Tuk-Tuk Drivers and Tour Guides
Based on recommendations here on VT, I planned our trip to Siem Reap with intentions to 'try' out the favorite Tour Guides and Tuktuk drivers. I've settled on 2 people I want to highly recommend.
He's a tour guide you can book for your visits to the temples. Speaks english well. Very friendly and helpful. Hand him your camera, and he'll take the best photos. He was able to explain things so well that I actually REMEMBERED everything he's shared. (without writing anything down). With his stories, we were able to identify statues and carvings on our own. We booked him for a day, to go visit the waterfalls, 1000 Lingas and Bantay Srei on our first day. And we totally think he's worth it. You may contact him on his mobile numbers 012369112 and 016903112. He's a colleague of SAM PHO who has been highly recommended but disappointed us-- I was emailing him back and forth, getting responses and assurances only to find out AFTER I asked him point blank "You'll be our guide, yes?" only to be told he was already booked and he was passing us on to his coworker. Well, he gave us to Chet and we're very happy about it. I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY (did I forget to say HIGHLY?) recommend Mr. Chet. :)
I want to call him the Filipino's driver to Siem Reap. No. He's not Filipino. BUT he's beloved by a lot of us. His very own tuktuk was given to him by a couple from Mindanao who loved his services so much that they gave him his source of livelihood (he used to rent a tuktuk to earn a living). Da goes around wearing a baseball cap with the Philippine islands embroidered on the front. One, he's friendly. Two, he speaks better English than most tour guides I've seen and heard. Three, he provided us with cold water. He has a little cooler on his tuk. And lastly, he knows where to take you and MOST IMPORTANTLY, he knows WHEN to take you (to avoid the crowds). You may email him at maoda (at) live (dot) com. Mind you, he's only a tuktuk driver-- I'd say a perfect combination would be to get Chet and Da.
If you do get them... please say The Pandas recommended them (AJ and Margaret). :D Tell them hi and send our love pls.
Here's the thing:
I recommend, from personal experience, if you're not a physically fit (meaning, ready to sweat it out in hiking boots and go climbing mountains and boulders for fun) that you take an airconed vehicle to the out of the way places like Kulen mountain or 1000 lingas. You will KISS the person who invented airconditioning. The hike is no easy feat... it's really tiring. And entering a cool vehicle (where you can pass out and sleep on your way back to your hotel) is a blessing.
If you're just going to Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, Bayon, the terrace of the elephant and the Leper King... or even just go to Pub street... take a tuktuk. That is, IF the place where you live is NEAR pub street.
if you stay where we stayed which was The Siem Reap Hostel, you can definitely walk to Pub Street (trust me, I'm lazy and I could walk it). But to get to the temples, the tuktuk was fun, cheap and a breezy ride.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Tuk tuk to Beng Mealea
The first morning in Siem reap I woke up little too late for whole day bicycle ride for the grand circuit ,so I decide to go to Beng mealea first by tuk tuk.I asked price from hotel staff the night before and he offer some price that I can accept.I asked him to bring me Beng Mealea in the morning and the floating village in the afternoon ,he asked for 50$.It's fair price for both I think,because if some need to win the bargaining by trying to make the price way too low ,it's not fair for such poor people who earn for a living and probably he has to feed the whole family ...parents,wife ,kids ,uncle ,aunt and grand parents...(very similar life style to Thailand rural life).And this place is far, about 130km. round trip ,it took about 1 and half hour ride one way.So I negotiated only a bit and agree for both side with this price.He works for Makong boutique hotel with another tuk tuk.His name is Oan.After came back from Beng mealea it's very hot so he waited for us to have lunch at the hotel and rest a little bit in the room,then continue to floating village in late afternoon.Normally most tuk tuk driver will provide customer with nice cold bottle water to drink along the way ,you can confirm with them before ride.I bought some extra bottle for myself but along the way or at the site itself ..there are plenty of drink and food stalls.
Many tourists travel around to see Angor Wat and around by tuk tuk.It's a very good and convenience way to do.I'm doubting at the beginning if I'll do it that way or by bicycle.Finally I and my mate agree to do it with bicycle.It's very cheap to rent bicycle there.Most hotels provide some of them for rent.My hotel offer 1$ per day.There are many bicycle shop for rent,so.. shop around before decide cuz some of bicycle was not in good condition.Try them before you go cuz we have to ride it all day.Some shop offer one free bottle water as well.My hotel didn't offer any water but it doesn't matter much,we can buy cheap water any where.I chose a normal bicycle ,not a mountain bike(which cost more.. around 2-3 $) and I don't see why I shoud need a mountain bike cuz the route is flat.Try to ride it first cuz my mate got 2 bad condition one, first ..the chain came off twice during riding..they change to be anotherone which was mountain bike but very bad riding .Mine was perfect..can ride happily all day and not tired at all.It's only the intense heat during the day when you walk at the site that was the problem,so prepare yourself with some hat,sunblock, and drinking water.You'll be sweating a lot.Even I drank a lot already but still had bad headache cuz the heat was so tense this season(late Feb -late May) But when we ride ..it's not hot cuz the wind blow to our face ...it's quite enjoyable ride.The road condition are all paved in the total grand circuit.
From airport to town
Normally I supposed to be picked up by the hotel I booked, and before travelling I sent e-mail to confirm them already about my flight arrival time.,and they also confirmed that there will be someone waiting with my name on a card.And indeed there were many hotel staffs stand and wait for their customer EXCEPT mine.Not much surprised cuz already expect for something like this,that they won't show up.We waited for half hour and feel sure that nobody will show up.I asked some other hotel staff if anybody know this hotel.A korean lady who work as tour guide waiting for her clients tried to help us by calling to hotel and complaint for us,and they said they waited for 1 hour for me and now already went back.That's liar.It's a good start!!Then we decide to go by ourselves.Taxi price is 7$ and motorcycle is 2$ but when I asked about it,now no more motorcycle service.And finally that korean lady was kindly brought us to my hotel,how nice..
I booked flight and hotel through air asia that always have some nice promotion (AirAsiaGo.com.)I just tried to check what they offered and found that "flight plus hotel" was good deal so I took it.It's return ticket bangkok-siemreap (with seat booking) and 3 nights hotels.There are many hotels in the list that we can choose ,the price also shown,and it's up to you which hotel you'd like to stay.I chose Maekhong boutique hotel because of the good location and breakfast was included,plus free pick up from airport.Normally the price for flight return ticket is about 5,000 Bath( without hotel) But the one I booked was flight ticket and hotel , total price was 5,100 thai bath.The flight operate from Don meung airport departure around 19.50 bkk time and flight time to Siemriep is about 50 minutes.It's low lost airlines so there's no food service ,but you can buy it on board if you'd like.I chose seat number on web check-in and without knowing I got some kind of "hot seat" .I don't know what "hot seat" means, but look like something special.I can board the aircraft first almost like business class seat.It's about row 1-5.The airplane was quite full.
The best way to see Angkor Wat - by Tuk Tuk
The absolute best way to see Angkor Wat is to buy a multi day pass and hire a Tuk Tuk driver. Not only is it cheaper than a guide and a car, but you whip around faster and if you have a good driver, you can ask for him/her to stop at shops into which you need to go. I cannot recommend Nay Neang highly enough. I am a single lady and travel alone so Nay was perfect for me. He speaks excellent English. He was very helpful in arranging my multi day explorations of Angkor Wat. When I needed to buy a mouse pad and dental floss, off we went to the shops. When I needed to have my hair washed, he found me a good place. He can be hired by the day and where you go is up to you. For example, he took me to the Landmine Museum. On my final day, when I had to leave the hotel to board a cruise ship for Vietnam, there he was waiting to take me, although I had not booked him, thinking he would want an all day customer. He took me where I needed to go and would not accept a penny. A great guy.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
- Women's Travel
Life on the river near Siem Reap
Our journey started from our hotel in Siem Reap,from here we traveled by mini bus for about 30 minutes before reaching the river.Here we boarded our small boat which took us up the river for a trip which lasted about 3 hours.On the way we passed several fishermen waist deep in water using a weighted fishing net,many floating homes where families survive by fish and crocodile farming.Many of the people live on the riverbank in very basic homes made of wooden poles covered with plastic sheeting.
- Sailing and Boating
Vip Golden Bus Scam
Warning: Don't buy Sleeper Bus or VIP Bus tickets from Siem Reap to Bangkok! The company was called “Golden VIP Bus” I think.
Two days ago my wife and I bought tickets from Siem Reap to Bangkok on the “sleeper” night bus. We bought them from an agent near the night market. Last night we were picked up at 2 am from our hotel driven round and round Siem Reap picking up other passengers and then deposited near our hotel where we sat for an hour being bitten by mosquitos. Eventually a very uncomfortable bus with little leg room, dirty and with a cracked windscreen arrived. We were then old there was no sleeper bus. When we arrived at the Thai border which we had been told opened at 6 a.m we discovered it opened at 7 am. As we had been promised the bus would arrive at the Khao San Road at 10.30. a.m we were concerned.
At the frontier at 2.30 pm, we had to change buses – when we had been told the same bus would go straight through to Bangkok.
Worse was to come. There was no bus to meet us on the Thai side. We waited with 8 other cheated passengers until 10.30 and the another scammer from Golden VIP buses tried to take more money from us to hire a mini bus. We accepted but refused to pay until we got to Bangkok fours late. Some passengers probably missed their flight.
Avoid Golden VIP buses at all cost. And watch out lest they change their name.
I have been travelling to Cambodia since 1997 and love the country. I have never been scammed before. Most Cambodians are charming, considerate and honest. It is such a shame that a few criminals can give the country a bad name.
- Budget Travel
Fly with Bangkok Airways
Hopefully this is not seen as an advertisement, but I really like Bangkok Airways. OK, this time the service was not OK (fligt was to Bangkok), lunch was not OK, and drinking car disappeared before serving us. But...
Look the plane! The same flight continued from Bangkok to Samui and it's a real Beach Buggy! I was very happy to jump to the plane.
- Food and Dining
- Historical Travel
Siem Reap Airport
The airport of Siam Reap is very handy, it's a small and friendly with very fast tracks in immigration.
The airport jas only a few gates, some shops with a lot of nice stuff in.
What to buy? "We" bought a tin pill case (they are different size, round and ovals) and some wrist bands. And guess what? I bought spices and took some take-away recipes with me :)
FCC (Foreign Correspondent club) restaurant is here also, the only in the airport, so you have to stand the costs.
Photo 2: This lovely lady with extremely nice Khmer dress where working in on of the shops, I discussed with her a while and she told me that she has two kind of them as working dress and this is for weekday use. I wonder how she looks when dressed to the feast dress :)
There is a new luxury bus service, the Giant Ibis, running between Siem Reap and the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh. (In the other direction, it operates between PP and Sianoukville.)
It makes two runs a day, morning and afternoon. I took one from SR to PP and was amazed. New Hyundai bus that even has wireless connect. Air conditioned of course. Took around 6 hours, with two short toilet breaks en route. The vehicle was spotless clean and new....not like the clapped out refurbished wrecks you will probably find with any other bus company.
Price: $13USD 1-way!
- Road Trip
The night bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville
Warning!!! Do not take a night bus operating by Virak-Buntham Express Travel & Tour.
We bough a ticket apparently from VIP company, yet received Virak express tickets.
The bus was absolutelly crowded, not clean, and certainly not the one we have seen on the promotion poster. There was a sort of "Á/C", basically a box making an awful noise if nothing else, which was not possible to regulate or switch off, blowing a whole journey (11hrs) onto my face.
No toilet on the boadr, no food as advertised, the only thing we got was a 0.3l of water.
The driver made 2 stops during the journey, both by the main road so there was no chance to get a bit of a privacy unless you stepped into a dark spot where you could not seen where you are at all.
The staff does not speak english & we had difficulties to find our luggage at the end of this horrible journey.
According to the hotel owner who we have shared the story later with, the night buses are more less the same, whilst the day connections shall be of a better standard.
- Budget Travel
- Adventure Travel
siem reap tuk tuk
He was out tuk-tuk driver for 2 days and I would say that he is the best tour guide/driver in siem reap! We love his tuk-tuk, it was a very comfortable one with cushions and shades from rain or sun. Since it was raining during the time we visited the temples, Sam was very ready to protect us with any rainfall. He even had an umbrella with him. He also gave good ideas on where to eat at and what to buy, or how to say no to the vendors. He\'s a very honest driver - not that type who will take advantage of a tourist\'s innocence. I would highly recommend Sam Sa Vat :) Thanks Sam for a very interesting trip! ,
- Family Travel
Recommend Tuktuk Driver - Saren Ret
I would highly recommend Saren Ret whose email is email@example.com. I booked a 3-day tour with him. He is a very nice guy who waits on you patiently even if you are almost an hour late. He is not conscious of time even if the tour finishes after dark. He's also very generous buying us corn cobs for snacks. Ren doesn't abuse you. Whenever we invite him to dine with us, he politely refuses. We were 4 pax in a group & he is generous to give us ice cold bottles of water. We paid him at the last day of the tour. We were so satisfied with him that we gave him a tip. I can say he has one of the best rate too.
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
AVOID Gold VIP bus scammers in Cambodia!
I wanted to travel from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville and I made a terrible mistake: I bought a bus ticket from "Gold VIP Transport Service". (At some of their agents they called simply "Gold VIP bus".)
The bus was advertised as a comfortable sleeping bus with 3 sleeping beds in one row. It was also told that it was a direct bus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville and provided many extra services like free wifi and free drinking water.
On the bus it turned out that it was NOT a sleeping bus at all, instead the sleeping beds we got some chairs with almost zero leg room. We tried to complain but the Glold VIP guys didn't care about that and suddenly they didn't understand English anymore.
The bus departured with 1 hour delay and we were not informed nor about the reason neither the approximated time of the departure. The advertised "extra services" didn't exist at all, none of them, unless if you consider the kmehr lanuage soup opers we were forced to watch (or at least to listen) in the middle of the night on maximum volume in the bus.
But the worse part came just in the morning: it turned out that our bus was NOT a direct bus as it was advertised for all the passangers (even though they bought their tickets to different destinations, LOL) but we had to change the bus two times. Each time we had to wait more than 2.5 hours to get the connecting bus and we were not informed about how long we had to wait. The connecting buses were in even worse condition, they were smelly, dirty and overcrowded, one of them had no air condition.
Finally we got to Sihanoukville at 3 pm. instead of 10 am. Later I hear very similair stories about Gold VIP bus from other travellers.
Fortunately you can find other bus companies in Siem Reap and you can get REAL sleeping bus and REAL direct bus to Sihanoukville (and to Phnom Penh, too.)
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