This our my first time doing backpacking and it had been good minus a small hiccup during our arrival. Besides the airticket, our hotel reservation was done via internet as well. We booked Earthwalkers, which online offered a real good deal of USD17/room with aircond, bathroom & double bed. Personally I advice all to blacklist this guest house as upon reaching airport, there were no pick up for us. We took airport taxi to Earthwalkers cost us USD5 & to our shock the whole guesthouse is under major renovation. WTF???
But lucky enough, the tour agency we liaised closely with (Amazing Angkor) managed to arrange another guesthouse for us situated in the heart of Siem Reap town, thanks to Mr. Panha Ou for his assistance when we felt helpless. I highly recommend this agency to handle your tour to Siem Reap, they cater everything based on your budget.
Our guesthouse is Mekong Angkor Palace, decent double bed room with bathroom attached & a swimming pool. Breakfast is provided and the staff here made us really feel at home most of the time.
Other impression about Siem Reap, the drivers here drive really
The city itself, the surroundings look a bit like Hatyai, Thailand. Lots of motorbikes & bicycles on the road, most of the vehicles there are without plate number and motorbike & its pillion riders are without their safety helmets on most of the time. The city is pretty dusty, not a dirty country but I think the nature of the soil there, the dust was of those laterites not due to pollution. Be prepared to get yourself dusty (remember bring disposable wet tower if possible), for us our tour guide provided that to us.
The people - most of them can speak decent English, even the kids. Most of the people here are tanned but you do spot some with fairer complexion but the population in Siem Reap according to our tour guide there are about 20-30% of Vietnamese in the city.
Currency used - most of the time US Dollars. For backpacking, USD300 would be enough for a 5d/4n trip to this city. They do have an official currency which is 'Riels' but most of the people here used USD, the price tags on restaurant menu & shopping items are all quoted in USD. For your knowledge, USD1 is equivalent to approximately 4,000Riels.
Use light sandals to travel around, go for Crocs, easier to clean and so light that you can walk & climb a lot.
So what's install next in mikemmery??? The sandstones, laterites, mikemmery laid his hand on the amazing civilization of Angkor Wat.