We were at Siem Reap last weekend for my birthday. Here are some takeaways from our trip:
1. The flight and temple tickets were expensive. The rest were not.
We booked a direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap via Cebu Pacific. The flight was 3 hours long and we left on Saturday at 7:30pm, arriving in Siem Reap International Airport at 9:30 pm. We then departed Siem Reap back to Manila at 10:30pm arriving Manila at 2:30am on Wednesday, missing only 2 days of work for a 3-day vacation.
The airfare was expensive given a budget airport. We paid Php 18,000 net per pax. I understand we can find another place cheaper than Siem Reap, but hey, since Bali’s Mt. Agung volcano was rumored to erupt soon, we had to change plans and settle for Cambodia instead.
Ticket for a 3-day temple tour is at USD 62.00 a pax. However, aside from these large ticket items, visiting Cambodia is still relatively cheap.
2. Do NOT exchange USD to the local currency at the airport or anywhere else!
In Siem Reap International Airport, you can exchange USD to Cambodian Reals at 3,850 Reals to 1 USD. Outside, the exchange rate in MOST restaurants is 4,000 Reals to 1 USD. Truth be told, the currency exchange in Siem Reap is making a lot of money.
Everyone in Siem Reap accepts USD. Actually, they prefer it. You will also get Cambodian reals as change when you purchase/buy something. Do NOT exchange USD to the local currency.
3. Hotel rates in Siem Reap are relatively cheaper. Book a hotel with free breakfast.
We stayed in the Suorkear Villa & Resort in a 2-storey villa with private pool, paying USD 420.00 (Php 20,000) for 3 nights and 5 adults. This is still cheaper than a 4- or 5-star hotel in Manila.
The bedroom is nicer in the photo, but the service is warm and attentive, and the public pool is as beautiful as the photo. It’s a bit out of the way and requires a USD 3 tuktuk ride to town (Note: The resort does provide free tuktuk rides to town up until 10pm), but if you would like to stay in a relaxing place, Suorkear Villa & Resort is a nice reasonably priced hotel to book.
We really enjoyed our breakfast and free coffee refill. They served a variety of Asian and Western dishes which include Asian fried rice, Khmer curry noodles, Asian stir fried noodles, Cambodian noodle soup, pancakes, french toast, American breakfast, among others.
Suggest you try out their Asian fare than their Western’s. It’s more sulit!
4. Shopping in Cambodia is cheap.
Even inside the temples, shopping in Cambodia is cheap if you bargain carefully.
We bought 3 pcs of t-shirts for USD 5. Pants were only USD 2 a piece. A drum that was marketed as USD 15 was let go for USD 6. To be fair, shopping is a joy in Siem Reap if you like their loose backpacker style.
Personally, I appreciated the products available.
Cambodia is VERY HOT and we went through at least 2 changes of clothes per day. We brought enough clothes to last us our 3 days but went through them by the first day of tour. Being able to shop for a cheap change of clothes was a godsend, and the products weren’t bad for the price you paid for!
5. That said, the weather in Cambodia was HOT!
We were sweating like pigs the whole time.
I sh*t you not — my husband changed clothes 3x. He usually doesn’t do that in Manila.
Siem Reap weather is a lot like Manila’s — hot, humid but less air circulation. So you feel like you’re in a hot oven with nowhere to cool off.
Restaurants are open air and not a lot of establishments have aircon. We ate at several establishments but none of them were airconditioned. I guess, they take saving electricity seriously.
If you go to Cambodia, bring a change of clothes. Better yet, buy clothes in Cambodia!
6. Our 3-day itinerary:
|7:35 PM||5J 257 Cebu Pacific Departure from Manila T3 to Siem Reap|
|9:30 PM||Arrival at Siem Reap International Airport|
|Hotel: Suorkear Villa & Resort||410.40|
|Angkor High School Road, Sangkat Sala Kamreuk, Siem Reap Cambodia|
|Tel: +855 60 999 882|
|Check in: Oct 21, Check out: Oct 24 (1pm)|
|Breakfast||Hotel: Suorkear Villa & Resort|
|Can swim a little bit and enjoy private pool|
|Lunch||Lilypop Restaurant (10am to 10pm)||717 Reviews|
|#20 Taphul Road, Siem Reap 17259||Chicken amok, spring rolls, lok lak, khmer curry,|
|Tel: +855 86 879 255||papaya salad, smoothie|
|Try Me (8:30am to 10:30 pm)||292 Reviews|
|Taphul Road. It’s the road beside Caltex Station||Amok fish, Lok Lak, Cambodia Curry, pesto pasta|
|Tel: +855 17 419 343|
|After Lunch Meal||Fresh Fruit Factory||Fruits on french toast, ice mountains (mango+passion fruit)|
|#155, Taphul Road, Siem Reap|
|Tel: +855 81 313 900|
|Afternoon||Cool Sense Spa|
|60 Street, Siem Reap, Cambodia|
|Magic Four-Hand Massage With Warm Herbal Linen||USD 25 for 90 mins|
|Traditional Khmer Massage (60 mins)||USD 10, USD 14 for 90 mins|
|2-Hour Specialized Package||USD 25|
|Free Pickup from Tuktuk|
|Dinner||Spoons (11:30am to 10:00 pm)||521 Reviews|
|#142, Group 5 Pave Road, Wat Damnak Village,||Mackarel, coconut chicken, beef skewers|
|Salakomreouk Commune, Siem Reap|
|Tel: +855 76 277 6667|
|Old Market Area|
|Between Street 9, Street 11, 2 Thmou Street and Pokombor Avenue|
|Red Piano to order Tomb Raider Drink|
|Angkor Night Market (**If asking price is $10, ask for $3)|
|Can eat fried banana kebabs, roasted corn on cob, banana chocolate pancakes (from corner|
|closest to Warehouse)|
|Can try Baray Spa for affordable foot reflexology for only $2 n 1 hour|
|8:30 AM||Happy Angkor Tour Pickup. Have breakfast already.||180.00|
|Tel: Mony (Tel: +855-92-900 000)|
|**Ticket to Temples at USD 62 per pax||310.00|
|Morning||Angkor Thom||Elephant & Leper King Terrace|
|12:30 PM||Lunch at Local Restaurant (Palmboo)|
|2:00 PM||Angkor Wat|
|Phnom Bakheng to watch sunset view|
|6:00 PM||Back at Hotel|
|Dinner||Aspara Show: Koulen Restaurant|
|Includes Buffet dinner and show at USD 12 per pax excluding drinks||60.00|
|5:00 AM||Watch Sunrise at Angkor Wat|
|Back to Hotel for Breakfast|
|Banteay Srei or Ladies Temple||Banteay Samre|
|Sugar Palm Villages or Landmine Museum||Pre Rup Temple|
|12:30 PM||Lunch at Local Restaurant (The Hut)|
|Off Route #6 | Steung Village, Prasat Bakong District, Siem Reap 00000, Cambodia|
|Tel: +855 12 926 391|
|1:30 pm or 2:00 pm||Tonle Sap Lake at Kampong Pluk Village OR|
|Grand Circuit Road: Prah Khan, Neak Poan, Ta Som, East Mebon|
|6:00 pm – 8:00 pm||Genevieve’s Restaurant||3968 Reviews|
|Bamboo Street Sala Kamreuk Commune, Siem Reap 3058|
|Tel: +855 81 410 783|
|10:30 PM||5J 258 Departure from Siem Reap to T3 NAIA|
|2:25 AM||Arrival in NAIA Terminal 3|
Downloadable Excel File: FINAL Itinerary – Angkor Wat Trip
7. Must Do in Cambodia!
For restaurants, must try dining areas are the following:
The Fresh Fruit Factory (Rated #1 in Trip Advisor)
Order their lovely ice mountains and french toasts. We thoroughly enjoyed our Mango Ice Mountain (USD 5) and Alcoholic Coffee Ice Mountain (USD 6.5).
Worth every penny!