Back from a 5 Days 4 Nights trip to Cambodia, which bae and I visited Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. We were blessed with good weather (not much sun, mostly cloudy with drizzle/rain in the evenings). I would say this is one of the most relaxing trips that I had in a while.
I booked SilkAir (via SQ) and got it at a very good deal of SGD235.40 for 2 pax. We flew in from Siem Reap and out from Phnom Penh. We have been talking about exploring Cambodia for close to 2 years but were always deterred by the pricey air tickets. For e.g 2 months before the departure date, the price can go as high as $800 per pax for direct flight. So this time, I booked it around 5-6 months in advance and got it at a good rate. So I would recommend to book your flights way ahead.
We stayed at Tara Angkor Hotel at SGD78.19 for 2 nights. It’s spacious and clean; only a 5-mins ride away from Ang Kor Wat and Pub Street.
AT Phnom Penh, we stayed at Aquarius Hotel & Urban Resort at SGD112.90 for 2 nights. It’s a boutique hotel and tucked away from the bustle and hustle of the city. Its infinity pool is the main factor that everyone is staying here. Simply wow-ed and blown away by their rooftop infinity pool. I’ll blog a separate post on Phnom Penh.
If you are heading there, you just need to change to USD. I’ll doubt you can find Khmer notes in our local banks. Almost all the places in Cambodia state their price in USD and they will give you Khmer notes for small change.
Transport and Getting Around
Grab Tuk Tuk is the way to go. Get ready your Grab app and enjoy booking your ride. If not, there’s plenty of Tuk Tuk drivers around all the touristy places and you can find them easily. The average price per ride would be USD3 from our hotel to pub street; USD5 to Angkor Wat.
We spent a total of SGD1000 (for both of us) for 5 days in Cambodia which included food, drinks, massage, transport within Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, 1-way transfer from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh.
Total estimated expenditure for 2 pax = SGD235.40 + SGD78.19 + SGD112.90 + SGD1000 = SGD1426.49 (SGD713 per pax)
Siem Reap is the gateway to the ruins of AngKor, where you will find yourself temple-hop to several temples within a day or even days. Some of the more well-known ones are Ang Kor Wat, Bayon Temple, Ta Prohm (aka Tomb Raider Temple), Banteay Srei and we found a cool one named Pre Rup.
On the first day, we touched down around late afternoon and headed straight to Pub Street for massage and dinner. We headed for a good massage at Lemongrass Garden at Pub Street and enjoyed our 90 mins oil massage.
We then went to Khmer Family Restaurant (beside The Red Piano) and had our first taste of Khmer food. I really love their Fish Amok, which is a classic Khmer dish in which this steamed fish curry is served in banana leaf with coconut cream. Their pumpkin custard or Sangkhya Lapov in Khmer was served as dessert. I wonder if there’s any decent and authentic Khmer food served in Singapore though.
And then it started to pour; we had to make a dash to The Red Piano beside it and ordered the famous Tomb Raider Cocktail. It was light and tangy; a great way to end the bustling night at Pub Street.
On the very next day, we met up with our private driver that we had booked via Klook (8 hours private charter). Firstly, we would need to get the Angkor Archaeological Park at USD37 per pax for one day pass. The price has increased dramatically from last year so it would be good to visit this place soon.
Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and is listed as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. I have seen so many photos of it online and finally had the chance to see it with my own eyes. I have to say it looks somewhat different from those beautified photos you usually see online but nonetheless, it’s still a sight to behold.
We reached Angkor Wat around 830am and the place was swarmed with throngs of tour groups. The original path was under renovation and we strode towards the entrance on a floating, temporary platform. I would recommend you to wear normal running shoes or at least a pair of covered shoes. It was muddy water everywhere so if you wear your new pair of white shoes there, you will probably have to throw it away.
Next stop, we headed over to Bayon Temple. It is a richly decorated temple and is also known as temple with mysterious face stone towers.
Thereafter, we headed nearby for a Khmer lunch cuisine at Sala Russey Restaurant. It’s beautifully decorated and clean. We had a sumptuous lunch and I would say Sala Russey is a must-visit for lunch in Angkor Wat.
Ta Prohm (Tomb Raider Temple)
This place was probably made famous by Angelina Jolie in her role as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider movie. And so I got ready with my tomb raider braid as well. 😀
Everyone is waiting for the photo op at the tree roots spot.
We then headed to Banteay Srei which was a 30-min ride away. It’s less crowded and we took our time to fully explore the place and had the luxury of time to take some photos as well.
We chanced upon Pre Rup on our way to Banteay Srei and we stopped over to explore it. It is a mountain temple with huge towers at the entrance and looking at the stairs up, I couldn’t resist skipping this. It wasn’t part of the plan and glad that I climbed all the way up to enjoy the view in full glory. This is probably one of my faves.
Our last stop was Phnom Bakheng and the hike up was tiring and took us 20 mins. Upon reaching, we still had to climb a steep flight of stairs, all the way up to see the sunset view. But we left after a while as it was mostly cloudy and we didn’t want to jostle our way down with the heaps of tourists there.
On our way down, we chanced upon these elephants which actually offered rides up the Bakheng Hill.
Miss Wong Cocktail Bar
For dinner, we headed to Miss Wong Cocktail Bar, which is an intimate cocktail lounge located down a hidden alley. Thier dim sum was really good and I miss their chicken broth (hotpot) already.
On our last day in Siem Reap, we finally manage to book a 10-min ride on Angkor Balloon. It is a tethered ride and it offers a panoramic view of Angkor Wat and its surroundings. I would advise to call in advance for booking as we were disappointed to know that it didn’t fly for most afternoons when we went there on second day. So morning ride worked. It cost around USD15 per pax but for that 10 mins, I would say it’s worth it. 🙂
We then ended our stay in Siem Reap with lunch at Sister Srey Cafe and some last-min shopping at Pub Street. It’s 100% vegan cafe and it is a social enterprise that helps the Khmer community. They support Khmer students and even their staff for education, and aims to make a sustainable impact to the environment.
So that’s a wrap to our adventures in Siem Reap. Stay tuned for Phnom Penh updates soon!