We had a good friend come to visit us in December, and one of the places that we were excited to share with him was Angkor Wat.
This trip is very similar to our January 2015 trip with a few exceptions:
- We took the 5:55 AM #275 train (48 THB / 1.35 USD) so that we could complete the trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap in one day. Time table and fares link (website offline at times).
- We stayed at Horizons Cambodia (25 USD per night) because Shadow of Angkok I is currently undergoing a remodel.
- We cut the Cambodia Land Mine Museum and the Angkor Wat Small Loop bicycle ride from our itinerary.
- We added a trip to Kompong Khleang Floating and Stilted Village to our itinerary.
- On our return trip from Siem Reap to Bangkok we took a taxi from Siem Reap to Poipet (35 USD) and from Aranyaprathet to our house in Bangkok (1850 THB / 52 USD) to maximize our guest’s time.
Train to the Thai Boarder (48 THB / 1.35 USD) – The morning train departs at 5:55 AM and takes about 6 hours to reach Aranyaprathet, Thailand.
Tuk-tuk to Border – We took a tuk-tuk (80 THB / 2.25 USD) from the train station to the border where we exited Thailand and entered Poipet, Cambodia.
Thai/Cambodian Border Crossing – We had e-visas and exiting Thailand and entering Cambodia took less than 30 minutes.
Taxi to Siem Reap – We negotiated a taxi (30 USD) immediately after exiting immigration for the 2.5 hour trip to Siem Reap.
Horizons Cambodia (25 USD per night) – We really enjoyed our stay at Horizons. The only downside is that, being on the opposite side of the river, it is a little removed from the great restaurants and grocery stores in Old Market. This distance matters when you are exhausted after a day of temple exploring and it can be a safety issue when you have to return after dark.
Day 2 (Same as Day 4 of our first trip)
Angkor Wat Large Loop – We repeated the 26 KM Large Loop that we had done in January. It was just as spectacular the second time around!
We started the morning planning to search for a tuk-tuk driver that we would want to hire for all three days. Right after starting down the street we had a driver approach us that we liked and that quoted us the reasonable price of 15 USD for the day. That was easy!
At Angkor Wat we purchased a three-day pass for 40 USD. A one-day pass is 20 USD, so you break-even after two days.
We had a fantastic time and at the end of the day made plans and confirmed prices with our driver for the longer trips (25 USD per day).
At Socheata Restaurant, John found his new favorite food – Cambodian Stuffed Frog! This restaurant, located in Neth Socheata Hotel, was absolutely delicious and had very reasonable prices. We liked it so much we returned the next night.
Day 3 (All new territory!!!)
Kompong Khleang Floating and Stilted Village – Our driver picked us up at 7:00 AM sharp and we started our 1.5 hour drive to Kompong Khleang, located 55 kilometers east of Siem Reap.
The cool morning air and beautiful scenery made for a great ride.
At Kompong Khleang we took a 1.5 hour tour of the village and Tonle Sap Lake by boat (20 USD each!) – This is very expensive for the region, but, as far as we found through our research, that is what you have to pay if you want to take the tour. It is a great ride and the scenery is spectacular.
Tonle Sap Lake, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, is the most prominent feature on the map of Cambodia. It is very unique in that during the rainy season (June to November) it swells to over 12,000 square kilometers when the Mekong River forces the Tonle Sap River to reverse course and flow upstream, filling the lake. In the dry season (December to May) it shrinks to as small as 2500 square kilometers.
According to a fascinating 2003 Master’s Thesis written by Marko Keskinen (Socio-Economic Survey of the Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia), Tonle Sap Lake provides about 60% of Cambodia’s annual commercial fish production (approximately 235,000 tons). While dated, this thesis gives great insight to the importance of Tonle Sap Lake on the overall economy of Cambodia and is a great read.
On the return trip to Siem Reap we stopped and toured the impressive and beautiful Roluos Group temples: Bakong, Lolei, Preah Ko, and Prasat Prei Monti.
Day 4 (Same as Day 5 of our first trip)
Banteay Srey and Kbal Spean – Our driver picked us up at 7:00 AM and we headed to Banteay Srey, about 25 KM from the main group of temples. Banteay Srey is built largely of red sandstone and is incredibly detailed.
We then continued further to Kbal Spean, “The River of a Thousand Lingas.” After a beautiful 2 KM uphill hike we arrived at the carvings in the riverbed. We love this hike!
On the return trip to Siem Reap our driver took us to several different temples that we had not visited on our Large Loop day.
After returning from Siem Reap, we arranged for a taxi (through our hotel) to take us to Poipet early the next morning (35 USD).
Return Trip to Bangkok – The taxi was waiting for us when we walked out and it was a new model Toyota SUV with leather seats that made for a very pleasant ride to Poipet! It was a much nicer ride than a bus.
Exiting Cambodia and entering Thailand was very quick early in the morning, only about 30 minutes.
After we were through immigration, we walked to a taxi stand and John started to negotiate for the 2.5 hour trip from Aranyaprathet to Bangkok with the boss. John had researched and found that the standard Thai price is 1900 THB / 53 USD, but that it can be difficult to get that price. John was offering to pay 1500 THB / 42 USD; they were asking 2200 THB / 62 USD). After about 10 minutes and after starting to walk away, they agreed to 1850 THB/ 52 USD.
Then it got interesting. They did not have any taxis available, only minibuses. John was concerned that they would either 1) be trying to pick up additional passengers en route, or 2) that they already had some. Negotiations began all over again!
After ensuring that we would not pick up other riders and that we would be dropped off at our house, we headed to the van. The boss attempted to get us to pay before we left, John refused. Once we were in the van, he tried one more time to get John to pre-pay, this time to the driver (pre-paying is a good way to get left on the side of the road). Again John reiterated that he would only pay once we reached our destination… All of this is standard Aranyaprathet / Poipet border crossing shenanigans!
We finally set off with each of us having our own comfortable, reclining chair! As the boss had said – VIP! It was a very smooth and uneventful ride back to Bangkok.
We had a fantastic second trip to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat. It felt like the first time all over again, with new discoveries around every bend. Traveling with a good friend enhanced the trip and by sharing transportation costs we were able to utilize more convenient modes of transport. Even with the additional tuk-tuk day and using taxis the entire way from Siem Reap to Bangkok, our per day expenses only increased by 3 USD per day!
- Time of Year: December 2015
- Length of Stay: 5 Days, 4 Nights
- Total Trip Cost – 2 People: 585 USD*
- Cost Per Day / Per Person: 58 USD*
- Visa Information: E-visa
*Excluded from the cost analysis:
- International Airfare – International airfare is not included because fares vary depending on your starting location.
GPS Coordinates: Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Click to expand
Hua Lamphong Railway Station @ 13.738954,100.516784
Aranyaprathet Train Station @ 13.69259,102.505154
Gate to Cambodia @ 13.662277,102.548468
Thai Immigration Office @ 13.661839,102.549395
Cambodia Immigration Office @ 13.660007,102.552096
Siem Reap @ 13.361845,103.859741
Horizons Cambodia @ 13.355692,103.859205
Angkor Wat Ticket Office @ 13.387078,103.864118
Angkor Wat @ 13.412427,103.866918
Socheata Restaurant @ 13.354264,103.855887
Kompong Khleang Village@ 13.105300,104.125481
Bakong @ 13.336191,103.974908
Lolei @ 13.352668,103.974263
Preah Ko @ 13.343900,103.972713
Prasat Prei Monti @ 13.327426,103.970889
Banteay Srey @ 13.598923,103.963476
River of a Thousand Lingas @ 13.565868,104.102594
Taxi Stand @ 13.662952,102.547065
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You can copy and paste the latitude and longitude into Google Earth, your browser, or into your GPS.
*The Thailand portion of the map follows roads, not the railroad tracks.
*Disclaimer- ALWAYS verify locations, transportation routes, GPS coordinates, etc. Errors are made, routes changed, sometimes we are just plain wrong. No one knows what you like more than you. If the trip is worth doing, it is worth doing right! Do your homework.