Cambodia is literally my tourist discovery of the year. Sincerely, I never have dreamt to visit Cambodia, but after all our trips around Asia, we finished up buying airplane tickets to Siem Reap. When landing I have been expecting to spend the next couple of days in the middle of India: dirty, poverty and loud (who can’t imagine what that means – just read my articles about the trip to India). Imagine, how much I was surprised to see the clean airport and calm ambiance.
And further – better. After my amazing (yes, it was an amazing weekend in Siem Reap) I would definitely recommend you visit Cambodia. Do not know about the rest of the country, but for sure it concerns Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.
1. The Airport
The airport is very important as it is the first thing tourists see entering the country. For example, in India right in front of the main door, you already see the garbage and beggars. In Cambodia, we were met by a clean little airport, similar (and even better) to the small airports on the Caribbean islands. Outside the airport – cleanliness, empty parking and palm trees.
2. Money value
Prices in Cambodia are unrealistic. Massage hour costs$ 4-7. To eat in a restaurant (not in an eatery) – you pay $ 10 for two.
Also in Cambodia, you can officially pay in two currencies: local and dollars. ⠀
3. High-level cheap hotels
The stupidest thing you can do in Cambodia is to rent an expensive Hotel (this will mean that the service in the hotel will be expensive). We stayed in a hotel named The Thirdhold Residence. It cost $ 30 / per day. For this money we had a Hilton hotel level room and luxury hotel service as in the Maldives. We even had a personal assistant at the hotel, a free transfer from the airport and to the city every evening. And they also gave us a mobile phone with a local SIM card for communication. The staff called us “Sir” and “Maaam”, we had our breakfast by the pool. I recommend with all my heart: Hotel The Thirdhold residence, where we felt ourselves royals for so little money.
4. Tourist infrastructure
The tourist infrastructure is very similar to Thailand. There is a night market, pub and market streets, similar food, massage salons at every corner. But here, traditional is considered not Thai, but Khmer massage (for me, it’s the same thing). But in Cambodia, everything is 3 times cheaper with the same quality. And also there are fewer people.
5. Angkor Wat
I have been to many countries and tourist destinations. For sure, Angkor Wat will be included in the list of the places you need to visit. I can’t say this is because of the spectacular view or the great ancient history, as it was built already in the middle ages. But more because of the feeling: you walk into the jungle (real jungle), where tigers and other animals supposed to be. And there is this architectural masterpiece which you saw in movies about the ancient civilizations.
Tip: to explore Angkor Wat, you do not need to take any organized tours. Just arrange with the tucker (you can ask at the hotel) so that he takes you from temple to temple. There are two options: small and large circle. In the large circle, there will be wild temples and fewer tourists, in the small – the main temples and, of course, crowds of tourists. ⠀
6. One more country to the list
Yes, I am not expecting you to spend whole your trip in Cambodia. More likely – traveling around Asia or having a vacation in Thailand. Therefore this is a great weekend destination. If you got bored on your paradise island just take 20$ tickets to Siem Reap and add one more country to your travel list.
7. Massage in Cambodia
The system is the same as in Thailand. In Siem Reap, there are massage salons literally in every corner of the street. However here traditional massage will be a Khmer massage which is very similar to Thai massage but much softer. Also in Cambodia, the massage prices are less than in Thailand – 4-8$ per one hour massage.
How to get to Siem Reap Angkor Wat?
You have to find a way to get to the Siem Reap (the closest city to Angkor Wat). There is an international airport and bus station. Therefore you can get to Siem Reap by flight or by bus. For me, the best advisor is the website 12.go.Asia. As you can check all the possible ways to get from one place to another all around Asia (transfers, flights, ferries, etc). This way you can combine your route. For example, you can fly to Bangkok and then take a bus to Siem Reap and you will be met at the airport, everything will be extremely easy.
As for the prices. Traveling around Asia is extremely cheap. It took us just 50$ to get flights Singapore – Siemreap. And it is even cheaper if you are in Thailand.