Our trip to Siem Reap was short for 3 days from Jan 3 till 5, 2008. Although short, it was worthwhile as we cover the most essential part of the visit.
We made reservations 5 months before our trip through getting advice and reviews from tripadvisor.com and finally went ahead with staying with The Villa Siem Reap. They practically arranged everything for us from transfer to guide, accomodation and pack lunches. Mostly the deal is really pretty decent and I highly recommend anyone to use them if budget is a factor to consider in your trip.
We had 3 adults and a baby traveling. The Villa was really nice to offer us a superior room with an extra bedding. It was really spacious and luxurious even for their class of accomodation. We are glad to make that choice.
Siem Reap is a really small ancient city. It is really touristic and have many choices of hotels. I really recommend to visit the old market where you can get some real bargains of souveniers to bring home. Besides that if you have time visit the Artisan Stone and handicraft centre. You will learn much of how the handicrafts were made.
We bought a day pass and it cost USD20 per person. It also comes in a choice of 3 days or 7 days pass. Of course prices varies. In a day pass if you purchase the ticket at 5pm at the entrance, you are allowed to pay a visit in the evening into Angkor Wat. We took that opportunity to visit Phnom Bakheng to see sunset. You have an option to hike 15 minutes up the hill or pay for an elephant ride to the top. Hiking the hill is the easy part, climbing up the top of the temple was the difficult part. The steps were narrow and steep, also you are constantly battling with the other tourists climbing up to see sunset from this temple. Bring a bottle a wine and some cheese to enjoy the view. Be sure you have a flashlight as it gets dark walking downhill.
Be prepared to spend the whole day at the ancient ruins. There are many temples to see but I recommend these few places a must see spot during your visit. That includes Angkor Wat, Ta Phrom (where the movie Lara Croft was filmed), Angkor Thom, Bayon, Terrace of the Leper King, Elephant Terrace. If you have more time, do visit Preah Khan to see temple of the sacred sword, Ta Som and Banteay Kdei. Be prepared of the dust as you ride on the open cover "tuk tuk". Quite a splendid experience!
After all the hard walk, I recommend to indulge yourself to a nice relaxation Khmer Massage. Very reasonable price, pay only USD7 for 1.5 hours. You will never regret it.
Siem Reap is a place you want to include in your life time travel. Enjoy!
More travel pictures can be seen at kmforshee.blogspot.com