I went to Siem Reap, Cambodia in October 2009 and came back with an intention to fly there again one day as I was not able to spend enough time exploring the place under the right light. I did get a number of images I like, but I was hoping for more. So … till we meet again Cambodia and I will make sure I am ready for the sunrise shoot every morning at the Angkor Wat.
Even though it maintains its authenticity to a large extent, you know that Siem Reap is quite touristy. You will find lots of tourists almost everywhere, starting from the airport to the Old Market’s restaurants and to the remote areas where many of the ruins are. Siem Reap wants you. They make everything easy for tourists who want to visit. If you need visa to enter, you can apply online (for certain countries) or get it on arrival (for certain but many countries) at the Siem Reap International Airport by paying USD 25. If you don’t have US dollars with you, there is an ATM machine near the Immigration counters where you get the visa on arrival.
Everything is charged in US dollars, from coconut being sold on the road side to dinner at a posh restaurant. From Tuk Tuk to a Lexus car rental. And many items have standard price, which is USD 1. So, bring with you a lot of USD 1 notes. You don’t have to worry about bringing money in Cambodian currency. Just bring US dollars.
The place is safe and people are very friendly. I left my camera backpack with some lenses in the Tuk Tuk (a motorised rickshaw) and just asked the driver to keep an eye on it.
As in many other tourist destinations, you will find lots of people including children selling stuffs and they can be quite persistent in chasing you to ask you to buy. But, they won’t harm you if you don’t buy, you may just feel uncomfortable if they keep chasing you. Just politely decline if you don’t want and you will have to politely decline many times as they will keep trying. They are just trying to earn a living, so try not to be rude when they keep chasing you. They won’t be there if they are like you, they will be the tourists spending money in your countries maybe. 🙂