Travel Tales: Indochina, Siem Reap

On day 2, we were up by 6am because our van to the Bangkok-Siem Reap border’s call time was 7AM. Since Khaosan Road is a busy area for tourists, there are a lot of agencies that offer travel to Aranyaprathet, Thailand’s border that will connect you to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The land travel will take about 4-5 hours so we made sure to visit the nearest 7-11 to buy snacks for the road and take naps.

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The first time I crossed the border from Thailand to Cambodia was in 2012. And I can say the Thailand portion of the border has gotten better. The check point now is bigger which means it can accommodate more people, which means leaving Thailand and having your passport stamped is faster even with a lot of tourists. After leaving the Thailand border, you’re going to have to take a 5-minute walk (and over a small bridge) and viola! You’re in Cambodia!

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This is us after leaving the Thailand border and on our way to Cambodia’s immigration

After entering Cambodia, take note that there are a lot of scammers in the area but I guess everyone in that border knows about it. So they let you take a government bus and tell you that it’s for free, and then they take you to a privately-owned tour agency that will offer you either a bus, van or private taxi to go to the Siem Reap area. By that time, you have been on the road for more than 5 hours and all you really want is to head on to your destination. So, my friends and I decided to take a taxi to Siem Reap. It’s a bit expensive than taking a van or bus, but we were hungry and sleepy and tired and we didn’t really want to wait a long time. The travel time from the border to Siem Reap will be another 4 hours, so be ready, lol. The taxi driver told us that he will drop us off our hotel, but like what I said, there’s a catch. The taxi driver didn’t bother talking to us or figuring out the address of our hotel because we ended up at the tour agency’s drop off location, which is still 10-15 minutes away from the city center. They push you to book the Angkor Wat tour with them and it will really test your patience. Since my friend Jowa and I have experienced the same exact thing during our first visit, we refused over and over. The thing is, they will not stop!!! Like they will even tell you that they’re poor and that they’re just trying to make a living and that we should pity them and that they only want to help and blablablah. I was so tired of it because like what I said, they did the same thing before so we just walked away. A tuktuk driver ended up taking us in and offered to take us to our hotel. Please be smart when you get to experience the same thing.

We were at our hotel maybe 4 in the afternoon, so we headed straight to buy our one-day pass for tomorrow. A one day pass is $20, and after buying the pass, they will let you do a sunset viewing to one of the Angkor Wat temples. During our 2012 visit, we went to this beautiful temple (sorry, forgot the name). You have to climb up huge, uneven stairs to get to to top, but the view is amazing.

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View of the man-made lake on the way to the temples

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The funniest thing after all the pictures and amazement on the way to the top, is this:

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Obviously, everyone was waiting for the same thing, hahaha.

I thought I would get to see this view again, but apparently, they now have a rule that you have to be appropriately-dressed before you can visit the site. So for this trip, we ended up just going to the most famous temple to look at the sunset.

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My squad, hehehe.

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The pass comes with your own awkward photo

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Group photos are really difficult, especially with a selfie stick, hehehe.

After the sunset viewing, we headed straight to Pub Street because by that time, we really wanted to eat.

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I forgot what this is called but they said this is one of Cambodia’s most famous dish. It’s okay I guess. After dinner, we walked around the area to check out the souvenir shops and of course, ended the night by having a couple of drinks.

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We slept a little early that night because the Angkor Wat tour starts at about 430am – to ensure you get to see the sunrise at the most famous view of the temple.

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Obviously, we were not alone

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After taking about a hundred photos, we headed over to the side of the lake. There are a lot of food stalls there that offers breakfast. Of course, be ready for it to be a little overpriced, but, I guess overpriced food will always be part of traveling.

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We booked the tour directly at our hotel, and we had to tuktuk for $20 – which will take us to the most famous temples of Angkor Wat for half a day.

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Here’s a couple of photos of Jowa and I during our first visit.

Seriously looking like a photo dump because of the TONS of photos I took.

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After the half day tour, we headed back to Pub Street to have lunch before checking out of our hotel. Our plan is to take the 6PM bus going to Phnom Penh and hopefully arrive around 1-2am. Since we still have time to spare, we decided to take the Floating Village and Ton Le Sap Lake Tour. It goes for $20 for 3 hours.

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Saw a floating police station, church and school!

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You can buy food and donate it to the kids at this school.

These cute kids are so game in front of the camera.

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All in all, it was hot, it was tiring, but I was so happy I got to experience all these in Siem Reap.

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