Saturday, April 8, 2017

SEA Backpacking Series: Touring Around Cambodia in 1 Day

Siem Reap has a very small airport where there is a very organized transportation system going to the city. We took the car taxi from the airport which cost USD 7 going to our hotel which was around 30 minutes drive. The drivers are very good at English since they also operate as tour guides during the day.
 *Note – the taxi drivers also operate as a tour guide and they will offer you a tour service for the next day going to all the major temples. We were tempted to book it thinking it was cheap at USD 40, but we resisted and found out later that it was cheaper to book a tuktuk tour through our hotel.
Transportation
The cheapest and easiest way to go around Siem Reap is by riding the Tuktuk. We rented a whole day tour with a Tuktuk through our hotel which we paid 60,000 Riel or around Php 750. Short ride using the Tuktuk cost around 2 dollars or around Php 100 so it’s a bit more expensive than what we’re used in the Philippines for riding jeeps or tricycles. You can see a Tuktuk anywhere within the city and it’s easy for you to ride. The drivers normally speak English too because the area is heavily populated with visiting tourists. 

Things to do in Cambodia:

1. Visit Angkor Wat
Cambodia is primarily known for its famous temples. We initially thought that it was only Angkor wat but we later realized that there are so many temples in Siem Reap! Tour guides will offer you a lot of options but you will later realize that a lot of it are similar so visiting the major ones will be enough. Before going to the temples, your guide will accompany you to a ticketing station so you can buy your day pass which cost 84,000 Riel or around Php 1,000.
If you plan to visit all the temples, you can buy a 2 day pass but in our experience 1 day will be enough for you to visit the major temples. 
 We decided to go to Angkor wat first and spend around 1-2 hours going around the temple. There will be people approaching you for tour throughout the temple journey but you don’t need to get one since it’s easy to navigate, unless you want to learn more about its history.
 
Inside Angkor wat, there are several monks who are praying in the middle of the temple. You can ask to be blessed in return any amount of donation. It was a cool moment to be blessed by the monk and receive this good luck charms!haha

2. Visit Bayon Temple
Bayon is another famous temples where you will find multiple smiling stone faces on its towers. You can stroll around and enjoy the beauty of the temple! We stayed there around 1 hour to take our mandatory video shots.

3. Visit Ta Prohm
Ta Prohm is most famous for the tree that was seen in the original Tomb Raider movie. It’s essentially a temple overgrown with trees. You will take around 30 minutes at most to go around the temple. 
This is the famous tree found in Tomb Raider!

4. Go to Pub Street and Night Market
Apart from visiting the temples, there is not much to do in Cambodia except for its famous Pub Street! This is where you’ll see a lot of foreigners, pubs, and restaurants.
There are numerous bars in Pub Street which has cheap beers!
Famous Angkor What? Bar
Cheap mobile bars in the middle of the road!
You can try eating crocodile meat!
We tried eating crocodile meat for the first time and it tasted like chicken! The total cost of our meal was USD 11 or Php 530 for the two of us.

Famous "happy" pizza (contains weed) which you can see all over Pub Street because weed is legal and cheap in Cambodia. We did not try it because we did not want to risk missing our bus ride going to Vietnam.

5. Have a foot massage!
After a tiring day of walking the entire day, we treated ourselves with a foot massage which we paid only USD 3 for 30 minutes! It was originally 4 dollars but we haggled to make it 3 dollars haha. There are numerous massage options there which you can see in the street and they treat it more like a “fast service massage” without all the ambiance of a typical spa. There is also fish massage which a lot of foreigners try but we don’t recommend.

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