Hi to everybody who is passionate in traveling. After coming back from Angkor Wat, I would like to take this opportunity to review about traveling in Siem Reap in "Backpacking Style". Let's go.
To make better understanding
Siem Ratch or Siem Reap means beatable Siam, I will terminate the meaning of this city for a while. So, I will continue explaining about geographical location of this city. This city is located close to the border of Aranyaprathet province of Thailand. It is about 150 kilometers, it is actually not far. I spend for 2-3 hours. This city is close to Khmer Lake, Angkor Wat and many sanctuaries are important landmark of this city. Let's discover this together.
So, I start my trip at " Mo Chit" bus terminal, it can also say that I start at burrstone number 0.
After finding the way how to get to Mo Chit bus terminal, I then head to the ticket counter. The counter is in the middle zone on the lower floor . I choose the most convenient way by taking bus from Mo Chit to Siem Reap and connecting with the public van at Rong Kluea market.
PS. Just for your information, if you prefer to take the public bus, you must reserve the bus ticket in advance. However,if you are confident enough, you can confront with the challenge of ticket availability at the counter. For those who prefer to take public van, you are able to take the public van at van terminal, it is opposite ZPELL superstore.
Unfortunately, I could not follow my first choice to go to Siem Reap because the bus ticket is sold out. So, I need to go for the second option which is to take a van. The price per person is as per shown on below photo.
I get the ticket and await for the van as per ticket seller's advice. The van will escort us to Rong Kluea market in Sa Kaeo province.
After arriving Rong Kluea market, I am so hungry. Hence, I decide to find something to eat in this market. But if you would like to try some food in another area apart from Rong Kluea market, you are able to ask about direction with local people.
Importantly, Kasikorn bank is on the right side of the market, it is the best place for exchanging money because it offers the reasonable price (the exchanger rate is at 1 $ = 36.08฿ including service fee).
The budget for this trip is 80 USD or around 3000 ฿.
After exchanging money, I grab my passport + dollar banknotes and head to immigration.
PS. Do not forget to go to the toilet because it is necessary to pay 5฿ each time once you use the toilet in Siem Reap. So, it is better to go to the toilet before crossing the border.
After finishing outbound process, I continue walking and notice that there is a counter where I need to fill out inbound form. Please do not hand in your passport to the staffs directly, otherwise you will be charged for 2 $ for filling out the inbound form. You better fill out the form by yourself by keep walking on the right side as per below photos.
Then, you will see very long queue, you are able to ask for the form from the officers. After finishing filling the form, please queue up in the line.
PS. please choose the line with the short queue, it will be faster if you are in the same line with Thai people.
How to get to Siem Reap?
It is time to make the decision for the transportation again. Normally, it costs 9 $ for taking the public bus from Cambodian inbound immigration to Transport Terminal, there are many taxi in this terminal. Or another option is to take taxi directly from Cambodian inbound immigration to Taxi Tour Company, it costs 12 $ ( for 4 people).
Why does it cost 12 $ ? Why should it be Taxi Tour Company?
I have all details to answer above questions, this is because it is more convenient in traveling. I have shared the taxi with Russian couple. I forget to tell that I have one friend to join this trip with me. Once reason which makes me decide to take taxi right away from the immigration because I will need to take taxi anyway once I reach Siem Reap. It is much cheaper. So, we will take sometimes to see ambiance inside the taxi;)
I forget to tell that Cambodian people drive on right lane. The atmosphere along the way to our destination is very nice.
It is really weekend.
Ahh, I finally find the legendary bus. See it again in Siem Reap.
Finally, we reach Siem Reap, we have now the answer for the question why taxi has escorted us to Taxi Tour Company only and we then need to continue with Tricycle service.
To discover the answer!!!
The reason is that Taxi Tour Company would like to sell tour package for us, it is called One Stop Service. Once the taxi drops us at the company, staffs will propose tour package for us. The tour package is Angkor Wat Angkor Thom trip. Furthermore, Tricycle trip is certain trip that it is one of those tour packages. This service costs 20 $ / day and it is the whole day trip by taking you to see rising sun and sunset. But you need to pay for the entrance fee to Angkor Wat on your own. The fee at 20 $ is for small round and 40 $ for big round. There is also another package which is Tonle Sap (Tonle Lake) trip, you need to pay entrance fee separately from Tricycle service. For Tonle Sap, you can enjoy seeing sunset, swimming and sitting on the boat to the middle of the lake.
All of these are thing that tour company tries to sale to us. If you already reserved the tour from other agent, we recommend you to go to the accommodation directly.
Finally, we could not resist ourselves from tour package, we purchase the tour package for 1 day trip + visit Angkor Wat (small round), it costs 40 $ in total. After paying the tour, we get on the tricycle and head to the hotel. We have reserved the room at One Stop hostel, it costs 7 $ per night and we will stay in this hostel for 2 nights (14 $).
In front of One Stop Hostel.
Once, we reach the hostel, we do the check in process. In the meantime, I have seen the details of tour package written on white board, it is described all tour package lists. We are able to do joining tour as well. But, we have calculated the package fee and compare with the price for the package tour that we purchase previously and found out that the previous one is much cheaper.
We do not take the atmosphere in the room to show because there are many people stay in the room. So, we decide to go to Pub Street, it is just like walking street in Pattaya. There are not so many shops to sell goods. We prefer to chill out and get drunk for tonight.
Nice ambience and beautiful music
The food at Pub Street is quite expensive, it costs about 1$ - 2.50 $ per portion on average
The recommended dish is fried instant noodle, it costs 1 $,there will an additional charge at 0.50 $ if you would like to add some meat. You are able to see the method of how to cook this menu as per below.
We are able to choose noodle types.
And you will get your fried noodle as per below photo
And another shot of this menu
For drinking water, it is sold at 2,000 Cambodian Rial, it equals 0.50 $ because 4,000 Cambodian Rial = 1 $. Drinking water is available in mini-mart too.
After finish eating, we wander for a while. Then we go back to the hotel in order to get ready and be ready for tomorrow trip " One Day Trip for Angkor Wat and Surrounding Sanctuaries".
We woke up on Saturday morning, we have appointed with Mr. Arm, he is a tricycle driver. We meet each other in front of the hotel at 05.00 am. It is time to enjoy the rising sun. On the way to see the rising sun, we go to buy entrance ticket at 20 $ for visiting Angkor Wat. Importantly, the ticket should not be lost because you will be asked to present your ticket once you are in Angkor Wat. So, it is time to get into Angkor Wat.
To know some background of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is religious place where is located in Siem Reap, it was built in Suriya Woramun II era. This place is well known as his religious place. It is used to be the place where is built to dedicate for Hindu God Vishnu and Narayana in Buddhism Era 1720 . As Cham people trespassed Cambodian, hence Suriya Woramun King VII decided to move the capital city to be Siem Reap instead. Then, Angkor Thom and The Bayon castle were built. These places are far from Angkor Wat upto the North and it is the new capital city of Cambodia. Angkor Wat is very large with area 200,000 square meters.
One reason that deserves this place to world heritage is its construction map, this is best of the best for Khmer Sanctuary. There are 5 main sanctuaries in the middle, they are located on the top basement. According to this constructional design, it relates to the belief of universe center. Furthermore, the sanctuaries are surrounded by walls which has 1.5 kms in length. Apart from that, there is also the canal surrounding 5 sanctuaries because Khmer people in the former time believed that canal is represented as the ocean surrounding Sumeru mountain. This sanctuaries was built by 100,000 manpower, 40,000 elephants to carry and move rocks 600,000 cubic meters from Phanom Kulan city which is far from the sanctuaries for 50 kms. It has spent a century to build this world heritage and it can be said that this is one of the wonderful construction on this world.
After enjoy knowing the history of Angkor Wat, it is time to enjoy the spectacular view. The best shot for this trip is the view of Angkor Wat once it is reflected on the water. It is the highlight of the day. Let's have a look together.
The view of Angkor Wat's reflection in the legend
The surface of water has reflected tourists' shadow.
We highly recommend the best time at 4.30 am to see the view of Angkor Wat reflection on the water. It is not necessary to wait until 5.00 am because it will be so crowded.
Then, we are able to continue traveling to other sanctuary which is Bayon Sanctuary. We would like to enjoy our trip as much as possible.
To visit Bayon Sanctaury
Bayon Sanctaury was built in Suriya Woramun VII, this sanctuary is also religious place and it is quite complicated in term of structure and meaning due to the changement of belief and religion. We have also seen that there are many sculpture of Apsara dancers around the sanctuary.
Let's enjoy seeing the sanctuary together.
Above Bayon Sanctuary
Inside The Bayon Castle
The photo of Apsara Dancer
The pillar inside the sanctuary
Inside the sanctuary
Some parts of Bayon Sanctuary
Some parts of Bayon sanctuary
The sculpture of Apsara dancer
After traveling around Bayon Sanctuary, we would like to continue our trip to Tahom sanctuary
Taphom was sanctuary which was seen in the ended era of Khmer empire, it was built in according to Buddism religion. The outstanding part of this sanctuary is the trees and tree roots because it is covered by many trees and tree roots. However, this sanctuary was partly destroyed by the king who had the belief in Hindu religion. Hence, the historical track of this sanctuary was not left that much. But, it is very popular and well known because it had been chosen to be the scene in Tomb Raider movies and James Bond movies.
Let's discover this sanctuary together.
Finally, we will visit Phanom Bakeng Sanctuary to enjoy seeing sun set as per our plan.
Phanom Bakeng Sanctuary
It is located in the top mountain 75 meters over the sea level, it was built in King Yasoworamun I in Buddhism Era 1432 - 1453, this sanctuary is dedicated for God Siva by placing Royal Linga at four corners of the sanctuary, it is used the symbol of " Divine King" system.
But, it is quite far to go to the viewpoint in order to see the sunset due to long queue of tourists. Hence, it is necessary for us to come here at 16.00 hrs. Otherwise, you will miss the beautiful sunset of Bakeng Sanctuary.
We have taken many photos and indulged with the spectacular atmosphere of Bakeng Sanctuary. It is time to go from this wonderful world heritage.
Once we reach the accommodation, we are really tired. We take a nap for a while and wake up to get ready to go back to Thailand. Then, we go to hostel's front desk to buy the ticket to go back to Thailand. The ticket fee is 8 USD, the bus has arrived at the hostel at 10.00 hrs. ( the bus is available at One Stop Hostel 3 times a day which are at 8 hrs, 9 hrs and 10 hrs). However, we go back to the border by using taxi instead, it is really go to border by paying only 8 $. We can just walk to immigration and proceed the inbound process.
For those who like to travel in Seim Reap to visit Angkor Wat and discover the ancient civilization. We recommend you to come, it is not difficult to access to this place but it is necessary to calculate your budget. Lastly, we would like to summarize all expense for this trip;
Ticket fee for public van from Mo Chit - Rong Kluea market 209 ฿
Food at Rong Kluea market 75 ฿
Money exchange 80 $ (3xxx฿)
Taxi fee from Poipet - Seim Reap 12 $/ person
Entrance fee of Angkor Wat (small round) 20 USD
Tricycle fee 20 $ (2 people = 10 $ / person)
Tip for tricycle driver 3 $ (2 people = 1.5 $ / person)
Taxi fee ( from hostel - Poipet) 8 $
Food + Beverage 13$
Grand total 76 $
3D/2N with budget 3,xxx ฿ to visit Angkor Wat and other ancient sanctuary, it is very nice idea for the weekend. For those who like to eat, you are able to increase the budget to be around 40-50 $, it is very reasonable price for precious experience. See you for the next review. See you next review.
Please feel free to visit our other reviews Vientiane - Vang Vieng.