Siem Reap

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December 15th 2006
Published: January 1st 2007
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We arrived in Siem Reap mid-afternoon on a bus from Phnom Penh. At the bus depot there were tuk-tuk drivers everywhere yelling at us to use them for a ride. At the same time there were people yelling at us to use their hostel or guesthouse. One guy approached and spoke English and said he would help us and for us to follow him out of the crowd. It sounded reasonable so we did. He offered his service to take us to our guesthouse and then on the ride he gave us the pitch to use him as a tour guide the next day. We agreed to it, as it was cheap. It cost us $15USD for a ride to our guesthouse, all day of driving us around (which was done by his brother that spoke no English instead of him) and a ride to the airport. Our guesthouse, The Villa Siem Reap, was fabulous. It is run by an Australian and has a fabulous staff. We really enjoyed talking to them, especially Pisey. I would recommend paying the little extra at $22 a night over the standard at $15 a night. Both rooms are clean and large but the bathroom on the more expensive room is nicer, it has a TV and was on the upper floor so it was quieter. There is a great outdoor eating patio and a garden/lawn area with couches. We spent quite a bit of time just enjoying dinner and the nice nights.
We were driven around by our “guides” brother to all the Angkor temples (wat in Cambodian) one day. The term “Angkor” has come to refer to the capital city of the Khmer Empire located in Cambodia between the 9th-12th centuries. Literally “Angkor” means “Capital or Holy city”, while “Khmer” refers to the dominant ethnic group in Cambodia. We started at 10 am and ended after sunset around 8:30 pm. We had taken a box lunch in a cooler, a service provided by our guesthouse. You fill out the form the night before of what you want and they have it ready for you ay the time you specify. It is also incredibly cheap as is Cambodia in general. In separate postings we describe each of the temples we visited. It was a great day of touring.
Just as a note you must pay an exit fee to leave Cambodia, $35USD and payable in USD only. I found that strange since we were in Cambodia. I also found it strange that the ATM’s in the airport only dispensed US dollars. All most all items in Cambodia are listed in USD and Cambodian Riel, as most prefer to take USD. If you pay in USD you most commonly are given change in Riels.

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