With all these promo airfares popping almost every weekend, it is now easier for us Filipinos to plan weekend getaways overseas without spending so much. Vietnam, Hongkong, Thailand and Singapore are nearby destinations we usually visit, as these countries are just around 3 hours away by plane; Visa-free for Filipinos.
Aiming to encourage people to see beyond the usual, I am uploading a series of blogs shedding more light to a humble Buddhist-nation seated between Thailand and Vietnam, which is the Kingdom of Cambodia (…also Visa-free up to 21 days for Filipinos,and we have direct flights as well).
Two weeks ago, I had a chance to revisit Siem Reap,Cambodia. It was my second time to see the city. Still enchanting and deep-rooted as it has always been. Among our neighbouring Southeast Asian nations, Cambodia probably boasts the most intriguing records of ancient times. The Khmer (ancient Cambodian) civilization dates back 802 CE. The preserved ruins and temples tell a lot of stories. Written words will never be enough to describe a Cambodian experience. As such, I am sharing a sample itinerary, expenses and places to see in Siem Reap, with hopes on encouraging readers to include Cambodia up their travel bucket list.
Here’s a sample three-day Itinerary that may help you plan your weekend stay in Siem Reap. I made this itinerary as relaxed as possible.
Take the weekend flight. Cebu Pacific flies Manila to Siem Reap every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Take the Thursday flight out, and return on Sunday. Three days in Siem Reap is good enough. For proper schedule and ticket cost, click here.
Day 0 (Thursday): Cebu Pacific flies to Siem Reap in the evening. With this, pwede ka pa mag half day sa work and file a scheduled leave in the afternoon. File mo na din Friday. Don’t forget.
There’s an hour time difference between Siem Reap and Manila. You’ll probably arrive there at 10 PM.
Day 1 (Friday): Siem Reap is most known for its centuries-old Buddhist Temples,made more famous by Angelina Jolie in her movie “Tomb Raider”. Most tourists visit the temple complex immediately on the first day. However, I highly suggest that we visit the “Angkor National Museum” before entering the temple proper. The museum’s presentation of Cambodia’s historical timeline is impressive. A visit to the museum will give a better perspective and understanding on the history of Cambodia, and on how and why these sacred temples were built. This is highly suggested for history and Architecture enthusiasts. Ticket is only 12 USD. Optional 5 dollars to rent a walk-thru audio guide in English, to further explain each exhibit you are viewing.
Late afternoon is a good time to visit the temple. Spend your hours at the Angkor Main Temple ’til sunset.
Three Days Temple Pass costs 62 USD per person (One day Pass is also available at 37 USD, and Seven days pass at 72 USD. Kids 12 and below are free, with passport as proof).
In the evening, you may opt to avail traditional Thai massage for relaxation. Casual street massage cost 6 to 8 USD. Spa setting or hotel service at 12 to 20 USD. Your hotels can help you book this if desired.
Day 2 – Sunrise at Angkor Wat. Be on site at 5:00 AM to experience the breathtaking moment, as the sun shines striking colours and atmospheric effects against the spiring towers of the Angkor. Spend the rest of the day touring nearby cluster of temples built between 9th to 12th Century
Bayon Temple. The most intricate temple with 54 towers, decorated with 216 smiling faces of Buddha.
Tuktuk drivers normally charge 25 USD for a whole day service (Driver and car included). However, a trip to Banteay may require an additional 5 USD, as this cluster is around 30 minutes away from the rest of the temples.
After whole day temple hopping, spend the Saturday night at Siem Reap’s city centre Pub street.
Day 3 (Sunday): Shopping day. Siem Reap local products are cheap. The main old market is the best place to haggle and shop in the morning. The Art Centre Market in front is also worth visiting. For the rest of the day, you may just laze around the artsy cafes and restaurants while waiting for your flight. Cebu pacific has a Sunday evening flight back to Manila. Back to work on Monday. =)
Where we stayed:
Crown Angkor Hotel (link here). Hotel pool area photo grabbed from hotel’s official Facebook page with permission.
Foodtripping Around Siem Reap