a VirtualTourist member from Makati
My wife and I are thinking of going to Siem Reab by this year's end, specifically on the week between Christmas and New Year's. Would this be a good time to travel there? Is Phnom Pehn worth a visit or can we just skip it? Thanks for any reply.
Vanakam, I just came back from Cambodia (specifically Siem Reap & Pnomh Penh) last week, & we really enjoyed ourselves there.
The time you proposed should be good, its in the midst of high season, according to our guide there. He was exellent, you should conider using him. His name is Vannak, & you should call him at +855 1279 3220 to book him in advance.
Siem Reap is excellent to visit, & the temple monuments are breathtaking, to say the least. Also, many very good & diverse restaurants there to suit your palates & appetites.
As to Pnomh Penh, you should stay there at least 2 days; you can cover most of the attractions within a day (e.g. National Museum, Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, Killing Fields, Genocidal Museum, Russian market, etc).
You MUST have at least 1 dinner at Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) in Pnomh Penh, its really fabulous !!
You could spend the other day in Pnomh Penh at leisure there, doing some shopping at the Russian Market or other souvenir places (they're really good value), or enjoying luvly Angkor Beer by the poolside.
If you decide to use Vannak, get him to drive you down to Pnomh Penh from Siem Reap, it'll be more convenient than using the River Boat (about 7 hours) or the bus (same time & stopping at many areas). Driving there directly only takes you 4 hours; if you leave around 9 a.m. (after breakfast), you'll be there in time for a nice lunch.
You should consider flying to Siem Reap, spending a few days there, then driving down to Pnomh Penh, then flying home from Pnomh Penh itself.
Let me know if you need any other info.
It will be high season, so book your hotel early and expect slightly higher prices. The best part of winter travel is the temperatures may be much better. I went there in January and found the temperature a little high, but easily tolerable. Most people who go in the hot season only stay at the temples until late morning and have to retreat to their hotel for the afternoon. I was able to stay all day with no problem.
Spent New Year's Eve-2008 in Siem Reap. Hotels are full but found good accomodation for15.
A bit crowded this time of the year, and a street party to bring in the New Year.
Phnom Penh is worth visiting, and the boat ride ($25) is very nice and breezy. Flights would be the most time saving.