Angkor guide - Ponheary Ly

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May 12th, 2004, 09:29 AM
  #1
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Angkor guide - Ponheary Ly

Thanks to this forum, we contacted Ponheary and she was our guide for the Angkor monuments, in April.

She was wonderful. She speaks very good english (as well as several other languages) and has vast knowledge of the monuments. But, more than that, she will make you feel like a friend of hers and of Cambodia.

So, in short: one more of the many Ponheary Ly votes, from here!
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May 12th, 2004, 03:16 PM
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Do you have her e-mail addres.
I am going in October and would like to use her.
Thanks.
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May 12th, 2004, 04:53 PM
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I am also using Ponheary for our trip to Angkor in July. We are staying at her guest house too. Her email is [email protected]. She was very prompt in her reply. We're looking forward to meeting her after all the good things said about her on this forum.
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May 12th, 2004, 05:51 PM
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We used Ponheary as a guide and stayed at her guesthouse in July 2002. Yes, she's as wonderful as everyone says. Since then, I believe they've finished a 2nd story on the guesthouse.
If you'd like to read about our experience there, please see our website:
http://www.wired2theworld.com and go to the Cambodia trip.
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May 13th, 2004, 01:56 PM
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What's the charge per day for the guide services and for the rooms at her guesthouse. What part of the town is it located.
Thanks for any info.
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May 13th, 2004, 02:28 PM
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Angkor is very easy to do without a guide, imho. Our guidebook was informative and we had a great driver who took us to all the main temples for US20 per day, and even discovered areas with few tourists for us, from our lovely hotel, Siem Reap Ponleau Villa (middle of town,close to Mandalay Inn and the river). The hotel is really lovely for US20 per night. We enjoyed our stay with the hospitable Cambodians who run the hotel more than our stay at Sofitel Royal Angkor which is far too expensive for a country like Cambodia-a total rip-off for second class service and rooms that smell of cigarettes-YUK! I agree with staying with small local-run places-you cannot imitate the feeling of true local hospitality!!
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May 13th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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The standard seems to be about $20 per day for a guide and $20 per day for a car with driver. I highly recommend getting the driver; having a car with the A/C blasting waiting for you is well worth the money.
I also thought having a guide was helpful. Not only did she explain all we were seeing, but it was worth it just to spend time with her and hear about her life and experience with the Khmer Rouge.
When we were there, Ponheary's guest house was $15 per night for a room with A/C and private bath. It's located across the river from the center of town, but the street has plenty of other guesthouses and restaurants on it.
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May 13th, 2004, 07:56 PM
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We are a family of 3 and Ponheary quoted US$50 per day for tourguide and van for 3 people. If you want to go to Banteay Srey temple the van charges US$10 extra because it is far from the Angkor complex. Her guesthouse rate is US$20 per room, but she doesn't have a triple so she quoted me US$30/night for 2 rooms. Her rooms have A/C, mini-fridge, TV, bath with hot & cold water. I will post a report when we get back with more info for anyone who is interested. We will be in Thailand from June 26 - July 13, with a trip to Siem Reap July 9-12.
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May 14th, 2004, 12:56 PM
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Correct. We were only two, so the charge was US$ 40 per day (no van needed, but a car).

About Banteay Srey: Pon Heary will try to convince you to go.

Take her advice.

We did, and couldn't be happier, since it was probably the temple we liked most. Very worth the extra US$ 10 and +- 35 minutes (x2) trip.
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May 14th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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How many days do people spend on average at Angkor. We have 3-days, 4-nights. Enough time to see most of the sites ?
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May 15th, 2004, 08:05 AM
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Three days seems to be the norm. Most people (not all) feel two days is the bare minimum. Those that spend four or more days seem to feel that it's time well spent. Having spent three days there, I can understand why.
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May 15th, 2004, 10:31 AM
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We used Ponheary's brother Dara for our guide when we visited in Feb 2003, Ponheary was already booked so she suggested him. I would highly recommend him too. We stopped at their guesthouse to see the rooms and they were very clean and nice. Definitely go to Bonteay Srei, it was one of our favorites. We have some pictures at our webpage.
http://kerstentraveler.com/cambodia2003.htm
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May 16th, 2004, 04:55 PM
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Lyndie-I'm in total agreement with you. Why is it that everyone who travels to Angkor Wat thinks they have to spend the money to get a guide? You don't NEED ONE!!! You can do just fine with a guidebook- in fact, better, because you may find things there that the guides overlook. No one in my group used a guide, and believe me, we saw everything you need to see at Angkor. You can also negotiate with a driver in town to take you to Banteay Srey for much cheaper than it would cost you for a guide. I think we negotiated US10 to go there. As for me, I was fine with 2 days for Angkor- but maybe I'm a bit jaded- Chichen Itza in Mexico and the incomparable Valley of the Kings in Egypt, as well as the Pyramids and the Sphinx, made much more of an impression on me than Angkor-and I didn't particularly care for Siem Riep either. Don't see myself going back there for any reason.
 
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May 16th, 2004, 09:37 PM
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I think the issue of whether or not to use a guide at Angkor is pretty simple: Know thyself with regard to four fundamental cateories and decide accordingly.

1) Planning: The less you plan ahead, the more you'll benefit from a guide. The more you plan ahead, the less you'll need a guide to have an enjoyable and informative outing.

2) Understanding what you're seeing: The more you've read and the more you carry a highly detail guide book with you that explains the sites and bas reliefs, the less you'll benefit from a guide. The less you do all of the reading stuff (in advance and while visiting the sites), the more you'll benefit from a guide.

3) Personal Insights: There's nothing like spending casual time with a Cambodian to appreciate the cultural, economic, social and religious issues in Cambodia. Depending upon the driver, you can get a lot of insights from him/her. The less you get from a driver, who will probably have less command of your language than a guide, the more you'll benefit from a guide.

4) Companionship: The more you prefer to enjoy the company of your travel companions without having to be concerned about the personality of a guide, the less you'll want a guide. The more you want the handholding and the less you mind having a stranger (a stranger at lest for the first day) with you all day long, the more you'll want a guide.

Summary: Know you're travel lifestyle. Realistically determine your commitment to study stuff on your own. Make the decision about a guide accordingly.

My personal results:
Planning -- I planned ahead in great detail. I knew in advance where I wanted to be at all times of each day to get the best advantage of the light at each site. (No need for a guide.)

What you're seeing -- My wife loves to follow every detail of guide books while visiting ruins. However, it got confusing sometimes as to finding specific bas reliefs mentioned in the book, especially at the Bayon. (No need for a guide.)

Personal insights -- Our driver was very outgoing and had a reasonable command of English. Though we learned a lot from him, we might have benefitted in this last category from a guide.

Companionship -- My wife and I are in our realm when we travel. We prefer not to be bound to accomodating the traits of a guide all day long. (No guide needed.)
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