Siem Reap Guide for Angkor Marathon Runners – Where to Eat, Drink and Spa
Our Siem Reap guide for Angkor marathon runners in town this weekend for the 23rd Angkor Wat International Half Marathon on Sunday has suggestions for restaurants to go to load carbs, spas to get a well deserved massage, and bars and pubs to celebrate.
This Siem Reap Guide for Angkor marathon runners has recommendations for restaurants to go to load carbs, spas where you can get a massage by a qualified therapist post-marathon, and restaurants, bars and pubs where you can celebrate your achievement.
The 23rd Angkor Wat International Half Marathon is on this Sunday 2nd December 2018 and Siem Reap is abuzz today with carb-loading runners in town, keeping the cafes and restaurants busy as they prepare for a big long sweaty run through the temples early tomorrow morning.
Started by Japanese running enthusiasts in 1996, the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon raises funds for Cambodian landmine victims and attracts runners from all over the world, including other victims of landmines from across the globe. It was also intended as a symbolic appeal for support to ban the use of antipersonnel mines.
Entry fees and other funds raised are used to provide prosthetic limbs and support social reintegration and education programs, as well as support hospitals in Cambodia, such as Angkor Children Hospital and Kantha Bopha Children Hospital.
And who wouldn’t want to participate in a marathon through the awe-inspiring World Heritage site of Angkor Archaeological Park and get to run past breathtaking temple ruins, such as Angkor Wat and Bayon? I’d imagine if you haven’t visited before it would be hard not to stop to gape at the jaw-dropping monuments.
The Angkor Wat half marathon takes place from 5.30am to 10.30am tomorrow, Sunday 2nd December 2018. The start point is in front of Angkor Wat temple in Angkor Archaeological Park, which is also where runners finish.
Angkor Wat temple is only around 6-7kms from Siem Reap – depending on which route you’re taking and where you’re staying of course – and without traffic it takes around 20 minutes by tuk tuk and 15 minutes by vehicle. Runners must arrive at the start point at least 30 minutes before the starting time.
The road to Angkor Wat there is a narrow two-lane road and last year participants reported traffic jams so allow plenty of time. The 21km Wheel Chair race starts at 5.50am, the 21km Half Marathon at 6am, the 10km Road Race and the 10km Artificial Arm/Leg Race at 6.20am, and the 3km Family Run at 6.40am. Men and women can participate in all races.
Once you start, note that every 1km on the running course will be marked by a sign board on the right side of the road. There will be water stations every 2kms with water and electrolytes, and some will have banana, and when you finish, there’ll be free foods and drinks for runners at the finish area.
While December marks the start of winter and dry season in Cambodia, the temperature today will range from 24-33˚C (75-91˚F) and humidity is 45% today, and unfortunately tomorrow is due to top 34˚C and humidity will be 61%, although at 6am it’s obviously going to be at the cooler/lower end at 25˚C.
The 23rd Angkor Wat International Half Marathon is organised by the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia, Association of Athletics Federations Cambodia, and the Cambodian Events Organizer, and is sanctioned by the Association of International Marathon and Road Race, the Association of Athletics Federations Cambodia. You can find out more information on the Cambodian Events Organizer website.
Good luck, everyone!
Siem Reap Guide for Angkor Marathon Runners – Where to Eat, Drink, Spa
This Siem Reap guide for Angkor marathon runners is specifically aimed runners in town for the 23rd Angkor Wat International Half Marathon, hence the suggestions for carb loading and massage spots. If you’re just here on holidays, browse our Siem Reap posts for plenty of general guides, reviews and itineraries.
Where to Eat Pre-Marathon for Ultimate Carb Loading
If you’re in Siem Reap for the Angkor Wat half-marathon tomorrow then you know you need to be eating plenty of pasta, potatoes, rice, and other high carb foods before the big run tomorrow. Carbohydrates are your best source of energy and you’ll need a lot of energy to run a marathon – or even half marathon.
Some experts advise marathon runners to eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is absolutely no shortage of rice anywhere in Siem Reap – rice is a Cambodian staple eaten at every meal in the form of rice, rice porridge and rice noodles. Just head to the nearest Cambodian restaurant, eatery or market stall. I’m sure most Siem Reap hotels would be happy to provide guests with big bowls of rice.
Sports nutritionists also recommend marathon runners eat oatmeal, bread, tortillas, waffles, pancakes, bagels, yogurt, juice, and fruit. Again, you’ll find most of those on the generous breakfast buffets at good hotels in Siem Reap and if you don’t, ask nicely and they will promptly appear. Siem Reap hotels are very accommodating.
You’ll find fruit in abundance in Psar Chas or Old Market and other Siem Reap markets. Just ensure you wash the skin well with bottled water. Baked potatoes are also fantastic for carb loading and if you’re in Psar Chas you should spot roving vendors will large platters piled high with an array of baked potatoes, sweet potatoes and purple yams.
There are juice stalls around the Old Market area that will blend you a tropical fruit juice to order for $1. Most add milk so let them know in advance if you want juice only. These stalls are popular and safe.
Supermarkets such as Angkor Market and Lucky Supermarket in Lucky Mall on Sivutha Boulevard have yoghurt, as well as fruit and juices. You can also pick up some electrolytes there or at a good pharmacy such as U-Care. There’s one in Lucky Mall, another on Sivutha Boulevard, and one opposite Pub Street.
You’ll find plenty of cafés in Siem Reap, that can do wonderful freshly squeezed fruit juices and shakes and also offer oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, yoghurt, fruit, and the like. In the Old Market quarter in the heart of Siem Reap, try New Leaf, Café Fifty5 and Café Central, and on and around Wat Bo Road, Artillery offers delicious, healthy food and Pages blends fantastic juices.
At Kandal Village, you’ll get what you need at Hive Café on Central Market street, while around the corner, at the end of Hup Guan Street, Vibe café specialises in healthy whole foods and, up the road, Little Red Fox Espresso does Siem Reap’s best coffee. Around the corner again just past the ANZ Bank, the Village Café on Tep Vong Road (ANZ Bank Road) does hearty breakfasts. You’ll also find your tortillas in Kandal Village, at Maybe Later, a Mexican joint next door to Vibe.
Marathon runners in Siem Reap in recent years have bewilderingly reported difficulties finding pasta. Most Siem Reap hotels offer pasta dishes, however, Siem Reap is also home to some excellent Italian restaurants. In Kandal Village, Mamma Shop on Hup Guan Street is one of the best and makes handmade pasta in house.
In the Old Market quarter, in and around Pub Street, Little Italy on Alley West offers big bowls of pasta and wood-fired pizza. Il Forno, located on an alley between Pub Street and The Lane is also good for authentic Italian pastas and pizza, although it can get hot in there. La Pasta on 2 Thnou Street (AKA Hospital Road) offers more handmade pastas.
On the Siem Reap riverside, L’Oasi Italiana was one of the town’s first Italian restaurants and remains a favourite, with a lovely garden setting to boot. The recently opened Dolce Vita in Wat Damnak Village is proving popular and also offers fresh pasta.
If you can’t get a table at any of those Italian restaurants and are really desperate, you could also try The Pizza Company in the new Heritage Mall opposite the Royal Gardens. I’d recommend giving any of the Happy Pizza joints a miss before the race, for obvious reasons. And probably after the race as well.
Apparently most marathon runners don’t carb load properly, which is such a shame after training so hard to then find out you don’t have enough energy during the race. For advice on carb loading before a marathon see this guide on Runners World.
If you find even better spots for carb loading please do let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to our Siem Reap guide for Angkor marathon runners for next year’s marathons.
Where to Eat Post-Marathon for a Celebratory Meal
Now that you’re done with carb loading and can celebrate your achievement – you finished the marathon right? And you raised money for a good cause! – you can eat whatever you like to your heart’s content. See our guide to breakfast in Siem Reap if you need a second breakfast, otherwise…
Our Siem Reap guide for Angkor marathon runners would be remiss if it didn’t include some Cambodian restaurants, and Siem Reap has the finest in the country, from restaurants offering traditional Cambodian food to establishments led by a new wave of young chefs cooking what I call New Cambodian Cuisine.
Try Sugar Palm for a warm welcome and chef Kethana’s home-style cooking washed down with local craft beers. You’ll find refined Cambodian food in the elegant Malis restaurant and Chanrey Tree, next door. For more creative and contemporary takes on classic Cambodian dishes, book at table at Mie Café, The Embassy, Mahob Khmer, or Pou Restaurant and Bar.
You can continue to give back to Cambodia by dining at one of the social enterprise hospitality training restaurants that are helping to pull disadvantaged Cambodians out of poverty, such as Spoons and Marum. Also see our tips for breakfast in Siem Reap and consider our Savour Siem Reap experiences. For more details on the eateries mentioned without links, see this story on Siem Reap’s Best Cambodian Restaurants.
Where to Spa to Soothe the Post Marathon Pain
The spas in Siem Reap are outstanding and amazing value with one hour massages at the best Siem Reap spas costing as little as $20. Of course there are much cheaper massages available at massage joints dotted around the Old Market area and along Sivutha Boulevard but most masseuses and masseurs are not qualified.
Most good boutique hotels offer spas and massages for very reasonable prices in their on-site spa or in your room. The standalone spas that we recommend are Bodia, Frangipani and Sokhak Spa. If a $20 massage is still above your budget, you can always settle for a $2 foot massage around Pub Street.
Where to Drink for Post Marathon Celebrations
Our Siem Reap guide for Angkor marathon runners wouldn’t be complete without some suggestions for where to drink for post marathon celebrations. The microbrewery Siem Reap Brew Pub is your best bet for wonderful cold craft beers. Wild Bar has a lovely garden peppered with comfy bean bags you can sink into as you sip a cocktail.
Miss Wong mixes Siem Reap’s best cocktails in an atmospheric old Shanghai style bar set across two Chinese shop-houses. Asana has a laidback vibe in the Old Town’s last traditional wooden house and is the home of the Khmer cocktail.
The Village Café doesn’t really feel like a café at all but a lovely French bistro and has DJs on weekends if you’re up for a dance. Probably not? Laundry Bar is a casual French-ran dive bar best for beer, music and the pool table.
See our guide to the Best Bars in Siem Reap for links to Miss Wong, Asana, Village Cafe, Laundry Bar, and more watering holes.
If you’re staying on in town, see our guide to things to do in Siem Reap, and our guide to Angkor Wat and Angkor Archaeological Park, if you’re keen to see the temples at a slower pace.
If you used our Siem Reap Guide for Angkor marathon runners we’d love to know if it was helpful and are also keen to know if you have recommendations for cafés, restaurants, spas or bars you enjoyed. Feel free to leave tips in the comments below.