Coffee Shop Review: Cafe Central Siem Reap, Cambodia

There are many things to do in Pub Street, the tourist-infested market in Siem Reap, Cambodia. You can go on a food trip, you can shop for some souvenirs, and the most recommended activity, go out at night, hang out at some bars, drink, and flirt with someone. I’ve done everything but the last activity to the dismay of my friends. “No wonder you’re single,” they told me. I’ve lived 30 years hearing the same comment, I don’t get offended anymore. I did frequent the market in my short time there doing what I consider as my idea of fun; hanging out at Cafe Central.

The hostel I stayed in was just a few meters away from the Pub Street. I had two days to kill and I spent it feeling like a local in which I slept, went out, and walked around the neighborhood. [Read: A Nice Hostel in Siem Reap – Luxury Concept Hostel]

The cafe has big windows that lets natural light in. The walls and the pillars are covered in bricks. It looks lovely in the night as it is in the morning and very popular to tourists. It was interesting to watch people come and go and wonder about what they are going to do with the rest of the day.

Cafe Central Pub Street

I usually go there in the afternoon to kill time with a book in hand, accompanied by a cup of flat white. At one time I ordered a vanilla gelato, which taste I can no longer remember. In Cambodia, you can pay in US Dollar. Paying in dollars suspended the reality that I was spending Php 50 for every 1 dollar. I treated 1 dollar as 1 peso. I went to this cafe not really caring about how much I was spending. That for every coffee that I ordered I wasn’t spending 3 but 150 pesos. [Read: The Good Samaritan and the Temples of Siem Reap]


The weather, the physical attributes of the locals, and the general looks of the streets and infrastructures made it easy to imagine that I wasn’t in another country. Cambodians look a bit look like my people. I realized I could easily blend in. I’d been to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Taiwan and people mistake me for a local. The only exception was Japan, though the fact I was in a blogger fam trip might have something to do with it. We were in a group and how we moved and talked practically screamed we’re tourists.


I remember laughing at myself that I had to go to Cambodia to discover a cafe for myself. Before Cambodia, I was in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, where there’s cafe in every corner of the street. But at least I was able to try the famous iced Vietnamese coffee from the street, which to me makes the experience more raw and authentic. [Read: Braving the Streets of Ho Chi Minh]


This happened in 2014, two years ago, when I first traveled abroad. I proved to myself that I don’t need a companion to travel and I sure as hell don’t need to party to have fun. Just being in that cafe, watching people, being alone with my thoughts, were enough for me.

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  1. true , may a times people look at the idea of fun from their perspectives totally forgetting that it is a very individualistic thing . i could almost picture u sitting in the coffee shop looking at how the afternoon was turning out to be

  2. Marge, To sit in a coffee shop and watching people go by is an interesting way to observe people, mannerisms in a new place. I do something similar, in the sense that I go and sit in a bus/train on a cheap ticket, and just go and come back trying to absorb the slow pace of life.

  3. I think I remember seeing this place in passing but we never really stopped and got in. We missed it, ooh they have Illy coffee. That’s the best thing about solo travel, you can linger for hours in a coffee shop (that’s coming from a coffee addict who’s traveling with someone who doesn’t drink coffee). Looks like a charming place to enjoy a cuppa with or without company.

  4. I have to ask, did you try egg coffee when you was in Vietnam? It’s an altogether different experience. I’m sure they treated you like every other tourist after they realised you were not Vietnamese or Khmer, tourist price included! Happy travels!

  5. I love the way the blog post but the last few lines are the most fascinating part! Sometimes in a metro, walking down the street, traveling in a bus and having such moments to myself, I lose track of time in observing people around me. It’s that part of the day when I’m talking to myself and this refreshes me a lot! It’s a great way to beat the stress!

  6. This looks like a nice place to nurse a cup of hot coffee and chill. I too love sitting in cafes with a view or better still the ones on the street. It is great fun to laze around and watch the world go by. It is also a great opportunity to get that immersive feeling and get closer to the local culture and people.

  7. This place looks like a perfect place for relaxing or maybe just for doing nothing and day dream of good things in life. LOL. Or as an always go-to-place for a quick bonding with your closest friends or office mates. I hope to taste Cambodia’s coffee. I’ve tasted Vietnam’s and it is good, really!

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