The last few weeks we had a family of four from the U.S. but who works in India visiting Nang Rong. They liked being here and had a lot to say about things, some highlights of which were: it is more comfortable here than they thought it would be, and the food is better than they anticipated as well. I have been wanting to check just how easy it is to take a quick trip to Siem Reap and see the huge temple complex of which Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon are the most famous parts. They were up for it, and so were a few Thai friends, so off we went.
I was there seven years ago and think temple area is one of the three most impressive sights in the world, the other two being St Peters Basilica in Rome and the Taj Mahal in India. I place the pyramids, the Louvre, Chartres, etc. in the second tier.
There are plenty of places on the internet to learn more about these places, so I will just give you a summary of how we got there from Nang Rong and how much it cost us. We left Tuesday morning and were back by 3 PM Thursday. The full day of Wednesday was enough to see all the major sights in the Archeological park. A second day would allow for more things to be seen, but we covered the highlights and well known areas.
P. California arranged for their van to take eight of us to the border at Poi Pet and later to pick us up at the border and take us back to Nang Rong. They also arranged for a second van to take us from the border into Siem Reap and back. This van was also at our disposal while we stayed there. All this transportation came to $394, or about $50 per person. We could have easily fit nine people, maybe ten, for this same total price.
We did not reserve hotels. There are a number of very nice new and no doubt expensive hotels in Siem Reap if you want that sort of thing. We just had our van drive into the “Old Town” area of Siem Reap and stopped at a likely looking small hotel, the Mandalay. Air conditioned rooms were about $14, but they had only one. We walked across the street and that hotel had three rooms with air but they were up a few flights of stairs. So we went next door to the Millennium and found three rooms on the ground floor. At all three hotels these rooms had air, small TV, their own bathroom and were judged clean and usable by those more particular in our party. They were all about $14 per night.
Here is the cost breakdown we paid per person. We had one full day to see the site, and two evenings to shop and enjoy the Old Town area. We had use of the van and could have seen anything else on those evenings had we chose to do so.
All transportation: $50
Hotels: $14 (per person, two nights, two per room)
Visa: $38 (a visa service speeded things)
Admission to site: $20 (for one day)
Meals: $3 per meal, some at hotel, some in Old Town or site
TOTAL: $140 per person (figure 6 meals)
With what we learned, here is a less expensive way that may be a little more inconvenient:
Transportation: $6.70 bus Nang Rong-Poi Pet, both ways
Cambodia Van: $25. ($200 total for 8 people)
Visa: $25 (get it yourself at the border)
Admission to site, meals, hotels are the same as above
TOTAL: $108 per person
Next time we will spend a few more days. Siem Reap as at the north end of Tonle Sap, the largest lake in Southeast Asia. We want to catch the boat through the lake and down the river to Phnom Pen. We’ll spend a day or so there, and then on down the river, through Viet Nam and to the coastal area.