First of, Siem Reap is a trip of a lifetime. I spent 4 nights and 5 days in this Cambodian province and there is so much to be seen. I originally planned on navigating the temples on my own but the more research I did, the more I realized I needed a guide. A friend of mine just got back from Cambodia and she was able to recommend Chet and his Private Tour guide company. I am so grateful for the referral, it absolutely made the difference! I reached out to him via email about a month before my trip, Chet himself was already booked but he assured me he will make arrangements for one of his guides to take me around. On my email I indicated specific things I wanted to experience on my trip: the temples, sunrise, and sunset. I explained that I had no preference in terms of mode of transportation (tuk-tuk or car). I also indicated in my email the actual time and dates that I’ve allotted for this trip as well as hotel accommodations. It is important that you give Chet as much information in your initial correspondence so he can plan accordingly and confirmations on rates and times. I was backpacking South East Asia so it was hard for me to follow up once I got on the road.
Having said that, I flew into Siem Reap late on Sunday night. I sent Chet a quick email saying I’ll be ready by 9am and he promptly replied. The next day, the guide along with the driver was waiting for me at the hotel lobby. Mr. Sophie gave me a brief description of the day’s events, timeline as well as what the next 4 days will be like. The guide asked me if I had any other requests, I responded: shopping, elephant ride, Tonle Sap River cruise – all of which were not in the original plan. Mr. Sophie quickly adjusted the day and made sure to pass on my request to the next guide. Chet and his team are amazing! They are very accommodating and extremely knowledgeable. My guide the second and the third day did an excellent job adapting to crowd, weather and last minute requests. I’m just learning photography so the guide was very patient and he came prepared with locations of amazing angles and sceneries. We went off the beaten path just to show me different perspective and views. They are also very attentive to my needs: always ready with a cold bottle of water and a flash light to light my way during the dawn hike. The guide would even carry my tripod without me asking for it! Lunch recommendations were spot on. I’m usually not dependent on a guide but the information I got while walking around was invaluable. It also kept the momentum going. if I was on my own I would have read my way through the temples.
Despite seeing so much of the temple and Siem Reap, the entire trip was relaxed and evenly paced - not once did I felt rushed. We even had time to enjoy snacks in between temples.
A few things to consider... Take the car :). Your very own tuk-tuk is wonderful ofcourse but the car offers temporary relief from the heat. Also, you will be able to hear the guide talk without competing craning your neck. Finally, just in case you have to leave any of your non valuable items (hat, tripod, water bottle, etc.), a car is much more secure.
Chet and his team are awesome! My guides and my driver throughout the trip were great. The next time I go back to Cambodia I will definitely have to call on them again. In regards to cost, the experience is worth every penny.