Most visitors to Angkor arrive by air as the large number of international and domestic carriers servicing the country make flying a comfortable and viable option. Local as well as long-distance buses from Vietnam and Thailand provide an affordable alterna tive. However, though the highway from Phnom Penh has improv ed, the poor condition of most roads can result in delays and much discomfort in reaching Siem Reap. A more scenic approach is by ferry or boat. Regular hydrofoil services link Siem Reap with Phnom Penh, as well as Siem Reap and Chau Doc in Vietnam. Moving around within Angkor is easy, with several inexpensive modes of transport to choose from.
When to Go The best time to visit Angkor is during the country’s cool season, between November and February, although it can still be rather warm for most tourists. Alternatively, during the rainy season between June and November, Angkor is green and relatively cool, if rather wet. At this time, the barays (reservoirs) and certain temples such as Prasat Neak Pean overflow with water. It is best to stay away during the hot season between March and May, when temperatures in Angkor can be stifling.
Getting There There are two international airports in Cambodia – Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap International Airport. With several national and international airlines offer- ing flights to both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, visitors will find getting to Angkor easy. Major interna tional airlines include Vietnam Airlines, Lao Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, SilkAir, Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways, Jetstar, and Air Asia. Except for Thai Airways, all these air lines operate direct flights to Siem Reap from popular holi day destinations such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, and Singapore. Domestic carrier Cambodia Angkor Air, flies from both Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap on a daily basis. Note that it is not uncommon for flight sched ules to change suddenly or even for local airlines to shut down completely. For uptodate information on air fares, routes, and flight timings, check with your travel agent. Traveling by bus or taxi across land borders from Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam is a feasible and cheap option. Visitors entering from Vietnam have the choice of up to eight different border crossings. The most popular are from Moc Bai to Bavet and by ferry from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh. Several scheduled buses and sleeper buses run from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap via Phnom Penh. With the new Japanese- funded Neak Loeung Bridge over the Mekong, this journey now takes under 12 hours and costs US$30–33. Camboticket is a useful online booking agency. Another mode of traveling to Angkor is by ferry or boat, though this is becoming less popular as air and road connections improve. River ferries from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap run daily and are easily available, but the journey can take up to six hours (US$25–US$35). Boat tours also operate from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap. They take a week or so to get there and cost over US$2,500. One of the best known companies to offer boat tours is Pandaw Cruises.
Visas and Passports A onemonth visa for Cambodia is issued on arrival at interna- tional air ports and land and river border crossings. Tourist visas cost US$30. A passport photograph is required. Visitors who wish to stay longer should apply for an extension in Phnom Penh. Those who over stay their visa are fined US$5 each day. Evisas can be purchased online at www.evisa.gov.kh for US$37, payable by credit card. They are emailed to and printed by the applicant.
Tours from Vietnam There are several reputed travel agencies in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City that arrange tours from Vietnam to Angkor. Although packaged tours are pre-determined, visitors can also draw up personalized itineraries. The prices are usually inclusive of travel costs, sightseeing, and a guide. Visas, departure tax, and entry tickets to Angkor are generally not included.
Getting Around Transport in Siem Reap and Angkor is readily available and comes in various forms, including bicycles, motos (motorbike taxis), minibuses and tuk-tuks. A great way to explore Angkor is on a bicycle, available to rent from bike shops and hotels. The most comfortable way to travel is by hiring a car, easily arranged through hotels in town. An air- conditioned car with driver costs between US$25 and US$50 per day depending on the distance and time.
Customs Information Customs procedures tend to be lax, but penalties for violations are strict. The usual prohibitions on importing drugs and pornography apply. Signs warn against bringing explosives into the country, and you need to declare if you carry above US$10,000. The most enforced custom regulation is the smuggling of antiquities dating from or before the Angkorian period.
Departure Tax For international flights there is a departure tax of US$25 per person. This is payable in US dollars. The departure tax for domestic flights is US$6, but this is usually included in the cost of the ticket.