Siem Reap would be a great retirement town IMO. Most hotels are new and VERY nice, and very inexpensive. I rented a room for 20 dollars a night that would of cost me 100 a night in BKK. Moving up a little to 35-50 dollars will get you a pool and free breakfast. Not bad.
The old market district is very nice. Not at all like what I was expecting. More of a family oriented town. Nice restaurants, a few bars. No red light district that I saw. So pretty quiet compared to Thailand.
Since I am into sight seeing I headed out of the city pretty fast. Explored around Siem Reap, with birding in mind. Did not find much. But, did find some very interesting places.
Everything here is 20 dollars. Hotel $20, Angkor wat $20/day, N.P. 20/day. I call it the $20 dollar town.
There is a lake here that is being developed into a huge tourist attraction. And, it was overflowing with people. Every day that I drove by, there were hundreds being bussed in. Boat ride to the village $20.
Angkor wat was overflowing everyday also.
Personally I would rather take a beating than stand in line to see something that millions have seen before me. Not my idea of a fun vacation. So, after a week of watching I headed out to the sticks.
Have only made it to Theng Meanchey so far. Now THIS is my idea of a vacation. If a birder you need to put this on the top of the list. It will not be here for long IMO. You can (with a little imagination) get a glimpse of what Thailand must of looked like 40 years ago. Before all the low land forests dissapeared.
The birding in the early morning is like no other place I have visited. Teaming with birds.
I am a road birder. By that I mean I drive in to a location, and bird from my vehicle. Or get out and walk a few hundred meters at most to bird. This is one of the best road birding destinations I have ever been to.
The locals are pretty friendly. And I can drive and walk all day at my leisure. Very very enjoyable.
Hotels in the area are very nice and inexpensive. Again, 15-20 dollars a night in Theng Meanchey gets you a very nice room. And new hotels are on the way.
Theng Meanchey is not a tourist town to say the least. I have seen exactly one forenigner here in the last few days. And NO birders? Completely void of birders. Amazing.
After searching the internet on birding in Cambodia, you would think you have to have a guide and spend many hundreds of dollars to bird here. Also, every site I went to said it was hard to find birding spots. I have found it to be just the opposite.
The roads here are very good. I bought a map of Cambodia and found it to be spot on. I have taken a few wrong turns, but that is part of the adventure. At this point no matter if I take a wrong turn, and end up in the middle of a swamp. I tend to smile and enjoy it.
Don't want to bore you with the logistics of getting here. If interested in birding you will find a way to get here.
This first bird is a first for me. Very photogenic bird. It is at the end of the dry season here, Making the birds easier to see.
Blossom-headed parakeet (Psittacula roseata)
700mm, F/5.6, 1/2500, ISO 1000
Chinese francolin (Francolinus pintadeanus)
700mm, 1/640, ISO 1250, F/5.6
Common woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus)
700mm, F/5.6, 1/640, ISO 1250
Crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela)
700mm, F/5.6, 1/400, ISO 400
Crested treeswift (Hemiprocne coronata)
700mm, 1/640. ISO 1600, F/5.6
Yellow-crowned woodpecker (Leiopicus mahrattensis)
700mm, F/5.6, ISO 1600, 1/640
You need to remember, I am strictly a photographer. And these are just a VERY few birds that I actually see. This site is teaming with birds.
Frankly I am surprised it is not teaming with birders?
All the best and good birding, Gary