Siem Reap, Cambodia – Seeing Angkor Wat has always been part of our travel bucket list. Glad we were able to finally crossed it out from our list last April. Instead of hunting eggs, we spent our Easter Weekend hunting majestic Angkorian temples and it was one of our best trips to date!
Most travelers come in Siem Reap to explore Angkor archaeological park. That’s why it is dubbed as the ‘Gateway to Angkor’. It is the main reason of your visit, but there’s so much more to that.
How to get there?
We were very happy to be based in Kuala Lumpur because of chances to enjoy cheap fares to so many amazing destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and of course, Cambodia. We booked our flight + hotel using Expedia three weeks prior to our trip. Using Expedia is relatively easy for its users as the search results returns quickly with the important details but there’s no guarantee that we’re going to saved up more using their services. Thus, we had to do a lot of comparisons, booking the flight and hotel separately or together. Glad that we managed to get a good deal from Expedia by booking them together.
We left KL Sentral to KLIA via SkyBus at around 3 AM for our 6:50 AM flight via Air Asia. We arrived at Siem Reap Airport at 7:50 AM local time (local time is 1 hr later than KL’s). We were welcomed by their small but charming airport that looks like a hotel resort.
Tourist are required to get Visa upon arrival. But since we’re from the Philippines, Visa are not required for up to 21 days. Other SE nationalities that are exempted are Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. If required, a tourist Visa costs 20 USD valid for one month.
Where to Stay?
Since Siem Reap is one of the top backpacker destination in Asia, you can easily find hotels you preferred depending on your budget. You can always check Expedia (one of our favorite sites now) for good deals. At around 40 USD you can get a very good 3-star hotel with a pool and breakfast. As for us, we stayed at Reflections Art Boutique Hotel. Roundtrip Flight + hotel costs us 955RM (~303 USD) for 3D/2N stay. So that would be ~151 USD/person (Not bad, eh.)
From airport to hotel we took a cab for 10 USD but there’s also an option for a Tuk Tuk ride for about 6 USD. It only took us 15 mins to get to our destination.
The hotel is interestingly decorated. Each room have different themes. The management needs to focus on their cleanliness, though. Location is ideal, just 10 mins walk to some of the interesting places like Pub Street and Old Market. Foods were just normal, nothing special. The staff are accomodating. They hired the Tuk-tuk for our whole trip so we didn’t worry much about haggling drivers as their rate is already fixed by the hotel.
What to do?
Besides the famous temple, there’s a lot more to see and explore in Siem Reap. At least 3 days is needed to experience the top of its must-do list. Here are some:
- Enjoy sunrise and sunset on top of temples
- See the floating village along Tonle Sap Lake
- Haggle at the Old Market
- People watch or get a quick massage at Pub Street
To summarize our trip, below is a copy of our DIY itinerary.
|Arrival||Angkor Wat – Sun Rise||Free Time|
|Grand Circuit Tour (Banteay Kdei, Preah Rup, East Mebon, Neak Pean, Ta Som, Preah Khan)||Small Tour (Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of Elephants, Ta Phrom)||Departure|
|Phnom Bakheng||Cruise on Tonlé Sap lake|
|Pub Street – Cambodian BBQ||Pub Street – Temple
Others Things to consider
- Currency is Cambodian Riel but most establishments prefer US dollars so you should prepare only USD for your trip, in small denominations.
- Sunscreen is 100% recommended especially during dry season. The sun can get so intense so bring sunglasses and hats as well. Mosquito repellent is also a must!
- Wear light clothing and sturdy sandals. Opt-out sneakers and rubber shoes! Hiking sandals will bring you more comfort for a whole day of climbing/walking around the temples.
- As a respect, for the ladies, don’t wear shorts/skirts. These are temples! Bring something that will cover up your legs or if you have extra cash, there are markets along the way to buy pants or sarongs, else you might be shooed off by the temple guards. Besides, wearing comfy long pants can also be a protection from mosquito bites.
- Always make sure you have bottled water to avoid dehydration.
- Ride Tuk-tuks! For short tours, hire a tuk tuk instead of hiring air-conditioned services. You can also hire them for long tours but make sure you have extra budget for tips. 🙂
See our next posts for more of our Siem Reap experience.