I took the tour of the more out of the way temples (maybe called escaping the crowds?), not the tour with the main attractions. It was well worth it. The tour guide, Mr. Timly, was great. He gave us all the time we wanted to see the temples and explained everything in detail and clearly. He was also gracious enough to educate the group and talk about things more related to Cambodian culture, like the complexities of Khmer language and politics, which I really appreciated.
Their brochure said to please ask if there is something you would like to see that isn't mentioned. So I booked a tour guide and driver to take to Cambodian's second UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prasat Preah Vihear, the temple in the clouds. The temple is located near the Thai and Laotian border so we left early in the morning and returned in time for dinner. But it was well worth it.
The trip was made extra-special by my guide, Mr. Kimthet, and driver, Mr. Chhaub. Both were wonderful, jovial company and were very happy to chat about anything: the economy, politics, education, football, etc. I learned a great deal about Cambodia and life in Siem Reap from them. They made an unscheduled stop on the way back to show me a bridge built by Jayavarman VII called Kampong Kdei (Spean Praptos), closed to cars and buses only in 2003 and still in use by the community. Part of the route back to Siem Reap paralleled several other bridges built by Jayavarman VII. It really brought home to me the impact this king's construction projects for his people had and continues to have. I was very touched and happy they shared this with me.
I highly recommend booking tours with Beyond Unique Experiences. They'll work with you to book whatever you like; lunch and water whenever I wanted it was included in my tours. I especially highly recommend their tour guides. They really care about educating visitors and sharing their wonderful knowledge of Cambodian history and current events while transmitting a deep respect for the cultural treasures their country boasts.
Thorough, well-paced tour with extremely knowledgable guide (mine was Kimthed). He was a local with great English, and was open about his own past if you asked. Highly competent and very friendly.
Each site we visited was explained in-depth, and he answered any questions I had, even about rice farming and birds I had seen, which was not part of the tour. Wonderful guy. The tour is advertised mainly as Beng Mealea, but I think the lesser-known temples and locals we visited were the real attraction, and the time spent in the car with the guide asking questions. We ate at a rural roadside shop, and stopped on the side of the road for bamboo cake.
Beautiful doesn't cut it to describe the countryside drive. Passed through a funeral at one point and he explained a little about Buddhism as well. It was a long day full of dialogue. I think I was lucky as I was the only one signed up that day. But even with a group I can see this being the best part of Siem Reap for a traveller. I learned so much and Kimthed made my experience in Cambodia very important to me.
We had a 3d/2n trip to Cambodia. We booked the Angkor Uncovered tour for the morning we arrived. Our guide Kimsy was great. He gave us the local history, legends & info about the different sites but kept it interesting for our 3 young kids.
The next day we booked the 'Day in a Life' experience. It changed our world view of needing stuff! Our kids helped weave palm leaves into sets to be used for the roof of a house. We then got treated to a local lunch (something I was worried about but was cooked cleanly and very tasty).
Our guide Fazy was awesome in informing us how we were helping each family and explaining village life. It was great to know we were supporting 4 local families and the greater community.
My husband and I went on B.U.E's half day trip out to a fishing village and it was a fantastic way to spend a morning out of Siem Reap. My husband was initially lacking enthusiasm about this particular trip, but even he admitted that it was one of the best things we did on our 2-week honeymoon.
Bun was the most fantastic tour guide I've ever come across. His storytelling and passion for Cambodia was incredible. He totally made the tour.
The tour includes stopping at a roadside stall selling a popular local snack, rice in bamboo shoots. We were talked through the process and able to try it. Then onto a local market where we had the opportunity to try some of the more unusual things on offer.
The fishing village we visited got us away from the crowds of tourists in Siem Reap and I believe it's one of the much quieter villages to visit. We only saw a few other boats doing tours. Absolutely incredible place to visit and so interesting to learn about this way of life.
I 100% recommend this particular tour with Beyond Unique Escapes. You will not be disappointed.
I really enjoyed this all day cooking class (you can just do the morning or afternoon session if you prefer). I thought it was good value for money, and a nice change if you are 'templed' out. Plus this company also gives a percentage back to the local community, who you meet before the class begins.
The classes are well organised and professional, and take place in a relaxing environment. You also get to eat everything that you make (don't eat breakfast if you do the all day course), but if you cannot manage it, they will wrap it up so you can take it away with you for later. They also give you a small cookbook with all of the recipes in it for the dishes that you make.
There are many places in Siem Reap offering cooking classes, but this one is by far the best.
We took two tours with Beyond Unique Escapes. I want to share with you our experience on the "Day in a Life". I booked online before arriving in Cambodia. Nice touch the company sends you a welcome reminder in your email, reminding you of pick up time and so dress code and expectations. Nice touch! Our pick up was on time, awesome driver, on to meet two others joining us. And we are off. Our Guide was well spoken and very knowledgeable, for the plant life, families in the village, Cambodian history, religion, customs. He was just wonderful.
We toured the main square of Kompheim Village. this translates to ladybug village. A poor but proud and eager community. They have a great relationship with the NGO Husk and Beyond Escapes. We saw the Khmer school, the Buddhist temple, community living area of the monks. The community center.
Took a traditional wagon ride, with a tree each to our family we were volunteering at. They where lovely welcoming us into their home and letting us learn about there lives. We learned how to build panels to help replace one of the roofs on there cooking hut. We helped make lunch. A wonderful Khmer meal to share and lovely fruit, a walk about the village meeting some other people in the community. A stroll up the road by a little market, then to visit the English school, we had donated so supplies needed, ( if you want a list you can find it on a link attached on the website, Husk is the NGO). What an opportunity for the next generation to be prepared to enter into a global work force. They had a dental team volunteering doing check up and education, a real fair trade shop of women sewing crafts and directly earning a living.
I can not say how much we (my 18 year old son & I) enjoyed this experience. It allowed us a really personal experience with Cambodia. A huge highlight. Thank you for this gift.