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Old 14th July 2019, 12:34   #1
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Default Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles

Whenever I come across any interesting place, either on TBHP or elsewhere, I make a note of the same hoping to visit there sometime. In that way, there is always a waiting list or bucket list of places to visit.

Some of the places in that list has been there since many years (Pyramids of Giza, Ruins of Petra, Driving to Turtuk in Leh, Trek to Everest base camp). So, when there is time and money for a trip, I usually try to get one of that into execution.

So, when unexpectedly both myself and wife got comparatively free time from work during first week of July, we started exploring options available.

After considering different options, we finally finalized on Cambodia. The initial plan was to do Vietnam also along. However since that may make the trip longer than one week, it was dropped.


Since the whole planning was done just 2 weeks ahead of the trip, flight tickets were comparatively expensive. Also, we felt Cambodia need not require a full week since we were not planning of visiting beach destinations there. Hence thought of taking a two day break at Thailand which was anyway our transit location.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:00.
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Old 14th July 2019, 12:58   #2
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Default Planning - Visa, hotels & flight

Cambodia provides both E-Visa and Visa on arrival (VOA) for Indian passport holders. Getting E-Visa is better option since that avoids hassle of standing at queue on reaching there and any further delay due to that.

One need to enter details at Cambodian Foreign affairs website and make payment of 36 USD through credit card after entering the details.

One has to upload a passport size picture and passports main page along with your address during your stay (hotel address) and port of entry and exit. Hence it is best you plan the visa application after hotel and flights are booked.

The process is straightforward and we received our E-Visa in mail as a pdf document within few hours of applying.

It is mentioned to carry two copies of the same while traveling, though only one was ever requested at immigration.

This is how EVisa looks


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-cambodiavisa.jpg



From Bangalore, flights were cheaper via Bangkok. The other option was via Kuala Lumpur, the cheapest flights were of Air Asia. However, do note that usually the cheaper Air Asia flights does not have check-in baggage allowed. A 25KG check-in baggage, which needs to be purchased additionally adds up to around Rs 2500. If you are travelling with kids or if you are a heavy packer, then you may require more number of baggage allowance to be purchased as add on. This along with the fact that they don't serve any food in flight may make the Air Asia option expensive.

Hence do check all the options available before you make the payment and do not go just based on the initial amount displayed.

For us, we were planning on visiting Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Considering the total cost of Bangalore - Cambodia - Bangalore, the cheapest we were able to find was in following order:

Bangalore - Siem Reap (Transit of 5 hours at Bangkok Don Mueang airport) in Air Asia.

Siem Reap - Phnom Penh in Cambodia Angkor Air

Phnom Penh - Phuket in Air Asia.

Phuket - Bangalore in Indigo.


Do note that Cambodia Angkor runs promotional fares randomly and those are cabin baggage only ones. This means you will have to pay substantial amount (Tripadvisor has posts claiming charges ~ USD 35) for your check-in baggage. For a flight ticket which cost around Rs 2800, this works out really expensive. Hence do make sure you are booking the tickets inclusive of check-in baggage.


Another point to note, there are two airlines with similar name in Cambodia. Do make sure you are not getting confused with the same. While awaiting check-in at Siem Reap airport, we saw many people getting confused with the flight and standing in line of other airline which also had a flight to same destination within few minutes interval.


One is Cambodia Airways (Website). They were offering the cheapest tickets, however credit card payments were suspended (still is) by them. Alternate way to book, was to use third party sites, few of them which were mentioned in their website itself. However, the final cost including the service charge by those third party sites were high.

Hence the option we selected was Cambodia Angkor Air (Website)


Bus is another option to travel between Bangkok & Siem Reap and also similarly between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. However, we decided against the same due to reasons mentioned below in epilogue.



Similar to Cambodia, Thailand also provides VOA for Indian passport holders. Here too, we decided to take E-Visa option to avoid hassles at airport. You would find many horror stories online about huge queue at Bangkok airport for VOA, which is true from what we saw during our transit. However, at Phuket queue was minimal for VOA and there was no one apart from us at E-Visa counter.


For Thailand E-Visa, we applied through VFS using this link.

During our travel, Thailand Immigration Bureau, website was down. Hence we were not able to apply through them.


VFS charges 600 THB for each visa on top of the Thailand Immigrations Visa cost (currently waived off). You can save this 600 THB if you are opting for VOA instead of E-Visa.


Thailand E-Visa received over mail from VFS

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Do note that there are many fake sites claiming to be the official E-Visa websites for both Cambodia & Thailand. They take your credit card details and charge huge service charges for the same process. Hence do your homework before making any payment.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:06.
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Old 14th July 2019, 15:10   #3
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Default Day 0 - 28th June

It's said journey is beautiful than destination, however this cannot be said for those traveling to Bangalore airport on a Friday evening.

Our flight was at 11.40 PM from Bangalore. I did a web check-in to avoid any issues due to delay. This gave us time till 10:30 PM to drop our bags and get documents verified.

I had checked with Airport BMTC shuttle bus driver and conductor on previous day at HSR bus stand about frequency of buses to airport and they had confirmed that there are buses at every half hour.

Based on that, we take a cab from home to bus stand which is located some 3KM's away and reach there at 06:15 PM targeting 06.30 PM bus. However, on reaching there we come to know that the next bus is at 07:00 PM. Thankfully, bus starts on time. However, it takes some 2 hours and 45 minutes to cover the 40 KMs.

By the time we reach check-in counters, its nearing 10.00 PM, counters are mostly empty and we clear the procedures quickly. Once done, emigration and security take some 45 minutes. By that time we are done with that, boarding had started.

Flight details

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Bangkok has two airports - Suvarnabhumi(BKK) & Don Mueang (DMK). All low cost carriers operate to older Don Mueang airport .

I haven't travelled to Suvarnabhumi airport yet, hence cannot compare. However, you can find lots of reviews that Don Mueang is not as swanky as the other newer airport. It could be true since the airport is an old one, however it is not by any means run down and is in fact well maintained.

Since we had 5.5 hours of transit, we proceeded towards boarding gates of our flight and decided to catch some sleep. Since ours is a flythrough flight it is not required to get transit visa.

There is lot of confusion about this online since some of the web portals show flights which may be landing at BKK with a connecting flight from DMK or vice versa. This means, you will have to complete your immigration procedures at landing airport and head to other airport which is around an hours drive.

Do note this point when you book flights through Bangkok. In my opinion it is not worth the hassle and its best to book flights as flythrough when available.

While walking towards our boarding gates via transit corridor we are able to see the queues at VOA desk. There were hundreds waiting there and I guess it will easily take around an hour to clear the procedures. Anyway, since ours is a transit flight, we can head directly to the departure gates.


After sleeping for a while, we head to a restaurant there. The lady at the desk has a hard time understanding my name.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190629_044247.jpg


After breakfast, we spend time watching flights taking off in backdrop of sunrise.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0292.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:13.
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Old 14th July 2019, 16:29   #4
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Default Day 1: 29 June

Day 1: 29 June 2019

Bangkok - Siem Reap is a short flight, occupancy on our flight was not even half. Soon after landing, we were given our pre-booked meals. By time we were completing the meals, landing procedures had started.

On flight we were handed an arrival form to be filled. This along with E-Visa needs to be submitted at immigration counter. Once they verify the same, biometrics are captured and the immigration official takes one copy of E-Visa. In place of that, they staple one piece of arrival form inside the passport and stamp the passport. While leaving Cambodia, they take out the stapled paper and stamp again on passport. So, you will be left with two seals only and no visa.


Siem Reap airport is a small and beautiful one, there are no aerobridges or tarmac buses.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_131429.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190629_093931.jpg

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Majority of those on our half occupied flight had opted for VOA, hence queue at immigration counters were not there. The process is smooth and done in few minutes.

On heading out we head directly to counters selling SIM's on left side of exit gate. There are multiple counters there and you can opt for SIM based on the plan that suits you most.

Metafone and Smart are the most favorite operators. I opted for Smart since I wanted to activate international roaming on the SIM, so as to use the same SIM during second half of our trip in Thailand too.

I opted for a plan which claimed to give huge amount of free calls, however the catch is that the free calls are limited to that of the same operator. Calls to other operators were charged at around 30 cents per minute I guess (don't recollect is correctly). However, this plan gave 5GB of data per day and that was my major requirement. It costed us 7 USD including 2 USD / day at Thailand plan.

All operators have what they call as 'free SIM', however do note that those SIM have expensive call plans. 4G coverage was mostly good in places we travelled, hence you will not face any issue with WhatsApp calls.

During our entire trip, we just made one voice call. Rest of all times, WhatsApp call / messages were enough. Even our TukTuk or taxi drivers were messaging in either WhatsApp or through the taxi booking apps.

SIM counters

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0294.jpg


Pickup area

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Domestic terminal in background

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Taxi rate chart

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Airport parking toll booth. Notice that its an NFC based system, our hotel vehicle which came to pick us up had a tag which the driver tapped on the reader and got through the gate. I didn't notice an operator in any of the booth.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5536.jpg



Our stay was booked at Borei Angkor Resort & Spa

As mentioned earlier, trip planning was done only few days before the travel. Hence I didn't get much time to check about good hotels. However, on checking reviews online had came across this hotel and booked it based on that.

On hindsight, this was a great decision. It was a great hotel in every aspect, located in middle of the town. Would highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Siem Reap.

They provide free pickup from airport and had send their Toyota Land Cruiser for the same.

Driver was awaiting us at the arrival gate and we start off to hotel.

Traffic drives on right side of the road here.


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Hotel entrance

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Lobby

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Room

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Bathroom


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View from balcony

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Land Cruiser which picked us up from airport

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0299.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:20.
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Old 14th July 2019, 18:43   #5
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Default Day 1: 29 June . Ctd

Day 1: 29 June 2019 . Ctd

After check-in we decide to go for a walk around the town. We had a list of top rated restaurants in the area by travellers and decided to try out one of them which was nearby.


Tevy's Place

Location

This is a small restaurant by road which is easy to miss noticing unless you are searching for the same.

However, food was tasty and cheap. Unfortunately we were unable to visit this place after this. Once we came this way, however on checking they mentioned that they were closed to accomodate a bigger group.

From across the road

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0313.jpg


Front of the restaurant

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Saw this bottled water brand all across Cambodia. Its owned by Coca Cola and looks like they have good market share.


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Water bottles are expensive (~ 80 cents) and will burn a hole in your pocket if you are fully dependent on them. Unlike western countries and similar to India, you cannot drink tap water directly here. However, at multiple places we saw that you can refill your bottle from water dispensers for free.


We had a similar setup in our resort and used to rely on that.


Past lunch, we decide to visit Angkor National Museum



Angkor National Museum

Location

Do note that there are two museums in Siem Reap, one is this one and another war museum located towards airport, which we visited on our last day here.

Suggest to visit both of them. However, be clear when you mention 'museum' since by default, everyone considers national museum as what you asked for since its inside the town.


This is a newly constructed building located in middle of town. There are lots of artifacts which explains about history of Cambodia and Siem Reap area. It is good to visit the museum before you visit temples and Angkor Wat.


Museum building

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Ticket charges are 7 USD and they accept card payment. There is audio guide available on additional payment. We did not opt for the same since we were running short of time.


Museum done, we decide to walk and see town center before heading to Pub Street, which is the hub of nightlife here.

Enroute we cross royal garden area, this is a lively place with kids playing and people having mass aerobics sessions.

On later days when we crossed early in morning around 4.30 through this route too we noticed people in this area.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0326.jpg

Immediately next to that is Royal Residence, this is the residence of king of Cambodia when he visits Siem Reap.

It is not possible to enter inside the residence.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0337.jpg


Just opposite to the residence is this milestone mentioning distance to Phnom Penh, the capital city.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0339.jpg

The lizard on the milestone reminded me of Jeep Compass



Siem Reap is a small town, with population of 1.3 Lakh its only the 5th largest town in Cambodia. However, its a beautiful clean town. Agreed that the river which flows to the town is not as clean as that you would find in a developed country, or that most of its footpaths are occupied by cars for parking.

However, at least the river is not filled by filth and plastic and most, if not all roads have a footpath.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0321.jpg

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Soon we reach near Pub Street. There are lots of food joints around here.


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Since both of us were tried after walking around, we decide to head to Blue Pumpkin located at start of Pub Street. Blue Pumpkin is a cafe chain in Cambodia, they have branches in both Siem Reap and also Phnom Penh including inside both the airports.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0344.jpg



After spending some time here, we head to Pub Street.

The place is noisy and lively, lined with restaurants targeting tourists. One of the item which we noticed across restaurants was meat platter which has different types of meat - Chicken, pork, beef, frog, crocodile, duck.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0349.jpg


After spending some time we head to a restaurant nearby which was rated for good food. This is a short walk from pub street.


Enroute we saw lots of carts selling durian. My brother and mother have had durian from an earlier trip they had to Bali and said it is similar to jackfruit. However, I have heard lots of stories about how bad they smell. Hence earlier while at Blue Pumpkin, I tried their durian flavored ice cream and liked it. However, in spite of being a jackfruit lover, I cannot get over the smell of durian to try one piece.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0353.jpg


Golden Pumpkin restaurant


Location


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0357.jpg

It's a quiet little place away from the crowd of pub street, food was great and so was the service. However, they don't accept card payments.

Dinner done, we walk back to hotel.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:22.
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Old 14th July 2019, 20:44   #6
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Default Day 2: 30 June

Day 2: 30 June 2019

Before traveling to Cambodia, I had contacted a Tuktuk driver - Solkee from Trusty Tuk Tuk. Compared to the regular Tuktuk rates which I came across from traveler comments, he charges around 10 USD extra. However, we decided to go with him considering we wanted to spend time at each temple based on our convenience.

After breakfast from hotel, we start from hotel by 08:00 AM. Our plan for today and tomorrow involves roaming around different temple ruins. So, first we head to temple ticket counter.


View from tuktuk

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0358.jpg


Ticket counter for Angkor complex

Location


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0360.jpg


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Rate chart

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0363.jpg


There are three type of tickets-

One day ticket : USD 37
Three day ticket : USD 62
Seven day ticket: USD 72

For those who are planning on visiting temple complex only for one day, it is best to purchase ticket in evening of previous day between 05:00 - 05:30 PM. Tickets purchased during this time is valid for next day, hence you can visit sunrise at temple without getting delayed by ticket purchase.

We purchased three day ticket since our plan was to visit temples for two days. The three day ticket is valid for a period of 7 days, in those 7 day period you can visit the temples on any three days. At main entrance of the complex, they will punch your ticket against each date you are visiting and your ticket cease to be valid after the day of third punching. At each temple entrance, they will validate the ticket by just manually noting the dates.

Also, you need to be present while purchasing the tickets since they capture the picture of tourist. Hence it is not possible to get tickets via any agent. However, I had seen online people mentioning about getting tickets for a premium if you share your picture with them. I am not sure how it works, though on checking with hotel and tuktuk driver, they mentioned that it is not possible.



Pre Rup temple

Location

Our first stop is is Pre Rup, it has started to drizzle. Since this is rainy season in Cambodia, we were carrying raincoats with us. Armed with those we start the climb.


General code for all temples

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0394.jpg

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This temple, like many other around here involves too many steps to be climbed.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0368.jpg

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Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0381.jpg

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This temple provides a panoramic view of the area, we would come back here again in evening to catch glimpse of sunset.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0385.jpg


Our next stop was Ta Som temple.

Ta Som Temple

Location

This is a small temple, we quickly visit the same and return to tuktuk



Next stop was East Mebon temple


East Mebon temple

Location

This temple was almost identical to Pre Rup, though bit smaller.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0391.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0392.jpg


Rain has decreased by now, as soon as the rains stop we were starting to feel hot under the rain coat. Soon it becomes sunny.



Neak Poun

Location


Next stop was Neak Poun

The temple is located in middle of a huge lake fed by water from Siem Reap river, water level was real low in this lake. There is a beautiful wooden bridge connecting the temple to main road

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0422.jpg


Temple

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Locals had made this for some religious function

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Next we head to Preah Khan Temple.



Preah Khan Temple


Location


This is temple is spread across a huge area and is mostly in ruins, since it has multiple entry points, our tuktuk driver was repeatedly informing us to be careful about the exit we take out.

Road to temple

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0426.jpg


Entrance

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This temple is mostly in ruins. Many of the structure is held on by scaffolding.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0464.jpg

The dancing ladies are in a pose which you usually see in temple in India. However, their facial features are different.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0494.jpg


The features of status in most of the temples are not proportionate as you would see elsewhere.

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This temple takes most time to roam around. It took us above an hour to see all four corners and head back to tuktuk.

Its noon by now and we decide to head to our next destination after lunch.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:37.
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Old 14th July 2019, 22:14   #7
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Default Day 2: 30 June Ctd

Day 2: 30 - June - 2019 Ctd.

Our next destination was Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Location

This is outside the town and some 30 minutes drive, many have warned that there are no proper food options around here. A thing which was echoed by our tuk tuk driver too. However, he stopped at a descent looking restaurant warning us that food will be expensive over there.

Though that was the only better looking restaurant in the area, we felt the food was too oily. I had an upset stomach the evening due to that, thankfully by next day I recovered.


On hindsight, the best option would be to either carry something from town or adjust with tender coconut available along road side.

This is the restaurant we visited - Rom Chang Ankor

Location



Bantey Srei is located away from other temples and is surrounded in a small forested area. The temple as such is small, however the architecture is different from other temples in around here.

Parking lot

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_4975.jpg

Ticket checking area. Tickets purchased at Angkor Wat complex is valid here too.

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We complete seeing the temple in around an hour and head back towards Siem Reap, enroute we stop at landmine museum



Landmine Museum


Location


This is a museum established by Aki Ra, who was a child soldier during civil war in Cambodia. As a soldier, he was involved in laying landmines, currently he is involved in running an organisation which is in to de-mining.

The museum gives an understanding about issues faced by the population even now, though war got over decades ago. Landmines and unexploded ordnance from earlier shelling and bombing missions are a major issue here.

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The last paragraph is of special interest.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0528.jpg


There is a 5 USD entry fee for the museum.



Past this, our plan was to visit Pre Rup for sunset. However, our tuktuk driver mentioned that it will be too early for sunset now, hence he suggested we visit another temple which was not in plan now.



Banteay Samre

Location

This temple is not part of the regular tourist circuit, hence was not crowded. Infact when we visited, there were only a handful of other tourists present. More than the grandeur of the temple, it was the isolation which gave it its beauty.

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It's around 05:00 PM by the time we finish the visit. We head back to Pre Rup which was our first stop in morning.

This can be called as a designated sunset point over here, lots of people were already present though it is around one hour before sunset.


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This is the only temple which remains open past 05:00 PM.


Once this is done, we asked tuktuk to drop us near pub street, where we finish our dinner and head back to hotel.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 15th July 2019 at 22:14.
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Default Day 3: 01 - July

Day 3: 01 - July - 2019

Due to an earlier booked tour, our tuk tuk driver Solkee was not available for today and tomorrow. Due to that he had arranged his friend Tom to take us around.

The plan was to visit Angkor Wat for sunrise, this is a favorite todo thing among tourists. However, it requires one to buy ticket the previous day itself since counters open only by 05:00 AM, by when it will be late for you to visit the temple for sunrise.

Since we had our tickets purchased from previous day, we had asked Tom to reach by 04:30 AM in our hotel. Our hotel had informed us that they will provide packed breakfast on informing them the previous day, which we had done already.

However, one big blunder which we did was that we didn't update time on wife's mobile phone, which was still in Indian time zone. Indian timezone is 1.5 hours past Cambodian one, that means by time we woke up, it was past sunrise time.

Tom was at hotel at 04.30 as promised, it was around 05.00 Cambodian time when we woke up, called him up and informed about this blunder and requested him to wait for some more time.

It was around 06.00 AM when we started from hotel, went directly to Angkor Wat as planned earlier. Crowd who had came to watch sunrise was still lingering around then.


Angkor Wat

Location

This is a massive temple, located in middle of a huge lake and is one of the most visited tourist locations in the world.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0536.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5087.jpg


Lake surrounding the complex

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0634.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0538.jpg


Outer wall


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0541.jpg


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0554.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0553.jpg

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Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0585.jpg

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Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0595.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0611.jpg


Carvings on the wall depicting Mahabharatha and Ramayana

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0624.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0610.jpg


Peculiar looking human shaped carvings

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0594.jpg



Space between outer and inner walls

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0597.jpg


Though there are lots of huge buildings, somehow Cambodians seem to be finding step making a task. Many of the older buildings have small, steep and dangerous steps.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5106.jpg


Buildings on periphery of the complex

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0606.jpg




Though it was constructed as a Hindu temple, currently it is a Buddhist temple.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0604.jpg

It takes around 2 hours to walk around the temple. Once done we head outside decide to have breakfast from Blue Pumpkin restaurant outside. I am having an upset stomach since yesterday, I doubt it was due to the food we had Rom Cham restaurant I had mentioned about earlier. Hence wanted to visit some place which serves clean food.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:49.
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Old 21st July 2019, 19:18   #9
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After this, we head to Ta Prohm temple

Ta Prohm

Location

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5168.jpg


Indian government was involved in restoration of this temple.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5169.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5172.jpg


Huge trees had overgrown over temple walls. This gives a dramatic view, however their roots have caused considerable damage to the temple.

Archaeological Survey of India, who did restoration work here had made channels to remove water logging around the temple to avoid any further damage to the structure.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0637.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5175.jpg

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We finish seeing the temple in around a hour. After this we head to next temple nearby




Banteay Kdei

Location


Located nearby to Ta Prohm, this temple is almost similar, though it occupies a larger area. However, damages to the temple are limited compared to Ta Prohm and there is worship happening in the temple still.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0680.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0681.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0683.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0685.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0692.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5218.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5231.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 21st July 2019 at 19:30.
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Old 21st July 2019, 19:37   #10
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Ta Nei Temple

Location

This temple is located in between a forested area and is isolated. Road to this temple is a mud road for the last 300 meters or so. However, when we reached, there was around 30 people there. Our tuktuk driver mentions that it may be due to a local festival and that he usually finds himself alone whenever he visits otherwise.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0702.jpg


Most of the temple is in ruins. Our driver mentions that there is a plan of renovation and most of the trees inside the temple may be cut to start with the renovation plan.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0703.jpg

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Ta Keo temple

Location



Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0726.jpg

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Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0725.jpg


There are steep steps which are bit dangerous to climb.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5253.jpg

View from top

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5255.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0728.jpg


Narrow steps

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5257.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 21st July 2019 at 19:52.
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Old 21st July 2019, 20:15   #11
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Past that we head to Victory gate

Victory gate

Location

This is one of the gates which leads to Angkor Tom complex, there are similar gates on each side of the complex which has a moat on all sides.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5262.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5276.jpg




Our driver takes us through a small path next to the gate which takes you to top of the gate. You get a closer look of the heads from top of the wall

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5267.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5264.jpg



We saw these electrical two wheelers around there and noticed few charging points too enroute.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5277.jpg




Terrace of the elephants

Location


As you enter through the gate and proceed, you reach at Terrace of elephants. This is a long platform next to the road. Its of no specific visual appeal, however there are few temples around this area. So our driver said he will wait at the parking lot on other end, while we roam around and see the places.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0732.jpg

View from top

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5280.jpg


We cross over and get inside the complex and have the packed breakfast, which we had carried from hotel as lunch.

Once lunch done, we walk around the complex

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5283.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5286.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 6th October 2019 at 19:55.
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Old 21st July 2019, 20:38   #12
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Default Re: Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles

We proceed towards Baphuon temple

Baphuon Temple


Location

This temple again is a huge one, however top of the temple is in ruins and hence there is no worship happening here.



Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5316.jpg

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Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5295.jpg


Here too, there is fair bit of climbing involved

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5305.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5298.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5299.jpg


View from top

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5307.jpg

Structure on top of the temple. Notice that the roof has caved in

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5311.jpg


Most of temples in Cambodia had roof which had stones kept in this peculiar format. In many, it was possible to see sky through the gap. While it may be since the smaller stones and structure on top of this would have fallen down, it looked a bit unstable.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5302.jpg


The main attraction here is the sleeping Buddha. You can find the sketch in below image and compare it against the actual picture below to understand.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5314.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5313.jpg





Very nearby is one of the most famous temple after Angkor Wat.


Bayon Temple


Location


Since it was against white and bright sky, picture does not show the full beauty of the temple.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5324.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5325.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5328.jpg

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Many of the pictures of this temple is against backdrop of a small pond. However, the pond is now almost dry, hence we are unable to get the reflection of the temple in that.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5351.jpg



We head out of the complex through South Gate. The roads inside the complex are beautiful.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5354.jpg





South Gate

Location

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5355.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5357.jpg

Once done, we head back to town. Evening is spend again roaming around the streets around pub street. After a while, it started raining and we head to hotel.


Since we missed the sunrise, we requested our tuktuk driver to come tomorrow also early. Our Angkor Wat tickets are valid for one more day, hence we plan to visit Angkor Wat for sunrise tomorrow.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 21st July 2019 at 20:52.
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Old 21st July 2019, 21:00   #13
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Angkor Wat sunrise

Tuktuk driver had arrived by 04.30 AM and we head back to temple again. It's dark while we arrive, however there is already crowd building up.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0738.jpg



The popular location for watching sunrise is next to two ponds in front of the temple.

We watch as different hues of sky comes in front of us.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0748.jpg

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Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0773.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0844.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-dscn0845.jpg


Crowd watching sunrise

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5428.jpg


Once its bright we head back to hotel and have breakfast. We have our flight today afternoon to Phnom Penh and wanted to visit war museum too which is near to our airport. Hence we had asked our tuktuk driver to arrive a bit early for drop.



Once breakfast done, we spend some time around hotel and then checkout around 11.00 AM. Just as check-in, checkout was also smooth and we head towards war museum.



War museum

Location

Its located very near to airport and is a must visit if you are able to spare an hour or so extra before heading to airport.


Entrance

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5533.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5481.jpg


Display

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5484.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5485.jpg


Inside of helicopter

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5488.jpg


Guns on display

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5490.jpg


Man behind the most famous gun in history

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5492.jpg


Weapons manual in Russian

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5493.jpg



Engine and gearing details of an amphibious vehicle

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5499.jpg


Check out the metal thickness. The term 'Built like a tank' is not without reasons

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5506.jpg



Multi barrel rocket launcher. Guess its BM 13 launcher.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5513.jpg


Marking on tyre

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5515.jpg


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5517.jpg


Rating format of tyre was bit confusing

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5518.jpg


Other vehicles at museum


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5519.jpg



An amphibious vehicle

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5529.jpg

Its jet expelusion setup

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5527.jpg


There are lots of pictures and writing about Cambodian civil war and bombings by America.

In a different era, when press briefings were done with by president pointing on map.

US President Nixon explaining about US action against Cambodia.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5523.jpg


Picture of craters caused by US bombings

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-suh_5525.jpg


The US campaign added another angle to the troubled past of Cambodia. Picture of killing of a anti war protester is one of the iconic picture from those era.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 21st July 2019 at 22:35.
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Old 21st July 2019, 23:15   #14
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It takes us around an hour to see the museum, past that we head to airport.

Our flight should take around 50 minutes to reach Phnom Penh. The other option was to take bus, which roughly cost Rs 1000 per ticket and about 7 hours. We decided against the same since it will end up wasting our whole day, though the chance of seeing countryside during bus ride was tempting.


Flight ticket costed around Rs 2800 per head.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_131528.jpg

After boarding it was informed that Phnom Penh airport was facing congestion now, hence our flight will be late to take off. We had to wait around 40 minutes inside the flight before it took off.

After that, the flight made multiple circle around the Phnom Penh while it awaited landing slot.

Later on returning to India, when I checked Flightradar24 for other dates, I noticed that this was the same pattern followed. We noticed some taxiway work at airport, guess that is causing the congestion.

Checkout the holding pattern near to Phnom Penh for the same flight that we came in.

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Phnom Penh airport

The airport is located bit outside the city center, however most of the horror stories related to traffic what you may see online was from a year or so back. Nowadays there are a series of flyovers constructed in main road leading to airport from city center which is helping in bringing the commute time down.

How to go to city from airport:

There are following options available
- Airport Taxi (~ 18 USD)
- Auto Rickshaw (~ 14 USD)
- Airport bus (~ 4 USD) takes two predefined routes.
- Airport train (2.5 USD) - Unable to get any proper information on timings. However, from what all available, frequency is less.
- Grab taxi (~ 6USD) Cheapest option if you have luggage


Any option you take, you need to be around the same place outside the airport.

This is how area outside arrival gate looks like

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_154940.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_154949.jpg

For any option apart from Grab taxi, head to left side of arrival gate.

Taxi parking bay, auto rickshaws also will be available at the same place

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_155053.jpg

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_155725.jpg


For train, walk around 100 meters to the left and on opposite side of the road you can notice the train station across the parking lot

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190705_063738.jpg


Airport parking charges

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_155715.jpg


Information kiosk

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_155656.jpg


For Grab taxi, from arrival gate, take right and wait. Earlier Grab taxis were not allowed inside the airport, hence you were required to walk outside the airport gate and book. However, that is a thing of past. Now, while booking itself Grab taxi app will ask you to be at the picking point I mentioned above.

One confusing thing is, the app mentions the pickup point as QB telephone point. I later made out that it is the set of kiosks which is selling SIM's that it mentions about.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_155029.jpg


We got a Toyota Prius, which seems to be very popular vehicle across taxi and private users across Cambodia. This is my first time inside a Prius, wonder if this animation can be switched off. It took around 35 minutes for us to reach our hotel and after the novelty factor weared out, the notification starts to look annoying.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_160028.jpg



Vacation Boutique Hotel

Location

We had booked this hotel based on its location which is very near to all the landmarks which we wanted to visit and due to the fact that it got good reviews.

However, this was not our first choice of hotel. The other ones were unfortunately booked out, since we were searching for dates which was within 10 days.

Though I can't point out any specific thing which I didn't like about this hotel, it was clean, staff was friendly, location was good. I somehow didn't like the hotel. Maybe it was since the corridor was bit too dark and congested or to the fact that their balcony is uncomfortably close to neighbouring building.

Overall, would not suggest this hotel to anyone visiting. If you book a bit early, you can get better hotels for same rate in same area.

Hotel from outside

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190704_102131.jpg

Lobby

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_163520.jpg



Room

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_165052.jpg


Bathroom

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_165115.jpg

Last edited by mpksuhas : 21st July 2019 at 23:35.
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Old 5th August 2019, 10:50   #15
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After taking rest for a while we decide to go on a walk around city and see the tourist spots near to hotels. It was drizzling all afternoon, thankfully it has stopped now.


Wat Phnom


Location

This is a Buddhist temple located on top of a small hill, there is an entry fee of 1USD for foreigners visiting the temple.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_180835.jpg


Ticket booth

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_180719.jpg

Steps to temple

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_180743.jpg

View inside
Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_181551.jpg


Apart from the historical and religious significance of this temple to residents of the city, there is nothing much to see here. Once done, we walk towards the head post office building.


Buildings enroute


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_180541.jpg



Phnom Penh Post office

Location

This is a colonial era building and still popular among tourists who send postcards from here. The place was already closed, hence we were not able to check the interiors.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_182750.jpg


Very next to the post office is the start of river side path. We have plan to come over here the next day in day light to see the place properly.


Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_185132.jpg


There were few boats meant for tourists starting from here while we reached.

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190702_183414.jpg


Its was nearing dinner time and few restaurants we had planned on trying while here were bit far off. Checking on TripAdvisor, came across an Indian restaurant very next to where we were standing which had descent rating. Hence contrary to our usual practice, we decide to have non local cuisine.


We liked the food and would recommend it to anyone who is keen on having Indian food while on travel.

Location


Picture of restaurant taken the next day

Wanderlust Traveler: Cambodia - Land of smiles-img_20190703_095549.jpg



Dinner done, we walk back to our hotel.

Last edited by mpksuhas : 5th August 2019 at 19:34.
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