Siem Reap International Airport facade
Our flight going to Siem Reap was around 10am that morning. What I really don’t like about the KL airport is that we have to drive around at least an hour just to get there from the city. We took an AeroBus service which is a Ringgit cheaper than AirAsia’s SkyBus. Fare is 8RM one way and 14RM round trip from KL Sentral. Some people go to Siem Reap via a 6 hours bus from Thailand crossing the border but I don’t want to waste that much time and I’ve heard a lot of Bus Scams there where the bus intentionally tire out their passengers and check them in on an affiliated (commissioned) hotel. So the 6 hours travel extends longer. However, the flight from KLIA to Siem Reap International Airport took only about 2 hours. And boy what greeted us on our arrival is one good looking airport.
A official welcomes us to Cambodia
I must admit, I’ve never seen much airport around the world yet but Siem Reap International Airport is the most stylized I’ve seen so far. It looks more like a Bali inspired resort than an airport. So from the tarmac, people started taking pictures already.
Native sculptures welcomes us at the immigration booth
The interior isn’t huge but it felt more like I’m inside a museum with all those statues greeting us on the entrance. The immigration even have more high tech equipment that those in Singapore and KL. They have cameras to quickly take a quick snapshot of incoming visitors for their database.
Baggage claim hall
Their baggage claim hallway is also very spacious with some modern artworks to spice it up. And is that a mirror ball I see hanging up there? I bet the folks here at the airport convert this hallway into a disco hall at night. Haha.
Airport Departure hall
The theme runs through out the airport. Even their departure hall is very spacious with modern artworks adorning the ceilings. Impressive design and very fitting for the place.
Riding a Tuk-tuk to our hotel
When we got outside, I looked for someone at the folks holding a placard or a piece of paper who was supposed to pick us up from the hotel I made reservations with. I did find the guy and greeted us and quickly led us to our transfer. I was half expecting a car or a van or something. And there it was. A tuk-tuk! How convenient. Hehe. Not that I’m complaining but it was somehow unexpected, but neat still that we get to ride one early in our trip.
Golden Temple Villa facade
It was a 15-20 minute pleasant drive passing by humongous hotels that seem to pop-up like mushrooms along the airport road. I tell you they are so extravagant. But I don’t need that extravagance (or I don’t have the funds for that) so I opted to get reservations at a hotel named Golden Temple Villa. There are numerous budget lodgings around Siem Reap but I chose this primarily for its location. It’s neatly tucked in a quiet neighborhood yet very accessible to the happening area at the Old Market.
Restaurant and Bar
Aside from that they have very nice facilities; you get free tea and coffee at their restaurant, free pick-up at the airport, free internet access and nice and helpful staff. They’ll give you a booklet with detailed information and maps that would be very helpful during your stay. When the staff greeted us at the reception “Good morning!” I was taken back a bit and looked at my watch. Oh yeah, I remembered the time here is GMT +7. Their an hour behind the clock.
Our room in the Golden Temple Villa
Here we got a twin room worth $18 USD a night. Another reason why I took this is the design of the rooms. It has very nice interiors and very cozy environment. Has a bathroom en suite with hot shower, Aircon (since I heard it’s very hot here at this time of the year) and a Cable TV. This will be our home base for the next 4 nights as we explore the famed Angkor Wat Archaeological Park and surrounding area of Siem Reap.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.