Easy trip to Siem Reap – just follow these instructions. We stayed with Andy at the V & A. You can follow the same principles if you stay elsewhere.
– do some reading on Cambodia, Siem Reap, and Angkor Wat, preferably
– book airline
– book transport to and from your local airport
– book accommodation with Andy and tell him your arrival details for airport pickup
– pack – you can see here for my list for travelling light
– take care of any arrangements necessary for your home – these I can’t predict
– On boarding plane – pick up entry form and customs form at gate, just before boarding and fill them out before landing.
– Deplane from steps, walk along outside terminal for three minutes and then into terminal.
– Pickup visa form in hall and fill in. Then hand in at long counter. USD$30 if you have one photo, $2 more if no photo. Wait for a few minutes and they call out your name and hand you your passport
– Then join queue for immigration and they take entry card. Fingerprint taken sometimes. Not for me, though
– Alcohol is about the same price in town, so no need to buy in the duty-free shop
– At customs as you exit they take customs form
– Get sim card – turn right when exit airport terminal doors and find shops selling sims
– I found it very useful to have a sim – I booked restaurants, called a few places and sent few texts. Many places have free WiFi, so I only used 500MB of data – for Google Maps etc. when out. The $5 calls and 1.5GB of data was sufficient for 10 days.
– Also, as you exit terminal the tuk tuk drivers are waiting with name signs. One tuk tuk should be sufficient for two people with their luggage. If you arranged it with V & A a tuk tuk will be waiting for you and will transfer you to the hotel free. Most hotels do this.
– It’s about 10 minutes by tuk tuk from the airport to the V & A .
– There is a hefty flat fee for withdrawing from ATMs. For UK cardholders this may not be charged if you use the Canadia Bank – I am waiting on my statement to check this. Thus it makes sense to withdraw as much as possible each time. For me I was limited to $400 per withdrawl. Their ATM is on the corner of Sivatha Street and Hospital Street.
– If you’ve done your research you know what you want to do during your stay. You can ask Andy to book anything you want.
– If you’ve done insufficient to no research, Andy will tell you what there is to do and arrange it for you. He’s very helpful.
– A few of the activities: temples galore, enough for days or weeks of visiting; a huge varied number of restaurants, many very reasonably priced; cultural shows; the circus; local life in villages to see; hiking and adventure activities; craft shops and manufacturing visits; Angkor Wat, of course, is the star.
– A tuk tuk should cost $2 within Siem Reap, from anywhere to anywhere. They will sometimes try for more, so ensure you negotiate before riding.
– As there were six of us we hired airconditioned vans with a driver to tour the temples. The cost per day mainly depends on how far you drive. It was $30 for the shorter distance days, and $60 for the longer day tour. A tuk tuk makes you so hot and dusty if you use it for the temple tours, and costs very little less than a car or van. And it’s much slower. For two I would recommend a car, and for four or more a van. The ones we used were all Mercedes.
– I found the dust and fumes gave me an allergic reaction after few days. I bought a nasal spray at a pharmacy – about $10 – and rested for a day – and I recovered and carried on. I hate taking medicine, but in this case it was better to do so. I only needed it five times.
– You can see my blog from our visit to Siem Reap three years ago.
– V & A is a very pleasant hotel, with pool, library, decent sized rooms, common area to chat to other guests, and importantly Andy, who will take care of any arrangements you need. It is a few minutes from the centre – you still pay the same for a tuk tuk to anywhere – but the air is cleaner than in the town centre. There are a few restaurants and coffee shops within a few minutes walk, too, on the main road. You also have an unlimited free supply of drinking water, which as you know will save so much trouble buying water every day – plus not throwing away huge numbers of plastic bottles.
– As usual with all my blogs I earn no money or freebies from my blog, and I never have. The aim was to make it very easy for you by giving my specific experience.