Siem Reap Cambodia : Local Travel Costs & Tips

Travel costs and tips for getting aound Siem Reap and the Ankor Temples Cambodia.

 

Temple Passes

Temple passes are available at the ticketing booth just before entering the temple complex. There are three available passes 1 day ($20), 3 consecutive days ($40) and 1 week ($60). One passport photo is also required at the ticketing booth (you can have one taken there). Considering that two days is the right length of time to visit the temples for a lot of tourists, its unfair that the authorities don’t provide that option to visitors.

Remember that you do have to obtain one of these passes before accessing the temples; it isn’t possible to sneak into them anymore. There are guards patrolling each one and they will ask to see your pass. If you don’t have one, you’ll have to fork out $20 plus a $10 fine. If you lose your pass, the guards will also insist that you buy a new one (although this should hopefully soon change when a computerized system is installed at the ticketing booth entrance).

At the same time, it’s worth remembering that you don’t actually have to buy a pass to observe the temples by the roadside; its only if you enter inside them. Therefore, if you’ve already been inside all the temples that you want to see on a 1 day pass, you could just drive around the ones that your not that interested in on the second day. If the guards at the ticketing booth still insist that you buy a pass for this, just say that you’re only doing the balloon ride in the complex and nothing else. Considering that the balloon is owned and run by a local petroleum company called Sokimex, which also owns the temples, they’ll let you in.

In fact, you may be interested to know that only a small percentage of the money that you’ll pay on your temple pass actually goes towards the preservation of the ruins. The remainder is profit for Sokimex. This is bit like Stonehenge in the UK being owned by BP. Still, the arrangement today is considerably better than the really bad days when Angkor Tourism previously ran the complex. Back then, scams dominated and nothing other than overseas donations went towards the conservation of the temples.

Finally, if you arrive in Siem Reap in the late afternoon, you’ll be pleased to hear that if you get to the ticket booths after 4PM and buy a temple pass for the next day, you will get free entry for the remainder of that day. Opening hours at the ticketing booth are from 5AM till 6PM.

Tour Guides

Your driver can act as a guide to a certain extent. However, if you want a guide who has studied the history of Angkor or you need one that can speak a language that isn’t English, French or Japanese, you’ll need to hire both a driver and a guide. Contact the Khmer Angkor Tour Guide Association located in the Tourism Office, which is opposite the Grand Hotel d’Angkor. Guesthouses/hotels can also arrange this ($20-$30 per day).

Moto

Moto’s cost $6 per day around the short circuit. Expect to pay more if your doing the grand circuit and going as far as Banteay Srei and Kbal Spean. They do mostly always speak English (of varying ability) and some even speak French or Japanese.

Tuk Tuk

Good way for couples to do a tour of the temples. Your guesthouse or hotel should be able to hire one for you.

Cars & Minibuses

Cars and Minibuses can be hired for $20-$30 per day (more for Banteay Srei and Kbal Spean). Ask at your guesthouse or hotel regarding hire arrangements.

Bicycles

Pushbikes can be hired for $3 per day at your guesthouse or hotel. You have to leave your passport as a deposit. This is an environmentally sound way to visit the temples but it is pretty tiring in the humid sweaty heat. And remember, the distance from one temple to another can sometimes be a long way - especially if you’re intending to do the grand circuit.

Hire Bus Seat

Aircon minibuses leave the Old Market each morning with driver and guide. The cost is $10 per person although the price rises to $15 if there are less than four people. There are five different tour circuits available (including Roluos, Banteay Srei and Kbal Spean). You’ll need to book your ticket at Lotus Temple near the restaurant in the Old Market.

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