Today we checked out of the hotel and flew with Airasia to Chiang Mae. We ordered a taxi which cost 453 baht (around £10), not a bad price for a 45 minute journey.
Relaxing at the airport before the flight
Check in and security was straight forward and the flight took an hour
At Chiang Mae
Outside Chiang Mae airport
The place we are staying at sent a courtesy bus to pick us up
On the way
Arriving at the hotel
Secret Garden – Bungalows & Cooking
54/1 Moo 5, T. Mae Kue, A. Doi Saket
Chiang Mai 50220, Thailand
T: + 66 53 339 502
F: + 66 53 338 901
E: [email protected]
We were expecting Chiang Mae to be cooler then 31 degrees C it has been in Bangkok. I was pleased to say it was the same temperature. Sangeet was looking forward to cooler temperatures!
The hotel is around 25 minutes (12km) away from a Chiang Mae, in a small village called Doing Saket. Bo Sang, a larger village is close by. We arrived at the Secret Garden a little before 4pm. The place is tucked away in a very quiet area, mainly farmland and local residences.
The resort is a family business, Peter and Pai have done a fantastic job of building the guesthouse from what used to be rice fields. They show so much kindness and a lot of passion for the business.
We debated whether to go into Chiang Mai at around 5pm and decided against it and relaxed at the resort instead. We got talking to Peter, from Germany, who runs the place with his wife Pai. The resort is a family business, Peter and Pai have done a fantastic job of building the guesthouse from what used to be rice fields. They show so much kindness and a lot of passion for the business. In the evening Pai made a fantastic vegan dinner just for Sangeet and I whilst the other guests ate in the buffet.
A great and very relaxed day…..
This morning we had an early morning flight with Air Asia from LCCT. Low cost carrier terminal or LCCT aka budget terminal is a specific type of airport terminal designed with the needs of low cost airlines in mind. Though terminals may have differing charges and costs, as is common in Europe, the concept of an all budget terminal was promoted and pioneered by Tony Fernandes of AirAsia at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in 2006.
AirAsia Berhad is a Malaysian-based low-cost airline. AirAsia is Asia’s largest low-fare, no-frills airline and a pioneer of low-cost travel in Asia. AirAsia group operates scheduled domestic and international flights to over 400 destinations spanning 25 countries. Its main hub is the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Its affiliate airlines Thai AirAsia, AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia Japan have hubs in Suvarnabhumi Airport, Clark International Airport and Narita International Airport respectively. AirAsia’s registered office is in Petaling Jaya, Selangor while its head office is at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
The taxi was scheduled to picked us up at 4:30 which ended up being nearer 5. The hotel tried to charge us for the laundry RM497 (close to £100!!!) we ‘discussed’ the payment and finally managed to take it off our final bill.
The journey to LCCT takes around 45 minutes, we had already checked in online. So that eased the stress!
Once you arrive at the LCCT the front looks nice plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants. Once you get inside it is like a hanger! The airport is badly labelled so you are running around trying to figure out where to go. Finally we managed to work it out. On the opposite side to where we were standing there is a security scanner, security scan your baggage before you go to the check in desk. Once there it is like any other check in desk. A guy on the mobile tried to push passed everybody, one person told him to move back. He shouted saying he is on the phone. The attendant at the check in desk sent him back. Once checked in you then go through two lots of people who wanted to see our boarding pass. Up the escalator and then through customs. You then go through a security check for yourself and any carry on luggage. Once through you are free to enjoy the shops!!
We spent a couple of minutes in the shops before boarding the plane.
The flight from KL, Malaysia to Siem Reap, Cambodia takes two hours and you gain an hour. We landed in Siem Reap at 7:50am to a glorious temperature of 26 degrees C.
As you enter the airport, you’ll be greeted by a striking statue of a white elephant in the middle of the room.
The statue, the live plants behind the visa area, and the overall design of the airport makes you realize that they did some serious designing here. All in all, the Siem Reap airport has somewhat of holiday resort feel.
The visa section
If you don’t yet have your visa, you can apply for it on your arrival.
There are mainly two types of visas for travelers: the tourist visa (valid for 30 days, not renewable) and the business visa (valid for 30 days, but can be renewed multiple times).
The process of applying for a visa is simple, but you do have to wait while it is processed.
If don’t like to wait, you can get your Cambodia visa online instead.
The electronic visa process allows you to print the visa yourself and go straight to the e-visa immigration line as soon as you arrive.
That way you can be out and about faster!
You’ll see the immigration line as soon as you step inside. Yes, the airport is that small.
Unfortunately, the passport check line does not move very quickly. But it’s not overly slow either.
Just be patient, and you’ll be out of there as soon as they take a digital photo of you and stamp your passport with their multiple stamps.
There are at least two ATM machines in the arrival hall; one near the visa section and another near the immigration line.
If you need to apply for an on-arrival visa, the visa fee must be paid in cash. So these ATM machines come in handy if you don’t have enough on hand.
Once we had the visas we walked onto immigration which was a simple process. Once through I saw the backpacks on the conveyor and rushed to get them.
Siem Reap is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and is the gateway to Angkor region.
Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are traditional Apsara dance performances, craft shops, silk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.
Siem Reap today, being a popular tourist destination, has a large number of hotels and restaurants.
The name Siem Reap means the ‘Flat Defeat of Siam’ — today’s Thailand — and refers to the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer peoples.
This name, according to an oral tradition, was baptized by King Ang Chan (1516-1566) as “Siem Reap”, meaning “the flat defeat of Siam” (Cambodians call Siam or Thailand “Siem”). It was because of the victory over the Thais which King Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and routed the Thais and captured no less than 10,000 Thai troops.
The history was told that King Ang Chan of Cambodia tried to assert further independence against Thailand. The Thais also had been through internal trouble themselves during these years. King Chairacha was poisoned by his concubine, Lady Sri Sudachan, who committed adultery with a commoner, Worawongsathirat, while he was on the campaign against Chiang Mai. The Queen then raised Worawongsathirat to the throne. The nobles hated Worawongsathirat and lured the usurper and his family to a place outside the city where he was assassinated together with Lady Sri Sudachan and a new-born daughter during the royal family’s procession by barge to see a white elephant (allegedly just captured). The nobles then invited Prince Thianracha, who was a monk in a monastery, to disrobe and ascend the throne under the title of King Maha Chakkraphat (1548-1569). Being informed of the internal troubles in Ayutthaya, King Ang Chan attacked Prachin Buri in 1549 and successfully took away Thai inhabitants. At Prachin, he obtained information that King Maha Chakkraphat had become the new king of Ayutthaya, signaling that the question of succession in Ayutthaya had thus become settled. King Ang Chan therefore retreated and did not advance any further. King Maha Chakkraphat was very angry at this, but his hands were tied, because the Burmese had just come by the way of the Three Pagoda Pass, took Kanchanaburi and Suphanburi, and appeared in front of Ayutthaya.
Cambodian history presents the reason for the next Thai attack because King Ang Chan refused to give King Maha Chakkraphat a white elephant when he asked for it, it is indicated that King Ang Chan declined any symbol of vassalage to Thailand. King Maha Chakkraphat’s attention was now turned towards Cambodia. He put Prince Ong, the Governor of Sawankhalok and Srey’s son, in charge of an expedition against Cambodia. King Ang Chan counter-attacked, and shot Prince Ong dead on an elephant’s back, and routed the Thais and captured no less than 10,000 Thai troops. It was because of this victory over the Thais that King Ang Chan baptized that battle area as “Siem Reap” meaning “the flate defeat of Siam”. However most of sources mentioned the final defeat of Angkor Kingdom by the Thais from Ayutthaya in the fifteenth century. The city was abandoned since then.
From the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries, the feuds among the Cambodian lords caused the interventions and domination from the more powerful neighbors, Vietnam and Siam. Siem Reap, along with Battambang and Sisophon, major cities in the north western part of Cambodia, were under Siamese rule from time to time until the French rule.
We were met at the airport by the hotel representative and got a transfer to the hotel. It is still amazing the rate we managed to secure this five star accommodation. I checked on the iPad and a few minutes later Sangeet checked the rate on the iPhone. The iPhone showed half the price. We are not paying much more then a hostel room!
On the way to the hotel
Borei Angkor Resort & Spa
0369 National Highway 6,
T: +855 63 964 406
When I saw the entrance with music blasting out I taught this looks shabby
The hotel staff asked us to wait here whilst they checked us in
Complimentary drinks on arrival
Whilst they prepared our room, we had a complimentary breakfast. There was plenty of fruit, unfortunately it did not taste that fresh.
Half asleep but I can manage breakfast
After breakfast we explored the hotel
A neat touch
Walking to the market
Tempted to jump in?
The day was getting hotter
Though Pub St is better known for its bars a handful of places are known for great food, many with seating upstairs so you can escape above the partying milieu on the street below. Crammed along The Alley is a wider selection of restaurants that offer a generally quieter and more intimate experience. The local restaurants lining Phsar Chas have extensive yet near identical menus of cheap fried rice and westernised approximations of Khmer dishes. At dusk the Kindergarten on the corner of Street 8 and 11 erupts into a a rabble of small BBQ stalls, billowing smoke, noise and the persistently entreating peddlers. The phnom pleurng here is the cheapest you will find.
Here we ate at
Chamkar Vegetarian Restaurant
T: +855 92 733150
View from the restaurant balcony
We were surprised to find such great tasting vegetarian food.
We then took a tuk tuk to Angkor National Museum
No. 968, Vithei Charles de Gaulle,
Siem Reap District,
Siem Reap Province,
T: +855 63 966 601
F: +855 63 966 600
E: [email protected]
Opened on 12 November 2007, the Angkor National Museum offers visitors a better understanding of the area’s archaeological treasures. The Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom is presented, including the use of state-of-the-art multimedia technology. The museum covers Khmer history, civilization, and cultural heritage in eight galleries.
Cambodia mourns former King Sihanouk
One is not allowed to take a picture of the actual exhibits. The exhibitions are amazing are worth seeing. At the time of writing the entry fee was USD$12 per person.
Afterwards we took a tuk tuk back to the hotel. With tuk tuk drivers you have to negotiate the charge.