Siem Reap - Angkor

Dec 2nd, 2002, 11:03 AM
  #1  
jane
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Siem Reap - Angkor

We're going to Bangkok and may make a trip over to Siem Reap to see the temple ruins at Angkor. How many days would you recommend spending there? What is the minimum you would recommend? Is 3 full days enough to see a lot of ruins and Siem Reap? Is there anything to do and see there besides the ruins? Thanks!
 
Dec 2nd, 2002, 11:12 AM
  #2  
Nancy
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Three full days is more than enough to see the ruins. There are excursions into the countryside, but as you will be in Thailand already, I don't think that this would add much to the trip. I would say allow three days, including travel time.

If you will be there on Dec 6, Jose Carraras will be performing in an evening concert at the temple. Bring your wallets, however, it is a benefit at tickets are $500 for the cheapest seats....
 
Dec 2nd, 2002, 07:50 PM
  #3  
John G
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3 days is a goodly number to spend in Siem Riep, but I think 5 is best. Other things to do in Siem Riep are: take a boat ride down the Siem Riep River to see the floating Vietnamese village; visit the central market; see the Killing Fields Memorial (a vitrine filled with bones and the remnants of the saffron robes of monks); visit the crocodile farm (the smell is unbearable).

The thought of Jose Carraras singing at Angkor Wat is ridiculous. Why try to infuse European culture into the Cambodian culture? This is the reason people say Siem Riep is turning into Disney Land.
 
Dec 2nd, 2002, 09:09 PM
  #4  
Marilyn
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Jane, going to Angkor is the trip of a lifetime. Leave yourself enough time.
3 days would be an absolute minimum and allow you to see the major temples. John G is right -- 5 would be much better. Keep in mind that there are hundreds of temples, carved reliefs, terraces, etc, and most of them are quite unique. It's not like you see one and you've seen them all.

Trips into the countryside would include visiting Banteay Srei, one of the loveliest sites, or Kabal Spean, where there are carvings in the riverbed. Siem Reap has an interesting market and some good shops. There are local handicrafts including silver and gems and silk. The trip on the Tonle Sap is also lovely, especially in the late afternoon.

John -- a friend of mine is at SR right now and reports that Angkor Wat resembles backstage at a Pink Floyd concert, with sound and lighting equipment all over the temple, including in the Churning gallery. What a travesty!
 
Dec 3rd, 2002, 02:04 AM
  #5  
jane
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Has anyone flown Siem Reap Airways before? How about Bangkok Airways?
 
Dec 3rd, 2002, 05:59 AM
  #6  
J
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Hi Jane,
We just got back from Siem Reap a few days ago and we flew there on Bangkok Airways from Bangkok. We were very pleased with them. We also used them to fly to Phuket from Bangkok. They have their own lounge at BKK for all their passengers to enjoy free coffee, drinks,cakes,cookies and free internet.
I cannot describe the beauty of Angkor Wat during sunset...I could just stay there forever. You should go, it will be worth it. Have a good and safe trip.
 
Dec 3rd, 2002, 07:37 PM
  #7  
John G
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Marily, imagine the outrage if hula dancers were performing in the Sistine Chapel! Yet, no one seems to mind inappropriate entertainment being performed in a temple filled with images of the Buddha.

There is nothing wrong with Jose Carraras' music (I adore opera), but it is not appropriate in this venue. And the thought of klieg lights and scaffolding surrounding the Churning of the Sea of Milk makes me ill.
 
Dec 15th, 2002, 07:31 PM
  #8  
bob
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bangkok airways are just fabulous...would use them again...sometimes they share with siem reap air---our plane going had both names on it...

we stayed at the angkor village...very cambodian looking--the only one we saw...moderately comfortable..very accomodating..

we had 2 full days, plus an arrival day to adjust...this was not enough and we tore through places...only really saw 4 main temples plus the terraces...remember it is blisteringly HOT there...we had a driver and a guide total $40/day---best spent money---can't imagine not having them---could get by with just a driver ($20/day) but you would still waste time...money well spent...think that 5 days would be ideal--then you could visit the further off places and the lake...
try La Noria restaurant,,,just across the river from the right hand end of the grand hotel---very reasonable, very good..open air...we also liked the red piano restaurant/bar in the middle of town.... enjoy and then head back to bangkok
 
Jan 12th, 2003, 10:54 PM
  #9  
Caren
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Jane-
Just returned Sat. from trip to Thailand/Cambodia-Siem Riep. I spent 3 days in Siem Riep, which was time well spent, as it is a fascinating part of the world. A visit to Angkor Wat is a must- however, I, apparently unlike others on this thread, DO think you can do Angkor Wat in a day- true. it is a very large temple complex comprised of different sections-Angkor Wat is the largest part of the temple complex- but the Bayon, and Angkor Thom, both fascinating and not to be missed- all can be seen in a day. I know, because I did it. Remember, it costs US $20/day to get into the Angkor Wat complex-$40 for a 3 day pass. So if you want to do 2 days, it will cost $20 each day, per person-so keep that in mine for planning purposes. But you can start at dawn, explore in the morning, leave and come back to see the changing colors of the Angkor Wat temple at sunset (if it's a good day), and you will have really felt that you saw most of what you came to see.
Myself, I was perfectly happy to just spend an entire day there-if you've ever been to Chichen Itza in Mexico,- I found it not dissimilar-and built around the same period as well, (late 1100's early-mid 12 century), so perhaps I wasn't as taken by it as others. (nothing beats the Pyramids at Giza for me!).
As for shopping in Siem Riep DO NOT MISS D'Artisans de Angkor-our group bought up the place-beautiful hand painted gold temple deities painted on black lacquer (the celestial temple beings called Apsara-seen everywhere around Siem Riep), beautiful Cambodian ikat silk, and hand carved Khmer Buddha heads-really some of the loveliest hand-made souvenirs that I saw my entire trip-ask any tuk-tuk driver to take you there, everyone knows it. The best part is that many land mine victims and other poor Cambodians from the country have been taught a handicraft trade- and so by buying something there you are definitely contributing to a worthy cause.
If you have any other questions, just let me know-I visited most of the larger hotels there, and can recommend some places to stay.
Good luck and Bon Voyage!
Caren
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 07:23 AM
  #10  
Kathie
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Caren, I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Angkor. If all you want to see is Angkor Wat and the major temples surrounding it, the Bayon, the gates of Angkor Thom, you certainly can do it in a day. What most people don't realize is that there are dozens of temples at Angkor. I most enjoyed the small, ruined Buddhist temples like Ta Som. Many of the smaller temples we were the only visitors. And Banteay Srei is a very different temples, and well worth the drive.
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 08:54 AM
  #11  
Marilyn
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Seeing the Angkor area in one day is a bit like seeing Paris in one day. Sure, you can see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre. But there is a LOT more. Same with Angkor. You can see AW and the Bayon, but what about Preah Khan, Ta Prohm, incredible carvings at the Terrace of the Leper King, and all the exquisite smaller sites like Neak Pean and Ta Som? It is easy to say you can see it all in a day if you don't really know what there is to see!
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 04:09 PM
  #12  
Caren
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And what's wrong with seeing Paris in a day? You can do an awful lot in one day, and that is certainly true of Angkor Wat! I saw all of the things you mentioned, Ta Prom, the terrace of the Leper King, the elephant wall, etc. and STILL felt like I had seen all that I came to see! One has to be careful, especially in a jaunt to Thailand and Southeast Asia, not to get "templed out," which happens frequently enough. For those people who want to spend days, (and an additional $20, or $40 or $60) seeing EVERYTHING that makes up the complex, including driving 25 km to Banteay Srei, then that's great-all I'm saying is that if you want a quick trip, you can see a GREAT DEAL of Angkor Wat in one day. I did, and was perfectly happy with what I saw, and didn't care whether I saw every inch or not, since, for me, spending time getting acquainted with the Cambodian culture was equally as important as seeing Angkor Wat.
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 04:48 PM
  #13  
Caren
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A word of caution about ordering food, specifically fish, in Siem Riep restaurants. For the most part, they serve "snakehead" fish-out of the Tonle Sap river. I don't eat meat or chicken, but I do eat fish, so when I was told that the only fresh fish on the menu was snakehead, well, I had to pass. In case you don't know, snakehead fish is a most unusual species-it can spend hours, even days, out of water, and has a dorsal fin that can allow it to walk over land! I am not kidding! The giant snakehead fish, believe this or not, has been known to kill humans, and eats small mammmals, and other reptiles, etc. Don't take my word for this-check it out yourself! If this is as unappetizing to you as it was to me, well, always ask what kind of fresh fish is on the menu, and if it's snakehead, (virtually all of the restaurants that I went to served it exclusively) steer clear of ordering it!
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 06:02 PM
  #14  
John G
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You are a kook.
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 08:58 PM
  #15  
Caren
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Hey John-like I said, don't take my word for it-check out the snakehead species yourself-easy enough to do if you're on the Internet, you know! And by the way, your comment says a great deal more about your personality than it does about mine, I can assure you!
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 09:08 PM
  #16  
Marilyn
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Caren, there isn't anything "wrong" with seeing Angkor in one day. But I think most people who have made the effort and spent the money to get there would probably like to spend a little more time absorbing the ambience and seeing the sites. I think many people do not realize how large it is until they get there. They only know there is this temple called Angkor Wat and often they don't allow enough time for all the rest -- including activities outside the park.

I've been twice, for about a week each time, and still have not visited all the places I want to see. And I find the various sites and temples quite different from each other. I have also gotten feedback from people I have encouraged to spend an extra day there that they were really glad they did.

I don't dispute that you could "see" all the places you mentioned in one day, but what a hectic day it would be!
 
Jan 13th, 2003, 09:24 PM
  #17  
Caren
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Actually, Marilyn, it wasn't hectic at all, but just right for me-I even had time to ride an an elephant into the Bayon, which was really fun! Like I said, for those people who wish to examine Angkor Wat in detail for days on end, that's great, but others, like me, don't need to do that, and also feel we got to see all that we needed, that's all. Different people like different things, and it is very easy to get "templed out" in Asia, so one should bear that in mind. As I said, I came to Cambodia for 2 1/2 days to see Angkor and to experience Cambodian culture, and I definitely feel I got my money's worth on both counts.
 
Jan 14th, 2003, 11:09 AM
  #18  
John G
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Meryl Streep (Austrailian accent) yelling, "A snakehead fish ate ma baby."
 
Jan 18th, 2003, 05:52 PM
  #19  
tim
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john---did meryl also say that the fish ate caren as well....the fish would have to move at lightning speed to catch her as she literally ran or flew though the ruins on her way to get in touch with the people...

sorry to be so rude, but i could not resist
 
Jan 18th, 2003, 07:28 PM
  #20  
Marilyn
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You gave me a chuckle, Tim. I'm still trying to figure out how caren "saw" all that stuff in one day, and still had time to ride an elephant "into the Bayon".

And now I know what makes Cambodian sourfish soup so delicious -- the snakehead!
 

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