"One More Off the Bucket List!" Phumi Siem Reab by gaolei

Phumi Siem Reab Travel Guide: 497 reviews and 1,126 photos

Sometimes, the gods are smiling on me!

Friday, mid January 08. I have a project in Thailand near the airport. Kind of a dull location, but it is in warm Thailand and it's away from the cold New England winter. I fly to Bangkok and get to my usual room at the Dynasty Inn Grande at 6:00 PM. I plug my laptop into the network slot and download my email, and there it is - do not go to the customer site, the job is on hold.

So what to do? First, go out and have a beer, maybe two. I have appointments in China in a week and can't move them up a few days, so I have nothing to do until then. Then it hits me, I was in a similar situation last year, but I had trouble arranging a flight to Cambodia. The weather is cooler than normal. I think I will check those flights. Sure enough there are flights available. I am going to see Angkor Wat! Another location off my bucket list!

Getting to Siem Reap

The airline tickets are a little high, $400 round trip, but this is a dream and I don't care what it costs. I know I can get there by bus, but I had enough third world bus travel in Vietnam in September. Anyway, for a small airline, Bangkok Airlines was ok. The Jet was new and clean, the people friendly.

One important thing, Bring a photo for immigration. It cost $20 for immigration and you get to see the entire immigration office sitting at a curved desk where they will take turns looking at your documents and stamping things.

The next big thing is to decide how much money to change. I chose $40. This was a mistake. The local shops, hotels and restaurants take US dollars first then Baht and the rest of the world's currencies. They don't take Cambodian. I traded my Cambodian cash back and got $36 for it.

Now you are ready for the Taxi. You will find a stand at the exit from the terminal. It costs $5, no haggling, to get a taxi to town. It is only a couple miles to town, but for the money my guy was willing to help me shop for a hotel.

Shopping for Hotels

You should either book ahead or have a clue as to where you want to stay and what is available. If you go there and shop, you will need the help of your taxi driver. He will know all of the hotels and the general prices and features of each.

I would suggest finding something as close as possible to the pub street, because this is probably where you are going to go for dinner. If you take a Tuk Tuk, it will cost a couple bucks every time you get in it. Pub street is also close to the market.

I chose to stay a mile from pub street and, although the hotel was good, I hate the constant dribble of dollars into taxis. I also chose a hotel with a pool. For me this is a necessity in the tropical climate.

My first choice in hotels was Bopha Angkor Hotel, because of the good ratings. I loved the location, but it was booked. I then learned it is best to reserve a room ahead of time if possible. An hour later I finally found (gave up and found) Prum Bayon Hotel. All hotels display rack rate to arriving tourists and they stick to this rate. Again, look online for a hotel.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice People, Great Food, Excellent Ancient Sites!
  • Cons:A little dusty.
  • In a nutshell:This place should be on everyone list.
  • Last visit to Phumi Siem Reab: Jan 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 16, 2008
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Reviews (5)

Comments (3)

  • BorneoGrrl's Profile Photo
    Aug 2, 2009 at 4:06 AM

    Thanks for the fabtastic tips, Ray :)

  • piglet44's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2009 at 10:19 AM

    wow Ray I am jealous it only cost you $400 round trip to Cambodia its costing me $1200 from over here..

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2009 at 2:11 PM

    I agree with you on a few things. Like you, I paid more than many for a Book, so what, its not in my nature to barter hard from people in a poor country.

gaolei

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