Monday, September 24, 2012

Cambodia - Apsara Dance with Buffet at Koulen 2, Siem Reap

A visit to Siem Reap won't be complete without watching a traditional Khmer dance performance known as Apsara Dance.

Actually, I had no idea about this local Khmer dance until I saw several group of local youngster colorfully dressed in seemingly out of this world attire in several temples. Tourists were lining-up for photoshoot with them. Actually, I was one of those tourists, lol. See my post: Photoshoot with Apsara Dancers

Out of curiosity, I asked my tuk-tuk driver about this event and he replied that our Guesthouse, Ta Som, can book me for an actual Apsara dance performance with buffet for 8 USD. I readily agreed and paid 8 USD to Ta Som. At around 6 pm I back ride on Moori's motorbike up to Koulen 2 Restaurant which was walking distance from Ta Som.

local musicians playing on-stage before the actual dance performance

Upon arrival, Moori talked to the Supervisor; I was led then to my reserved seat at the leftmost area of the restaurant. Shortly thereafter, I felt annoyed seeing those Western and Japanese tourists arriving late and getting the best seats in the house. However, it was obvious that they were paying premium price for the seats.

There were two performances for that night. I selected the first one which started at 7:30 pm and lasted until 8:30 pm. I was brought there by Moori at 6 pm so I would have enough time to indulge on food and avoid long queue. Buffet tables opened at 6:30 pm. By the time the performance was about to start I am on my dessert, lol. Thanks Moori. By the way, water is free while other drinks are to be ordered thus I paid 4 USD for a big bottle of Angkor beer.

The bare-footed Apsara dancers' costumes are pretty amazing. They are colorful, shapely and look expensive due to different accessories and adornments. To be honest, their costumes are similar to those of Indian traditional dancers costumes. However, unlike the Indian dancers who move quickly and dance lively the Apsara dancers' movements are feather light and subtle.

similar to our own "Maglalatik" dance
Fsihing Dance - a dramatization of a love story

There are 6 sets of dance performances. Half-of them are native dance such as "Fishing dance" and one of them is even similar to our Filipino "maglalatik" or coconut dance. All in all, the entire dance performance was in contrast with each other. A surreal Apsara dance while a lively native or folk dance complete the entire performance.

That was the first time I have watched an Apsara dance. I never thought that there are plenty of Apsara dance performance on YouTube. The experience was indeed memorable. At the end of the performance, I walked back to Ta Som Guesthouse and felt the pangs of loneliness. How I wished that my wife was with me while watching those splendid dance performances. Anyway, I am planning to bring her to SR in near future and I am sure that she'll enjoy the Apsara dance performance as well.

main course

The Food? I went there for the dance performance and food was an added treat for the entire package. Nothing special with the food though. I made several trips back to buffet tables and tried to appreciate the local cuisine which obviously lacked the meaty parts. I felt sorry for the carnivorous tourists, LOL. Since I am watching my diet, it was an opportunity for me to indulge in veggies. I go to Pub Street area whenever I want to go foodie in Siem Reap.

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