Many Westerners (like the extreme sports and the sporty type) prefer to go around the angkor archeological park on a multi day tour just to bike around and take their time to see the temples around. Bicycles are available for rent in Siem Reap area.
Since Cambodia is still a struggling third world country, not many people even own motorcycles but most cambodians own and use bicycles. You can even rent bicycles at many areas around Siem Reap as there are Bicycles For Hire Companies that rent them for tourists. You can even go to Angkor Wat using bicycles! but you must have a good stamina and lower body strength for that. If you see several bicycles lined up by the street or at major roads like National Road 6 or Sivurtha Boulevard or Pokambor Avenue, you can be sure they are for rent. The Bicycle Rental rates ranges from $2-3 per day, and choices vary, from a proper mountain bike with speeds, to the regular cruising bikes. They will also give you the bike lock when you rent, so you can wander around without worrying about the bike.
the cambodian version of a tuk tuk is like a motorcyle with a carriage like trailer that is attached to the rear end of the motorcycle. It can be quite a bumpy ride in these tuk tuks but it is the main mode of transport around the siem reap area and to the Angkor Complex. There are always a few tuk tuks waiting in front of hotels, guest houses, restaurants or tourist attractions like in Pub Street. Most of the drivers speak a little bit of English. tuk tuk prices depend on duration, on distance, the number of passengers and on the time of day. A short trip in town costs foreigners between US$ 2 to 5, depending or your haggling skills, a full day hire to the temples of Angkor average US$ 20 to 25 plus additional surcharge for temples off the main complex.
Many people use the tuk tuks as a cheaper alternative in touring the angkor complex rather than booking a tour package.
OK, so the temples of Angkor cover a vast area of some 400 square kilometres. So what's the best way of getting around to see them? Well I first bought a 3-day pass for $40 so I had enough time to see the majority of them and certainly the most important and well known of them plus some a little further away. This is what I did:
Day 1: I hired a bicycle from a place just down the road from where I stayed in Siem Reap and cycled all the way to the entrance gate that's located along the main road that leads from the town to Angkor Wat. I then got my pass and cycled up to Angkor Wat which is about 6km from Siem Reap, so bear this in mind. After visiting this, I then cycled north and into Angkor Thom and cycled around this in order to see the Bayan temple, Baphuon Temple, Elephant Terrace, entrance gates, and finally Preah Khan which is just outside the northern gate of Angkor Thom. I then cycled back in the early evening when it was getting dark. This is quite a tuff days sightseeing by bike but I managed to do it and I'm hardly Lance Armstrong!
Day 2: I hired a tuk-tuk driver from my hotel in order to visit the temple to the east of Angkor Thom which included Pre Rup, Banteay Kdei, Ta Prohm (where parts of the Tomb Raider film were shot), Ta Keo, and a couple just outside the eastern gate. This cost me $15.
Day 3: I hired the same tuk-tuk driver and first visited the Roluos Group of temples which are located about 13km east of Siem Reap. I then got the driver the take me all the way north so that I could visit Banteay Srey and Banteay Samre which are located a fair way northeast of Angkor Wat. This cost me $30.
If you want to visit the Angkor Monuments, the best and cheapest way is by the local Tuk Tuk (carriages pulled by motorcycles). The official Tuk Tuk drivers will wear a vest with their numbers stated at the back of the vest, so this is controlled and safe.
Usually, the driver will charge by per Tuk Tuk per day, and each Tuk Tuk can take about 3 persons to be comfortable. The cost per day is quite affordable (see below), and the driver will send you to each of the monuments of your choice, wait for you to hop-on and going to the next monument and so-on. This is a very flexible way to get around, and it is a very good and relaxing experience.
When I was there in November 2009, my Tuk Tuk driver was Mr Heanh (see photos). He is a nice and honest person who speaks English, experienced and will guide you to the major monuments. If you are interested, you can contact Mr Heanh when you are in Siem Reap. His contact number is tel: 092-835-719 and his Tuk Tuk number is S20 (unfortunately, he does not have an email address). His charges per day is as follows:
- US$15 for Angkor Wat, Angkor Thum City and nearby monuments such as Ta Prohm, Ta Keo.
- US$20 for the above monuments, plus those in the Grand Circuit such as Sras Srang, Pre Rup, East Mebon, Ta Som, Neak Pean & Preah Khan.
- US$25 for further away monuments such as Banteay Srei (about 40km away).
Please note that the above rates does not include a guide. Mr Heanh will only tell you basic information e.g. names of the monuments and which era they were built. If you hire a guide (which I did not), I was told it is about US$40 per day. There are various guides who can speak various languages very fluently!
due to the favorable responses to my beijing taxi driver tip, i'm posting the contact details of my very helpful, friendly, and english-speaking tuktuk driver.
his name is SOVANNE and he was very accommodating, making sure i got to see everything i needed to see no matter how much time it took (i've been known to sit in total awe of an architectural landmark for hours).
just email him if you want him to drive you around all the temples, you guys can discuss an itinerary and negotiate costs. say miko, his friend from the philippines, referred you.
Bycle renting is the least expensive and the most popular for budget traveler. Only US$1.00 for a day.
If you intend to stay here for weeks, you can negociate to rent for US$5.00 for at least 2 weeks.
The best way to move around the temples is renting a motorbike with driver. You can do si asking to any motodriver who passes by on the street. Most of them have this job as an extra income, as the 6 USD they charge for a day is a small fortune for them, they wouldn't earn this in other jobs.
They will propose a route if you don't have preferences, take you there, and wait at the entrance till you finish the visit. Take your time, they have nothing to do!
Motorcycles are easily rented with or without driver in Seim Reap. Prices will depend on the driver and whether or not you want guided information and your bargaining skills. ($5-$8 per day in 2002) Make sure you make your destinations or approximate destinations known to the driver so you don't have any problems when it comes time to pay. And always pay at the end of the day, not in the morning!! Your driver may disappear! LOL They will pick you up at 5:30 am if you want. That's what we did as we wanted to see the sunrise at a different spot each day.
Along the way you will experience lot's of local life!
This is for the backpack who visit Angkor area for months, since you have time there, you can walk to explore Angkor Wat and Angkor Thum area.
I'm glad we did the motorcycle type tour around Angkor. It was a very flexible and inexpensive way to get around. My son really enjoyed it too.