I am going to Siam Reap sometime soon. just checked the flights…expensive!! and there are only two flights available…so I wonder if any of you knows how I can get there except direct flights. maybe I should go to Hong Kong or Bangkok and then change the flights??? book the flights on the internet? what airline? thanks a lot!!
I booked a ticket with EVA airlines Taipei - Phnom Penh - Taipei, spent a couple of days in PP and went by boat to Siem Reap (5.5 hours trip + 30 minutes to get the luggage). For the return I had a connecting flight with Bangkok Airways that was arranged independently from the EVA flight *), the ticket was then issued by a travel agent in Siem Reap (AFAIK that flight actually goes Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Hong Kong). Obviously you could also use them to go to SR.
The boat cost USD25 and the flight USD70 (I think).
Alternatively you could also fly to one of the hubs around Asia and connect from there, there are e.g. cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap by Air Asia.
- The local travel agent said Bangkok Airways doesn’t have an office here so they couldn’t make the booking for me. Also note that Bangkok Airways didn’t respond to my email in which I wanted to make the reservation for myself, so a friend helped me out. Better call them instead if you want to book a flight with them.
Probably the cheapest way would be to fly to Bangkok and then go overland. I have never done the trip, but the road from the Thai border to Siem Reap is apparently pretty bad. You can probably find some more details about the trip at talesofasia.com
If you’ve got the time and the balls, I recommend the route I took:
Bus from Bangkok then boat to Thailand’s Koh Chang, close to Cambodia;
Hydrofoil through the open sea to Sihanoukeville (scary as hell as the boat smashs in the troughs of giant waves and people are puking around you);
Bus to Phnom Phen;
Boat to Siem Riep (I made the few-hour trip by hydrofoil, but if you really want to see the country, take the slow boat)
Motorcycle taxi from the boat into town
It would also be a great trip just to fly to Phnom Penh and take the boat from there. Unless you’re really pressed for time, it seems foolish to skip the capital city and fly direct to Siem Riep, though Angkor Wat is fantastic and you’ll definitely want to spend 3 days there.
Regarding the speed boat from PP to SR: the first two hours or so were nice but once we were on the Great Lake (Tonle Sap) it became boring, nothing to see except a faint strip of land in whatever direction you look, it’s that huge. Now it’s shrinking due to the dry season, we actually got stuck once and had to reverse - you could see the prop throwing up the mud, indicating how shallow it is.
Also note that if you get to sit on the top it actually means sitting on the roof without any seats and no cover. Nothing is sold on the boat, so bring some food and water. AFAIK there are also slower boats that travel over night and I believe they offer sleeping facilities, food etc.
The roads not the greatest, but it’s not the worst. I did it from SR to the Thai border about 4 years ago, and it wasn’t as bad as I’d been led to believe. We left SR around 7am and were over the border by lunchtime. That included an hour long food stop at about 9.30. However, when I say “not too bad” it’s in relation to some of the roads I’d traveled on in the months before in Tibet, Burma, India etc, so my experience of it may have been a little different to your average tourist. It’s definitely a lot worse than the highways in Taiwan or Thailand.
Your best bet would be to fly to either Bangkok and then overland it (or take a flight from there), or Phnom Penh. You really shouldn’t miss PP - if only so that you can go to Toul Sleng, the former Khmer Rouge prison that was originally a high school, and is now a genocide museum. A very sobering place. Going to Cambodia and not going there, would to like going to Poland and not going to Auschwitz. And then there’s the Killing Fields - definitely a spooky pace.
In SR and around the temples themselves, when I was there, it wasn’t possible to rent motorbikes, or even bicycles to get to the temples. I believe that has changed now, but it still might be worth hiring a motorbike taxi for a few days - I paid US$8 per day for my guy. He was very cool - I even ended up going with him to his cousin’s wedding. That was a lot of fun.
I was in Cambodia this past Chinese New Year. I flew to Phnom Penh direct on Eva and right off the plane took a taxi to the bus station and took a bus directly Siem Reap (visited PP on the way back.) The road was perfectly smooth and it was much cheaper than the boat.
I did similar to MT, but in reverse (overland to SR then bus to PP then bus to Sihanoukville, then boated back to KT and then bus to BK) during CNY 2005. I believe a search would turn up my post. The Tales of Asia website has everything you could possibly want to know, and I recommend the webmasters hostel in SR, Twin Dragons or something. The guy is great and can help you with anything. The whole town was booked out for CNY, but he let us stay in his part of the hostel for a night and then upgrade for the rest of the stay.
I recommend the overland route simply cuz its an adventure in itself, not the fastest but gives you the best experience of cambodia. We paid for a whole share taxi from Poipet (don’t spend a minute longer than necessary here) to SR and had a blast talking with the driver. The bus from SR to PP is awesome for Cambo standards (so not toooo bad by other standards). Don’t get suckered into paying the tourist price and being put on the local bus though.
Any specific questions ask away.
i went overland from bangkok to siem riep but avoided all the khaosarn rd. buses which proved to be a good choice.
instead i took a local bus from the north bus termial in bangkok to Aran(something or other…) and that took 4 hours. took a tuk tuk to the border for 60baht. got my visa in no-man’s land and then took an air conditioned taxi (a toyota camry) into siem riep for 1000Baht. you can usually find other travellers to split this with you.
got there in 7 hours… whereas the khaosarn rd. buses only pulled in at midnight… about 12 hours later.