Category: Cambodia

Old travel archive


Our old leglessbird travel log can be found hereLeglessbird travel guide.

Siem Reap, Cambodia, Asia, Dec 2001

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Siem Reap city - home to the fascinating Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat (please see the Angkor area section), it has a lot more to offer. We would recommend 3 full days in Siem Reap but probably only 1/2 day in the city, since most people are here for the temples. Get a free copy of the local guide at your hotel, it contains everything that you need for directions from the temples, other local attractions and restaurants.

m Reap by domestic flight from Phnom Penh or international flight from Thailand and Vietnam.

City attractions: (You can easily find all these from the local map, get a free local guide book, for details click the links on the left hand menu)
Royal Residence: A quick walk around of the garden opposite to the Royal Residence
Red Piano bar: The place where the "Tomb Raiders" crew hanged out when they were there in November 2000.
House of Peace: Leather shadow puppet workshop/sales
Les Artisans D'Angkor: Woodworking and stone carving workshop
Purok Silk Worm Breeding Centre: See the entire process silkworm breeding, silk dying, weaving, silks on sale

Angkor, Cambodia, Asia, Dec 2001

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World HeritageThe Angkor area is probably what you come to Cambodia for and it won't disappoint you. A whole day is recommended in order to cover all the temples in details. It is also highly recommended to watch either the sun rise (from Angkor Wat) or sun set (from Phnom Ban Kheng) or both. If you want to avoid other tourists, then sun rise is probably more of your liking. You need to obtain a pass in order to visit the areas.
US$20 per person: One-day pass
US$40 per person: Three-day pass
US$60 per person: Seven-day pass

Attractions (for details click the links on the left hand menu):
Angkor Wat: This is the main attraction of the visit
Baphuon: Under restoration, home to a large reclining budda
Bayon: If you were to see only two temples, it should be Angkor Wat and this one
Phimeanakas: The king's temple in the Angkor Thom
Phnom Ban Kheng: A temple constructed on Ban Kheng Hill, a good spot for viewing sun set
Southern Gate: An impressive entrance to the Angkor Thom (Angkor city)
Terrace of Elephant: Wall spanning in front of Phimeanakas, adorned with elephants and garudas

Outside Angkor, Cambodia, Asia, Dec 2001

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World HeritageThere are yet more beautiful places outside the Angkor Area that worth spending a full day to explore. Especially a visit to the lake is a very good break from the temples. The boat ride itself cost us US$20 for two.

Attractions (for details click the links on the left hand menu):
eautiful temple with carving of very fine details. Highly recommended
Lake Tonle Sap: Take a nice break from the temples and visit this lake that is supposed to be the largest fresh water lake in S.E. Asia. Meet the people living in floating village.
Western Baray (reservoir): A temple called "West Mebon" is built on an island in the middle of this reservoir

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Asia, Dec 2001

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Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia, home to the Royal Palace and hub for international flights. We would recommend to spend one full day. You could hire a car with a driver for about US$15-20 for the whole day, guide is optional if you have a good guide book.

Local attractions (More important ones are shown first, for details click the links on the left hand menu):
Royal Palace: Home to the King with many buildings for different purposes including the Silver Pagoda. Entrance fee US$3 per person and US$2 for taking photos
Tuol Sleng (Genocide Museum): A huanting place once used as a torture centre by the Khmer Rouge during the dark times of modern Cambodia. You can see the tools that they used to torture people and photos of the victims both local and foreign.
National Museum: It has some nice displays including sculptures from Angkor Wat, but I didn't find the place very exciting. Entrance fee US$2 per person
Central Market: The biggest local market, you will find almost everything here from groceries, stationaries, watches to consumer electronics
Independence Monument: A monument commemoriating Cambodia's independence from French rules.
FCC Club: A nice bar and restaurant for foreigners to hang out
Wat Phnom: An anicent temple built on the only hilly area of Phnom Penh city
Overall recommendation:
We would recommend to spend one full day in Phnom Penh and three full days in Siem Reap.
We found the "Lonely Planet" guide book on Cambodia to be very useful.

Our itinerary:
Day 1: Hong Kong -> Phnom Penh
Day 2: Phnom Penh day tour: Royal Palace, National Museum, Central Market etc.
Day 3: Phnom Penh -> Siem Reap: Visiting Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat Area
Day 4: Siem Reap: More magnificent temples
Day 5: Siem Reap: Banteay Seri, Western Baray and Tonle Sap Lake
Day 6: Siem Reap->Phnom Penh->Hong Kong

November - February is the best time to visit as it is the cool and dry season.
March - May is hot and dry
June - August is hot and wet
September - October is cool and wet
We went there during 20-25 Dec 2001, it was very sunny and temperature was around 27C.
Good thing about the dry season was that we didn't see too many mosquitos,
so you have less concern of tropical diseases.

Flight information:
Dragon air and Royal Air Cambodge has regular direct flights between Hong Kong and Phnom Penh. For other locations, please refer to your local airlines.

Visa and airport tax:You can obtain the visa at the Phnom Penh airport for US$20 per person. There is an airport tax of US$20 per person when you fly international from Phnom Penh or US$10 per person when you fly domestic. US dollar is commonly used in all tourist areas and prices are all quoted in US dollars, you don't need to exchange in advance for the local currency (Rie) as you can get enough Rie changes from small purchases.

Don't set your expectation too high. Cambodia is not famous for its food and you will find it very similar to Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese food with no surprises.

Car renting:
Hiring a car (with the driver) would cost US$15-60 depends on your bargaining skills,
whether you are hiring, half-day or full day, and whether you are also hiring a guide.
With a proper guide book, you can probably travel Phnom Penh without a guide,
in the Angkor Area, we found the guide useful in explaining the history of the temples
in great details. Renting motorbike is also common.

Around Angkor, Cambodia, Asia, Dec 2001

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World HeritageOther temples around the Angkor area are also very interesting and worth spending a full day to explore, especially the temples that were left to the mercy of the jungle and the temple in the middle of a resevior.

Attractions (for details click the links on the left hand menu):
Chay Say Tevoda and Thommanon: Two small shaded twin temples to be found on either side of the road
Prasat Kravan: A brick temple (as opposed to sandstone temples that are more commonly found in Angkor)
Preah Khan: Built according to the tradition on a spot where the king fought and won
Preah Neak Pean: A temple that was constructed in the middle of a reservoir
Pre Rup: Brick tower temple used for cremations
Ta Prohm: A temple that has been swallowed by the jungle
Ta Som: Relatively small, in a semi-ruined state