Siem Reap Travel Blog

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Siem Reap River, from the air

Adding Siem Reap as a stop on my mini-vacation in Asia was one of the best decisions I ever made. 

I flew in from KL on Air Asia, and thought I was going to have trouble.  Turns out I couldn't find my passport photos needed for the entry visa.  Difficult 15 mninutes searching through my carry-on before I finally found them hidden in my laptop bag. Whew!  Paid my entry fee, collected my bag and some local currency, and was met by the tuk tuk driver arranged by my hotel.  His name was Heang Nhan, and I would recommend him as a tuk tuk driver if you are in town to visit the temples, lake, or other local sights.  As for local currency, it turns out this is not really needed.

Mr. Nhan and the Tuk Tuk
  US Dollars are widely accepted here...many ATM Machines only dispense US Dollars even!

My hotel was the Golden Orange, recommended by some Dutch colleagues.  $25/night included breakfast!  Not a luxury hotel, but perfect for what I needed...a bed, air conditioner, shower and safe.  They have a small, comfortable bar on site as well.  They arranged for the tuk tuk driver and also my tour guide for the two days, Mr. Yan Lim Houth. 

I can't give the names of any restaurants we went to, I left myself to the mercy of Misters Houth and Nhan, and they did not steer me wrong. 

I was pleasently surprised by the weather.  Being August I expected it to be rainy season and to not really get to see much, but aside from a short downpour on the first afternoon, the weather was excellent!  My day at the temples it didn't rain at all (and wasn't even all that humid!)

The first afternoon, after settling in to the hotel, I met Mr.

Boat on Siem Reap river heading into Tonle Sap Lake
Houth in the lobby of the hotel and we decided to first visit Tonle Sap Lake and some Siem Reap "tourist traps" and plan for the entire next day at the temples.  Turned out to work perfectly.

Rode the tuk tuk along the river until we got to the boats near the lake and then took a boat ride down into the lake.  Amazing to see the "village" along this part of the lake.  Spent around two hours on the boat before the impending rain forced us back to shore.  From there we went to the Cambodian folk village and wandered around Siem Reap itself.  I have to admit, on this day, I was treated like a typical American tourist.  That began to change that night when I invited Mr. Houth and Nhan to join me for dinner.  This seemed to change their manner, and I think this made the great experience of the next day possible.

Tonle Sap Lake

The second day we started early and rode first up to Banteay Srey with its intricate carvings.  This is around 40km from Siem Reap and you will likely have to pay a little extra to your driver to come here due to the distance, but it is well worth it.  We stopped at Pre Rup on the way up for my first Angkor temple, then completed the ride.  From Banteay Srey, we went down into Ta Prohm, then stopped for lunch.  After lunch we visited Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Phimeanakas, Baphuon, Bayon, etc.) then Phnom Bakheng.  Did not do the elephant ride up Phnom Bakheng...walking was so much nicer!  Finished off the day with a somber visit to the Killing Fields then a break before a very pleasent "good bye" dinner.  I think we covered more of the temples than normal, and think in part it was due to my guide not stopping at all of the tourist trap stops in the park.

As mentioned above I would recommend by my tour guide and driver.  Please contact me if you would like their information.

sindhuhs says:

Do you still have the contact details of your guide?

Posted on: Sep 08, 2009
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Siem Reap River, from the air
Siem Reap River, from the air
Mr. Nhan and the Tuk Tuk
Mr. Nhan and the Tuk Tuk
Boat on Siem Reap river heading in…
Boat on Siem Reap river heading i…
Tonle Sap Lake
Tonle Sap Lake
Siem Reap Hotels & Accommodations review
Incredible value, incredible serviice, incredible sights!
This is, without a doubt, the best hotel deal I've ever had! For $25/night, I had a room with a comfortable bed, safe, private bathroom with shower, … read entire review
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photo by: genetravelling