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Angkor Guide - Is Ponheary still recommended... or other favs??

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Jun 15th, 2009, 03:18 PM
  #1
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Angkor Guide - Is Ponheary still recommended... or other favs??

I see lots of recommendations for Ponheary as an Angkor guide... but they're all about a year old. Is she still working and recommended? Any other (backup) recommendations? Just need a guide... no other services. thanks, kawh
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Jun 15th, 2009, 04:24 PM
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Yes Ponheary is still working, doing private tours. You can reach her at [email protected]
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Jun 15th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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And her brother, Dara, is highly recommended as well.
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Jun 24th, 2009, 05:45 AM
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Oh my goodness, yes!!! She is absolutely wonderful. My kids and I just returned 2 days ago from the most amazing trip, which included 5 days with Ponheary. I haven't done a full trip report, but let me just say that she was a terrific guide. My teenage son is really, really into history, including Hindu mythology, etc., and was very impressed with Ponheary's depth of knowledge regarding the temples and the stories depicted in the bas reliefs. She not only gave wonderful tours of the top spots, but took us to some out-of-the-way places that tourists rarely go. My daughter loved trekking through an overgrown jungle path to get to a remote temple gate near a river. By the way, I should let you know that we stayed at the newly-refurbished guesthouse -- Seven Candles -- run by the Ly family and it was perfect (you should know that I generally only stay at 5-stars in SE Asia -- other hotels on this trip were Raffles in Phnom Penh and Sofitel in Saigon, but this was our favorite place by far). The guesthouse was spotless, comfortable, and we loved the evenings hanging out in the common areas with the extended family, especially the lovely young children. It also gave us more time to hear Ponheary's family's amazing story of survival during Khmer Rouge times. I will admit that I was nervous about the guesthouse because the price was so unbelievably cheap! But I had read other information that suggested it would be fine and was very pleasantly surprised -- comfortable beds, quality linens, powerful AC that cooled down right away, hot showers available if we'd wanted them, mini-fridge stocked on our arrival with our favorite drinks, TV that worked well, comfortable common areas with games, books, etc., bikes available, cheap and reliable laundry service (this was a huge bonus for end of a 2 week trip), and I can't remember what else. I should also mention that the highlight of our trip was a visit to the Knar School, which is supported by the PL Foundation, but you need to ask about this if you are interested. Ponheary is extremely professional, on time, always on time and attentive you your requests, and it was obvious that she is highly respected by other guides and officials at the various sights. You cannot go wrong!! And if you haven't already made your firm plans, please consider staying at the guesthouse. We were booked at the Raffles, where my husband gets free suite upgrades due to frequent stay program, and we cancelled so we could fully immerse in the culture. The folks at the guesthouse (managed by Lori who runs a tight ship and it shows) even arranged a birthday cake for my son's 15th birthday! I cannot say enough about our great 5 days in Siem Reap. We've been to about 20 countries in the past 8 years and this was our best trip ever. If you want more info, please feel free to email me. Have a great trip!
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Jun 26th, 2009, 06:59 PM
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I don't recommend using Kim San. We booked him 6 months in advance of our April trip, and we reconfirmed several times including just before our trip. He was a no-show and instead sent an inexperienced young man in his place. Kim San is not reliable.
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Aug 13th, 2009, 06:10 AM
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Hi de ho

We just had Ponheary for 3 days in Ankor Wat.

I would recommend her. We also had Dara one afternoon and he was also excellent.

We visited their Guest house and it was very clean and looked very comfortable. I think the going rate was $20 USD a night and it would be absolutely value for money.

Location is not centre of town but better location than some of the hotels. It would be a 15 min cycle to the old market from her place.

Compared to some of the agency guides we saw, you could do a whole lot worse than Ponheary and Dara.

We will be back one day and will definitely use their services again.

Eek
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Aug 13th, 2009, 06:49 AM
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15 minute cycle to town? you must be going the long way!
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Aug 17th, 2009, 01:43 AM
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Hi,
We went to SR in July. We had the same questions as you and more and decided to hire driver & guide when we arrived. We hired tuk tuk and separate guide. Tuk tuk aprox $12 a day guide $25. You can use the driver as a guide bur they are less knowledgeable than the official guides and once you have come all this way we wanted to make the most of it. It is easy to lose reality of costs and to pay aprox £14 for a private guide, CHAMRong ([email protected])for a full day is actually in our terms very reasonable.
We arrived in the afternoon and didn't hire a guide for that part day, just a tuk tuk for a brief visit and sunset. We found a tuk tuk better as you can see and feel more without being behind the glass of a taxi window. However it is better to use a taxi for the more outlying temples as it makes reaching them a lot quicker than by tuk tuk.
In short for 3 days would recommend no guide for first part day, guide for rest. Tuk tuk for main temples and taxi one day for outlying temples. You can book these easily at your hotel or guesthouse. The guide will be independent of the transport so don't worry about not keeping the tuk tuk if you swap to taxi.
Finally whatever you do you can't fail to enjoy this place
Cheers!

Thomas
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Aug 17th, 2009, 11:42 AM
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One caveat about tuk tuk tours in the dry season (November-February) DUST and lots of it. Bring a mask or you'll be sorry.
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Aug 21st, 2009, 10:56 PM
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I was in Siem Reap a few weeks ago and really enjoyed the services of (Mr.) Hout Hoeum. I overheard many English-speaking guides during my 2-days at Angkor Wat and Hout's English was clearly superior to almost all of them. In fact a passing American who taught English complimented Hout on his spoken proficiency. More importantly he has a university education and can add much more detail about Cambodian society and culture with comparative clarity.

His home phone is 855 (0)12 922-677 or (0) 81 755-558, e-mail is [email protected]
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Sep 28th, 2009, 07:57 PM
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Just one question: how much does Ponheary or her brother charge for private tour. I am also interested in her foundation and would like to have the chance to stay at her place.

Thanks
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Sep 28th, 2009, 09:39 PM
  #12
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she was booked when we went-- but i believe she charged the pretty standard rate of $60 which includes the driver as well. i could be wrong, and confusing it with the rate we paid through amazingangkortours . while the guide company was really great, timely, and very professional, but we wouldn't call our guide exceptional-- just very good. then again, we wanted the "tour-light" and he wanted to make sure no details were left out.
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