Siem Reap

Hello Siem Reap! Hello Angkor!!!
I’ve been to Siem Reap twice, and I like it more every time I visit!

Actually, the name of Siem Reap literally means “Siam defeated”, it’s name is derived from Thailand’s lack of conquest when Thailand (or Siam) tried to take over the Angkor Wat, but we couldn’t beat them! And once I got to see the Angkor Wat – it’s no wonder that we tried to get this area…

This is my itinerary for the 2nd visit in 2011, for 5 days 4 night with the tour company…

Day 1
(11 July): pick up us at Siem Reap airport, transfer to Steung Siem Reap Hotel (4-star Hotel)

Day 2 (12 July): Full day trip – ANGKOR VISIT (included Lunch, and Foot Massage)
Tour guide will pick up us at our hotel around 8.30 in the morning with private driver and car (it wasn’t good a/c). to visit the famous & magnificent Angkor Wat temple.
Afternoon we will continue our visit by way of Thommanon temple, Ta keo one of Angkor’s great temple mountains, and Ta Prohm which is a part of the jungle, and Banteay Kdei, Srah Srang a Royal bathing place, and lastly to Prasat Kravan with its unique brick sculptures.

Angkor Wat is a MUST SEE for everyone!!! You need to dress properly to visit this temple and it can take you almost all day here. We also tried the hot air balloon on another day for a really cool view!
The other temples look almost the same, Only Ta Prohm that you will see many big tree with the big roots over and into the temples, this temple is well-known as the “Jungle temple”, and made famous in the movie by Angelina Jolie called Tomb Raiders…

Day3: (13 July) Visit BANTEAY SREI – KBAL SPIEN
Enchanting Banteay Srei, it appears that the temple was designed to leave no space undecorated, and the fine carvings in pink sandstone are unique.
Continue our journey on foot, following a white sand path which heads up into the jungle. This very pleasant walk takes us through the beautiful forest (~40 minutes walk…) to the “Thousand Lingas Rivers” , the water runs over the sculptures of Vishnu, Lakshmi, Hanuman, Rama and many Lingas, which were carved in stone in the past to sanctify the water and to thank the gods for their gift.

It was a long ride to the city to The thousand Lingas, it wasn’t that amazing, like I thought it would be to see the sculptures under the water. But it was nice to walk through the jungle and play in the small waterfall…The Banteay Srei is unique with pink sandstone – it’s a nice stop!

Day4: (14 July) ANGKOR THOM – ROLOUS GROUP – TONLE SAP (included Lunch)
This morning we visited the “Great City” of Angkor Thom, visits include the famous Bayon Temple, Phimeanakas Temple within the Royal Palace enclosure, Baphuon Temple, the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King..

In the afternoon, we enjoyed a boat ride (guide and private boat) on the Tonle Sap lake. This is the largest permanent fresh-water lake in South East Asia and flows into Tonle Sap River, joining the Mekong in Phnom Penh . We’ll see a fishermen’s “floating village” with floating schools, floating police station, etc.

Bayon Temple is one of “Must See” temples, as you will see the famous “Face towers”, most commonly four smiling faces each! The Tonle Sap lake is the MUST GO!, it’s the only floating village left in Siem Reap and when you ride the boat out to the middle of the lake, you will be locals and they have snakes (and soft drinks)!

Special Request: Today we took the balloon for the birds eyeview over Angkor Wat, this is our special request to our tourguide, so we paid extra for the balloon, but it’s a really nice experience and a good view! It was $15 each…

After breakfast at the hotel our tour guide took us back to Siem Reap Airport for the flight to Thailand .

There are lots of things to do after the tours. Especially from our hotel since it is just a block from the night market area, and near a bunch of restaurants and cool little hippie bars. So we ended our days at the market and street pup, also the massage!

SERVICE INCLUDED (In tour package):

– English speaking tour guide.

– 4 nights at hotel with daily buffet breakfast

– Private vehicle with good AC

– Meals as mentioned in the program (without drinks)

– Admission fee and boat trip in Tonle Sap

– 1 hour foot massage on day 2.

– Mineral water during transfers.

From Bangkok to Siem Reap, it’s only Bangkok Airways who operate the direct flight and it’s the only flight that make I feel “human are created equal” as they provided good lounge for everybody!

The ticket was 7,000 baht per person.

There are 5 daily flights that depart from Bangkok to Siem Reap (dep: 800, 1035,1405, 1720 and 1845).  It takes about an hour to fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap.

Siem Reap is a small airport, it’s not a good place for long transit…

Or you can drive from Bangkok to Poipet, the border – there is a huge market, called “Rong Klea” which is famous for used stuff.
Poipet is also famous for the casino, and you can take the bus at Poipet to Siem Reap which is about 2-3 hours. (Bus is about $9 each, Taxi is about $12)…

For Thai people, NO NEED THE VISA, just carry your passport.

But for expatiate in Bangkok, please contact the Cambodia embassy (+66) 2 957 5851-2 (I can’t find the official website for this embassy…The embassy is in Soi Ramkamhaeng 39)
you can ask someone to do the visa for you, no need to show up!

Download Visa Form: Cambodia Tourist Visa
Visa Fee is about 20USD, you can also do the arrival visa at Siem Reap Airport…

We got the hotel recommended from the tour company, just told them that we wanted to stay close with the market, and they recommended Steung Siem Reap Hotel (4-star Hotel)
This is a boutique hotel with high ceilings, wood floors and big French windows. But the coolest part was the location. The hotel is just a block from the night market area, and near a bunch of restaurants and cool little hippie bars.

The tour company booked it for us at $48/room/night (included breakfast), I think it’s great price!

Cambodia is one of the Thai neighbors and they really like Thai money. But the dollar bills work anytime when you want to buy something here. Most of the thing charged in dollars…

Like the t-shirt, it’s about one or two dollars if you can make the deal with them!

Bring lots of small dollar bills with you when you travel Siem Reap…

Our prior expenses (per person from Bangkok – Siem Reap)

 Air Ticket  7,000 baht each
 Tour Package  5,400 baht each ($180)
 Hotel  $48 x4nighs = $192 (5,760 baht per two)
 Totally WE PAID  15,280 Baht or $510 per person!