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    Maps of Angkor Archeological Park

    by machomikemd Written Jun 26, 2012

    Favorite thing: there are many ways of having a complete map of the Angkor Archeological Park, first is to download the maps via your smartphone (if you have one) for free at the wifi areas of your hotel. the second option is to get the assorted free tourist guides and brochures at Siem Reap as they will have pull out maps and even 3d maps of the angkor archeological park. Third option is by getting the free brochures at the ticket booths at the Entrance to the Angkor Archeological Park which have the maps, fourth option is by just relying on your tuk tuk driver (if you are backpacking) or your tour guide ( if you are with a tour package) as a human map around. the last option is to see the assorted guided maps that you see at several areas around the Angkor Complex.

    Fondest memory: there are many options to get the maps and all of them are free! you don't need to buy an angkor guidebook!

    free maps at entrance ticket booths maps aroud the angkor complex a 3d map more maps around angkor complex free maps at hotel
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    Roads inside Angkor Archeological Park

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 26, 2012

    Favorite thing: the roads inside this huge complex is a patch work of well paved roads, semi paved roads, dusty roads (i mean no asphalt, just bare earth and becomes muddy at the rainy season) roads and some jungle trails. The ride inside the complex will be bumpy specially if you are riding a tuk tuk around the area and is less bumpy if you are riding the bigger tour buses or a comfy private tour car. This patchwork of roads will not be a problem during the dry season months of november to may but will be a problem during the wet season months of may to october! (think really thick mud while walking in the rain, you need combat boots to go around instead of rubber shoes or flip flops). If is better to time your visit during the summer months to avoid the muddy contagion.

    Fondest memory: the mish mash kind of roads in the Angkor Archeological Park area.

    well paved road dusty road well paved road jungle trail mixed paved and dusty roads
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    Mobile Phone Roaming in Siem Reap

    by machomikemd Written Jun 24, 2012

    Favorite thing: like in the rest of asia, oceania and europe, Cambodia is using the GSM Platform and they use the GSM frequencies of 900/1800 mhz (North America uses 850 and 1850 mhz. Japan and Korea uses the 2100 mhz). you need a quad band or tri band GSM phone if coming from america and just a dual band GSM phone from europe and asia while you need to buy GSM phone or a combination of WCDMA/GSM phone if coming from Japan or Korea).

    If you plan to stay for more than 4 days and love to call your love ones frequently, then just buy a prepaid SIM card and prepaid load cards as the international call rates of the mobile phone companies here is cheaper at $ 0.20 per minute while the roaming rates of your local phone operator from vour country will cost $ 2 to 4 per minute!

    Fondest memory: prepaid sim cards are available in the mobile phone shops around siem reap and at the airport as well as the prepaid load cards.

    you don't need roaming internet since most of the commercial establishment here have free wifi service to customers.

    using sms texting roaming free wifi in most establishments buy prepaid sim cards at mobile phone company shop
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    Khmer Traditional Apsara Dance

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 23, 2012

    Favorite thing: Apsara Dances are fairly common in the middle ages at the predominantly hindu-buddhist syncretism countries of South East Asia during that time like in the Madjapahit Empire in Indonesia, Sri-Vijaya Empire in Indonesia and parts of the southern philippines, Champa (central vietnam), Shan States (Burma), Lanna (northern Thailand), Champasak (modern day Laos), Siam, The Malayan States, Parts of Southern China, and at the Angkorian Empire.

    according to Wikipedia:

    Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They are often the wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra. They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. As caretakers of fallen heroes, they may be compared to the valkyries of Norse mythology. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels.

    Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling. Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha and Tilottama are the most famous among them. Apsaras are sometimes compared to the muses of ancient Greece, with each of the 26 Apsaras at Indra's court representing a distinct aspect of the performing arts. Apsaras are associated with water; thus, they may be compared to the nymphs, dryads and naiads of ancient Greece. They are associated with fertility rites.

    There are two types of Apsaras; Laukika (worldly), of whom thirty-four are specified, and Daivika (divine), of which there are ten.

    Fondest memory: But the most Popular Apsara Dances at present is the Traditional Khmer Apsara Dance (called Robam Tep Apsara), which was a lost art during the dark ages of Cambodia where it was then a vassal state of Vietnam and Siam. Then Cambodian Queen, Sissowath Kossamak in the 1940's decided to recreate the lost Khmer art of Robam Tep Apsara, which has Bas Reliefs at Angkor Wat and she ordered her grand daughter, Princess Norodom Buppha Devi, a daughter of Norodom Sihanouk, to become the first professional apsara dancer of the modern era and like they say, the rest is history!

    The popularity of the Khmer Apsara Dance boomed in Popularity and is now a regular feature in visiting Siem Reap. There are now many Apsara Dance Dinner Shows offered around the Siem Reap Area.

    I will do separate things to do tips on particular apsara dances.

    apsara dance 2 apsara bas reliefs at Angkor Wat pose at Apsara Bas Reliefs at Angkor Wat the Accompanying Musical Crew Apsara dance 1
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    Pub Street: Party Place for Tourists

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 22, 2012

    Favorite thing: You Rarely see local Cambodians Flocking to Pub Street except the workers of the commercial establishments there. Why? since eating and dining and partying in the area will cost a fortune by Cambodian standards but for rich asian tourists like the taiwanese, koreans, japanese plus the western backpackers and rich dudes (mostly australian, new zealanders, some Canadians, Americans and more Europeans, the cost of $ 2.50 for a small bottle of beer is relatively cheap. hey it costs $ 8 a bottle of beer in bars in the US Mainland and $ 10 a bottle in Glitzy Singapore and $ 10 in Japan! So you would see that the crowd here is mostly western caucasians with a smattering of Asians .

    Fondest memory: Pub Street is aimed directly at western tourists and rich asian tourists as well (like the japanese, koreans, taiwanese) so don’t go there expecting a genuine Cambodian experience.

    Pub Street is open at 6:00 am to 12:00 am for most establishments but the real action starts at 5:00 pm onwards

    most are white dudes along pub street lots of white dudes dancing walking
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    Deeply Religious People

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 22, 2012

    Favorite thing: Cambodians are a deeply religious people and they follow theravada buddhism (the lesser vehicle) which is similar to the buddhism of Thailand, Laos and Burma with a little syncretism with shaivite hinduism since many still honor shiva and vishnu and ganesha, which are hindu deities. You will see many mini shrines in front of local cambodian homes here at siem reap and even at many commercial establishments around the siem reap area and you can see these mini shrines even at hotel lobbies too. You would see buddhist monks every morning with their big bowls, asking for food from the devotees (they even have western monks nowadays, see my pictures) since buddhist monks are not allowed to kill any living being for food (even plants).

    Fondest memory: the deep religiousity of the Cambodian People

    Buddhist Statue at the Top Most Wat of Angkor Wat Shiva Hindu Statue at the Entrance to Angkor Wat Buddhist Statue at Bayon in Angkor Thom a western buddhist monk asking for food more buddhist deities at the top of Angkor Wat
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    Similar Items in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand!

    by machomikemd Written Jun 21, 2012

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: One thing that I've noticed while travelling in these three countries is that they have the tendency to sell quite a number of same or similar items like assorted silk related products like silk bags, silk shirts, silk ties and a lot of other items that are not made of silk like lacquer ware, table linens, table cloth, bed linens and more. They practically have the same design patterns and weavings in the items and you would notice it more so at the silk bags (see my pictures of them from chatuchak market in Bangkok, benh thanh market in saigon and here at the old market in Siem Reap). Which leads to the question of who mass produces these stuffs? is it thailand or vietnam or cambodia and they just shipped them to the other countries who buy them whole sale for sale to willing tourists like us.

    The Silk Bags will cost $ 10 if you know how to haggle here at Old Market, will cost about the same at Benh Thanh Market in Saigon and again at the Chatuchak Market in Bangkok.

    Fondest memory: many similar items for sale in these countries.

    Central Market, Siem Reap, Cambodia Chatuchak Market, Bangkok Thailand Benh Thanh Market, Saigon, Vietnam same designs again same designs
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    Siem Reap Guides 2

    by machomikemd Written Jun 21, 2012

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    Favorite thing: PART TWO of my Siem Reap Guides tip with more pictures of the sample siem reap brochures and guide!

    Like what I've said, if you want a good guide on Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat Complex, you can get your tips here at Virtual Tourist and at other websites like Trip Advisor (Sister Company), Four Square, Wikitravel, Wikipedia, etc and you can download these Guides on your net book or lap top or SMART PHONES (I Phone, Android Powered Phone like HTC, Samsung, Sony, Cherry Mobile, etc) before you go to Siem reap or just download the guides and tips while at Siem Reap by getting FREE WIFI at the many hotels, restaurants, bars, convenience stores, massage parlors (decent ones) and more, Without breaking the bank at Roaming Data Charges of your local phone operator since the WIFI is FREE!

    Fondest memory: your other bet of getting a Siem Reap Guide is by getting the assorted free brochures, free pocket books, guides, foldable brochures of anything that is Happening in Siem Reap since there are Gazilions of Siem Reap Guides, published free by both locals and foreign expatriates in Siem Reap and these Guides ARE FREE! you can get them anywhere! at the Airport, Hotels, Tour Companies, Bars, Pub Street, Restaurants and more.

    Siem Reap Where to Go Guide siem reap drinking and dining guide many free guides at the airport
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    Siem Reap Guides 1

    by machomikemd Written Jun 21, 2012

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: this will be a two part tip with more pictures of the sample siem reap brochures and guide!

    Like what I've said, if you want a good guide on Siem Reap and the Angkor Wat Complex, you can get your tips here at Virtual Tourist and at other websites like Trip Advisor (Sister Company), Four Square, Wikitravel, Wikipedia, etc and you can download these Guides on your net book or lap top or SMART PHONES (I Phone, Android Powered Phone like HTC, Samsung, Sony, Cherry Mobile, etc) before you go to Siem reap or just download the guides and tips while at Siem Reap by getting FREE WIFI at the many hotels, restaurants, bars, convenience stores, massage parlors (decent ones) and more, Without breaking the bank at Roaming Data Charges of your local phone operator since the WIFI is FREE!

    Fondest memory: your other bet of getting a Siem Reap Guide is by getting the assorted free brochures, free pocket books, guides, foldable brochures of anything that is Happening in Siem Reap since there are Gazilions of Siem Reap Guides, published free by both locals and foreign expatriates in Siem Reap and these Guides ARE FREE! you can get them anywhere! at the Airport, Hotels, Tour Companies, Bars, Pub Street, Restaurants and more.

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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Siem Reap and Angkor Complex Maps

    by machomikemd Written Jun 21, 2012

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: YOU don't need to buy a map of Siem Reap or the Huge Angkor Complex when in the area because of Technology! Most establishments in Siem Reap like hotels, Restaurants, Bars and even some convenience store offer free WIFI service so that you just need to download a google map of Siem Reap and Angkor Complex on your I Phone 4S or Android Powered Phones for free and viola! free maps with driving and walking directions included plus the distance to the bars, restaurants, hotels, etc with the assorted reviews on it like here at VT or at Trip Advisor or at Four Square or Facebook.

    Fondest memory: ANOTHER OPTION, without even spending even a penny for a map, is getting the free brochures about Siem Reap and Angkor Complex which are free and available at the Airport or at Major Hotel Lobbies and Establishment around Siem Reap which have Foldable Maps of the area and and the accompanying commercials on the commercial establishments of the area.

    nice maps of siem reap maps of the angkor complex 3d maps ok more 3d maps
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    Tour Companies

    by machomikemd Written Jun 20, 2012

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: there are gazilions of Tour Companies that offer assorted Tours with Siem Reap as the Starting Point. The Most Popular would be a day tour or a multi day tour of the Angkor Complex and the Tonle Sap Lake with visits to Chnong Keas floating Village or Kampong Pluk. They also offer tours to Sihanoukville in the South and for Phnom Penh and on the far Angkorian Temples like Preah Vihear, etc. There are many more tour choices with different prices! The assorted tour companies offer all kinds of tours for all kinds of budgets. But for Backpackers, nothing beats touring around in a tuk tuk or in a moto for maximum savings for the buck.

    Among the many tour companies, we book one of them, the ATK tours (Angkor Travel and Tours) and their office at Siem Reap is located at:

    #117, Street 6, Salakanseng, Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap, kingdom of Cambodia.
    Tel nos: +855 63 963 320
    fax: +855 63 963 620

    Fondest memory: The ATK Tours Personalized Service with own tour guide and driver and private car is the best as you may knwo by now that I'm no cheapskate and no backpacker when it comes to travel.

    many tour companies in siem reap our tour company in siem reap me with the tour guide our private tour car pose with tour guide and driver
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    Not Too Tall Buildings in Siem Reap

    by machomikemd Written Jun 20, 2012

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    Favorite thing: Once you see siem reap from the air while the plane is arriving at the Siem Reap International Airport, you would notice that the buidlings around the area are not tall and when travelling around siem reap, you would see that this is the case. WHY? because the Officials of Siem Reap Decreed that Buildings in Siem Reap must not surpass the Angkor Wat Tallest Pagoda! the main Wat or Pagoda of the Angkor Wat Stands at 65 meters tall ( 212 feet) and hence, the tallest buildings in Siem Reap are not above that height and most buildings are only up to 5 or 6 storeys high. That is the reason why the Views around Siem Reap is relatively flat, with no structures or building standing at more than 65 meters or taller.

    Fondest memory: siem reap has a relatively flat architecture in all areas.

    structures at short height relatively flat area not tall mall not taller than angkor wat
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    Money Exchange Shops

    by machomikemd Written Jun 20, 2012

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    Favorite thing: actually, you don't need to go to any money exchange shops around Siem Reap if you are holding US Dollars in your wallet since they accept US Dollars as the unofficial Currency of Siem Reap that even tuk tuk drivers, sidewalk vendors and market vendors uses the US Dollars. If you are short of US Dollars of have other currencies like the EURO or the Australian Dollar or the Canadian looney or the Swiss Franc, etc. you can change these currencies at the different money exchange shops around siem reap, particularly at the airport, old market, central market, old french quarter, sivutha boulevard areas. be sure to check the exchange rates as some of these shops have a 3% commision charge included in the exchange rate.

    A TIP: if you have an International ATM Card with you, just withdraw at the ATM Machines around Siem Reap since they dispense in US Dollars so that you don't need to go to the money exchange shops.

    Fondest memory: 1 US Dollar: 4,107 Camdodian Riel

    a money exchange shop exchange rates exchange rates in hotel lobby change into cambodian riel or change into US Dollars
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    ATM's in Siem Reap

    by machomikemd Written Jun 20, 2012

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: there are many Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in and around siem reap and these are mostly run by international banks that have branches in Cambodia like ANZ Royal Bank, Canadia Bank, UCB Bank and more and most of these ATM machines accept international ATM consortiums like CIRRUS, MAESTRO, PLUS, DISCOVER. The best deal here is that the ATM Machines in Siem Reap dispenses US DOLLARS instead of Cambodian Riel hence you don't need to convert your currency since the US Dollar is the unofficial Currency of Siem Reap.

    A Caveat: if you withdraw from ATM's here, you will have a separate ATM banking charge of $ 3 from the local bank plus another $ 2 finance charge from your local bank. So when you withdraw money, be sure to withdraw more than $ 100 and not just $ 20 so that the charges will not bite into your budget that much.

    Fondest memory: Several ATM's in Siem Reap that Dispenses money ins US DOLLARS!

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    Cambodian Cigarettes

    by machomikemd Updated Jun 20, 2012

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Locally Made Cambodian Cigarettes are dirt Cheap! Why? because the fertile Cambodian region is not only home of the rice fields but also the Virginia and Burley Tobacco Leaves! the grow tobacco leaves side by side in the north and north east of cambodia hence the cigarettes here are very cheap since they are locally made. You can find cigarettes everywhere, from street corners, sidewalks, convenience stores, at the markets and more. They have many local cigarette brands that are both locally owned and owned by the British American Tobacco Company (BAT) and they go by names like Angkor or Liberation Cigarettes and they are really cheap in that they sell for only 1,000 Cambodian Riel ($ 0.25 cents) for a 20 piece pack of the local brands at the sidewalk cigarette stands.

    Fondest memory: Imported Cigarettes like Mild 7 or Marlboros will cost 6,000 Cambodian Riel ($ 1.50) a pack, still way cheaper than buying it at other countries.

    buying the local cigarettes more cigarettes lots of cheap cigarettes a sample made by the British American Tobacco
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