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Phnom Penh 6D5N, should I venture into Siem Reap?

  • DomesticG

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Out of excitement from Jetstar's promotion, I managed to grab a ticket to PP for US$100! Unfortunately, what I missed out was some good planning before hand.

    6D5N seems a bit too much for Phnom Penh. As usual, my itinerary would be the norms-must see.

    Day 1: Touch down at night, nothing much can be done
    Day 2: Tuol Sleng Genocide, Killing Fields, Russian Market, Royal Palace, etc
    Day 3: Khmer cooking class, Mekong River cruise
    From here, I have 2 choices, should I

    a) Stay in Phnom Penh. Go for a golf game on day 4 and maybe head to some orphanage or NGOs on day 5

    or

    b) Go over to Siem Reap, visit some Angkors over day 4 & 5.

    Return to PP on day 6, my flight back home is at night.

    Is this gonna be worth the US$120 taxi fare from PP to SR (2 ways) + US$30 of (Tuk tuk tour guide around AKW) + US$40 on the AKW passes? (Yeah I know a golf game for 2 would probably come up to the same cost, except I won't need to spend the time travelling)

    I've always wanted to visit the Ang Kor Wat, just thinking if I should do it this trip, or maybe in the next couple of years...

    Suggestions people? Maybe are there more things I could do in Phnom Penh?

    #1 Posted: 15/10/2010 - 12:00

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  • DomesticG

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2010
    Posts: 15

    That aside, I havent confirmed if I'm gonna take the US$60 taxi ride 1 way or stick with the US$10 Mekong Express.

    Although I did read somewhere, private taxi can save you 1/2 the time. Possible to get you from PP to SR in 3 hours. How true is that? I havent been to Cambodia and I have no idea on how's the roads/jam/traffic there.

    #2 Posted: 15/10/2010 - 12:15

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    Phnom Penh wasn't my favourite place in South East Asia, so I personally would head to SR as fast as possible. 2 nights in PP was enough for me - see the main sights (same as you) and leave. For me, Siem Reap had a much nicer feel (if very touristy) and the temples were fabulous.

    Hey, come on...golf. You can do that anytime (I play, by the way).

    We took the bus from SR to PP (only one way). Took 6 hours, I think and was fine. Set off early, so arrived in good time. Taxis will be quicker and door to door, of course ...or if money no object you can fly. 3 hours for a taxi seems a bit ambitious to me, but can't say for sure.

    It must be said, neither of your scenarios are perfect. But overall, I think I'd go 1 night at the start PP, 3 nights SR, 1 night at the end PP. Or something like that.

    #3 Posted: 15/10/2010 - 16:44

  • onesun

    Joined Travelfish
    17th August, 2010
    Posts: 5

    Go to Siem Reap! Yes, it may be a bit more touristy, but you can't miss Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom... I still can't believe they let people climb all over these magnificent ruins. The floating villages, the central market, and just walking around meeting the locals was the best part of our trip.
    You might be able to get a cheap flight with Air Asia between PP and SR as well... the bus is a long 6hrs, but decent and cheap. good luck :)

    #4 Posted: 17/10/2010 - 08:15

  • smkuchta

    Joined Travelfish
    10th August, 2007
    Posts: 72

    Seems crazy to go to Cambodia and not see Angkor. Yes it's touristy but just like the Pyramids or Venice its totally worth it in spite of being "touristy".

    We like PP a lot but I still can't imagine spending more than a few days there.

    Wow it was only a year ago but I don't remember the bus being 6hrs but I guess it could have been. Not sure a taxi would be worth the extra cost to save a couple of hours at most.

    #5 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 01:28

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2088
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Yes a bus would be about 6 hours (including a 1/2 hour stop and phaffing around time at the beginning). It's a pretty good run once you get going and I don't believe a taxi would save you much aside from the 1/2 hour stop, and maybe another 15-30 mins travelling time.

    I agree with Nokka - I would allow 1-2 days in PP max, and head to Siem Reap. One day at the temples is good, but 2 would be better. If you got the early bus from PP to SR, you could go to the temples at 5pm (or is it 4pm? - I keep forgetting), buy a 1-day ticket and they will let you in for the sunset that night. You can then come back the next day for a full-on day of looking at the key temples.

    #6 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 02:40

  • edwuppy

    Joined Travelfish
    24th September, 2008
    Posts: 23

    You must go to Siem Reap. The temples are amazing. ONE DAY is not enough... What an incredible place!

    #7 Posted: 19/10/2010 - 05:24

  • dancingroads

    Joined Travelfish
    25th June, 2006
    Posts: 14

    Alternatively you could travel with Apsara Khmer by Ford Transit minibus; only 1 stop in Kompong Thom and quicker than the bigger buses at 4-5 hours...

    #8 Posted: 23/10/2010 - 09:56

  • DomesticG

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Hey guys, how's the comfort difference between the Apsara Khmer vs Mekong Express?

    1. Do they try to overpack the buses? Eg. seats for 10 only but they max out to 12?
    2. I understand that Apsara is minibus, I've done mini bus from Phuket to Surat Thani. I won't say that was exactly fun, the leg space, the head rest and basically, too much sun coming in. But it was bearable. Now the problem is my partner is on the... plump side, so I'm afraid the Aspara would be too uncomfy for him. What say you?
    3. Are both around the same price of US$15? Can I get either one to pick me up from my hotel and drop me off directly at the hotel?

    #9 Posted: 28/10/2010 - 14:39

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    1. No, these buses are not of the real local variety with chickens and overcrowding etc. Same number of people as seats and in general decent and comfortable with aircon. Most buses are however imported from Japan or Korea and legspace and seats not huge but if I remember correctly Mekong Express is alright and one of the better ones.
    2. Those minibuses are slightly better but not much faster. When those minibuses are full however they give more a sense of crowding than a normal bus. Perhaps better for low season than high season.
    3. Don't know about the minibus. The better bus companies will send a minibus or tuk tuk to collect you at hotel. I assume the minibus will do a pick-up

    I personally would go for a private taxi (at least 1-way) for more comfort and efficiency. Keep in mind that a pick-up from hotel also picks up other people and that quickly adds another 30-45 minutes to your trip. Usually you also wait 10-15 minutes before the bus departs.
    Also upon arrival you need to take a tuk tuk to your hotel. A door-to-door service from a taxi I find well worth it and the extra $20 you can save by drinking a bottle of wine less or so.

    #10 Posted: 28/10/2010 - 19:42

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  • DomesticG

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd June, 2010
    Posts: 15

    Thanks for the info.

    May I know how much should I budget on food? Am I guessing;
    US$5 a meal/per pax could easily get us good khmer food/noodles soup in an non-air con place?
    US$10 a meal/per pax for a more westernized meal in air con?

    #11 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 09:34

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 772

    That sounds about right as a guideline for budget

    - If you don't eat at the main tourist area you prices will even be lower. At a real roadside stall (near local market areas) you can have a noodlesoup for a dollar or so. In a local restaurant (outside tourist area) prices are also low (think $2-5) for a simple meal.
    - in the main tourist area that they close off at night there is a lot of competition between restaurants and you can find nice sandwiches/khmer/western food for $5 (and upwards) as well. Plenty of choice and good quality.

    So you should be fine if you budget like that.

    #12 Posted: 29/10/2010 - 11:50

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