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Angkor and Siem Reap tour

We had a three day tour. One day with Mr Kong, and two with Mr Veasna as our guides. We visited... read more

Reviewed October 31, 2019
Westminster, Maryland
via mobile
Three Packed Days

We booked late but were able to get a private tour for three. Mr. Cchen was not available but he... read more

Reviewed October 31, 2019
Sydney, Australia
via mobile
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Reviewed November 24, 2013

We were a group of 7 on this tour done by Kol Chhen..he is an excellent / friendly and knowledgeable guide , he made us feel comfortable and his explanations are to the point.
Thank you for being a wonderful guide for us and we hope to return when time permits.
God bless u and your family ..keep in touch.. best rgds . Dave & friends. Port Klang. Malaysia

Date of experience: November 2013
1  Thank gurdave77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2013

You may knee to kiss the earth when you visit Angkor.
You might be breathless cause you finally understand how tiny you are.
You will be humble and grateful to thank what you have.

Date of experience: April 2013
1  Thank Tessie W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2013

I and Sumathi hail from India. We are well versed on Hindu epics and are keen enthusiasts of ancient sculptures as well as history. We chanced to see an article in July 2013 on Angkor Wat at Fremont, San Francisco, which triggered our desire to visit Angkor because the episodes from Hindu epics on stone were delivered in our own classical Dravidian architecture – Pallava style. Once we made up our mind, we did due diligence on making this trip on the net. One thing we were sure was that we would have a quality private tour guide to provide us with all in-depth authentic historical and architectural facts and not the cookie-cut group tour. After our search and enquiry with a few, we zeroed on Chhen Kol about 45 days ahead of the tour. He helped us to shape our tour itinerary and time window to fit the itinerary. He also helped us with suggestions on hotel booking too. When I was worried about the possibility of rain spoiling the visits during October, he encouraged to visit during the fag end of wet season as the monuments will be clean and photogenic after the rain with the added bonus of less rush. Thus he started his service much before our landing in Angkor.

When we landed in Angkor, he was present at the airport with his Pajero welcoming us with his trade mark beaming smile. He was with us for the next 5 days guiding us through many historical treasures of Angkor – some well known, others less known. We visited Baksei Chamkrong (Sacred Bird monument), Angkor Thom – Bayon temple and other interests in the compound like Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace, Phimeanakas (Royal temple), the big Baphuon etc. He drew our attention to the minute details and nuances and was thorough in his explanation – be it in the bas reliefs displaying war scenes between Khmers and Chams or the enigmatic faces on the towers or anything connected with the monuments or the moat and the feeding canals. His tales and historical facts on King Jayavarman 7 (called affectionately by him as King J7) highlighting the king’s religional tolerance (patronizing Buddhism, but allowing freedom to follow the faiths of choice), his benevolence in building hospitals and Dharmasalas, military strategy to recapture Angkor from the clutches of Chams, naval training on Srah Srang to hone and tone Khmer’s naval expertise etc. Enthused by Chhen’s narrations, now I am embarking on a closer study of King J7 who had tried modern governance principles in 12th Century. For example, contrast the free hospitals of J7 with the struggles with Obamacare  King J7’s concentration on water conservation and irrigation which helped the country to have 4 crops an year and become one of the richest countries of that time, is another example. This is just a sample of Chhen’s expertise on Khmer history, art and civilization and mastery over story telling. His expertise over Hindu mythology comes very handy in providing the context and content to the sculptural marvels of Angkor which narrate episodes from Hindu epics and ancient texts. We enjoyed the archaeological sites as we visited the famed Angkor Wat, Rolous group (Preah Ko, Bakong, LoLei island), the lovely Bantey Srei, Bantey Samre (with remarkable resemblance to the Dravidian – Pallava and Pandya styles), Pre Rup, Beng melea ruins, Prasat Kravan, Srah Srang (in rain), Ta Prohm (Tomb raider fame) with the supportive and destructive alliances between the stones and the trees, Thommanon, Chao Se Thevada, Preah Kan etc. His geographical expertise came out on our tour to Tanle Sap lake where the wonder of a river (Tanle Sap river) reversing the direction of its flow twice an year. The floating villages with their colonies, fishing and farming during wet and dry seasons respectively were well explained by Chhen. We even witnessed a floating wedding hall with guests arriving on their boats  I can go on and on; for brevity sake let me stop here.

Why I like and recommend Chhen Kol?
1) He is very genuine
2) Very knowledgeable in Khmer history, art, civilization, geography Hindu mythology
3) Passionate about his job and country
4) Excellent customer care : Arranges tour schedule in such a way that the customers are taken to the interests when it is less crowded and provides plenty of good photo opportunities. We clicked more than 1500 photos in four days
5) More than the excellent professional relationship, Chhen is affectionate and caring. I am 63 years old; he took care to guide my steps in the ruins and rains (provided umbrellas to us). He supplied cold water which was like nectar after tiring climbs. He took care of us from the moment we landed in Cambodia to our return.
He also helped us to get good vegetarian Khmer food in a country which is predominantly non-vegetarian. We enjoyed Khmer cuisine which is quite healthy.

In short Chhen is a dedicated professional and a loving human being. He wanted me to tell my circle that Cambodia is safe; civil wars are over and there are lots of things to visit and enjoy. I endorse his view and recommend to my readers and friends to visit Siem Reap at least once. In my opinion 4 days are the barest minimum while a week is reasonable.

We intend to visit Siem Reap again. My two sons, currently in US, also evinced keen interest to visit along with their families. God willing, we may all have a family outing there if we could synchronize our vacations.

No prizes for guessing our private guide. He will be the one and only Chhen Kol 

Radhakrishnan & Sumathi

Date of experience: October 2013
3  Thank Radhakrishnan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2013

We were a group of 3 couples in Siem Reap for 5 nights. Three full days of exploring the ruins and one day adventure/fun activity made our holiday complete.

Buy a pass: A 3-day pass for $40 per person should suffice. This means you can make three entries in to the Angkor Zone over 7 days. (You can choose to take a break from the heritage tour between and go back to it later). =

Day 1: We landed late afternoon in Siem Reap and were transferred to the hotel (Angkor Paradise Hotel). Explore the night market (Island Bar in the night market is quite nice).

Day 2: Started the day at abut 8.30 am in tuk-tuk's. Bought the 3-day pass and began the tour. What we saw: The Bayon, The terrace of the Leper King, Tep Pranam, The Royal Palace, The Baphuon, The Victory Gate, Thommanon, Phnom Bakheng.
In the evening, we went to Tonle Sap Floating Village. I would not recommend this. There is a separate fee of $20, but nothing fancy.

Day 3: Started the day at 5.30 am for sunrise at Angkor Wat. The earlier you go, better the chance to reserve your spot for photographs. It is between 6.15-6.30 that you can capture your pictures.

Later, we covered The Grand Circuit, Pre Rup, Mebon, Ta Som, Prah Khan, Prasat Kravan and Ta Prohm.

Post lunch, we went to Banteay Srei and Angkor Wat.

We went to Banteay Srei to see the sunset that evening. This again, was not very fancy, but the short trek was interesting.

A foot/body massage at the Night Market/Pub Street is something to look forward to.

Day 4: We decided to do a half day tour to Beng Mealea. This has a separate entry fee of $5 per person. A largely unrestored temple, but very picturesque.

Day 5: A welcome break from the heritage tour, an eco-adventure tour. $99 per person, with free pick up and drop from/to the hotel, and lunch.

What to look out for:
Tuk-tuk's: Bargain/negotiate with them. You can get a tuk-tuk to seat 4 people, for $1.5 for a distance of about 1 km.
Shopping: Start negotiating with 1/3rd the price. You usually get your way. The night market is a lot better than the old market. Vendors are a lot more receptive.
Guide/tours: Make sure you get the rates fixed before you start. If it helps, get it in writing from the hotel to avoid confusion later on.
Food: The local cuisine is very interesting. Vegetarians will have trouble - making them understand what you want (no fish oil/oyster sauce etc.)

Date of experience: September 2013
1  Thank Pratima H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 1, 2013

The visit to Cambodia, Siem Reap was truly amazing & A Trip which is worth in every way.
The Tour of Angkor Thom Area & Bayon requires about 2-3 hours if you need to enjoy & appreciate its beauty and architecture.

The Bayon/Khmer style architecture with a mix of Buddhist + Hindu style gopura's from the Chola period gives it a friendly touch to Indians/those who hail from Asia. The Bayon, with its about 37 Standing towers, most of them sporting 4 carved faces can be enjoyed through leisurely climb from lower to upper level.

The clear & interesting carvings on the walls all around the site are Awesome & preserved well to a very large extent. The ruins around the temple are also incrediby nice & adds additional beauty to the whole package.

True to its touristic value, Angkor Wat (largest Hindu/Vishnu Temple) & other places of interest are very well maintained & clean, which makes it an overall pleasuarble experience :). Cambodian people & Guides are very friendly and describe the sites/history well.

A trip of good 5-6 days is a must to enjoy the many historic sites, Cambodian hospitality & nice souvenir shopping at the night market!

Date of experience: November 2012
Thank Muralidhar N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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