Almost a month ahead of my trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, I searched for meetups on the Couchsurfing website, unfortunately, there was none in the events section for Siem Reap. However, it had several tour activities organised by tuk-tuk drivers and freelance tour guides targeted for tourists.
I decided to give a try by organizing a Couchsurfing meetup to see the response. So, I created one with the title “Couchsurfing Meetup & Dinner“, and in a week’s time, there were four people who had confirmed to attend the meetup on Saturday, November 11th. My friend Katie from the 196 before 30 travel blog agreed to join in since she will also be in Siem Reap for our Instagram collaboration. I wasn’t very familiar with the area that I was going to stay, but I read the reviews of a few restaurants in the neighborhood that I planned to stay. I mentioned a place called the T-Bone Steak Box Siem Reap as the venue for the meetup, and two days before it, I noticed that we already had seventeen people confirmed to attend including myself and Katie, but, I was still sure that all seventeen people who registered for the meetup will not show up. My estimate was about fifteen people, and the photos of the T-Bone Steak Box Siem Reap didn’t seem comfortable for our meetup. I informed Katie to see if she could find a better alternative since she will be arriving a day earlier than me, and she found a nice and cozy place called Mr. Grill Restaurant, and we moved the meetup to the newfound venue.
On the evening of the meetup, me and Katie arrived the venue fifteen minutes early. We checked with the restaurant manager for our reservation and she escorted us to our seats where we had twelve chairs distributed along three tables. I kept an eye at the entrance of the restaurant to see if they had anyone coming inquiring about the meetup or dinner, at 2035 hrs, the first person showed up. I saw him asking the restaurant manager about the event, at the same time, he was also trying to have a good look inside the restaurant to see if he can spot a table with a crowd so that he could come and inquire if it was the Couchsurfing meetup. I waved at him, and he instantly knew that we were in for the meetup. We had ten people by 2100 hrs, some of us had dinner while others had drinks and enjoyed the vibe of the restaurant and getting to know the rest of the people. Some of the attendees were from Canada, United Kingdom, India, Poland, France, United States, Germany and we also had one Cambodian too.
At 2200 hrs, we decided to take our meetup to the Pub Street. Everyone wanted to continue, so we all headed to the X-bar, Siem Reap’s most popular rooftop bar. Everyone had a good two hours of fun until we moved the Temple Bar. I even made everyone climb the skate ramp, and ultimately slid down the ramp and hit my head. By 0100 hrs, everyone began heading to their accommodation, I also took off to my hostel since I had to get up early in the morning.
Overall I had a very fun and unique experience, I ultimately learned that “Some days you just have to create your own sunshine”, Yes! If you can’t find a Couchsurfing meetup, create your own Couchsurfing meetup!