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trekkerman Siem Reap - A travel report by trekkerman
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Siem Reap,  Cambodia - flag Cambodia -  Phnum Pénh
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trekkerman's travel reports

ANGKOR WAT, Siem Reap, Cambodia

  15 votes
Travelling throughout Cambodia led me to the great historical world heritage site of Angkor Wat. For me, this was the first time i would come face to face with one of mans greatest building achievements.


Angkor Wat, Siem Reap.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap.
Siem Reap is located about 4 hours drive from the border crossing - Poi pet with Thailand. It’s pretty easy to get there by air, bus or by taxi. Our taxi cost 1500 Thai Baht = £22, by chance we hooked up with 2 others and split the fare 4 ways. Despite the long drive it was good, the roads are bumpy, the bridges dodgy, but the views were great. Siem Reap is a small place, after years of oppression under the Khmer dictator pol pot, development is ongoing, new businesses and tourism is on the rise. however, you'll find vastly contrasting prices around Cambodia's cities, for example, the basic accommodation i stayed in charged just a few US dollars for the room, about 200 yards up the same street set back in it's own grounds was a hotel charging from $180USD for a room.
Siem Reap is beginning to blossom with its bars and restaurants and typical touristy places. you may need to ask around if the price you're quoted seems high for the area, also, haggling is generally accepted here, they know that western tourist have plenty of cash when travelling.
TIP - if you organise a taxi be sure to negotiate & confirm your fare with the driver before you get in the car. Cambodia will accept US dollar notes as well as their own currency - Riel.
n.b. since the Cambodian government has launched an online visa application website, i strongly suggest you use this method in obtaining your visa. You can get a visa at the border poi pet, but there are a few shady characters that lurk around trying to rip you off and lead you astray, we almost fell for this. So, get the “E-VISA" from: http://evisa.mfaic.gov.kh/index.php
this make life so much easier for you.

Favourite spots:
Cambodian/Thai border PoiPet.
Cambodian/Thai border PoiPet.
Obviously it has to be Angkor Wat & Angkor Thom, both were magnificent, awe inspiring. When you walk around this ancient city ruin you feel a sense of going back in time 1000 years to when it was first built. With the lake and palms kissing the edge of the ancient city it looks just magical.
To get there will cost about $25 usd to hire an aircon taxi to be at your beck and call the whole day (make sure you confirm with your driver the charge for this before you set off), n.b. at the time of my visit there wasn’t a public transport infrastructure in place. You’ll also pay $10 usd per person entrance fee.

What's really great:
Angkor Wat stairs to sacred temple.
Angkor Wat stairs to sacred temple.
We visited an outdoor war museum, just a few dollars entrance fee to have your eyes opened. You’ll see ripped apart tanks, half tracks, Russian military aircraft, anti aircraft battery guns, anti tank guns, shells, hand held weaponry and other necessary evils of war. Your guide is a man who had his leg blown off by a mine, he tells you about the atrocities committed by pol pot, and the war in Viet Nam with America that spilled over. You will also see many types of exploded shells, bombs, and actual mines that were used.
After leaving this place you feel glad to be alive, i left hoping that i never see this again first hand. We used a tuk tuk to get us there because it’s off the beaten track and no public transport, you will need to arrange for your tuk tuk to come back and get you, otherwise you'll get stranded!
TIP - only pay your return fare when the tuk tuk comes to collect you, DO NOT pay in advance!!

Sights:
on the road to Siem Reap
on the road to Siem Reap
We only went to Siem Reap for Angkor Wat, which i highly recommend, for those of you not sure about this ancient city, the movie - tomb raider was partially filmed here.
And of course i recommend the outdoor war museum.

Accommodations:
Skyway guesthouse, Siem Reap.
Skyway guesthouse, Siem Reap.
We stayed in the Skyway Guesthouse, virtually city central. The room was clean, ensuite, comfortable beds with satin bedding, aircon, and internet. 24 hr reception and travel desk, restaurant and more see link!
Food was pretty good, overall this hostel was inexpensive and friendly. More info: www.hostels.com/en/availability.php/Host-elNumber.4214
n.b. the water is very high in mineral content and turns light colour clothing a rusty colour, i made the mistake of jumping in the shower to cool off and turned my white T-shirt a rusty red colour lol.

Nightlife:
a typical street in Siem Reap.
a typical street in Siem Reap.
Venturing out is a little nerve racking, they did’t light up the street lamps in our road at night, so you're walking along the side of the road on a dusty pathway, hoping that the mopeds and cars zipping past don’t accidentally knock you over.

However, we did go out to a local hotel a few times, dinner and use the faster internet etc.

As i said earlier, Siem Reap is a growing tourist area, so there's bound to be more in the way of bars, restaurants and more things to do as the years roll on.

Hangouts:
Being in Siem Reap for a short time, we didn't really have any hangouts as such, it wasn't really a place that you'd find a bar to spend the day at really.

Restaurants:
As we were only in Siem Reap for a few days, we ate at the hostel mainly and at one other place - the Nokor Phnom Hotel.

Cambodian food is much like Thai food without spice, it's great cuisine, typically using only fresh ingredients - i recommend you try it.

We went to the hotel for desert one night and the restaurant staff thought we were a bit nuts not ordering dinner first lol, little did they know we'd already had dinner else where.

We also had lunch here a couple of times and used the pool, much needed to cool off in the hot dry City.

Other recommendations:
Cambodia likes the US dollar so take plenty of it, strangely though, when you pay is US dollars they give you back change in RIEL - their own currency.
I never saw an ATM's in Siem Reap.
NEVER go off the beaten track ever, landmines are still a serious problem. Keep to the beaten tracks and inhabited areas and you'll be ok.
At the border crossings into Cambodia be prepared that you'll get a small swarm of locals around you, don’t panic, but keep your wits about you, they're usually just trying to get you to go to their accommodation or use their taxi service, or sell you other services, Just make sure that you don’t get distracted for too long incase someone behind you is trying to get into your backpack.
Never flash your cash around or allow your passport out of your sight unless a uniformed official is the person asking for it.
The average Cambodian isn’t wealthy, so if you get good service, give a little tip - just a couple of Dollars will be surffice.

Published on Sunday February 25th, 2007


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Tue, Mar 27 2007 - 07:42 AM rating by biya67

Thank you for the interesting and informative report- Siem Reap is on my list of my see places and the information you provided will be very helpful!

Sat, Mar 10 2007 - 07:28 PM rating by eirekay

Great pic on the stairs! Nice report on a place I plan to go one of these years :-)

Tue, Feb 27 2007 - 05:53 AM rating by downundergal

A little sparse in places but still a good read with some helpful tips.
I can't say that I thought it was dark wandering around at night though.
FYI Tomb Raider was filmed at Ta Prohm not Angkor Wat.

Mon, Feb 26 2007 - 01:05 PM rating by frenchfrog

Really good tips given as well a an history lesson, that what we like to see in reports, great work, many thanks.

Sun, Feb 25 2007 - 05:03 PM rating by marianne

good information, well written

Sun, Feb 25 2007 - 01:56 PM rating by travler

I learned a lot from this reports. Your pictures were great.

Sun, Feb 25 2007 - 03:18 AM rating by quikflikchiq

hay pete - nice article! i like your writing style and its really good to get tips on how to act in some situations and what to organise before you travel.

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