for free so we had to pay one of the tuk-tuks waiting outside $1.5 for a 5-minute ride. -_- His initial quote was $2 and I tried haggling it to $1, alas. When you’re traveling on a limited budget, every dollar counts so don’t judge! :p
We spent some time checking out the Old Market and the restaurants, but even after going through the free pocket guide we got from the Mekong Express office in Phnom Penh, we still can’t decide where to eat. Still flipping through it, we stopped in front of this Khmer restaurant and saw that the prices were reasonable enough, and so we got a table.

Nai Khmer Restaurant
Clockwise: Red Curry with rice and shake – $3; Stir Fried Chicken in Lemon Sauce with rice and shake – $3; Fried Spring Rolls – $1.75
Food was okay for the price and serving size.
Of course no meal is complete without dessert and what better dessert to have on a sunny (and uber hot) afternoon than ice cream! We referred to the pocket guide again to look for Swensen’s. We went the opposite direction at first but finally found it inside Angkor Trade Center. 

L: Chocolate Ring-A-Ding – $3.30  |  R: Chocolate Trio – $3.80
Yes, we scrimped on our lunch but splurged on dessert but we have a good excuse for it! We spent way less than our budget for last night’s dinner so this is still within the budget. *teehee*
 
And because we didn’t want to shell out another dollar for a tuk-tuk ride, we decided to walk (to burn the calories too :p) back to the guesthouse for siesta

***
 
We left again around 7:30 pm for the buffet and Apsara dance at Koulen II Restaurant ($8/head). Mr. Meng even drove us there although it was just 5 minutes away. They reserved us seats on the far right side side of the stage. 
 
Shortly we found out that the price we paid was only for the buffet and that we had to order drinks so we got a liter of bottled water for $2.50!  To alleviate our frustration with the overpriced water, we wasted no time and headed to the buffet area.

I wasn’t able to take pictures of everything but as with any other buffet spread there’s the bread/pastry, pasta, salad, noodle, and dessert section. Obviously most of the entrees are of Asian cuisine.

As people filled up the restaurant, guests were serenaded with folk music. Good thing I was already back in my seat when the show started. The folk dancers came out and did about three sets which I surmise were depictions of rural life like rice planting and fishing. It’s actually quite similar to our own folk dance which made me wonder if we do shows like these back home for tourism because I could see the other foreigners enjoying it.

Highlight of the show: Apsara Dance
The Apsara dance has been described as grounded, subtle, even restrained yet feather-light ethereal appearance.* One can also have a picture with the dancers after the performance.
After the show we headed to the night market to check the merchandise but went home empty-handed so we decided to call it a night. After all, we need to pack our things again – this time for Bangkok.
 
 
K

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