Jess & Sam had recommended that we try a ‘hotel bus’ where have our own double bed. We thought we would give it a go because what is there to lose? The bus arrived and we made ourselves comfortable. We were given blankets and I must say James’ ‘Hello Kitty’ blanket really suited him – he looked very at home. The bed itself was pretty comfortable (although not as comfy as our beds at home which we miss dearly). The journey took us 11 hours which is a reasonable amount of time, and we both managed to get a fair amount of sleep which was a result. Throughout the journey, we did quite a few toilet stops. When we arrived, we were obviously in such a deep sleep the bus driver had to wake us up to let us know we had arrived – always a sign of good sleep. We stumbled off the bus all bleary eyed and was greeted by our tuk-tuk driver.
Our journey from the bus stop to the hotel was complimentary so at this point in time, we were happy bunnies. The journey cost us $13 per person which is a good rate considering how far we travelled. We walked into our hotel and we already loved it! We have an actual swimming pool rather than sea water, we feel like we were living luxury.
It didn’t even cost us a lot of money only £11 per night for 2 of us and the swimming pool was definitely worth every penny. Our room was also extremely comfortable although we were greeted by a Gecko and then a millipede when we arrived. We had 2 double beds and we were for sure going to have our own bed each.
We enjoyed our first few days in Siem Reap just relaxing and enjoying the swimming pool whilst we attempted to play volleyball.
It is fair to say that the Spanish group were a lot better than us, but then I’m sure they were just showing off! Our first few days in Siem Reap were pretty much just repeated – just consisting of sitting in cafes, swimming in the pool, occasionally walking around the town and of course mostly eating. Although, our first evening we did check out the ‘pub street’ where we agreed we would do our own 2-man bar crawl. We started off really well getting free drinks in different places, but then the happy hour was over and we had to actually start buying drinks which kind of sucked!
It was incredible but I can only say we are so very jealous of the travellers who get to experience pub street on Khmer New Year. The pub street isn’t very big but it is an amazing experience and if you are in the area you must check it out. So, there we were, bar hopping on free (if not free, then cheap) drinks & photo-bombing peoples’ photos. We were loving every minute of the experience.
Jess & Sam recommended a cafe called Hill Street Cafe and we spent most of our days here. The food was ridiculously cheap and it was only a 5-minute walk from our hotel! We would definitely recommend anyone visiting Siem Reap to visit this cafe. It was an enjoyable few days just relaxing, just to be able to unwind and remove ourselves from the busy backpacking lifestyle for a little while. We checked out the Night Market on the second night which was great, again, hosting a great atmosphere. We managed to grab a few bargains which are always a winner.
Our fourth day in Siem Reap we went to go and see the Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monument in the world and I must say it was breath-taking. We were unsure whether to visit because it was very expensive costing us $37 per person! What was more annoying was that they recently increased the cost from $20 pp. We thought we would suck it up and just pay it because we might never get that opportunity ever again. We are so glad we got to see it and would say to anyone thinking about it to just do it!
Angkor Wat is the main attraction, however, there are many other temples surrounding the area. We organised a small circuit tour with our hotel which is where we paid another $15 (for both of us) for the tuk-tuk to take us to all the temples. It was an expensive day out, but as you can tell from the photos it was so worth it. Our favourite temple was actually the Ta Prohm which is where the trees were growing around the temple. I’m sitting here trying to think of ways to describe these amazing temples but words just do not describe it properly and the photos do not do it justice.
We began our tour at 8 am and got back to our hotel about 1 pm. 5 hours was more than enough time for us and gave us the afternoon to just chill in the pool and get some rest.
Our fifth day in Siem Reap and we were due to leave. We booked a flight ticket to get to Bangkok but that in itself is a story to tell. So, we researched thoroughly (before we came out travelling and briefly when we were looking at booking) and discovered that if we travelled into Thailand via land then we only get a free 15-day visa, however, if we travelled via air then we get a free 30-day visa. It took a few days for us to make the decision and to weigh up what would be more beneficial and cost efficient. We researched that if we went by land then to extend our visa it would cost us around 2,000THB (£45 pp) and then for the bus ticket it was about £15/£20. Or to fly and get our free 30-day visa then it would cost us about £55. We decided we would fly as it would save us time and not much difference in price. It was all booked and we were excited to step foot on a plane and not a 7-hour-long bus journey. We were happy and glad it was all sorted! Happiness soon changed to frustration. We were sat there and I thought I’d just check on Gov.uk Thailand Visa and I saw the writing I did not want to see ‘free 30-day visa when travelling by air or land’. This rule had obviously changed since we had been out travelling. Annoyed is an understatement because a lot of websites haven’t updated their information. But it was too late now and unfortunately, we just had to crack on with it, still a least we would get there quicker. We checked out of our hotel (which we were going to miss). The hotel we stayed at was called Angkor Pal Boutique. – If you are travelling as a couple and can afford to spend a little more on accommodation then definitely check it out.
We said goodbye to Cambodia and jumped in our tuk-tuk on our way to the airport. Cambodia treated us well, but bring on Thailand.
Tip: If you are looking to cross over from Cambodia / Laos or any other country do your research on the best way to get to Thailand. As you can see we didn’t check the gov.uk website in regards to the Thai visa and ended up paying more for flights when we could have simply got a bus into Thailand and got the same 30-day visa.