I'm going to be in SE Asia for about 8 weeks and wanted to make a trip to see Angkor Wat. I didnt want to spend too much time getting there. What would you suggest the best way to get there - flight from BKK? Any other tips ie where to stay/eat would be appreciated!
Cheers - Jamil
Once you're in BKK you're close. The quickest and easiest would be to fly direct from BKK to Siem Reap (or if necessary via Phnom Penn). Then just hangout for a while and check out all the temples (its a large area not just a temple or two).
Can't recommend any places to stay because I was there over 10 years ago, but I can tell you its an amazing place.
Remember to follow the crowds around sunset and climp up a hill to watch the sun set over the main temple complex and to see the panarama. Enjoy!
Dead Fish Cafe has okay food and an interesting atmosphere, you can see free apsara dancing there.
My boyfriend and I wanted to eat somewhere nice and went by the Rough Guide, they recommended the Bayon (I think). We had this great chicken coconut curry but the highlight was this beef dish that they cooked at your table over charcoal. It was fantastic!
The Red Piano is always busy but we didn't go in, we much preferred the 'Balcony' across the road. They do nice 'western' breakfasts, (good for when you're craving muesli) and some nice Cambodian dishes too, but the best thing is the relaxed atmosphere.
I would recommend going to some of the fruit stalls and trying the tropical fruits, we really enjoyed the dragon fruit.
One other thing... there are a lot of beggars around the temples and lots of people selling things. Some people are incredibly poor, others not so much. We gave money to some of the saddest cases, but it really wears you down after awhile (and your wallet - most people ask for $US1 a time, and if you gave to everyone...). We found a way to get around this was to buy longans, rambutans etc. and when we saw kids begging we gave them the fruit. Most seemed very satisfied with this. It made us feel like we were giving something at least.... I don't know if everyone else is going to think I'm a horrible westerner now... I don't know the political correctness of this...
One little suggestion, if you're flying into Siem Reap and don't have any accommodation booked beware of the taxi drivers!! we got into Siem Reap thinking we'd take our time and look at a few guesthouses only to be driven around to several different guesthouses, none of which were particularly our taste!!
In the end we settled on one of them as the taxi driver wouldn't take no for an answer, nor would the man who ran the guesthouse! We were only there for 3 nights so it didn't really matter and we were out at the temples during the day and out for dinner during the night.
I can't remember the name of the guesthouse (I think I've blocked it from my memory!) but would never recommend it to anyone.
Have fun! The temples are beyond words. Make sure you make the effort to got to Angkor Wat for sunrise. There's a lot of people there, but it's just amazing. One of the most awe inspiring experiences I've ever had! Couldn't believe I was there to witness it!
I stayed at the Garden Village guesthouse which was lovely. the rooms were cool and they had a rooftop bar where you get a perfect view of the sunset, and the rooms are relatively cheap. I cant remember exctly where it was, but it is near to all of the main bars and there's a few really cheap restaurants at the top of the raod that do really good food.
If you pay for your ticket for the next day at about half four then you're allowed into the historical park that evening to see the sunset as well as the next day. getting up to see sunrise is worth it, if nothing else so that you can make it round the temples before it gets too hot and too many tourists arrive.
Have fun and make sure your camera is fully charged!