Angkor Wat Tour - 2 Questions

Old Sep 18th, 2016, 03:26 PM
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Angkor Wat Tour - 2 Questions

1. Am I better off arranging a tour guide through trip advisor, etc. or through my hotel?
2. I have 2 1/2 days in Siem Reap. Should I spend all my time at Angkor Wat or is Siem Reap worth a half day? My inclination is to just spend the evenings walking around Siem Reap.
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Old Sep 18th, 2016, 05:24 PM
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Angkor Wat is one very large temple, but the whole area of temples is generally referred to as Angkor Wat. There are dozens of accessible temples - many more than you could see in a week or two in Siem Reap.

I highly recommend that you prepare by studying Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples. I understand it is currently out of print, but check your local library for one of her books.

The traditional way to visit the temples is to go out at dawn, stay out until near mid-day, then return to your hotel for a dip in the pool and a light lunch. You will want some time to cool off before heading back out to the temples about 3 pm or so.

You will want to hire a driver and you may want a guide as well. We opted for no guide, as we had been reading about Angkor for years. Some people want a guide with them all the time, some people opt for a guide the first day , but then are on their own after that. Whether to hire a guide depends on your level of interest in the temples and your background. I'd advise hiring a guide in person once you are in Siem Reap.

Wandering in Siem Reap each evening will give you enough time for the town.
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Old Sep 19th, 2016, 05:15 AM
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Because of the masses of people there, visiting Angkor Wat itself was one of the least fulfilling parts of our trip to the area last winter, and we spent 11 days total in Siem Reap. There are many other lovely and less crowded temples to see in the area. We too brought our books and just hired a driver.
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Old Sep 19th, 2016, 07:32 AM
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Guides are cheap as is renting a car or tuk tuk and driver. It really is pot luck as to how good your guide may be unless you can get a reliable recommendation AND be sure you are getting that guide. A tuk tuk will cost around $15 per day, a car $25-30 plus $25 per day for a registered guide.

Any guide book will provide bags of information on the temples and there is a fairly standard small and grand circuit of the temples which most will follow. Unless you are really interested in the detail of each and every site then I would go it alone. Personally I found the constant narrative of the guide, detracted from rather than added to, the overall experience.

Like julies, the last time we visited in March last year, I found the crowds to be almost unbearable. One day was enough. Spend another day seeking out the lesser known, further out sites.

Your inclination to spend just the evenings wandering around Siem Reap is spot on!
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Old Sep 19th, 2016, 09:20 AM
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we loved our driver.. i got his info from someone here years ago and it really was a good lead. His emails are [email protected] and [email protected]

I have a TR somewhere here from a few years ago
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 02:32 PM
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We were told not to hire a tuk tuk because of the dust and to be sure we hired an air conditioned car and guide. We regretted both. We loved riding around in the tuk tuk and feeling the breeze (even though it was hot). We felt closer to the environment and saw more than when we were in a car. As for the guide, we were so bored with the excessive information that detracted from our enjoyment of the site. It is easy to find a driver once you arrive. We liked our taxi driver who offered to take us to the sites and regretted that we had made pre-arrangements with a guide who had been recommended.

As for siem reap, it is quite small and you will be able to enjoy it at night.
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Old Sep 20th, 2016, 02:49 PM
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There are quite a number of accessible Khmer temples (and many more that are not accessible) so you should be able to visit temples that are not crowded, indeed, you may be the only visitors. A good driver should be able to get you to temples that are not over-run. They usually know the schedules of the tour buses.

We went to Angkor right after the sunrise crowd had left and we had the whole place to ourselves. We were able to do an hour of waking meditation there.

We preferred having an enclosed car (no dust, no exhaust fumes) with a/c as relief from the heat, but some people prefer a took-tuk. Do what works for you.
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Old Sep 25th, 2016, 05:21 AM
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Many thanks!
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