Even though I didn’t get near enough sleep my first night in Cambodia and even though that night was followed by a relentless 27 hours traveling trip, once I was awaken, I have braced myself, got dressed and stepped outside to explore Siem Reap. Rain had stopped with first morning light and I was too excited to get my first feel of Asia on my own. Two Dragons guesthouse had several free brochures available on the desk right by the reception so I’ve helped myself. The larger one was called Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide and there were two issues of this one available – one from February 2009 and the latest one from June 2009. Aside from Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guides, there was also a smaller, pocket sized guide called O&A Out and About Pocket Guide to Cambodia, Siem Reap Edition.
I found both of these publications extremely helpful and would recommend every visitor to Cambodia pick one of each up. They are free and widely distributed throughout touristy establishments. Your guesthouse/hotel is likely to have them at the reception and if not, you will find them in restaurants or information centers.
Granted, both Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide and O&A Out and About Pocket Guide to Cambodia are 90% advertising, however the rest is a whole pile of useful info. I have particularly come to like the map of Siem Reap that is provided at the beginning of the Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide. It’s an illustration that leaves out everything you don’t need, keeping the map simple which makes the town easy to navigate even for first time visitors. I was a first time visitor that day myself, never been to Siem Reap or anywhere in Cambodia for that matter before and the map in Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide has been all I need to get my way around town.
O&A Out and About Pocket Guide to Cambodia also has a map of Siem Reap. Theirs offers more of a bird’s eye perspective of the town and is split into two parts. It focuses less on listing hotels and restaurants and more on listing pagodas, gardens, museums, malls, etc. Both guides are very useful for everyone who wishes to explore Siem Reap on their own, not through the advice of Tuk Tuk drivers which is always, and strictly biased.
Explore Siem Reap on Your Own, Ignore Tuk Tuk Drivers
Tuk Tuk drivers will prey on unsavvy tourists and act like they are your best friends who will serve you with free advice. Whatever it is you may be in need of, they will hook you up with it. Trick is, they will only and solely hook you up with whoever pays them the highest commission. They will always try to advise you against going where you are heading and for going elsewhere and will have millions of arguments at the ready to present and back up their “whys”. In the end of the day, they are only looking for a kick back from establishments for each customer they deliver. This commission system is deeply embedded in the way Cabodia works. Whether you see it or not, changes nothing on the fact that it’s always working and is always present. Don’t become a victim of it. Pick up your free copies of Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide and Out & About Pocket Guide to Cambodia and go where your heart leads you, not where Tuk Tuk driver gets the highest kick back for you.