Siem Reap - Booking in advance?

Nov 3rd, 2013, 09:28 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 9
Siem Reap - Booking in advance?

Friends -

My wife and I are going to Siem Reap in December for 3 nights. We've sorted out our visit to Angkor with an English speaking tour guide for our first full day. On the second day, we were thinking of exploring Siem Reap.

Question: Is there anything that you would recommend that we book in advance? Does it make sense to have an English speaking tour guide to explore Siem Reap? Are there any recommended half-day bike tours?

Thank you!
rayder is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2013, 09:46 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,988
You certainly don't need a guide to explore Siem Reap. Nor will it take a whole day, unless you exploration consists of eating/drinking at every establishment ;-)

Are you planning only one day at the temples? Do get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples. This will give you an overview of the temples. There are many dozens of accessible temples, and she suggests it takes three full days just to see the major temples. We spent a week and didn't see nearly all of them, just over two dozen.

The only "tours" I recommend are to visit the temples. It sounds like you are using a guide one day, and you can decide on your other days whether to use a guide or just to hire a driver. It depends on your knowledge of the temples and the level of detail you want.

Have you booked your accommodations? If not, do book accommodations in advance as you are traveling at high season.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2013, 12:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,213
What Kathie said. The first time I went I had an evening and two full days at the temples, with a guide, and that wasn't long enough for me. I went back a couple of years later for several more days without a guide (but with Dawn Rooney's book). There is far more to see than just Angkor Wat, which itself can occupy at least a couple of hours. There are many temples spread over a wide area. Siem Reap itself used to be a sleepy village, as best I can tell it is now a big tourist town.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
If possible, do not short change yourself in Siem reap visiting the outlaying temples. This is a fascinating trip .
lincasanova is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 04:50 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532

I like this organization as they donate a percentage of their profits to HUSK. Their prices are also reasonable IMO.

Under small group tours they have some cycling tour options. I like Bike the Temples Cycling Adventure but they all sound great.

If you are not into temples then maybe 1 day is enough for you but most visitors try to do at least 3 days at the site. It's immense.
chris45ny is offline  
Nov 4th, 2013, 06:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,988
I'd suggest you not make a decision on bicycling until you are in Siem Reap. It is very hot and humid there. People who come to ask questions and who say they are acclimated to the heat, living in Florida or Texas come back to tell us they couldn't believe how hot it was! We met a could who were cycling aorund SE Asia when we were there, and she said Siem Reap was the hottest place they had been.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 5th, 2013, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 45
My husband and I spent eight days there in March and really liked it. We got a one week temple pass when we arrived and still didn't see them all (ditto on what lincasanova said). We visited the temples on our own without a guide. We did not book anything in advance. In town, there are two museums well worth a visit: Angkor National Museum and War Museum.

Ditto on what Kathie said about bicycling and climate! It is even a bit draining to ride around in a tuk tuk because of the dust on some roads.

Here's our trip report with details and travel tips:
loribarber1 is offline  
Nov 6th, 2013, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
We were very happy with our driver. He had an AC car and we did the temples in that car most of the time. He had cold water and I had taken some washcloths to dip in the icy water, which you do need once in awhile.

His English was fine and he really filled us in on a lot of personal stories, family history and history of the area. A very nice young man.

[email protected]

He was very reasonable. I think I got his name off Thorn Tree and will use him again if we are lucky enough to go back. We've become very attached to him and his young family, which whoever drives you around.. will also happen to you! Such lovely people!

We saw many teary goodbyes to people's young drivers.

Have a great trip! ( If you DO contact Vuthy please tell him his friends from Spain say hello! Take LIN off my screen name and there you have it)
lincasanova is offline  
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