Why Siem Reap?

Aug 21st, 2006, 08:51 AM
  #1  
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Why Siem Reap?

I am taking a friend, who has never been to Asia, on a trip to BKK and Ko Samui. I want to go to Siem Reap as well, but he is a little reluctant. I think he wants to go somewhere a little more developed. I would appreciate any words of advice that I may impart to him regarding how a trip to Siem Reap would be a meaningful and redeeming part of our excursion.
mkf954 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 09:06 AM
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siem reap and called angkor wat by most has some of the best "ruins" of any civilization known on the planet today...

they are quite spectacular...the best i have ever seen...they rival and surpass machu pichu, the pyrmadids and the yucatan...

the town itself is a dump and you will not find it very nice at all....there are some decent hotels there and some decent restaurants, but your whole focus will and should be on the ruins....3-4 days is about perfect...

SR is a nice contrast to bkk and samui....it will round your asian experience out nicely...

don't go for only 2 days however...if you cannot go for 3 at least skip it...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 09:15 AM
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If you are interested in the ruins of the temples of the Khmer civilization or if you have an interest in Buddhism or Hinduism, this is an absolutely unforgettable trip. You need a minimum of three days to visit the so-called major temples, more if you want to visit some of the minor temples.

I'm not as negative about Siem Reap (the town) as Bob is.

To help you and your friend decide, take a look at www.marlandc.com for phots of Angkor and the surrounding area. Do read up on the ruins before you go. I highly recommend Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor.

I agree with Bob, if you aren't interested enough to give it three full days, minimum, then skip it.
Kathie is online now  
Aug 21st, 2006, 09:40 AM
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As the above posters said, Angkor Wat is one of the most spectacular sites in the world. Do plan on 3 days there. If your friend is a little reluctant, a reservation at Hotel de la Paix might change his mind - one of the most "over-the-top" hotels I've ever stayed at. It has a great restaurant too. If you hire a guide, you will likely be carted around in a modern vehicle - probably Japanese so that might help with his comfort level as well. The town of Siem Reap is pretty dumpy but your touring occurs mostly outside of town.
Craig is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 09:59 AM
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Disagree that Siem Reap is a dump.

And the Angkor ruins is one of the greatest sites on this earth. MUCH MUCH more than Machu Picchu.

As already stayed, stay in a top of the line hotel. Royal Sofitel
waynehazle is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM
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I also disagree that Seap Reap is "a dump" and that "you will not find it nice at all". I don't think anyone can know how someone else might find a place.

We loved Angkor Wat and enjoyed our time in Seap Reap. There is a great indoor makret in town as well as some great restaurants and fun bars.

I highly recommed it if you have the time.
eurotraveller is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 12:04 PM
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To answer your original post, SR is not developed. However, there are some nice hotels and good places to eat. The infrastructure is nearly non-existant. BUT, the reason to go to SR is to see the most wonderful collection of "ancient ruins" in the world. They're not as old as the Pyramids or Greece or Rome, but the detail in many of the carvings is exquisite. They are truly overwhelming. If ruins do not excite, skip it. NB: the ruins are not scattered piles of stones and carvings. They are vast complexes. One does not have to imagine the scope. It is clear. Like I said, overwhelming. Awesome. Superb.
Gpanda is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 12:26 PM
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Let me add one more thought. If you are interested in visiting Angkor, I'd recommend that you do so as soon as possible. The area is changing rapidly. I was there a mere 5 years ago, but the changes in that time are considerable. (Euro, there is now an indoor market?) As the infrastructure continues to be built there will be more and more visitors. We had the wonderful experience of sitting at temples alone, the only visitors. We did an hour of walking meditation in Angkor Wat just after sunrise, it was just us and the monks. Those are magical moments that will get less and less likely as time goes by.

And as a closing thought, take a look at www.theplf.org. This organization was started by a Fodors member, (screen name offwego) and is enabling many children to attend school who would otherwise be unable. If you are interested, it is possible to arrange for a school visit.
Kathie is online now  
Aug 21st, 2006, 12:37 PM
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I was there 5 years ago too. I hate that it has changes so much already. Hurry Go quickly.

waynehazle is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 12:53 PM
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Great responses! We will be there in 3 weeks.
mkf954 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 01:17 PM
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It is really a covered market, not an indoor market - I thinks its been there for a while - its called the central market and is not in the main tourist ("Old Market") area near the river (although it is across the street from the Hotel DLP). It is actually more of a local market although there are tourist things sold there. If you can get to Ta Prohm also early in the morning, the atmosphere is surreal. And do take a look at offwego's site - and if you can, hire Ponheary or Dara as your tour guide - and visit and donate to a school - your friend will forget all about his petty concerns and will see life in a new way...
Craig is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 02:36 PM
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Yes the temples are magnificent and a must see while in southeast asia if you have the time in my opinion. Every year it is getting more crowded and will continue to do so with the cheaper ways to get there becoming available. You can now fly from Bangkok to Phnom Penh early morning and bus it to Siem Reap, ariving early afternoon, for around $55. And when the road from the Thai boarder to SR becomes a real road (busy working on it now) it will only add to the volumn of visitors. In the last couple of months more than a dozen new hotels and guesthouses have opened up.
Scotters is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 04:57 PM
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Kathie, I stand corrected by Craig. The Central Market sure seems indoors due to the fact that there are shops all around the perimeter of the building. There are also huge fans inside and it is much cooler than it is outside.

I had great fun bargaining in (under)there! I even played some type of badminton with some kids using our hands instead of rackets.
eurotraveller is offline  
Aug 21st, 2006, 04:58 PM
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mk, I have many photos of Siem Reap at www.windjammer.smugmug.com. If you do go I highly recommend a trip out to Tonle Sap Lake. It is an incredible experience!
eurotraveller is offline  
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