Sien Reap Guide/Accomodation

Old Aug 26th, 2015, 02:20 PM
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Sien Reap Guide/Accomodation

We are planning a trip to S.E. Asia, probably through Bangkok, then train to Cambodia border and taxi to Sien Reap. In one of the forums California Lady mentioned getting a guide from her hotel. Can she or someone suggest a comfortable quiet hotel suitable for aging adventurers that has good guides. Also have been to Bangkok before so would want to relax somewhere outside the city on arrival and grateful for some suggestions.
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Old Aug 26th, 2015, 02:37 PM
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Price range for accommodations in Siem Reap?

All hotels in Siem Reap can get you a driver and guide.

Would you consider a resort hotel in Bangkok? The Anantara Riverside is lovely, feels very resort-like, and is still convenient to sites and restaurants in Bangkok via the river shuttle to the skytrain station.
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Old Aug 26th, 2015, 05:04 PM
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Kathie: Good suggestion for Bangkok depending on their rates. Stayed previously at The Oriental when employer picked up the tab but suspect now it would be a touch too expensive.

Re Siem Reap, have no idea of relative value of hotels but mid range- no more than $200 per night with breakfast would be doable.
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Old Aug 26th, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Lots of options in Siem Reap - take a look at a booking site like agoda.com or booking.com. I like the Shinta Mani, but look also at the Golden Temple, Chateau d'Angkor, and others. I don't like the Sofitel, it's too big for me, though it gets good reviews.
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 12:51 AM
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<<<...probably through Bangkok, then train to Cambodia border and taxi to Sien Reap.>>>

The train from Bangkok (Hualamphong) to Aranyapraphet will be one of the highlights of your trip. It takes 6 hours(ish), and costs 48 baht (US$1.5). Get the early morning train (leaves at 0555 I think), so if it gets delayed the Cambodian Border will still be open. If the arrival of the lunchtime departure gets delayed then you might need to overnight in Aranyapraphet.

Just bear in mind that the train is 3rd Class only, mainly wooden seats though some are cushioned. No a/c, just fans. The windows will be opened for the duration, so there's the potential for plenty of dust (etc!) to be sucked in. So wear old clothes.

There are a total of 42 stops albeit v.short stops, there'll be people getting on and off all the time, vendors constantly up and down the carriage selling drinks and food. So it's a great way to mix with the locals.

Aranyapraphet train station is a one platform affair. Simply jump in a tuk tuk or taxi to the border. Took us 20 minutes by tuk tuk @ 100 baht.

We did the train trip in the opposite direction, and sat in the back carriage with the monks.

Poipet border crossing has a well deserved reputation for scams. So clue yourself up on what scams are hot at the moment. Pre-arranging an e-visa will help a bit.

Personally, instead of going direct to Siem Reap I'd have a couple of nights in Battambang first. It's about 90 minutes by taxi from Poipet, and Battambang has loads of glorious countryside surrounding it, plus it's the home of the Bamboo Train. You can then catch a bus from Battambang to Siem Reap (takes c3.5 hours).
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 08:50 AM
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To Kathie, great hotel suggestions. Shinta Mani looks good but somewhat pricey. The Golden Temple is within our price range and appealing. Thank you. Now I have to start doing homework on getting from Hanoi to Saigon and on to Luang Prabang and should probably do a separate post.

LancasterLad, loved your vivid description about the train. Had not thought of Battambang and will check that out. Thank you the heads up regarding scams at the border.
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 09:01 AM
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Hanoi to Saigon: options are train or fly. There are non-stop flights from HCMC to Luang Prabang.

For detailed info on crossing the border at Poipet, take a look at www.talesofasia.com
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 09:54 AM
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PS I forgot to mention that there are now reasonably priced flights to Siem Reap from Bangkok. Air Asia (which flies out of Don Muang) or Bangkok Air Discovery Pass if you are going to take at least three flights on this trip.
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 10:12 AM
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Kathie, thanks for all this great intelligence on logistics to get around. We have been going to Africa (Namibia and Botswana) a lot and now refocusing again on S.E. Asia, so your advice invaluable and time saving. My husband who is 6'4" just asked me about the amount of space on the train from BK to Cambodia border. I really think he would like the fly option better!
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 10:29 AM
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Sorry, I have no idea about the amount of space on the train. www.seat61.com can give you lots of info about trains. For me, 6 hours on a hard bench seat, and I wouldn't be able to walk!
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 08:34 PM
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Seat61 is a great website, but it's only 2-dimensional.

It doesn't give you the aromas, the sights, the noises, the experience. The only way to get the full shibang is to take the plunge and do it. Listening to people who've done the trip is far better than taking advice from people who haven't!

Mixing with the locals for me isn't a ride on a Bangkok skytrain full on clones fixed to their ipods, it's a train ride mixing with the locals and all the hustle and bustle that goes with it.

All the seats aren't wooden, some carriages are quite comfortable.

Here's a video of Aranyapraphet train station, and the type of train you'll catch...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNFuh_apTHw
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Old Aug 27th, 2015, 09:13 PM
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<<<For detailed info on crossing the border at Poipet, take a look at www.talesofasia.com>>>

That link isn't very up-to-date. You're better off searching on the Trip Advisor Cambodia Forum, where you'll read v.recent first-hand experiences. The scams are nothing to worry about, but it's good to be aware that they exist.
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Old Aug 28th, 2015, 07:48 AM
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LancasterLad: thanks for this add'l info on the train, will investigate the train further and discuss with my mate. I used to work in the train transport industry and the two things that fascinate me are trains and markets. I agree that its a great way to mingle with locals.
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