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Siem Reap & Phnom Penh - types of tour guides?

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Siem Reap & Phnom Penh - types of tour guides?

Old Jun 27th, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Siem Reap & Phnom Penh - types of tour guides?

Hello everyone,

I have two guide-related questions for my upcoming 3 day trip to Siem Reap and 1 day trip to Phnom Penh:

1) I'm looking at Trip Advisor's recommended sites for Siem Reap. How can I differentiate between who is a driver and who is an educated tour guide who will explain everything and teach us history? We want to use our three days to get educated about history. Not a tour guide who will give a few basic stats and leave us on our own to read our guidebook. Recommendations welcome!

2) Can I get around myself for one full day (arrive Wednesday night, leave Friday morning) without a guide in Phnom Penh? I want to efficiently pack in as much as possible. My husband and I are experienced travelers good with maps and a few SE Asia trips under our belts. Would a guide help, or is getting around the city self-explanatory?

Thank you!

Robin
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 11:37 PM
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Guides in Siem Reap have to be licensed and you would normally have a guide and a driver. I've never seen a guide driving or vice versa.

I wouldn't worry about a guide in Phnom Penh. If you go to the Killing Fields or Tuol Sleng you will be offered a guide but its up to you whether you employ him or not. A copy of the Lonely Planet and Dawn Rooney's book on Angkor would be a big help.
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Old Jun 27th, 2013, 11:46 PM
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In Siem Reap, the driver is not allowed to escort you into the temples. The guides wear a yellow shirt with a guide patch and a pass. There is no shortage of guides in Siem Reap, though some are a lot better than others

Check here to get a great guide:
http://www.sevencandlesguesthouse.com/#!our-tours
Although it's a wonderful guesthouse, you don't have to stay there to hire the guides.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 04:59 AM
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The best way to see Phnom Penh is to speak to a few tuk tuk drivers, find one you like and who speaks a little English and negotiate a price for the whole day. It should cost around $15. You do not need a guide . There are lots of places of interest in and around the city other than the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng both of which are hugely moving places. A little bit of research beforehand will make a big difference in PP.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 05:14 AM
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To prepare for your trip, get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book Angkor: A guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples. Do you have three full days in Siem Reap? That's how long Dawn figures it takes just to see the "major" temples.

As others have said, no need for a guide in PP.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 01:43 PM
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imo, you want a guide (I had to turn our guide off because there was too much info for any human to take in) and a driver w/air conditioned car.. it is very hot and humid and you can cool down between temples...

ask you hotel in advance for help.
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Old Jun 28th, 2013, 03:07 PM
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I had a guide in Siem Reap for the first 3 full days I was there, and no guide for the next 4 days. Found this arrangement to be excellent. I had no guide in PP for the 2 days were were there and have no regrets about that -- it was easy to get to the well-known sites by tuk-tuk, and we enjoyed walking around on our own as well.

Our guide in SR drove his own van and was very good. However, he was not the guide we contracted with (someone recommended on a couple of forums, including Fodors). That guide, whom we arranged for months before we arrived and confirmed with a couple of weeks before, suddenly developed a previous engagement (a 3-day wedding) so he provided a substitute. I understood that's not unusual and leads me also to recommend working with your hotel to find someone. Just make sure you find his/her English understandable so you can get the most out of the commentary.

While I loved traveling to the temples by tuk-tuk during the second half of our week in SR, it was quite pleasant to have an air-conditioned van waiting for us after we toured during the heat of the day. Not sure which I would do next time, but I think I would lean toward the tuk-tuk if we went again in November/December.
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Old Jun 29th, 2013, 12:20 AM
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No reason whatsoever to have a tour guide in Phnom Penh. I've using this excellent tuktuk driver in Phnom Penh for some years, a no-nonsense fellow, who will be extremely helpful during your time in the city. You can reach Mr Vann at [email protected]
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Hello Everyone,

Thank you so much for your amazingly informative answers about both cities. This is exactly the information I needed. I hope I can ever pay it forward and be helpful to any of you someday.

I will be landing in Siem Reap in almost exactly two weeks from today and I feel a lot more prepared.

Robin
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Have a wonderful time!
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Old Jun 30th, 2013, 11:56 PM
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I hope you like Cambodia as much as I do. I'll be there about 10 days later than you. Not sure if you are a 'foodie' or not but Cuisine Wat Damnak is well worth a visit. Probably best to book though as its very popular.
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