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Need advise for last minute trip to Cambodia

Need advise for last minute trip to Cambodia

Sep 3rd, 2006, 06:53 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 59
Need advise for last minute trip to Cambodia

Hi. I'm traveling to Singapore for business mid September and my Husband and son (19) have decided to tag along. We plan to add on 3 days and decided to visit Angkor Wat.

I have little to no time to plan as I'm in Europe the previous week. Please help!

- Hotel recommendations? We are very flexible on price ($20 to $200). A swimming pool and clean sheets and bathroom are the only must haves. Hoping for a very comfortable place to hang out with a good breakfast.

- Guide and driver recommendations? We will probably only spend two days at the temples and will only want a guide for one day. I really like time to just experience a place without a guide so I want one day with just the driver.

- Best guide book to the temples?

- Given our limited time, we will have to be selective on which temples we visit. So what was your favorite and why? Least crowded (I will trade importance for solitude

- What are average rates for drivers and guide?

- Best place for Cambodian food? Other dinning recommendations?

- Best place for a massage?

- Recommended web sites or travel agents for booking air (RT from Singapore)?

Thanks.

EmptyNest is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 07:11 AM
  #2  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 59
One more question. We would love to see traditional dance. Any opportunitys in Siem Reap?
EmptyNest is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 08:18 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
A great guide, who can also arrange hotels is Ponheary. She can be reached at [email protected]. Tell her in your original post that you need a hotel. She arranged the Prince D'Angkor for us at a good rate. It was fine and had a great pool. If you connect with her and she gets you a hotel, all you have to do is tell her when your plane arrives and your done.
Gpanda is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 08:50 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 74
Have a look at talesofasia.com. Plenty of hotels advertised - the site owner is American and also runs The Two Dragons GH, very clean and friendly. No pool, but Bopha Angkor Hotel is 5 mins away and you can use the pool there for a small charge.
featherbrain is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 09:15 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 6,343
Emptynest:

I second Gpanda's suggestion about hiring Ponheary as a guide. She can get discounts on rooms in SR. I also stayed at the Prince d Angkor Hotel....very nice, new 4 star property. Here is the link:

http://www.princedangkor.com/

There is a Cambodian Restaurant in the parking lot of the Prince d Angkor. There is also a French/Cambodian restaurant about 1/4 block down across the street called Cafe Indochine which is very good IMHO.

You can hire a driver only from Ponheary also if you need.

Dawn Rooney's "Angkor, Cambodia's Wonderous Khemer Temple" is a great guidebook and intro into Angkor.

A good guide will know how and when to go to which temple in order to avoid crowds and minimize the heat. Hope this helps!

Aloha!
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 10:01 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 947
Either Ponheary or her brother Dara make wonderful guides. We liked Dara very much.

We paid $55 a day for the guide, driver and air-conditioned van stocked with bottled water.

We loved Madame Butterfly for dinner. Charming ambiance. The FCC was stronger on ambiance than food.

We mostly tried to patronize Khmer-owned establishments that Dara and driver Retay recommended so we wound up sampling a variety of average-quality restaurants.

Our favorite food on the trip: Khmer Kitchen. It's an unassuming little restaurant that we really enjoyed. My daughter still talks about the pumpkin dish.

Dawn Rooney's book is regarded as the gold standard as you have probably determined by now. The new version was supposed to be published last winter, then was delayed to this month last I heard. I don't know if it will indeed be available before you leave but that is something to check up on.

We stayed at the Sofitel. I posted at length on that choice back in August.

No time for massages -- the temples were too compelling! The Sofitel has a well-regarded spa on the premises though.

The Sofitel also features apsara dancers in the restaaurant most evenings although we saw apsara dancing at a local place recommnded by Dara.

Another very savy, experienced poster on this board dislikes the Sofitel because it accomodates large tour groups. That must be true in busier seasons because there were no tour groups at the hotel when we visited in August.

You are in for a very moving experience in Siem Reap.
marya_ is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 11:24 AM
  #7  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 59
Thanks for your advise. Hopefully I will be able to use it in the future.

I was hoping to add a vacation on to a business trip but it was turning into a family vacation with business on the side. It reached the point where I had to so no.

Very frustrating as I was able to pick up a couple of b-class seats to asia with FF miles but I just can't deal with demands to switch my meetings around to accomadate family's preferred schedule.

Thanks again for the advice
EmptyNest is offline  
Sep 6th, 2006, 11:45 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,448
I stayed at the Sofitel and got one of the greatest Thai massages ever. I think it was around $35 ... of course that was 5 years ago.

waynehazle is offline  
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