siem reap guides/hotels

Nov 27th, 2007, 10:19 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
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siem reap guides/hotels

will be in Siem Reap for 3 l/2 days end of this Feb. Need a guide whose English is easy to understand, knowledgeable abour architecture, history and religion of the temples. Panheary's name as a guide has appeared, but don't know her email. We also need a centralized place to stay,neat, clean, AC, toilet that has a khmer feeling.Do we need an agent to arrange roundtrip airfare from Bangkok to SR?
brendaschaffer is offline  
Nov 27th, 2007, 11:40 AM
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Ponheary's e-mail address is [email protected]. She gets pretty booked up, but maybe you'll get lucky with your dates or she could have her nephew Dara (who has gotten good reviews here) to guide you. I actually haven't met her yet, but have booked her for July based on the comments I read here. We are planning to stay at the Bopha Angkor (again based on recommendations from people on this forum) which would seem to fit your requirements from what I have read and been told. As for the flight question, I wouldn't think you need an agent. I plan to try contacting Bangkok Air about using their Discovery Pass option (once we have our final dates and times set) since we will be flying from Phuket to Bangkok, Bangkok to Siem Reap, and Siem Reap back to Bangkok. But I just did a google search for flights and found the websites for several of the airlines to be very easy to navigate. Good luck and enjoy!
jcasale is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Ponheary is probably booked... She was when I emailed her about a month ago. She offered her brother, but I've read poor reviews about him.

Leng Tek (my guide is booked with us Feb. 26, 27, 28, 29, Mar. 1) if you want him other days, he may be available.

Email Tek at [email protected]

Tek is very kind, great English & is licensed to guide in both REP & also Phonm Pehn... one of the few. The Amansara Hotel refers him, so he's topnotch. He has extensive knowledge of the culture & history. He will customize a tour for you that is as touristy or as untouristy as you want. We are going to a remote temple (Koh Ker) that is a 3 hour drive from REP.

Be aware that there is an additional price for fuel to go to remote temples. In addition to the driver's fee.

Tek can also take you to the Preak Toal bird sanctuary (we are doing that on our last day). It's $100 for the covered boat, entrance to the sanctuary & for the ranger/guide/canoe that takes you into the mangroves.

Tek will also take care of temple passes, recommend safe places to eat & stay. We are staying at Raffles. A moderate boutique hotel with A/C, a saltwater pool & Khmer food, staff & furnishings is

Lesser priced is Peace of Angkor... not all rooms have A/C & I do not know if they have a pool check their website...both hotels arrange tours & guides, but it's cheaper & wise to hire the guide yourself... as the hotels take a cut & I'd rather give the $ to the guide. US cash only, btw.

Tek & his wife, who is pregnant with their first baby, live in REP. Tell him that "J" referred you.

If he's unavailable, post back & I can refer you to two others that I 'interviewed'.

Tek & his driver give money & food & supplies to an orphanage they call LITTLE ANGELS, so he won my heart... they support 60 kids who are being taught how to carve leather & learn English.
AskOksana is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
I would e-mail Ponheary and see if she is available. Her brother Dara is also a guide, and we had him one day when Ponheary was busy and found him to be excellent as well. My husband preferred him to Ponheary, actually, though I found them to be equally good and nice. ponheary at yahoo dot com

The Ly family (Ponheary's family) also has a guesthouse called Marina Villa. It has very little on the web about it, but is certainly Khmer...they live on the same grounds...and is clean with AC, TV, etc. Lori of has stayed there and put up some pictures on her website. You'll be able to find that link by finding her posts...she posts as offwego.

There are lots and lots of places to stay. has a pretty good listing with clickable links to the hotels' own homepage. Also is an excellent Siem Reap resource.

You might want to look at these places too...

KimJapan is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Airfare from agent required. There is only one airline that flies the route, Bangkok Airways Waiting will not get you cheaper price, nor will booking from within Thailand or using an agent. The online prices are as good as they get.

You could perhaps save a bit if you will fly at least 3 flights with Bangkok Air. They offer a Discovery Airpass, that makes most flights $55 domestic and $90 international (with some exceptions)..the price does not include tax or surcharge, which ups it by about 1/4 to 1/3 again. Still, with some routes, it saves money. Best value can be had with the pass by using it for routes that only Bangkok Air flies, like BKK - REP, BKK - USM, USM - HKT, CNX - REP...
Do be aware though, Bangkok Air sometimes has promotions that are cheaper than the pass, and on routes that have service by other airlines the other airlines like Air Asia, Nok Air, 12Go and even sometimes Thai Air - they sometimes offer unbelievably low fares.

So, you can book it all yourself, but be sure you do your homework before booking.
KimJapan is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 79
We stayed at the FCC in siem reap. Formerly the french ambassadors residence. It was great. We got a package which included car with driver, tuk tuk, most meals. EXCELLENT place to stay and not badly priced. Highly recommend but you will need to get a guide when you go to the temples cos the drivers dont know. If you have lots of $ to spend on accommodation check out the Aman resort there.
hup234 is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 03:38 PM
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Raffles a moderate boutique hotel. One of the more expensive places ($300 a night) to stay in the overly priced Siem Reap. Great place to have a drink though. Now the Prince D'Angkor I would call moderate at around $100 with a good restaurant and nice pool. All rooms have a/c

As for Dara he is nearly as good as Ponheary and gets mostly good reviews. But there are many good guides in SR.

Take a look at the Bopha Angkor
and Auberge Mont Royal
Both these are well recommened for those wanting a modestly good clean hotel
Scotters is offline  
Nov 29th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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I agree with Scotters. I've really only read good reports about Dara. AskO, you must be thinking of another board where he received poor reviews.

When we were in Siem Reap, which is admittedly now 6 years ago, Raffles was the highest priced (at US$350-400 per night. It also struck me as the stuffiest place. I wrote something at the time about how Raffles was the place to stay if you wanted to see Angkor, but didn't want to be in Cambodia. If I remember correctly, Oksana, you were the person who described HDLP as pretentious. There are few places I've seen in my travels that struck me as anywhere close to being as pretentious as Raffles, If you've read the reviews and feel it fits for you, fine. But given your previous comments, I felt it wise to alert you.
Kathie is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 12:05 AM
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We used one of Ponheary's referrals, Sam. He was fantastic!
lcuy is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 10:23 AM
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I also feel I need to comment that Dara is excellent. We spent 11 days in Siem Reap last Nov and stayed at the Marina Villa (the Ponheary/Dara Ly family guest house) Ponheary was our guide for a few of those days and then we used a driver she provided for the rest fo the time. Staying at the guest house we had plenty of interaction with Dara and I would not hesitate to use/recomend him as a guide.
jules39 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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I found Lori's pictures of Marina Villa, the Ly family's guesthouse.
KimJapan is offline  
Dec 1st, 2007, 11:51 AM
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Posts: 12,505
One thing I always wish to remind people, but often don't..

In our pre-trip planning,many of us have found what look like wonderful hotels, guides, tours, etc.

It is fine to mention these on the board, but I hate it when peple will join in a thread saying, " We've found the most perfect hotel or guide" and they havene't even gotten on their plane to Asia!

You CANNOT wholeheartedly recommend someone until you've worked with them! There are lots of fabulous photos on the web, and lots of glowing reviews, but you woun't know if that is the reality till you get there.

Please be sure that you identify when you are recommending a person or place based on your hopes and other reviews!

lcuy is offline  
Dec 4th, 2007, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 173
Hey Scotters,

I did NOT recommend Raffles Grand d'Angkor as a 'moderate' priced hotel. :-0 LOL!!!!

I said, "We are staying at Raffles."

Which means, we are staying at Raffles, NOT at any of the moderate (Journeys-Within) $150 and budget $50 (Peace of Angkor) a night hotels that I recommended.

I did not say that Brenda should stay at Raffles, I merely wanted to clarify that I was not staying at the hotels that I was recommending because I am a history buff & I want to stay at a hotel that Jackie Kennedy visited... and drank cocktails at.
*G* I did not want her to think that I had stayed or was going to be staying at those hotels.

I got to know the owner of Journeys this summer via very long phone chats, as she was advising me (for free) on how to 'do' REP being handicapped... The main building, where one eats has stairs, so I cannot stay at her hotel.. CNT magazine gave her the top travel specialist for Cambodia award & the reviews on T/A website rate her boutique hotel as #1... IMO Peace of Angkor is more budget than what most middle class US travelers want, but it's clean & I know people who have stayed there & it's cheap.

Raffles Grand d'Angkor is a 5 STAR hotel. We're paying $295++ for two nights & $225++ for 4 nights with DAILY breakfast, dinner for two one night, drinks for two one night, round trip airport transfer & a hot air balloon for two in a poolside cabana room in high season because I negotiated with them directly & drove a hard bargain... and booked the room in August.

The current price for these rooms is $420... and they are sold out for the cabana rooms... the Landmark rooms are the same price.

I would love to have hired Ponheary, but when I contacted her a few weeks ago, she was booked for the SAME period that Brenda needs, because it's the same time I will be in REP. Feb. 25--Mar. 2.
AskOksana is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 07:57 AM
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Posts: 1,100
You said "We are staying at Raffles. A moderate boutique hotel with A/C, a saltwater pool & Khmer food, staff & furnishings is journeys-within. I took this to mean reference to the Raffles my mistake. But you still refer to the Journeys Inn and Breakfast as moderate but at $150 I think not. But then again I have not heard of this place or the tour company.

I agree with Kathie's statement that Raffles and ii my opinion a few others (Amansara, Amatao etc) are places to stay if you just wanted to see Angkor and be sheltered from mingling with its lovely people or not really caring about the country itself.. That's just my thoughts and may not apply to you at all. Everyone is entitled to their choice of hotels so I am not knocking you.

But as for your statement "IMO Peace of Angkor is more budget than what most middle class US travelers want, but it's clean & I know people who have stayed there & it's cheap" I don't agree. Of course the term middle class hotel can mean different things to different people. I know a lot of average north america travelers to asia that consider $125 or less to be mid range.

As for Tek, report back after you have used him. Just because he was recommended by the Amansara Hotel ( the most expensive hotel in SR and one I would be ashamed to stay at in should a poor country) does not mean he is topnotch.

For your information while the current price of a landmark room through the hotel may be $420, you can get it for around $309 including taxes/service charge and breakfast at hotel agents. You did well but not that great.
Scotters is offline  
Dec 5th, 2007, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 9
I had tried to book Ponheary as well for our trip in feb. She was booked but offered someone named Alin (her bother-in-law) as a replacement. Does anyone know him? I have seen comments about Dara, but not Alin. We are staying at Le Meridien on amex starpoints.
rbw873 is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 04:27 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1,418
I can recommmend Alin. in October some members of the PLF board of directors were in SR to help with the school distribution and Alin took them on a 3 day tour. They all loved him.

He's only recently gotten his license, so instead of the temples being "the thing he does every day", it's something new and exciting. The information is fresh in his head and he loves giving the tours. His enthusiasm comes really comes through.

As a side note, Alin volunteers for the PLF and is our offical Khmer-speaking tour guide when we take the kids to the temples. They love him.

offwego is offline  
Dec 6th, 2007, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 9
Thank you so much! That is reassuring! I am glad we'll have a wonderful guide either way.
rbw873 is offline  
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