Just back from a 4D/3N DIY trip to Siem Reap.
I arrived during the late morning and was picked up by a local driver, Tee. He was able to customize the itinerary in accordance to my interest. More on him later.
My favourites have got to be Bayon, Pre Rup, East Mebon and Preah Khan. Incidentally, these places involves quite a bit of climbing. I felt at the top of the world not on Bakheng Mountain which is so crowded even during the current low-season but on Pre Rup and East Mebon.
I also kinda like Bakong as there was this monastery just next to it where monks live.
Surprisingly, Banteay Srei and Angkor Wat did not wow me!
Other places visited include, Angkor Thom; south gate, Baphoun, Elephant Terrace, Leper King Terrace and Royal Enclosure Wall, Ta Som, Neak Pean, Preah Khan, Lo Lei, Preah Kor, Banteay Samre, Banteay Kdei, Ta Prohm, Kravan.
Saying that the temples in Siem Reap is like an Asian version of the historical sites in Greece or other parts of Europe is certainly not an overstatement.
Restoration works was quite a common sight during my visit. There was this part of Angkor Wat which was undergoing repair works. Unfortunately there were several temples which seems to be on the brink of collapse. Considering that many people live below the poverty line, maintaining a temple would seem like the last of priorities.
The driver Tee can be contacted via angkorholidays.com. Just send a message with the online link and he will respond accordingly. Tee is very knowledgeable not only about the best routes or places but he also gives you a brief on the history of the temple he is driving you to. More importantly, he speaks excellent English. His rates are very reasonable though not the cheapest. However, in a place like Siem Reap where public transport is non-existent, you will want a reliable and honest driver.
I got to say I am humbled by the experience. Seeing so many kids not being able to go to school and living in shambles with little sanitation reminds me of how fortunately we are. This trip really reminds me to give thanks and be grateful for what we have.
Trust that you will have as much fun as i did!