Ins and outs

Getting there

Air

The airport (REP) is 7 km from Siem Reap, the town closest to the Angkor ruins, with flights from Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, Bangkok and Vientiane. Guesthouse owners often meet flights. Visas can be issued upon arrival, photo required.

Boat

From Phnom Penh, five to six hours. The trip is a good way to see the mighty Tonlé Sap Lake. It is a less appealing option in the dry season when low water levels necessitate transfers to small, shallow draft vessels. In case of extremely low water levels a bus or pickup will need to be taken for part of the trip. The mudbank causeway between the lake and the outskirts of Siem Reap is hard to negotiate and some walking may be necessary (it's 12 km from Bindonville harbour to Siem Reap).

Bus

The air-conditioned buses are one of the most convenient and comfortable ways to go between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, six hours. Almost every guesthouse or hotel sells tickets although it is easy enough to pick up from the bus stations/terminal. In peak periods, particularly Khmer New Year, it is important to purchase tickets a day or two prior to travel.

Getting around

Most of the temples within the Angkor complex (except the Roluos Group) are located in an area 8 km north of Siem Reap, with the area extending across a 25 km radius. The Roluos Group are 13 km east of Siem Reap and further away is Banteay Srei (32 km).

Cars with drivers and guides are available from larger hotels. The Angkor Tour Guide Association and most other travel agencies can also organize this. Expect to pay around US$7-8 per day for a moto unless the driver speaks good English in which case the price will be higher. This price will cover trips to the Roluos Group of temples but not to Banteay Srei. No need to add more than a dollar or two to the price for getting to Banteay Srei unless the driver is also a guide and can demonstrate to you that he is genuinely going to show you around. Tuk-tuks and their ilk have appeared in recent years and a trip to the temples on a motorbike drawn cart is quite a popular option for two people.

Bicycle hire, availanle from most guesthouses, represents a nice option for those who feel reasonably familiar with the area. The White Bicycles scheme, set up by Norwegian expats, offers bikes for $2 per day with $1.50 of that going straight into local charities and no commission to the hotels and is recommended. If you are on a limited schedule and only have a day or two to explore you won't be able to cover an awful lot of the temples on a pedal bike as the searing temperatures and sprawling layout can take even the most advanced cyclists a considerable amount of time. Angkor Wat and Banteay Srei have official parking sites, and at the other temples you can quite safely park and lock your bikes in front of a drink stall. Elephants are stationed near the Bayon or at the South Gate of Angkor Thom during the day. In the evenings, they are located at the bottom of Phnom Bakheng, taking tourists up to the summit for sunset.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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