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Siem ReapTour

South Australia
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18 posts
34 reviews
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Siem ReapTour

My wife and I arrive in SR late morning of 15 April and leave for Luang Prabang mid afternoon on 18 April. Probably a busy time being KNY.

1. When we were in SR in December 2007, we simply hired bikes and cycled around the temples by ourselves which was great fun and very relaxing. This time we would like to learn more about the historical side of things and wish to have a day with a knowledgeable guide and driver. Should we try to book a guide and driver before we leave Aust or just take a chance on finding a not-too-pushy guide upon arrival ? (We are not interested in visiting the shops etc of the guide's relatives etc!!)

2. We would like to do a half day tour of the Lake.

Is the Tara tour the way to go or should we use a guide and driver?

3. We would like to go to Beng Melea and also my wife (a kindy Director) would like to observe, and to some extent participate in a couple of out of the way village schools. What is the best way to do that?

Finally,we are very fond of S-E Asia so I peruse the TA posts with great interest. Thank you to Angkorlad, Thmoore (sorry to learn the "old man" had a mishap) and others who make it all so interesting.

Sydney, Australia
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13,628 posts
5 reviews
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1. Re: Siem ReapTour

Hello Vonhager,

Thanks for your kind words - very much appreciated I assure you.

For what it may be worth, I am a firm advocate of waiting until you arrive before doing most things and there are good reasons for this. Or, if you feel the need to hit the ground running, do things through your hotel or guesthouse. The main reason for doing this is that hotels and guesthouses are dealing with drivers and guides year round and know from the feed back of their house guests which are the better, most trustworthy of the several hundreds. And, more importantly, the guides and drivers depend to some extent on repeat business from the hotels/guesthouses so there is a good working relationship between the various parties. This is a far safer and far more reliable set of circumstances for the first time or not many times visitor to Siem Reap - Angkor Region.

About the worst situation is to just pick, contact and employ someone sight unseen based on a posting or two on a TA Forum. Unless of course it is from a very frequent visitor to Cambodia. I, personally, rarely post my personal tuk tuk driver of many years standing, Mr. Tola Khath's, contact details on this forum but am usually very happy to provide them when politely requested in a PM by someone who gives their actual/real name when signing off their PM.

Just setting things up based on glowing reports on this forum is often less than satisfactory. All too often the person contacted sends along his "brother" "friend" or whoever and you have been conned because he is just farming out any work requests and, probably, taking a cut $ for doing so. Also, some guides are better at "Infotainment" than real knowledge.

As I say, these are my personal views based on many years in the Angkor Region. Others, quite legitimately, feel otherwise.

For a relaxed, enjoyable and all inclusive day out on the Tonle Sap and will good commentary at all stages, please take the Tara Boat Cruise. Their sunset cruise/dinner is excellent.

Unscheduled visits to local schools are problematic in that they are also disruptive for teacher and pupils in very overcrowded classes by our standards. Here again though, if preplanned, this can be arranged in advance. You will, of course, be expected to make some form of lasting contribution to the school and/or class visited. Please try to be more imaginative than most travellers who arrive with the usual clutch of pencils, rubbers and cheap exercise books. These things have their place but the thinking visitor will bring long-lasting educational aids that can be used by the teacher/s, such as wall charts, wall maps, school atlases, illustrated learner's english dictionaries etc. Some of which can be bought locally but others such as blackboard equipments such as set squares, chalk compass etc you will need to source in and educational supply company shop in your own country. Over the years, I have given the school sports masters/mistresses quite a number of team sports equipments such as soccer/footballs, net and volley balls etc (uninflated for ease of travel) and, where appropriate, the netting etc. but always with at least one inflator needle for each ball provided - people never think to pack the ball infalion needles! The country is awash with bicycle pumps to inflate balls but no one has any inflation needles!

Just random personal thoughts based on past experiences.

All best regards. Ian

Adelaide, Australia
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1,007 posts
54 reviews
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2. Re: Siem ReapTour

You always give thought provoking advice, Ian, you are helping more than the original poster when you make such an effort with your replies.

Adelaide, Australia
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12 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Siem ReapTour

We have just returned (2 days ago) from Siem Reap. As stated above hotels usually have their own trusted Tuk Tuk drivers and guides however the hotel usually gets a cut of whatever you pay them, or they have to pay the hotel a certain amount everyday to be outside, and they get alot of bussiness...

We happened to get talking to a Canadian guy in Chiang Mai who was supporting a local family in Siem Reap and also sponsoring a young guy by paying for 1/2 a Tuk Tuk for him to get him on his feet... So when we landed in Siem reap we rang him and he looked after us for 3 days... He was a very nice polite young man around 20 years old, spoke very good english and knew alot about Siem reap and where to go.. He took us around Ankor Watt and basically dropped us off at the temple and waited outside until we wanted to go somewhere else...He took us to restauarants and local markets (not tourist ones) and was just really nice to have around...he didnt want to charge us very much for the 3 days we had him, but we liked him alot so we gave him a little bonus.....

His name is Adam (012 588 413) and unlike the previouse poster Im happy advertise his name & phone number as he is a great kid and deserves all the help he can get..He is not one of these pushy Tuk Tuk drivers who hang around and harass you everytime you walk by...and as such I think he only gets work through recomendations...He even sent us an email on our return saying how nice it was to meet us and help us....here is a copy of it ...very cute..

"Hello Shandor

It was a pleasure to meet you and help you while you stayed in Siem Reap.

I hope to see you in the future, as it will be a pleasure to help you again

Take care from your trusted tuk-tuk driver

Best regards

Adam

Local telephone calls: 012 588 413

International calls: +855 12 588 413

South Australia
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18 posts
34 reviews
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4. Re: Siem ReapTour

Thank you, Ian, for your comments. We are pretty experienced in holidaying through South East Asia but it is always helpful to receive a "refresher course" prior to embarking on the next trip. We often just do our "own thing" and that is part of the adventure (but we are getting older and not as adventurous as we were when we travelled with our children)! I guess the New Year celebrations will thin out the potential list of guides/drivers but we will take a chance on that by trying to tee up a guide upon our arrival on 15th April. Having previously been to Angkor without a guide, I thought this time it would be good to gain some first hand historical/cultural knowledge of the Angkor area (without having to refer to Lonely Planet all of the time).

I reckon we might try to do the Lake tour with Tara on the afternoon of the 15th (to settle into holiday mode), perhaps go to Beng Melea and other general things on the 16th, and then look at Angkor on the 17th (in the hope there will be guides/drivers back on deck following the NY celebrations). We will also have the morning of the 18th to have a further look around SR.

How does that sound?

Shandor, thank you for the info - I shall take those phone number with me in the event we need a tuk tuk driver. It is going to be a pretty rushed trip this time so we will probably just use tuk tuks for shorter general trips.

Again, thanks.

Peter

Sydney, Australia
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13,628 posts
5 reviews
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5. Re: Siem ReapTour

Contrary to what Poster # 3 has posted the majority of Hotels and Guesthouses have no financial or other linkage with drivers and guides etc. Some do but the better ones do not. The majority are just happy to provide the best services possible to their house guests.

But if you put a hotel or guesthouse to additional effort such as having them book and go and pay in advance for services and or collect tickets etc on your behalf then expect to be charged a "service charge/fee".

Secondly, it is not my role on this forum to plan or organise peoples tours, travel or whatever in Cambodia.

Where apropriate, I respond to questions with a broad based appeal or application to the forum readership or to correct wrong or outdated and misleading information posted to the forum. In adition to which, I challenge and debunk the blatent posers and tellers of implausable stories.

In short, I am not anyone's travel planner. As is said frequently on this and other forums, TA does not stand for Travel Agent. Travel Agents charge for their services, experience and knowledge and rightly so.

Best regards. Ian

South Australia
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18 posts
34 reviews
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6. Re: Siem ReapTour

No worries, Ian. I wasn't asking you to plan or organize our tour - I was simply seeking an opinion as to whether my itinerary is achievable given our limited amount of time in SR and that it clashes with NY celebrations. Sorry to have offended.

siem reap
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417 posts
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7. Re: Siem ReapTour

i agree also just wait till you get here before booking the guide.in april there are many guides and far less tourist also its better to meet them first .

Siem Reap, Cambodia
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35 posts
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8. Re: Siem ReapTour

Gee No7, don't you are Khmer ? KYN is a biggest PH in Cambodia and the most special time for any Khmer citizen to relax, reunion, holiday out and offerings for ancestors, doesn't it ?

70% of tour guides and drivers are not originated in Siem Reap and they always leave for visiting their family or holiday so will be hard to find out them here.

lewes uk
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10,139 posts
205 reviews
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9. Re: Siem ReapTour

Hi #8

That still leaves 30% of drivers who do live in Siem Reap and that 30% are more than enough for the number of visitors in April

Cheers

Siem Reap, Cambodia
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20 posts
4 reviews
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10. Re: Siem ReapTour

Depends on your contacts, if you leave it too late to find one it could turn out a nightmare like you could not get a tuk tuk from pub street. The good ones who often be busy would not work during this time with short notice.

Edited: 02 April 2012, 10:51