Angkor Wat & Bicycles?

Old Nov 15th, 2008, 04:18 PM
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Angkor Wat & Bicycles?

Is bicycling a good mode of transportation in the Angkor Wat area? Are you allowed to take the bikes into the Angkor complex or do they have to be left outside? My husband has suggested that we rent bikes to get around, but I'm concerned that it will limit the areas we can visit. Are they a help or hindrance?
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Old Nov 15th, 2008, 04:46 PM
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Bicycles are easy to get, no problems inside, good roads. Of course they'll limit the number of places you can visit. Duh. Show your husband a map of Angkor complex. It's bi-i-i-i-i-g.

When I go to Angkor, when I'm zooming round in my tuk-tuk, watching these poor fools slogging round the roads on their bicycles in the humidity, in the 33 degree temperatures, having a 'meaningful communion' with the site - I think to myself, there, but for the grace of god, go I.

But, luckily I was born with the capacity for rational thought, and so managed to avoid the endless horror of a bicycle ride round the sites.

Tell your husband that you will take a tuk-tuk and HE can ride the bike. Heh. Assuming you still have a marriage after a couple of hours, you can set up a touring First Aid station at each temple and, while you wait an hour for him to get there, you can go see all the lovely stuff he'll miss.

He'll be too rooted to look at anything, anyway.

But then, maybe you're both 24, backpackers, on a budget - with very strong calf muscles. Who knows?

I'll be interested to see how many Fodorites have hired bicycles in Angkor. It's not a topic that comes up much.

I know gpanda was enthusiastic about bicycles - but I can't help thinking there was something distinctly weird about his preoccupation.
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Old Nov 15th, 2008, 04:54 PM
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When you go could have a huge bearing too for riding on wet boggy surfaces in the rain could be a real marriage tester - be something that you could do to train for if contemplating an entry in The Amazing Race!
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Old Nov 15th, 2008, 04:58 PM
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It'd probably be simpler just to get divorced before they go.
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Old Nov 15th, 2008, 05:42 PM
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A bicycle is my everyday mode of transportation in Siem Reap and the immediate vicinity. They are the way to go for getting around town.

But I would not personally take one out to the temples, unless you and your husband are avid cyclists. It's brutal going distances in the heat and dust, or the heat and rain, depending on when you're going. Traffic is crazy, lots of emissions from big buses whizzing past you. You'd have to take a lot of water....Blech.

And yes, I'd think you would be limited to the temples nearest to town (12-15km) in any case.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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As Offwego implies, the main problem is getting to the main complex from Siem Reap, where you'll be staying. It's a long-ish ride down a busy road. But for that, I'd consider using a bike to get around the complex in the cool season.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 07:54 PM
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Dogster - I'm still laughing. Can't wait to show my husband (66 yrs old)this post. I've been arguing with him all along. He enjoys biking, but this 53 year old gal would just assume ride in luxury in an a/c car with a guide. I love your idea of going ahead without him, although I may be too busy checking out the sites and unable to take the time to set up a first aid center for him. We'll be there in mid Feb. and I imagine it will be a bit warm.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 08:09 PM
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now that i see your ages, the answer is definately NO!!!!

its damn hot there....its a huge distance as reported...i think it would take all fun out of the experience...

i personally would not consider it without an a/c car to retreat to occasionally....

around town as lori says it might be fun, but even there i am not sure...
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 08:30 PM
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lol dgun: I'm glad I made you laugh. Now get up, go get your husband and sit him down in front of this post. Is he here now? Good.

Now listen here, old fella - lol lol lol - you have a choice: live to see your 67th birthday - or die of heat stroke, exhaustion and stupidity on a lonely roadside in Angkor Wat.

Choose now.

In the meantime, we'll find you a lovely A/C car, dgun, and stop all this nonsense. Lol.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 08:39 PM
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I've traveled a lot in SE Asia, and I'd say that even during the cool season, Siem Reap is the hottest place I've been! Lori is acclimated. I'm not - nor is your husband!
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 08:46 PM
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My hubby & I are two of the folks that walk around Bangkok for hours when others say it is too hot to do so but.... in Siem Reap the only way I would use a bike is for joy riding not for touring! The distance is great & depending on how long you are there for you conld miss out on a lot of time absorbing the temples because you are biking along the road. On our last trip we were there 10 nights and didn't have the time or inclination for that we could always think of something better to do with the time! I would think if you are Lori with lots of time go for the odd trip into the temples on a bike but othersise.......
Have a great trip. Cambodia is always on our list of go back to places!
J
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 07:24 AM
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Thank you all for your posts which I couldn't wait to read to my husband who is out of town. I shared your info with him last night and I believe he has seen the light! He is a stubborn old man who likes to tour on his own, but I have already convinced him to use Tong one day in Bangkok and he has promised to hire a guide one day in the Siem Reap area. Now I must work on him for the 3 or 4 days we will be in Cambodia. I know many of you recommend Ponheary, but I wondered if there was anyone else you can recommend as well. Alternatively, do you think it is ok to just arrive and find a guide once we are there?
Please continue with your words of wisdom...it does my heart good!
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 08:42 AM
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There seems to be an endless supply of guides in Siem Reap.

You will need a driver in Siem Reap (since you aren't going to cycle) but whether to use a guide is up to you. Some people love it - some don't. If you haven't done a lot of background reading about Angkor, you'll want a guide for at least one of the days. We opted not to use a guide in Siem Reap, but I'd been reading about Angkor for decades, and both CHeryl and I nearly memorized Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor, before we went.

I have to admit that I'm not a fan of using guides in Bangkok, but many other people are fans of Tong.

I mention this not to sway you in either direction about guides, but to be clear that it really is up to you. You can do it either way and I'm sure you'll have a fine time.
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 06:44 PM
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Piling on:

I was very happy to have hired an aircon sedan with driver and guide and, as I passed dogster's tuk-tuk, thought "there but ..."

The dust was bad that day. I don't think that being hot and sweaty with a layer of dust all over you, on/in your clothes, makes for a fun day.
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 07:36 PM
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the thing we found about having a guide in SR was that they knew all of the most important places, sights, and the special ones, the angles, the easy way in and out, etc...it made them worth their money 10X over....

the a/c car is a must, imo.....a tuk tuk is cheaper but dust and heat will do you in....there is so much to see over such a huge area...miles and miles...
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 07:53 PM
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lol lol lol Mrwunderfl. Touche.
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 08:54 AM
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I really went back and forth on the guide issue but ended up being really glad we had one. In addition to the other benefits mentioned, the temples are overwhelming and it was awfully nice not having to enter a complex, look down at the guidebook, figure out which way to go, look up again, figure out which bas relief they were really talking about, look up again, peer at the wall, look down again, look up again, hope you were looking at the right historical depiction, then try to explain its significance to DH.
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