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Overnight in Siem Reap, Cambodia Sep 16-17, 2014

Overnight in Siem Reap, Cambodia

GPS waypoint: 13°21'42.5"N 103°51'36.0"E
Location: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Return Flight
Not wanting to make any concrete plan after my Vipassana in Cambodia, I didn't bother to book a return flight to the Philippines. I was warned by well-meaning friends that I may NOT be allowed to leave the country if I didn't have a return flight - but I took no heed of it, stubbornly.

Cebu Pacific
At NAIA 3, upon checking-in, I was blocked by CebuPac for not having a return flight - they wouldn't give me a boarding pass. I then realized how reckless I was. All this expense and trouble and not be able to leave the country! I tried to talk my way out of it. My case was referred to the higher ups. Finally, they acquiesced but with a stern caveat, "good luck with Immigration". Thank you, Cebu Pacific.

At the Immigration counter, I was again blocked for not having a return flight. They said it wasn't just policy, it was the law! I explained myself, again talking my way out of it. I was referred to a supervisor where I pleaded my case. The officer was considerate and finally decided to make an exception - I was allowed to leave the country. Whew! Thank you, Mr. Immigration Man.

Siem Reap Airport
When Cebu Pacific changed my flight to arrive Siem Reap at 11pm, I decided not to go to the city proper to sleep, but instead, to sleep at the airport by pretending I'm just awaiting for a connecting flight. That way, I save one night hotel stay. I've slept in worse conditions anyway.

However, upon landing at Siem Reap, we were all ushered out of the airport. There was no way I could have stayed to sleep on one of the passenger benches. I found myself out of the airport close to midnight, a stranger in a new country whose language I don't understand, without a place to sleep for the night. How f$%#-up is that?

$3/Night Lodging
Instead, I took a tuk-tuk ride into the city proper and asked the driver to take me to the cheapest hotel. He said at that hour, the cheapest was $10/night. I made it very clear to him that was not acceptable. Finally he relented and said he might know of such a cheap place. He took me to Garden Village Guesthouse where the cheapest accommodation was $3/night. Hallelujah!!!

Garden Village Guesthouse
At that rate, I was prepared for the worst - rat infested hole in the wall, cobwebs on the ceiling, clogged drains, dirty washrooms, seedy neighborhood, etc. I was mistaken. I got a bunk bed in a dorm-style room with about 10 bunk beds. The washrooms were well maintained and the entire place was clean. They have an alfresco cafe, a spacious courtyard, and they even made the arrangement for me to be picked up by a shuttle to be dropped off to the bus station heading for Battambang, 180 kms away. After enjoying my breakfast muesli and latté at the café, I was picked-up by the shuttle and was dropped-off to the bus station where I was off to Battambang, not having explored Siem Reap yet.

Ending Thoughts
Siem Reap is known for the world-famous Angkor Wat temple. I originally planned on coming back to Siem Reap to see the temples after Vipassana, but in hindsight, I should have just arrived 3 days earlier in Siem Reap to do the touristy stuff before going to Vipassana in Battambang (about 190 kms away). After Battambang, anything can happen - I may not be able to head back to Siem Reap and the chance to explore Angkor Wat would have come and gone. That was the chance I have taken needlessly.

Additionally, I realized that I have been taking too many chances, leaving nearly everything to chance bordering on outright recklessness. I got lucky getting away from my predicaments - not booking a return flight and not booking a hotel upon my arrival. But I shouldn't really over-extend my luck. Lesson learned? Do the due-diligence first before letting go.

Next stop: Battambang!

--- TheLoneRider

my modest bunk $3/night, it's a steal spacious courtyard at Garden Village Guesthouse the tuk-tuk is a much more comfortable (but more expensive) ride than the Phil tricycle with my latte and muesli at $3.50, I was full
dorm room with bunk beds meeting Tara, a Kiwi traveler teaching English in Thailand an ingenious pulley system, transporting food from the kitchen to the dining area Garden Village Guesthouse
the spirit house - every house or establishment in Cambodia usually have one to provide a house for spirits who otherwise will live in their house bicycles rent for $1/day...nice!    

Siem Reap Cost Index (US$1 = Riel 4049 = Php 46.47 as of Mar 26, 2016)

  1. $2.00 haircut (they'll price you at $3 but local price is only $2)
  2. $0.50 one mug draft beer
  3. $0.50 1.5 liter drinking water
  4. $4.00 one hour massage
  5. $2.00 muesli breakfast
  6. $0.50-1.50 coffee
  7. $2.00 pad thai
  8. $1.00 bicycle rental, 24 hours
  9. $0.25 sugar cane juice in a plastic cup
  10. $0.50 fresh coconut
  11. $5.00/day single fan rooms
  12. $4.00/day dorm lodging at Garden Village Guesthouse
  13. $18.00 starting price for Phare circus
  14. $1.00/kilo laundry
  15. $1.00 regular tuk-tuk ride around town
  16. $15.00 tuk-tuk ride for a short tour of Angkor Wat
  17. $20.00 Angkor Wat admission fee
  18. $8.00 1-hour drop-in yoga session
  19. $5.00 Alibaba pants (asking price is usually $8 but they'll go down to $5)

Siem Reap FYI / Tips

  • no need to convert your dollars into riel. All establishments in Cambodia accept US dollars.

How to Get to Siem Reap Proper from the airport

  1. take a tu-tuk at the airport $5/trip (you can split the cost with other passengers from your plane), 10 min

Cambodia Blogs by TheLoneRider

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Sep 16-17, 2014

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Siem Reap Yoga Event

Siem Reap hotels, yoga retreat and hostels

Siem Reap Essentials

Siem Reap hotels, guesthouse and hostels

Siem Reap yoga

Siem Reap circus

Siem Reap Hotels

Garden Village Guesthouse
Garden Village
$4 Dorm Rooms

Garden Village Villa
Garden Village
A/C Private Rooms
starting at $17

Garden Village Hostel
Garden Village
PUB St location
$7 Dorm Rooms

Bliss Villa
Bliss Villa
short walk to PUB St
Dorm Beds fr $6
Private Rm fr $25

Ahimsa Yoga Academy
Ahimsa Yoga Academy
yoga | tai-chi
Siem Reap

Phare Cambodian Circus Phare Cambodian Circus
Siem Reap