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Cambodia portion of Thailand-Laos-Cambodia planning

Cambodia portion of Thailand-Laos-Cambodia planning

Old Oct 18th, 2009, 07:42 PM
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Cambodia portion of Thailand-Laos-Cambodia planning

I am planning my first trip so SE Asia and looking for comments, tips, recommendations, etc. I always appreciate the advice I find here and make an effort to post trip reports afterwards to follow up. So SE Asia folks, please share your expertise!
As background, I’m early thirties, female, travelling solo. I usually try to pack in a lot and prefer to keep it moving in order to see and do more. As such, I often prefer to have travel arrangements and accommodations secured in advance. I’m more interested in physical activity and/or exploring and wandering than I am interested in museums and/or lying on the beach. That said, art/temples and the beach/coast of southern Thailand are top agenda items for this trip. I’ve outlined a very rough itinerary below and jotted couple of country-specific questions. I’m particularly interested in recommendations for budget accommodations and restaurants. Lastly, I know it’s high season…I prefer to travel shoulder season, but this was the only time I could take off of work for an extended trip. High season will be challenging for my budget, so any cost conscious tips are appreciated. Also, I’m thinking about getting the Discovery AirPass to get around.
Dec 17-20 BKK, Thailand
Dec 20-25 Laos
Dec 25-29 Siem Reap, Cambodia
Dec 29-Jan 3 Southern Thailand
With all the time in the world, I’d trek all over. With my limited time, I’m focusing on Ankgor Wat, so I intend to hit only Siem Reap. Any recommendations for budget but clean and friendly guest houses?
I lean towards hiring a driver only and touring the temples on my own. Does anyone know of a great guide who would be good with just 1 person who might want to explore on her own a bit?
I’ve read a little bit about, for lack of a better phrase, begging children. Should I be prepared for that at any time or only around Ankgor Wat? While I’m interested in service and giving back, I’m a bit leery that visits to orphanages or community centers and the like can be a bit gauche, insofar as…what might I contribute other than some $/supplies in a brief visit? Photo taking and other forms of gawking? Does it seem as if the kids/community enjoy visits from foreigners?
Thanks in advance!
_cjw_ is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2009, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You have allotted just enough time in Cambodia to see the "major" temples... there are dozens and dozens more. There are many budget guesthouses in Siem Reap. One of our regulars who now lives part-time in Siem Reap may have some specific suggestions. Let me refer you to another website that has lots of info about Siem Reap, overland travel in SE Asia and budget accommodations: www.talesofasia.com

I'm not quite sure what you want in Siem Reap, first you said a driver, later a guide. There are guides and there are drivers, but no one person is both. If you are thinking about not using a guide, do study up on the temples. Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor, is considered by many to be the definitive guide. You are also welcome to view our Angkor photos at www.marlandc.com

If you are interested in giving back, take a look at www.theplf.org
Kathie is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2009, 08:00 PM
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Thanks, Kathie. I bookmarked theplf.org from some of your other posts

I'm sad that I don't have enough time to see and do everything, and I recognize that I'm barely skimming the surface of the temples. As of now I'm thinking of maybe two days on Ankgor Wat and one in Beng Melea (sp?).

Also, sorry for the confusion re: driver/guide. What I was trying to convey is that I am inclined to hire a driver only...unless someone has a great recommendation for a guide that would be good for a solo traveller who may not want to chat for hours on end and may want to explore on her own a bit...

Thanks very much
_cjw_ is offline  
Old Oct 18th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Hello again cjw,
You really don't need a guide for Angkor but for sure you'll need a driver to get to the temples each day and tour around. You can pickup a good guidebook for the temples while there or purchase Michael Freeman's 'Ancient Angkor' or Dawn Rooney's 'Angkor' back home or via amazon.

As to beggars, I think there's a lot less beggars than previously and in several revisits, it's not much of an issue. Just realize that they are just trying to make a living. As for giving something back, there are enough opportunities in Siem Reap to do so such as going to the 'Seeing Hands' massage or donating to Akira's Landmine Museum (unless he's been shutdown by the powers that be), or donating blood at the Red Cross, etc.

seagypsy is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2009, 01:09 AM
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I agree with seagypsy in that you don't really need a guide for Angkor. We have been there twice. The first time we hire a car, driver and guide for $60 per day. Whilst it was all very informative the continual, detailed narrative did get very tedious, very quickly. The official guides train for 3 year to get their license and ours seemed hell bent on imparting every single detail to us!

On the second visit we arranged a tuk tuk driver for a couple of days @ $14 per day. He spoke good English and seemed to take us to a lot of places we had not seen in our previous visit. He was available for the whole day and took us everywhere we wanted to go - into town for dinner, out to Tonle Sap etc and also to some great local restaurants we would not have found otherwise.
Kathie has already mentioned tales of asia which is probably the best site for info on the country. On this site we found our hotel http://www.peaceofangkor.com/ who arranged the tuk tuk driver for us. Reasonable place to stay within walking distance of the centre (20 mins). Pub street is packed with restaurants and bars of varying quality and price levels. Good to visit but there are lots of cheaper places providing all manner of good food just a little way away from the main drag.
crellston is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2009, 01:29 AM
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There are also land mine victims in and around Siem Reap. Some sell books, play in a one of several bands and do what they can to survive. I tend to either buy something or give them a couple of dollars. It all helps. Every time I've been to Ta Prohm there have been bands on both paths in. I give them a dollar each. Most of the kids at the temples are selling something as opposed to straight out begging. They develop quite a good sales pitch.

There are lots of budget guest houses around Seim Reap. I stay at the Ancient Angkor which is clean, friendly, small pool, own facilities, air con etc for $15US a night. I would however suggest staying within walking distance of the main tourist part of town (ie Pub street)

You will get hassled by tuk tuk drivers. "Hey lady, you want tuk tuk?" Just ignore them. Tourist numbers were down when I was last there in July and, if the current world economic situation continues, I expect it to continue. Therefore tuk tuk drivers will not be making much money.

If you leave early in the morning you can do Beng Melea in half a day. Akira's Landmine Museum is open. He has settled his differences with the government and is at a new site.

For a traveller on a budget Cambodia is great. Good meals at less than $5, massages $6 an hour, tuk tuks around $15 per day (more if you want to go to outlying temples).

www.travelfish.org is good for advice on budget travel in SE Asia.

Enjoy Cambodia
silverwool is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 11:48 AM
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thanks for the advice. i had been nosing around the travelfish site, too.

i may look into ancient angkor...is it w/in walking distance of pub st? i'd like to be nearby, but off a bit from the busiest drags...
_cjw_ is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Hmm, I've also stayed at Ancient Angkor Inn and that was right after they opened in 2001 so no swimming pool back then. It's only a few blocks from the southend of the market and around the corner from Artisans d'Angkor. You can see it's location at the bottom of this map:


If you click into canby's list of Siem Reap hotels, Ancient Angkor is the first hotel listed so you can see a picture of the place. Also Canby and talesofasia are two of the best websites for Cambodia travel info.
seagypsy is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 08:38 PM
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Depending on what you want to spend on accommodation the Bopha Angkor is excellent in the $60 range or for around $25 the Two Dragons Guesthouse is clean and friendly.

Let us know your range.
Scotters is online now  
Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 10:15 PM
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Ancient Angkor has moved across the road. Not sure what they are doing with the original. (Refurbishing I think) Another place my daughter says is very nice is 'Eight Rooms' a couple of doors from the entrance to Artisans d'Angkor; I have not been there myself. My daughter lives in Seim Reap and checks out places for friends etc. These are both within working distance of pub street. There are a few 'working girls' floating round on the way but they will ignore you and you may not even notice them.

I just tell them I'm too old or that I've 'had already' in Khmer. (I'm not sure how to spell the appropriate phrase but it works!)
silverwool is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2009, 07:03 AM
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thanks for the geography info, very helpful!

i thought i had read good reviews on this forum re: peace of angkor, but i'm not really coming up w/ much on search. (one post from 2007.)

i got an email that they are closing their regular villa on nov. 1 and using the tropanier villa, located near wat bo. confusing as it appears this place may also go by the name angie's villa. address is
#0807, Group 24th, Slorkram Village, Banteay Chhas Commune, Siem Reap.

i like the looks of it, but it's seems semi-far from pub street, which so many people recommend being close to. is that b/c of the food options, or is safety a factor?

i don't mind, and even prefer, being a longer walk or short ride from the hustle and bustle, as long as it's safe...

thanks again for all the help! i'll bookmark the sites you mention, seagypsy.

i hope i can return these favors w/ info about ny sometime!
_cjw_ is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2009, 07:11 AM
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Safety really isn't an issue in Siem Reap. The location recommendation is to be walking distance from places you want to go in town, the market, restaurants, etc. But if you are farther away, you'll just take a moto or tuk-tuk to where you want to go.

There have been several posters who stayed at Peace of Angkor and liked it. Crellston (above) liked it.
Kathie is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2009, 01:47 PM
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Book-marking for a trip in May
Thank you
mjslacker is offline  
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