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ellstah Jan 9th, 2012 06:07 PM

Siem Reap -- how much can i fit into a 2-day trip?
I was making a list of what I wanted to see while in Siem Reap:

1) Angkor Wat
2) Bayon Temple
3) Angkor Thom
4) Ta Prohm
5) Banteau Srei – Can be done with Kabal Spean?
6) Preah Khan
7) Pre Rup
8) Banteay Samre
9) Phnom Bakheng

Do you think I'll be able to fit all of this into 2 days in Siem Reap? I know most of it lies within the Angkor Archaelogical Park, but I hear it's quite massive...if not, what would you say are the MUST-SEE's vs. the "nice to see if you have time"

I've heard of people hiring drivers to get them to all these locations--is that something I should do to maximize my time, or is it doable without a driver?

Thanks so much!

Kathie Jan 9th, 2012 06:14 PM

You'll need a driver.

Do you have two full days (staying three nights) or are they partial days?

I saw your list of countries you plan to visit - How much time do you have for this trip? I fear you are spreading yourself too thin. Fewer destinations, more time in each place is much more rewarding in SE Asia.

ellstah Jan 9th, 2012 07:05 PM


Yes, I plan on two full days in Siem Reap.

I'm actually taking two months for my list of countries--roughly about 1 week in each country. I know, it does seem like a lot in very little time. I guess I'm just trying to see as much as I can while I'm in the area, versus having to wait another year or two to return...I go back and forth between my current plan and staying longer in fewer countries/:

sf7307 Jan 9th, 2012 07:20 PM

In 2 full days, we did your numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, plus Kbal Spean and Beng Melea. Needless to say, none of this was "in depth" (I call it "Temples Lite"). We had a driver.

ellstah Jan 9th, 2012 07:23 PM

Yikes, sounds like overall consensus is that a driver is a must. How much did it cost you to hire a driver? And did you have to arrange for one beforehand?

mezza1982 Jan 10th, 2012 05:06 AM

You will definitely need some transport, although a tuk tuk or motorbike will be fine depending on how many of you there are. The prices vary depending on your bartering skills. I've been to Angkor twice, the first time, we got a tuk tuk for the whole day for just $5, the second time 2 years later it was $10. It's going to be cheap whatever and the guy will just wait outside the temple until your done. Personally, I would see Angkor Wat, from which it is an easy walk or elephant trip to the Bayon and if it's not too hot you can walk to ta phrom and banteay srei via the east gate of the Bayon which is what we did. That brings you on a loop back to Angkor Wat where you can then walk up the hill to see sunset from Phnom Bakheng along with the rest of the world. The other ones will need a full day and an early start to get it all in, but we did pretty much exactly what you have said in 2 days. The tuk tuk is a very easy option for 2 people as its shaded and cooling as you drive along. The drivers are friendly too and when you realise that the average wage per day in Cambodia is $1, take your bartering to the next level!

mezza1982 Jan 10th, 2012 05:09 AM

Sorry, didn't mention about where to arrange it. Your hotel/guest house will be able to arrange it easily, there will always be people keen to take you, however, we tried to share the wallet so took a walk out of the guest house and found people nearby who had licenses. They cannot take you into Angkor without a special license which is just a jacket with a number on that they will put on, so you will easily be able to know if they are genuine or not. Fuel is expensive in Cambodia so they will be more expensive now then when we last went (2005), but you should still be able to negotiate a good deal

Kathie Jan 10th, 2012 05:42 AM

Your cost for a car and driver will be in the $25 a day range, for a tuk-tuk in the $15 a day range. Extra is charged for the farther temples.

sf7307 Jan 10th, 2012 10:47 AM

<<<Extra is charged for the farther temples>>>

Agreed, we paid $17 for one day (which probably would have been less had we not had our hotel arrange it), but the day we went to Beng Melea (by tuk-tuk, probably not the most efficient way to get there, but it was fun :-) ), we paid $40. We really liked our driver and didn't bargain at all - we were more than happy to pay those rates.

thursdaysd Jan 10th, 2012 12:57 PM

Tuk-tuk is fine for the nearer temples, and you don't need a guide, especially if you buy Dawn Rooney's book. However, you should consider a motorbike or car for Banteay Srei, one of my favorites.

After reading Kathie's comments I took a look at your list of countries. Even with two months, I would strongly urge you to drop India. It really doesn't fit with your other countries, culturally or geographically, it has the most expensive visa, and is by far the most challenging destination. Save it for when you can concentrate on India, and slow down! Or choose Malaysia or Myanmar if you must add another country.

silverwool Jan 10th, 2012 03:58 PM

Personally I wouldn't barter for a tuk tuk. $15 a day for the inner temples is nothing to a Westerner. If you use the same tuk tuk for the two days and you are happy I'd give him a tip as well when you leave. I've been out to Banteay Srei and Kabal Spean by tuk tuk and it was fine. There is an animal place near the entrance to Kbal Spean which is worth a look if you have time. Lots of weird birds. We had a very good German guide when we were there.

twilightzone Jan 11th, 2012 01:09 AM

I'm interested in replies here.

Kathie Jan 11th, 2012 06:52 AM

Also, be aware that the traditional touring schedule is to go out early in the morning, tour until noon or so, then go back out about 3 pm. That saves you from the hottest part of the day and has you out at the temples when you have the best light for photos.

Some people opt to stay out all day. If you do so, negotiate this with your driver, as the noon meal is the main meal of the day for Cambodians. I would also suggest you pay more if you ask your driver to stay out all day.

aussiedreamer Jan 11th, 2012 12:49 PM

Thanks this is great info for our March trip.

silverwool Jan 11th, 2012 11:01 PM

I also offer to pay for for my tuk tuk driver's lunch but its usually refused as he gets a free lunch for bringing me to the restaurant. My situation is a bit different as I've used the same driver on six visits to Siem Reap. (My daughter works there)

yestravel Jan 12th, 2012 06:38 AM

We just left SR. We had a great driver recommended to us by friends who had used him. We paid $15 for the tuk tuk for a full day. He picked us up at 7 and we returned to our hotel around 5. second day we opted for a car and wanted to go to Banteay Srei among other places. He charged us $35. we offered to buy him lunch but he said no. we did not attempt to bargain with him and also tipped him. All the rates I heard at our hotel were also $15 per day for the tuk tuk.
I highly recommend Suwan. His email is [email protected]. He doesn't have email at home so goes to a cafe to get his email.

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