Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

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funtop

Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by funtop » Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:27 pm

Hi Guys,

Thanks for all your kind replies.

I will hopefully post the Phnom Penh part of the report tomorrow.

I am just about to go out for my second night in Pattaya and will probally write a shorter report on my experiences here although I will say at the moment it is seems very different to Cambodia.

With regards to money as Pong says nearly all transactions are done in US dollars and there are plenty of ATM machines all over the place that only dispense dollars, although some charge $2 per $100 you draw out in addition to the 2% your bank may charge.
I brought about $800 in cash with me and felt ok as all the hotels I used had safe boxes in the rooms. I did need to withdraw an extra $200 from the ATM in the Flamingo Hotel in Phnom Penh so will probally have to pay back $206 unfortunately.
You can live more cheaply if you wish but I bought some Cambodian jewelery for relatives and paid for the hotels in cash.
Small change is given back in Cambodian Riels, there are about 5000 to the dollar. They take a bit of getting used to but you should have no problems paying the tuk tuk drivers or moto's with them as they soon accumelate.

funtop

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Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by ceejay » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:53 am

Super report Funtop - you make me want to go back to Cambodia soon!

I visited Cambodia in November 2008 and I agree with all Pong said. You may find this little bit of extra information helpful.
Take as many $1 and $5 bills as you can. Many traders will not be able to change anything much bigger. $20s are OK in restaurants. $50s I mostly used for hotel bills.

There are ATM's that pay out dollars. If you look at this map of The Old Market area of Siem Reap on the Canby website:
http://www.canbypublications.com/maps/somrmapmain.htm
on the street running on from the bridge, about half way down on the right (near the end of Bar Street) is a pharmacy called U Care. It's directed at the tourist - always has an English speaking pharmacist on duty (I had occasion to use it). Inside, there is an ATM that pays dollars. I felt more comfortable using that than one in the street. There is also a U Care with ATM in Phnom Penh just down the road that runs down the side of the Foreign Correspondents Club on Sisowath Quay.

Bottom right of the map is the Golden Banana group. It's three places - a guesthouse aimed at backpackers, "a boutique" hotel (which I stayed in) and a resort (new - it was being built while I was there). I found the hotel a very pleasant place to stay - the rooms are split level, grouped around a pool. No problems with guests, but ID's are required at reception. The map is large scale - from Golden Banana, over Old Market Bridge to Bar Street is an easy 10 minute walk.
http://www.golden-banana.com/

You can't go to Siem Reap without visitng the temples! You can get to the main complex by tuk tuk, it is really close but, especially if you want to go further (I went to Beng Melea and Koh Ker, for example) then I recommend Mr Tee:
http://www.angkorholiday.blogspot.com/
Mr Tee is a driver, not a tour guide (you can hire a licenced guide as an extra) and he is a very nice man who looks after his customers. The kind of thing I mean is that, because I was not flying out of Siem Reap until the day after the hire ended, I just paid him off and just siad I would take a tuk tuk to the aiport. Not a bit of it - he insisted that, as an airport transfer was part of the price he would come back the next day (quite early) and drive me to the airport at no extra charge. Saved me all of $2 or $3, but I appreciate things like that. I have recommended him to a friend who visited last year. He was as pleased with the service as me.

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Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by Jun » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:32 am

Excellent report.

One more point -Siem Reap is easily accessible from the Bangkok region, so that makes an interesting side trip for anyone wanting to add some variety to that 2 week trip.

penguin

Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by penguin » Wed Sep 15, 2010 2:59 am

Jun wrote:One more point -Siem Reap is easily accessible from the Bangkok region, so that makes an interesting side trip for anyone wanting to add some variety to that 2 week trip.
What is the best way to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap? Can it be done fairly easily overland (including crossing the border and organising a visa etc) or is it better done by air?

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Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by bao-bao » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:24 am

funtop, that was really, really good - thanks! I nearly made it into Cambodia in March or 2009 but cancelled on the advice of my Thai guide. Maybe next trip. Your reports are a good balance of story and information. I'll be watching here for the next installment!

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Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by Jun » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:07 am

penguin wrote:What is the best way to travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap? Can it be done fairly easily overland (including crossing the border and organising a visa etc) or is it better done by air?
It depends on what you want.....

1 The slow & scenic route. Take the early morning train from BKK railway station to Aranya Prathet (was approx 50 baht) -is an early start & the train lasts about 6 hours, but it's worth it just for the experience. Then take a Tuk Tuk to the border (Poi Pet) ~60 baht. Cross the border. Hire taxi to Siem Reap (~$40), maybe share with another tourist if you meet someone suitable -should be just under 2 hours in a taxi with the road improvements. There are slower buses, but I've not tried one yet.

2 You could use a bus from Pattaya or BKK as an alternative, which should knock at least a couple of hours off.

3 Flying's an alternative if you want fast travel, without actually seeing anything on the way, Bangkok air fly there. I would consider flying both ways to be a wasted opportunity.

4 You could fly to Phnom Penh and return overland via Siem Reap (or vice versa).

For Cambodia, get the e-visa. Apply on line, they e-mail it to you & you print out a copy.

penguin

Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by penguin » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:28 am

Thanks Jun! Overland sounds like the way to do it.

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Re: Cambodian Capers. Part 1 Siem Riep

Post by bao-bao » Tue Sep 21, 2010 9:48 pm

penguin wrote:Thanks Jun! Overland sounds like the way to do it.
I agree 100%. In the interest of a limited vacation time I might ride into the country and then fly out, but seeing the countryside and stations while stopped and the opportunity to people watch would be a shame to miss.

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