The home of Angkor Wat and pretty much the only attraction people come to see in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap is a quite a modern city with supermarkets selling well known western brands mixed with a traditional twist as Tuk Tuks whizz past; half cart/buggy pulled by a motorcycle. They’re pretty awesome.
The people in Siem Reap are incredibly friendly and smiley and their level of English is pretty astonishing considering a large amount of people don’t attend school.
Angkor Wat is an incredible temple complex but there are many other temples worth seeing in the complex, such as Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm made famous by Tomb Raider. However these are just a few of the many temples in the complex.
How to get there:
The best way to see Angkor Wat and the other temples is to hire a Tuk Tuk for the day and negotiate on a price. Prices are anywhere from $20 for 4 people per day and $18 for 3 people. the general rule is if you’re paying more than $5-$6 per person to Angkor Wat then you are getting severely ripped off.
Your tuk tuk driver will pick you up at an arranged time and then he will be yours for the day. He will take you to the ticket office to purchase your day ticket (cost $37) and then drive you to the temples. The best part of hiring your own tuk tuk is that you are in complete control, you let him know which temples you want to see, he drives you there, and waits for you whilst you explore.
You then pay the driver once he takes you back to your hostel/hotel. Easy peasy.
N.B: NEVER PAY A TUK TUK DRIVER UPFRONT IN CAMBODIA. THEY WONT EXPECT YOU TO EITHER UNLESS IT'S A SCAM. MOST TUK TUK DRIVERS ARE HONEST PEOPLE.
People will warn you about terrible scams in Cambodia, how tuk tuk drivers will rip you off and scam you, people will steal phones and handbags from you as they drive past on motorbikes and although this may be the case and these things do happen, the majority of the people in Cambodia are lovely.
In my experience I only ever met amazing and honest tuk tuk drivers who were just trying to make a living. As a general rule you should always negotiate prices before hand so that everyone is on the same page. And just remember to smile, honestly, it makes a world of a difference. Be friendly to the locals and negotiate in a comical way and as long as you’re not ripping them off, it’s great fun.
Cambodia is a communist country with a dark history. It was only in the last 50 years terrible atrocities were happening all over the country which I will go into more detail about in my next blog post in Phnom Penh. Unfortunately the people of Cambodia are still recovering and you will see this on the streets as there are so many children and adults begging for money.
Nevertheless, you will also hear stories of how wealthy their government and the families of people who work in the government are. The people of Cambodia are aware of the corruption in their country and I have heard first hand stories from these people. People who fear their government and know that they could be caught talking ill of their government. Most people in Cambodia know of someone who has gone missing due to the corruption in their country, which is terrifying.
Cambodia currently has a “least developed country (LDC)” status and isn’t expected to rise from this until 2025. Which is astounding due to the level of tourism, use of the US dollar and...
More than 2,000,000 people visited Angkor was last year, which equals to 5479 people per day. It’s $37 to visit Angkor Wat per person for a day pass. Which is $202,739.72 per day. Which mean they make $74,000,000 per year just from Angkor Wat. After accounting for the cost of restoration, materials, workers and on site staff. Where does the rest of the money go?
It’s an interesting question that many of the locals ask themselves… and their final response is always “government” whilst miming putting their hand in their back pocket.