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Thread: Cambodia in August?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Cambodia in August?

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    We are seriously contemplating a trip to Cambodia in August this year, would appreciate thoughts and advice from others who have recently been up there.

    Bearing in mind our interests lie in culture, lifestyle and food, not interested in adventure sports or activities, that's code for we're old buggers and not into night life in a big way.

    Obviously a visit to Angkor Wat will be part of the itinerary.

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    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    Yelta,

    I went this time last year to Cambodia in between going to Vietnam and Singapore. Although i love both Vietnam and Singapore i was very surprised on how good Cambodia was. Yes its a bit of a culture shock and somewhat backwards but many fo the south east Asian countries are and thats the experience of it. The history, although not a pleasant one of Cambodia i feel plays a part of how Khmer people are. Very happy, hopeful and looking towards a new era in their country. food in my opinion is good there depending on what your taste are. Maybe seen a little more bland than Vietnamese food, yet on another hand a lot more variety.

    Ankor what is a must, that said its a big day if you are looking to do it and many of the other temples. Getting around is easy and bargaining is key for this whilst still remembering to show some respect.

    I bused through Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, battambang and Kampot as many do. I personaly liked Phnem penh the best. that said each city has its own fibe about it. A country well worth travelling too and something id do sooner than later if you want to get the cultural feel as its one of those up and coming countries that wish to forget somewhat there horrid history

    Chris
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris, not new to SE Asia, Thailand numerous time, Vietnam and Malaysia.

    You mention bus travel, did you hire a driver at any time? have done this in Thailand and Vietnam and found it to be an excellent way of getting around with the added bonus of a one on one tour guide thrown in.

    We traveled from Hanoi to Saigon this way, took almost a week and we saw a heck of a lot of North and South Vietnam at a very reasonable cost.

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    Hi Yelta, spent a week in Siem Reap in October with 3 days at Angkor Wat. Absolutely awesome and truly amazing how advanced they were. To get into Angkor Wat you have to use the services of a guide, well worth it but I am guessing the rule was to ensure local employment from this World Heritage listed attraction. Plenty of the guides are drivers and offer door to door service, we did this and saved a lot of time, the queue for tickets is quite something.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Thanks 338.

    Any thoughts on accommodation in or around Siem Reap, looking for less commercial, perhaps more guest house less glitzy hotel type, not with the thought of cost saving, more to experience local culture and one on one contact?

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    Senior Member Erimus's Avatar
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    It's always worth looking on Facebook for accommodation. You can find good prices and very obliging people.


    https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...epa=SEARCH_BOX

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erimus View Post
    It's always looking on Facebook for accommodation. You can find good prices and very obliging people.


    https://www.facebook.com/search/top/...epa=SEARCH_BOX
    Thanks Erimus, I'm not a Facebook person.

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    338
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    Sorry Yelta, no idea. I like similar accommodation but mine was a last minute addition as Angkor Wat was a bucket list thing for me and saw the opportunity. There wasn't much choice at my late booking stage. Erred towards nicer accommodation as the wife wasn't as keen as me - turned out her favourite part of the trip! My theory was if she didn't like Angkor Wat as much as me didn't want a second thing to complain about. When researching there was a heap of 5 to 10 room 'hotels', really a groups of one room cabins on a suburban block, often surrounding a pool. They would get great reviews on Trip Advisor and discussions on the host (some were listed on Agoda) but due to small size were booked out when I went.

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    Zee
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Hi Yelta, spent a week in Siem Reap in October with 3 days at Angkor Wat. Absolutely awesome and truly amazing how advanced they were. To get into Angkor Wat you have to use the services of a guide, well worth it but I am guessing the rule was to ensure local employment from this World Heritage listed attraction. Plenty of the guides are drivers and offer door to door service, we did this and saved a lot of time, the queue for tickets is quite something.
    Odd. I was there only a couple of years ago, and don't remember needing a guide for Angkor Wat.

    The one that I do remember needing a guide is Beng Mealea, and that was because the area was not totally cleared of land mines, so they kept you from blowing up, and well worth the very small fee. Not the case now though, last I I went, land mines were no longer an issue on the temple grounds.

    For the record, I'd suggest checking out Beng Mealea - it's overgrown and really feels more like a "lost temple" than the others. Lots of climbing involved, but to date my favourite temple. It is a bit of a drive to get there, so you'll need a driver.

    As for food - check out Paper Tiger, and also the one directly across the street.

    There used to be an amazing place called The Dead Fish Cafe, but I think it has shut down. It is very interesting having been to Cambodia about 12 years ago, and also about 2 years ago, originally it was still mainly dirt roads, the restaurants all had little plastic tables and chairs (food is still just as amazing as it was, though), and the markets were for locals to buy their food. It's very much developed into a tourist trap town now.

    Z...
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    Stand corrected Zee. We had booked our guide from Aus on the recommendation of a friend and my wife wondered if they were required as we were going to do a few days, the hotel said yes. That matched with the thousands of yellow shirts we saw all over the complex, especially in the remote areas. At Angkor Wat itself being self contained, you would see groups of 50 or 100 guides sitting there while their charges strolled around.

    Thank you for reminding me about Beng Mealea, that was a great spot and I would never remember the name without your prompting. From memory Yelta, I think we paid under A$100 a day for guide/driver, he was happy to throw the evenings in as well but we preferred to wander around town ourselves. Had a nice esky full of cold drinks and frozen fruit, most appreciated with all the wandering around.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Thanks people, all grist for the mill, appreciate your input.

    Beng Mealea certainly sounds interesting.

    Putting together a bit of a diary of useful info and must see's.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Hi Yelta, spent a week in Siem Reap in October with 3 days at Angkor Wat. Absolutely awesome and truly amazing how advanced they were. To get into Angkor Wat you have to use the services of a guide, well worth it but I am guessing the rule was to ensure local employment from this World Heritage listed attraction. Plenty of the guides are drivers and offer door to door service, we did this and saved a lot of time, the queue for tickets is quite something.
    G'Day 338, OK, have booked flights, now down to budgeting time, you mention having spent 3 days at Angkor Wat, do you feel this is sufficient time to have a good look around, or if you were to do it again would you spend more/less time there, and why?

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    338
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    Hi Yelta, I think three days is perfect to see Angkor National Park though my wife thought two days. Angkor Wat itself is the bit in the middle of the moat, probably a few hundred metres by a few hundred metres. You could easily spend 3 or 4 hours there alone. The whole site inside the walls is a couple of hundred hectares. The wall itself is pretty impressive, with its narrow gates to be more easily defended. There used to be whole city inside the walls but the majority of buildings were wooden with only temples or major buildings being stone, which is why they are what you see.

    If you went alone one day would be enough. As you know I had a driver/guide and that made 3 days work. He moved us around between areas and kept us away from crowds - I remember one morning he saw crowds at one gate, he then drove 5kms down the road walked 300 metres into the bush and through a hole in the fence, then another 500 metres to the start of the ruins. We did a morning and afternoon sessions, took an hour for lunch which we always invited our driver as we learnt a tonne, generally had a pleasant time and some days were back for a swim at the hotel pool at 16.00. I also took a lot of photos! Without the guide it would seem just like ruins.

    Will see if I can find the drivers email
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 338 View Post
    Hi Yelta, I think three days is perfect to see Angkor National Park though my wife thought two days. Angkor Wat itself is the bit in the middle of the moat, probably a few hundred metres by a few hundred metres. You could easily spend 3 or 4 hours there alone. The whole site inside the walls is a couple of hundred hectares. The wall itself is pretty impressive, with its narrow gates to be more easily defended. There used to be whole city inside the walls but the majority of buildings were wooden with only temples or major buildings being stone, which is why they are what you see.

    If you went alone one day would be enough. As you know I had a driver/guide and that made 3 days work. He moved us around between areas and kept us away from crowds - I remember one morning he saw crowds at one gate, he then drove 5kms down the road walked 300 metres into the bush and through a hole in the fence, then another 500 metres to the start of the ruins. We did a morning and afternoon sessions, took an hour for lunch which we always invited our driver as we learnt a tonne, generally had a pleasant time and some days were back for a swim at the hotel pool at 16.00. I also took a lot of photos! Without the guide it would seem just like ruins.

    Will see if I can find the drivers email
    Thanks 338, very helpful.

    Drivers contact details would be great, alternatively how you made initial contact with him, a good/honest driver/guide is a big plus, always good to benefit from the experience of others who have gone before.

    We had a great driver in Thailand, have used him a number of times, worth every dollar we paid him.

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    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Thanks Chris, not new to SE Asia, Thailand numerous time, Vietnam and Malaysia.

    You mention bus travel, did you hire a driver at any time? have done this in Thailand and Vietnam and found it to be an excellent way of getting around with the added bonus of a one on one tour guide thrown in.
    on the road.
    We traveled from Hanoi to Saigon this way, took almost a week and we saw a heck of a lot of North and South Vietnam at a very reasonable cost.
    Sorry for late reply Yelta, been away for the last 4 days. The bus situation.... After looking at many reviews i was told to be careful on who went with in terms of buses. As there are some lower quality operators that come across as cheap. Bus and car crashes are common in Cambodia (at least were when i went) and traveling form Siem reap to PP this was evident as i saw a couple buses that looked like they had been involved in head on crashes on the side of the road. Anyhow I read that Giant Ibis was highly recommended and used them on two occasions and found them to be as what people had reviewed them to be..Fantastic.

    hiring a private car is also an option, one its quicker but it will cost you a little more. I find for getting around locally Cambodia is different that Vietnam. In Vietnam you tend to do this on the back of a scooter or in a Taxi. In Cambodia i found Tuk-tuks to be the main transport from local travels in and around major cities. In PP i spent 6 days and was able to use the same guy for the entire 6 days and although you want the cheapest price i was happy to pay him more than what i agreed as he went well and truly out of his way to take me around to the places i wanted to go and suggested many places i should go. As you mentioned its like your own tour guide as this guy had been driving tuk tuks around PP for over 40 years. The good thing is i simply found in after he helped us with another driver we had who knew no English ans he was nice enough to follow us back to the motel. So i was happy to give him the business.

    Im looking to go back to Vietnam at the end of the year, purely to eat and looking forward to it.

    Ill say again, Cambodia is well worth the visit.


    Chris
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    338
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    The contact details came from the very attractive receptionist at the physio. Sadly she has moved on....

    I will look for the email

  17. #17
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coffeechris View Post
    Sorry for late reply Yelta, been away for the last 4 days. The bus situation.... After looking at many reviews i was told to be careful on who went with in terms of buses. As there are some lower quality operators that come across as cheap. Bus and car crashes are common in Cambodia (at least were when i went) and traveling form Siem reap to PP this was evident as i saw a couple buses that looked like they had been involved in head on crashes on the side of the road. Anyhow I read that Giant Ibis was highly recommended and used them on two occasions and found them to be as what people had reviewed them to be..Fantastic.

    hiring a private car is also an option, one its quicker but it will cost you a little more. I find for getting around locally Cambodia is different that Vietnam. In Vietnam you tend to do this on the back of a scooter or in a Taxi. In Cambodia i found Tuk-tuks to be the main transport from local travels in and around major cities. In PP i spent 6 days and was able to use the same guy for the entire 6 days and although you want the cheapest price i was happy to pay him more than what i agreed as he went well and truly out of his way to take me around to the places i wanted to go and suggested many places i should go. As you mentioned its like your own tour guide as this guy had been driving tuk tuks around PP for over 40 years. The good thing is i simply found in after he helped us with another driver we had who knew no English ans he was nice enough to follow us back to the motel. So i was happy to give him the business.

    Im looking to go back to Vietnam at the end of the year, purely to eat and looking forward to it.

    Ill say again, Cambodia is well worth the visit.


    Chris
    Thanks Chris, I suspect we will hire a car and driver, has worked well for us in other SE Asian countries, hopefully Cambodia will be similar.

  18. #18
    Zee
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    A chopper ride around Angkor Wat is very nice, if you have the coin for it. Not cheap, was about $300 for 15 minutes 12 or so years ago, but it was an epic view.

    Z...



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