A reader had gone a few months earlier and gave me the contact info of a driver. I’d reco you wait about 2 months out to email him (no need to email too far ahead of time.) You should also re-confirm with him a few days before your flight because he wrote down the wrong date for us. Even with that mistake, I would still recommend him because 1) he was very apologetic, 2) is a genuinely nice guy and 3) drove us to the airport for free due to the mistake. Contact Synon at email@example.com and tell him Vinh sent ya. Apparently he’s on Flyertalk too, so I’m not giving you a random name. For reference, I paid $10 for RT airport transfer and $30 for the Angkor Wat tour (+$5 for the early dawn tour.)
Early Dawn or not
We decided to do the early dawn tour, where we got picked up at 5AM to go to Angkor Wat. We figured we’d still be jet lagged and waking up wasn’t that big of a deal. Plus, we wanted the picturesque early dawn photo of Angkor Wat. SPOILER ALERT – unless you have a DSLR, your iPhone X (or better) camera won’t be able to capture the money shot due to the sun being behind the temples. By the way, later we learned we were at the wrong spot to take the photo. We were outside on the moat when we should have already gone inside. FML!
Either way, the early dawn visit is great because you avoid the high heat. There’s actually more tourists in the morning, but I’d rather deal with them than dealing with the heat.
While huge, we spent only about 2 hours here, and that’s because we spent about 45 minutes waiting in line to go up the main temple (limited to X number of people can go up.) Thus, protip – skip everything and go straight to the main temple first to avoid the lines. When you’re done with the main temple, you can walk back and see everything you missed. We didn’t have a guide, so we were just looking at the temples without knowing their history.
After Angkor Wat, we visited the 2 other big temples. We drove by 3-4 smaller temples that we told the driver to just keep driving. We got dropped off at the 3rd temple at around 9:30AM. I told my wife that if we hurried, we could make it back by 11AM for the Park Hyatt breakfast, so we just sped through the 3rd temple and got back to the hotel by 10:15AM. We didn’t regret it one bit.
Great lunch spot – Khmer Grill
While we didn’t go this same day since we ate at the PH, I still highly recommend this place. It’s about a $2 USD tuk tuk from PH (or a 15 minute walk). It’s called Khmer Grill Restaurant. The place will be filled with tourists. Just ignore them because the food is legit and fairly cheap.
Foot massage – $10 for an hour
While walking back from lunch to the PH, we had time to kill, so we walked by a random massage place and both got foot massages for $10 each. It was one of the worst foot massages I’ve ever gotten since the girl did the SAME strokes for 30 minutes on one leg and then did the exact same strokes on the other leg for the next 30 minutes.
Dinner – Pub street
For dinner, we walked to some nearby night markets, but didn’t eat there. We then got to Pub street, which is about 2-3 blocks of restaurants all promoting $.50 beer. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant we went to, but we chose one that had the hot pot. It was delicious albeit slow since you had to cook your own meat.
You are either an “I love temples” type of person or a “Once you’ve seen one temple, you’ve seen them all” type of person. Clearly my wife and I are in the latter category.