Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Travel tips when visiting Siem Reap as a tourist #ThrowbackTravel

[NOTE: This was a 5-day trip three years ago] As Philippine passport holders who are traveling to Siem Reap for the first time, my partner and I made sure to prepare for our trip by learning about the country, to best be acquainted with their rules and traditions. 

Siem Reap Angkor Wat Budget Biyahera

Do you need a visa to enter the Kingdom of Cambodia? 

While there are visa exemptions for ASEAN countries (e.g. Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), most nationalities will need to acquire a visa before entering the Kingdom of Cambodia. 

Tourist visa's in Cambodia are for single entry only (valid for 30-day stay), which costs $30, plus an additional $6 (processing charge). The visa can be used within 3 months starting from the date of issue. 

Other requirements:

1. Passport (should be valid for 6 months or more)
2. Recent passport-size photo (in digital format)
3. Credit card (Visa/Mastercard)

MORE VISA INFORMATION HERE.

How to travel from the Siem Reap International Airport to the town center

Our flight from Manila to Siem Reap only took 2 hours. Good thing, we were able to pass through immigration right away, which gave us immediate passage to the city. What's more, our ride from the hotel was already waiting for us outside.

How to travel from Siem Reap International Airport to Town Center

TIP: If you have no prior travel arrangements, getting out of the airport is still doable. You can hire the cabs, Tuk-Tuks or Motodups (also known as a motorcycle taxi) parked nearby. Just visit the ticket desk right outside the terminal doors to secure a ride. 

NOTE: Rates as of May 2015 - There are different fees when leaving the airport to the town center. You can allot US$ 7 for a cab, US$ 5 for a Tuk-Tuk or US$ 2 for a Motodup. If you also want to explore the town center (DIY-style) and save on pricey tour fees, hire a Tuk-Tuk to take you around (one-way rate is only $2 USD). 

Siem Reap Motodup or Motorcycle Taxi
The famous Motodup or Motorcycle Taxi
Entrance fees to the Angkor Archaeological Park 

We were able to work around our budget (travel fund) knowing beforehand the park admission rates for Siem Reap's temples. We planned on seeing as many as we could, so we got the 3-day pass. Below are the following rates (as of February 1st, 2017):

1. 1-day pass – US$ 37
2. 3-day pass – US$ 62 (valid for 10 days from the issue date)
3. 7-day pass – US$ 72 (valid for 1 month from the issue date) 

NOTE: Three years ago, we availed of our temple tours from our hotel. We were billed US$ 15 for the Small Grand Tour Circuit and US$ 28 for the Grand Tour Circuit with a side trip to Banteay Srei (already good for two people). We also paid US$ 40 each for our 3-day admission pass.

Old Angkor Archaeological Park Admission pass rates
Old rates from 3 years ago (May 2015). Check info above for updated fees.

Other activities aside from temple-hopping in Siem Reap

The best thing about Siem Reap is that most affordable hotels come with free access to a swimming pool. You'll want to book a place that has a pool, especially after temple-hopping all day. But if your hotel doesn't have a pool, then no worries. You can always hang out at the Old Market. 

You will find a lot of interesting places along the Old Market area (also known as Phsar Chas) like Pub Street for example. And if you explore further, you'll also discover the night markets in the neighborhood. Here, you can get a wide range of souvenirs like paintings, clothes, and handicrafts. 

Interesting things to buy in Siem Reap

We had a lot of fun in Pub Street, as it was a vibrant and dynamic place, especially at night. We got lost in its alleyways several times. But that never worried us because we would always end up in a place filled with entertaining spaces. Apart from that, Pub Street is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. We loved hanging out at Beatnik, an American style retro bar and grill that has vintage decor and cool music. We only had to spend US$ 10 for a pitcher of beer and some fries on the side. 

What else is there after temple-hopping and shopping?

There are several other activities that you can do like go bird-watching or try joining cooking classes and.or food tours (this is ideal if you're interested in learning Cambodian cuisine). You can also visit nearby museums, pagodas, and shrines to know more about the country’s rich culture (an Apsara dance performance is a must-see), heritage and traditions. 

Apsara Dance Performance in Siem Reap

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

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