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Cambodia, Siem Reap
Since I first time saw Tomb Raider, I wanted to visit the ruins of temples in Cambodia. They are nearby the city of Siem Reap (about 10 km from the center of the town). Dated between the 9th and the 15th century, the complex was the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire. At that time, there were 1 million people living here, while in Paris at the same time it had only 250,000 inhabitants. The most famous temple of the complex is Angkor Wat (Angkor – “City”, Wat – “Temple”). Temple is also on the Cambodian flag.
In Cambodia, we do not have to exchange money into the local currency (Cambodian Riel), you can go ahead and pay in dollars. Even prices in stores are given in dollars. In stores, a smaller change can be in Riels. Outside of Cambodia, the currency is hard to find. The rate is around 4000-4100KHR for 1USD.
Overnight in Siem Reap is very cheap, as per the conditions it offers. For one night in Siem Reap Pub Hostel with a swimming pool, you have to pay about 3 $ (10 PLN). Rooms in 4-star hotels are available from 18 $ (60 PLN)
Most of the nations coming to Cambodia must have a visa (including Poles). Fortunately, e-visa can be created online within 3 business days. Such an e-visa costs $ 36 after receipt, you have to print it and show it at the border crossing. A tourist visa is a single entry and valid for 3 months from the date of receipt. To obtain a visa, a passport should be valid for at least 6 months when crossing the border and a digital photo.
A visa can be obtained at this address: https://www.evisa.gov.kh
How to get to Siem Reap
I lived in Bangkok so I was close enough and could not miss such an opportunity. I went for 3 days, 27-30 October 2017. Most people travel to Cambodia from Thailand using buses or trains that leave Bangkok towards the Poipet border crossing. There, they cross the land border and continue towards Siem Reap. I chose another faster route, by air. The flight from Don Mueang Airport (DMK) to Siem Reap (REP) takes only one hour. I chose the evening flight, on Friday after work, with AirAsia airlines. (I was returning on Monday evening). Round-trip tickets cost 84 euros (99 $ / 360 PLN). At the airport, I bought a local SIM card for $ 3, and then I went to the center of Siem Reap by a Tuk tuk (which in Cambodia is called Remork) for the price of 9 $
To get around the Angkor Archaeological Park, you need a pass. Unfortunately, to get it you have to go to the park office, which is not near the center of Siem Reap, or any of the temples. Every tuk-tuk driver knows this place. So if you want to go to Angkor Wat for the sunrise, you must provide your tickets at least one day in advance. The office is open 5am-5:30 pm. There are 3 types of tickets:
- 1 day (37$)
- 3 days(62$)
- 7 days (72$)
In 2017, unfortunately, the tickets got very expensive, previously a one-day ticket cost $ 20, and a 3-day ticket for $ 40. When buying a ticket for a few days, we do not have to use these days in a row. A three-day ticket is valid for 10 days from the date of purchase and a 7-day ticket for one month. In the park, usually at the temples, but also at checkpoints on the street, the controllers check the tickets. There is a photo of its holder on each ticket, so it is not possible to transfer or buy a ticket from another person.
Small Loop and Grand Loop
In order to simplify the sightseeing, the ruins were divided into two routes. Small and Grand Loop. Not all temples are within these two routes. However, the vast majority, and the most important, yes.
Most of the temples are open from 7:30 to 17:30 except:
- Angkor Wat and Srah Srang: Daily from 5.00am until 5.30pm.
- Phnom Bakheng and Pre Rup: Daily from 5.00am until 7 pm.
I described each of the loops in separate entries:
Get around an Angkor temples
On the first day, I decided that I would make a small circuit on foot. In the morning I went to the ticket office and then to Angkor Wat, visiting the Cambodian villages along the way. The walk lasted all day and I almost managed to do the whole loop. Unfortunately, I did notget to the last temple.
On the second day, I made an appointment with the Remork driver for a large loop, which I started at sunrise in Angkor Wat. This tour took half a day and cost $ 20, the rest of the day I used to rest at the pool in the hostel after two days of sightseeing. At this point, I can recommend my driver. He spoke English quite well and offered me moistened towels and water all the time. Some drivers agree on a price of $ 12 for a small loop.
On the third day, I rented a bike for $ 2 near the hostel and chose to go to the temple, which I skipped the first day (Banteay Kdei) and sightseeing around Angkor Wat.
Prices in Siem Reap
- Remork from an airport to city center 9$ (Official Office)
- SIM Card for a week 3$
- Hostel with swimming pool fro 3 days – 10$
- Rent a bike for a full day 2$
- Remork with a driver for a full day 20$
- 1.L bottle of water in Shop 1$
- Meal in KFC 4.2$
- Mean in Burger King 4.4$
- Foots massage 2$
- T-shirt 2$
- Remork to the Airport 5$