Siem Reap: Packaged tour vs. DIY

I was chatting with a reader of mine when she asked me whether it’s better to take a package tour of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat or to arrange everything herself. I remembered I had the same dilemma last year when I was planning my trip. To help me decide, I took to my spreadsheet and let the numbers decide for me. Like her, I was considering availing of the Angkor tour packages offered by The Villa Siem Reap. It really does seem like a great value, and back then, I remember I was all set to take that package. Until of course, I did the comparison with my spreadsheet.
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Cambodia, Reviews

Siem Reap Guesthouse Review: Mandalay Inn

There are several factors that I consider when picking a hostel to stay in: location, price, Hostel World rating, and whether they have wi-fi. That’s how I ended up booking a room at Mandalay Inn when I went to Siem Reap.

Mandalay Inn Siem Reap
Mandalay Inn

Location and price are the two most important factor for me. I like to walk around new places, so I prefer staying at hostels that are close to the town or city center. I liked Mandalay’s location: it’s on a street just off the main road, and very near the old market. Mandalay Inn’s area is also mostly residential, so it’s a pretty quiet neighborhood.
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Cambodia, Travel Budget

Travel Expenses: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Traveling solo is really more expensive than traveling with a group. Unless you find other travelers to share the cost, you’ll be paying big money for the guide and transportation. When I was doing a rough draft of my travel budget, I knew Cambodia would be the most expensive destination, that’s why I made it my first country to visit.

I managed to keep my expenses lower than my estimate, but it’s still quite high, in my opinion. But in the end it’s a pretty good investment, as the Angkor Wat is really worth the visit.

All the costs listed in here are those that I inccured within Cambodian borders, including the plane fare.
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Bangkok, Cambodia, Thailand

Day 5: Overland crossing from Cambodia to Thailand

I woke up early, because my taxi is picking me up at 6:30am. I decided to cross the border to Thailand on my own, instead of taking the bus with the rest of the other tourists. The bus is actually so much cheaper than doing it on my own, but I guess I wanted to the DIY route. Also, Tales of Asia (TOA) don’t really look highly on these buses.

First class bus seats
First class Government bus seats

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Day 4: Lazing about in Siem Reap

Today was my laze around and do nothing day. Yeah, I went to another country to watch TV and Plurk. Get over it.

Despite my plan to sleep early last night, I ended up sleeping past midnight, since it took me almost six hours to finish that one blog entry (including editing photos, uploading and many breaks in between). I relished the fact that I didn’t have anything planned, and enjoyed my sleep until 9am.

Siem Reap 01
View from my window: another window.

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Day 3: Angkor Heritage Park, Siem Reap, Cambodia

I don’t think I was able to get much sleep last night. It was one of those nights that you’re so certain you didn’t sleep a wink, yet cannot account for all hours you spent supposedly awake. Nevertheless, I was able to get enough rest to stay awake the whole day. I guess I was just too excited about exploring the Angkor temples that I couldn’t stay asleep. My alarm went off around 6am, and after a couple of snoozes, I finally got up to get ready.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia 24
The Angkor Wat

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Day 2: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Just a couple of hours after I posted my Day 1 entry, I was out o the house again to go to the airport. My flight was at 6am, which meant that the latest I have to be at the airport is 5am. Just to be on the safe side, I figured I should be there by 4:30 am. I left my brother’s flat about 10 minutes before 4am. Instead of calling for a taxi, my brother said it would be much cheaper just to flag a cab from the street. Since there’s virtually no traffic, it’s okay to flag a cab from the side of the road, and not just on designated stops. Luckily, an empty cab was just arriving as we crossed the street.

Virtually empty Changi Airport Terminal 1

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