Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Birthday trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap

To celebrate turning 32 this year Abi and I took a short hope across from Bangkok to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Here's a quick write up of our trip.

Angkor Wat site


Getting there

There are 2 options to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap. One is overland by bus which is much cheaper than the plane but takes several hours, and you have to switch buses at the Thai border. There's a good write  up of the travel options here:


The second option is flying directly from Suvarnabhumi airport to Siem Reap which takes just over 1 hour. As we were pressed for time this is the way we went. 2 airlines currently do this route, Bangkok Airways and Cambodian Angkor Airlines, but I'm sure more will be added in future.

Our tickets were 3,500 BHT each way. This was slightly cheaper than Bangkok Airways when we went who wanted just under 5,000 BHT each way but do check both airlines before you plan your trip.

Arrival

Siem Reap airport is really small but very nicely maintained, almost new in appearance. Our plane arriving seemed to be an event as people lined up to graciously guide us into the terminal.

Your first expenditure in Cambodia will be your visa. $20 dollars per person for a tourist class visa. Please note: you also need to give immigration a passport photo of yourself or pay an additional $5.

Getting into town

We noticed that a lot of the hotels on websites like Agoda on Booking.com offered a free airport transfer. However, just outside the airport there are several tuk tuks that you can take into town. We learnt that $5 was the standard fare from the town centre to the airport.

What to do in Siem Reap (that's not a temple)

All of the restaurants and pubs in Siem Reap are on a road called Pub Street (nice!). You can get a Tuk Tuki to Pub Street from anywhere else within the city for $1 - don't pay any more.

Aside from that there are several markets in Siem Reap and hundreds of massage places.

Temples!

Once you've had a night out in Siem Reap you're probably ready for temple action.

We hired a Tuk Tuk for the day to take us around as many of the temples as we could fit in for $15. That seems to be the going rate, don't pay more!

We managed to fit in a visit to 3 large temple complexes and finished out day visiting Angkor Wat at sunset. It was a great day and I highly recommend each of the temples we visited but Ta Promh, or the tree temple (also where they filmed tomb raider) was just amazing.

Rather than repeat what other guides have done in much more detail  - here a few links/reviews of the temples we visited.

Have a great trip to Cambodia.

Top Ten Temples - http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/play/outlook-cambodia/siem-reap-guide-sheet-224128

Bayon
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g297390-d552507-Reviews-Bayon_Temple-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html

Ta Prohm
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ta_Prohm

Angkor Wat
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g297390-d317907-Reviews-Angkor_Wat-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html