For anyone planning to travel to Cambodia we hope this snapshot of our time is useful in your planning.
Days in the Cambodia: 3.5
Money Spent (USD for 2 people): $520
Accommodation = $70
Food = $93
Alcohol = $11
Activities = $0
Transportation = $27
Misc = $11
Visas = $62
Splurge = $245 ($206 temple entrance and drivers, $39 French Dinner)
Our Route: Siem Reap
Our #1 Recommendation…
Hire a guide
Our Top 5 List…
- Angkor Thom Bayon
- Angkor Wat
- Beng Mealea
- Ta Keo
- Banteay Srei
- Taking a long Tuk Tuk drive to Beng Mealea
- Exploring the temples
- Walking around Pub Street at night
- The Mad Monkey Hostel Experience
- Eating Amok Fish Curry
In retrospect we would have…
- Hired a tour guide for a few temples. Especially for the first day. A driver guide is different than an official temple guide.
- Watch YouTube videos about Angkor Wat before going to the temples
- Given ourselves more time so we could better mix partying and temple visiting
We didn’t spend enough time in Cambodia to give it an adequate review. We only visited Siem Reap. The other major draw for tourists is the capital Phnom Penh. Most of what we heard about the capital is that it is centered around the Khmer Rouge genocide. If that history is something that you want to learn more about than a visit to the capital would be a great addition. We do not know much more about the rest of the countryside. We can however offer a suggested itinerary for Siem Reap.
Hire a guide and a Tuk Tuk. Have him take you on the small circuit. Be sure to see Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Keo. Try to avoid the biggest crowds by going to Angkor Wat last. Go out to Pub Street at night..if you can manage it, see the sunrise at Angkor Wat in the morning.
Hire a guide and a Tuk Tuk. Have him take you on the small circuit. Start at Angkor Wat for sunrise, then leave without going in. Go to Bayon, and Ta Keo. Circle back to Angkor Wat at the end of the day. Go out to Pub Street at night. On the second day, hire a Tuk Tuk to take you to Ta Som, East Mebon, Per Rup and Beng Mealea.
Hire a guide and a car to take you to Beng Mealea. Spend the drive learning all about the civilization and the temples. Stop at Angkor Wat on the way back. Spend the evening checking out Pub Street. On the second day, hire a Tuk Tuk with no guide to take you on the big loop. On the third day hire a Tuk Tuk with no guide to take you on the small loop. Go for sunrise at Angkor Wat then skip the temple because you already saw it so you can get ahead of the crowd on the rest of the loop.
Tip: To get the iconic photo of Angkor Wat at Sunrise over the lake, be sure to position yourself near the corner of the lake where you can see all 5 points of Angkor Wat Temple.