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A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

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A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

What would be the most cost-and- time-efficient way to fly from Southern California to Cambodia to Southern India ( Chennai)? Or should we fly California -Chennai-Cambodia before returning to the U.S? Is the airport in Phnom Penh or the one in Siem Reap the better alternative? We wish to visit Cambodia mainly to see Angkor Wat and then spend one day in PP - the bulk of our stay abroad will be in Chennai. How many days should we set aside for Siem Reap and how many for Phnom Penh? Is Bangkok or Singapore the better alternative en route to or from Cambodia?

Finally, we will be going in November. Will it still be raining in Cambodia and is that a 'bad' month to visit? What about the first week of December?

Thank you so very much for your patience. Hope to get some answers soon.

Oklahoma city, OK
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1. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

I can offer some advice. I was in Siem Reap twice previously, once in late December and once in early January. I think late November or early December are good times to go. Near the holidays things can become somewhat busier. The time you might want to spend in Siem Reap is somewhat dependent on how fascinated you are by history...I am very fascinated and spent four days the first time. I think for many travellers three full days would suit, but again how into history are you? I was blown away. Half of the time I had a guide, half I did not, just the old trusty Lonely Planet which has a nice layout info on temples.

I think that Singapore is a good option for an enroute stop, but I go to Singapore regularly and am just more familiar with the airport there. Silk Air, (part of Singapore Airlines) runs a route through Siem Reap, onto Phnom Penh and back to Singapore. I have been through the new airport in Bangkok, but only once, so my exposure is more limited there.

Neither airport in Cambodia is going to blow you away. Siem Reap airport is very small, but functional. I don't remember as much about the Phnom Penh airport. I think functional is a good word. As to time in Phnom Penh I think you need to ask yourself what do you really want to see. If you want to see the Killing Fields and associated sites then you need more time. If you want to see the core historic and tourist stuff a couple of days might suffice. Hope this helps with some of your concerns. I found Cambodia to exceed my expectations.

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2. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

Richray, thank you so very much. We travel a lot through Singapore and are very familiar with Changi; not familiar at all with Bangkok. Cambodia is closer to Chennai than even Singapore as the crow flies ( I hope I am right) and Thai Airways is the one airline that flies to Chennai via Bangkok. Singapore Airlines, which we usually fly, does not have stops in Cambodia and is more expensive - but, yeah, we could go SilkAir. Angkor Wat is the main reason we are going to Cambodia; since we are traveling to India anyway, we thought that it would be nice to break up our 20 -some hours flight to Chennai with a stop in Cambodia, as we might not otherwise go that way (for Cambodia alone).

We are history and world war buffs.

After reading your post, I'm wondering if we should stick to Siem Reap alone since both airports sound identically functional. How did you find Phnom Penh? In general, what was your experience like (as an American) in Cambodia? Did you visit the genocide museum, the killing fields and the Royal Palace in PP? ( Those were the 3 places we were thinking of but we could easily skip those depending on infrastructural, climatic and possibly political conditions in PP, no offense intended to anyone).

Would appreciate your ( and anyone else's) views. Thanks again.

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3. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

By the way, when I said that we might 'otherwise not go that way - for Cambodia alone', I certainly didn't mean that Cambodia is not 'worth' going to as a sole destination in Asia!! It's just that I hate to fly, especially long distances over oceans ( shiver), but since the trip to India has already been planned, and I'm going to be a nervous wreck for the entire journey, and since going to Cambodia from the US involves a 15 hour flight on its own and I've long wanted to visit Angkor Wat, I came up with this brilliant idea ( applause, applause) to make the most of the long journey while also getting a chance to kiss terra firma en route!

Sometimes, I really put my foot in my mouth :-)

Oklahoma city, OK
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4. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

When I went to Phnom Penh with a group of academics, and seeing

Killing Fields sites was an important part of our theme. I did find it helpful to understand the impact of the war as I was a child when this was happening. I do think the National Museum is worthwhile as well as some associated sites nearby. I found the shopping there interesting, especially the old Russian Market. The mobs can be intimidating, but I am guessing you will have had some experience dealing with that. I especially liked local silverwork (not pure silver) where you can find animal shapes (fish with hinged fins) which make excellent gifts. Highly recommend going down to the FCC one evening and having either a meal or a drink on their balcony which has a great view of the river.

I thought my time in Phnom Penh was worthwhile. My college actually does a mandatory reading session whith incoming Freshmen where we read a common book and had the author in. Last year we read And Then They Killed My Father and I got to spend time with the author. That meant so much more because I had seen the Killing Fields site. I hope I helped on some of your questions or concerns.

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5. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

Richray: Thank you so very much for the book recommendation First They Killed My Father. I usually read books written by local authors, wherever, and before, I travel, and this book sounds riveting and poignant (I read about it just now).

Have to still figure out air travel but we have decided to visit both Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Thanks also for the tip on FCC.

You have definitely helped me....thanks a lot :-)

london uk
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6. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

if you are planing to be in PP in November please be aware that the water festival will take place for 3 days from the 23rd so PP will be very very crowded and you will need to book accomadation in advance

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7. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

Truckeruk: Thank you for pointing that out to us - very thoughtful of you. Sorry for my delayed reply - I was away for the weekend.

I never knew about the water festival until you mentioned it. It would be lovely to see it but we have taken your advice and will plan our trip for after the 26th because we really don't have too much time and will also be traveling on to India from Cambodia. Thanks a lot.

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8. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

Richray, did you book your SQ flight to Cambodia via Singapore online or through a travel agent? The multi-city option on the Singapore website throws up different dates than the ones I want; also, strangely, flight times between either Siem Reap or PP to Singapore vary greatly, sometimes by as much as TWELVE hours!!

Oklahoma city, OK
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9. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

Hey Livinglife,

I worked through friends in Singapore, but eventually through the Silk Airways website. Recently I have been trying to get some options for a trip to a couple of locations in Indonesia and to my dismay I can't seem to get/book Silk Air flights through the Singapore Air website. The Silk Air website is quite good, but it is tedious to work around the different websites. Perhaps there is a Singapore Air number that you might be able to pull things together. Sorry I can't be much more helpful on this point. When I travel in the region I often just visit one site because of time constraints. I go to Singapore a couple of times a year to teach.

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10. Re: A host of questions - please put up with me :-)

Thanks, Rich; I've tried a number of options ( dates, airports etc ) through SQ's site - flying direct to Siem Reap,flying in to Bangkok, going to Phnom Penh directly or from Bangkok. At this point, looks like our best bet will be to fly in to Singapore and then take the next flight from there to either PP or SR. Problem is we then have to continue on from Singapore to Chennai and that's when the dates and flight times and options are making me crazy!

Thai Airways and Air France might be other options, I don't know.

Thanks for your kind reply. It's great that you go to Singapore to teach. All best!