Q: We are a group of 15 people from Chennai (in our late 40s), planning a trip to Cambodia for five days towards the end of September. I would like to know about my options for medium budget hotels. Moreover, we would be happy to know about the tourist attractions that should not be missed in Cambodia, including Angkor Wat.
Marco Says: Cambodia is a great country for a short vacation and there is much to see. However, as I see you want to go in the end of September, you might encounter sudden showers so your whole group should be prepared. In five days, don’t try to do a lot, just choose the capital city of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Fly from Chennai into Phnom Penh and fly out from Siem Reap. Air Asia, Air India and Malindo Air are good carrier options but remember there are no direct flights.
For a large group, there are plenty of mid-range hotels in both cities. The Mekong Dragon Boutique Hotel and Eureka Villas are popular because of their proximity to tourist attractions. In Siem Reap, the Chateau d’Angkor La Residence or Rei Angkor Boutique at the Old French Quarter are good options. Getting from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap takes about six hours by road and there are plenty of buses or private car services to choose from. Or, fly 40 minutes via Lanmei Airlines, Cambodia Angkor Air or Air Asia to save time.
Tourist attractions are aplenty in both cities. In Phnom Penh, go to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, and the Killing Fields (Choeung Ek). You can sign up for a Cambodian cooking class or enjoy a boat ride on the Mekong in the evening. In Siem Reap, the Angkor Wat complex needs two days at least. Purchase a three-day pass from outside the entrance for $62 and the whole complex will be available to you. On the first day, see the sunrise at Angkor Wat, then check out the ‘small circuit’ which include Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, the Terrace of the Elephants, etc. Leave the ‘grand circuit’ for the next day where you’ll see monuments like Preah Khan, Ta Som, etc. If there is still time, see the floating village and Banteay Srei, outside Siem Reap.