Hotel & Travel Agency Reviews
Phuket Airport Hotel, Phuket: Stayed here for two nights in January 2020
1) The location is very close to the airport and is hence ideal for wee hour flights.
2) The front desk helped us with all our travel needs. They spoke excellent English. They were very courteous.
3) The rooms and bathrooms were clean and spacious.
4) The bed was comfortable and the place is very quiet at nights.
5) The hotel has a free airport drop off (round the clock) and the driver was ready on time even for a 3:30 am drop off.
6) The breakfast is served real early - 6:00 am and the food was good.
7) The hotel is close to several eateries and grocery shops.
8) The WIFI was free and the speed and connectivity were very good.
9) The hotel area seemed quite safe to walk around after dark.
1) The price was bit on the higher side when compared to similar accommodation elsewhere in Thailand.
2) The hotel is a bit far from the beach. But they do have a free drop off to the beach.
- Central Boutique Angkor Hotel: We stayed here for 5 nights in January 2020.
1) The hotel is very clean and has a spacious lobby and restaurant area.
2) The hotel has two well maintained, clean swimming pools
3) The rooms and bathrooms were quite clean. The bathroom was spacious. The room was of an adequate size.
4) The WIFI was free and speed was good.
5) The breakfast is served early - 6:30 am and the spread was good and the food tasted great. There were plenty of vegetarian choices.
6) We used their laundry service and service was great. Our cloths got back on time.
7) The front desk is very courteous and helped with all our travel needs. They spoke reasonably good English.
8) The tariff was very cheap for the quality of accommodation and service.
9) The location of the hotel was good. It was close to many good restaurants and at least two big grocery stores. There are plenty of transportation options available outside the hotel.
10) The place is quiet at night and the quality of sleep was great.
11) The place seemed very safe to walk around at nights.
12) The hotel had a free airport pickup and it was easy to arrange over e-mail and the driver was ready when we arrived.
1) WIFI range was a bit of a problem. Our room was one of the furthest from the lobby and WIFI strength was poor. The WIFI was great closer to the lobby.
2) The number of accessible charging points were less. In fact there was only one in our room.
- Pavilion: Stayed here for one night in January 2020
1) Location is perfect. Independence Square, Royal Palace, National Museum etc are all within walking distance.
2) There are plenty of good restaurants and grocery stores next to the hotel.
3) The hotel area seemed safe to walk around at night.
4) Rooms and bathrooms were spacious and extremely clean.
5) The hotel pool cum restaurant area was quite nice.
6) The front desk was helpful with all our travel needs. They were courteous and spoke good English.
7) The WIFI was free with excellent speed and connectivity.
8) The hotel breakfast starts early - 7 am and the choices were good and the food excellent. There were plenty of vegetarian choices.
9) The place is quiet at night and the sleep quality is excellent.
10) The hotel has a complimentary massage and sunset tour. But you need to contact them early to get a slot booked.
1) The tariff was bit on the higher side. But given the amenities, probably it was just about par.
- Phuket Sail Tours
We took the day long Explore Phang Nga Bay by Speedboat tour in January 2020. It was extremely well organised. It was easy to get in touch with the company and book the tour via e-mail. Their e-mail responses were prompt and the communication was smooth. The hotel pick-up arrived on schedule. The boat left slightly behind schedule, but within reason. All the advertised activities and points were covered. There was plenty of time available at each location. The tour guide (Sam to give his name) and his team were excellent. They were always available and were always one step ahead of passenger's requirements. There were plenty of food and refreshments available on the boat. The condition of the boat was excellent as well. We are very prone to motion sickness and we felt none of it on the trip. The lunch stop was great as well. Excellent choice of restaurant and there were plenty of vegetarian choices. The tour covered all of Phang Nga bay and if you want to see all of it in one day, this is the only choice available. The tariff for the tour is also quite cheap and affordable.
Travelling around Cambodia
- The primary tourist spots are connected by excellent roads. But almost all of them(all, save a few kilometer around Phnom Penh) are one lane each way. So the traffic will not allow speeds beyond 60 kmph.
- Siem Reap to core Angkor area: 7 km which is about 20 mins by car or 30 min by tuk-tuk.
- Siem Reap to Ruluous Group: 22 km which is about 30 mins by car or 40 min by tuk-tuk.
- Siem Reap to to Kbal Spean: 60 km which is 1:15 hrs by car.
- Siem Reap to Banteay Srei: 45 km which is about 1 hr by car.
- Siem Reap to Koh Ker: 121 km which is about 2:30 hrs by car. Beng Mealea comes on the way..
- Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: 320 km which is about 5:30 hrs by car. Cost was USD 70 one way. Additional USD 20 for an hour detour to Sambor Prei Kuk.
- Foreign Mastercard/Visa Credit Cards work in major grocery stores/restaurants and also in buying Angkor Pass. USD and THB are accepted everywhere. Only notes are accepted and not the coins. The change is returned in USD unless the amount is less than a dollar. Riel is used only for amounts less than 1 USD.
- WiFi was available in all restaurants and hotels. International Roaming from Airtel worked well everywhere. Speed and connectivity were reasonably good.
- Vegetarian food is not a problem. Every place had at least one vegetarian dish, at the very minimum. This includes even street side food shacks even in remote areas. Vegetarian Amok is highly recommended.
- The core Angkor area has no places to stay. There are few resorts that are closer to Angkor than Siem Reap. But none are close enough for you to walk to Angkor. So you are better of just staying in SIem Reap and commute to the ruins. Siem Reap has all the restaurants/stores. The resorts are far from anything useful.
- There are plenty of reasonable restaurants in the core Angkor area. So you would not have to come all the way back to SIem Reap just for lunch. All of those had vegetarian food and all of them looked very hygienic.
- There are plenty of world class toilets available in core Angkor area. They are all well maintained. Even the far off Koh Ker, Sambor Prei Kuk and Beng Mealea had very good toilet facilities.
- Day One: If you have just one day (I am assuming you have all of it and are not getting into/from Siem Reap on that day) you have a choice of doing either the Short Circuit or the Long Circuit. There are two circuits in core Angkor area. They are both equally good and take more or less the same amount of time and there is very little to choose between the two. The two main temples - Bayon and Angkor Wat come on both the circuits and there are no other common sights. So if you have just one day, pick one and you will not be disappointed.
- Day Two: To me, two full days is the absolute minimum you need in the Angkor area. You can then do both the circuits. Strictly speaking doing the two circuits with no repeats need a day and a half. For the other half day, you can choose to repeat Angkor and/or Bayon. These two giants come at different times on these circuits. Short circuit starts with these two and the Long one ends at these two. So repeating would mean you can get to see the temples at two different times and they do look quite different in the mornings and in the evenings. If you don't want to repeat the temples, you can spend the half day at the excellent museum or at the Ruluos Group.
- Day Three: A typical day trip that everyone does is Phnom Kulen (Kulen Mountain), Kbal Spean, Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre. That would make it a hectic long day. If you want to shorten it, you can drop Phnom Kulen. Phnom Kulen has a one way rule. You can enter it only in the forenoon and leave it only past noon. If you start at 7:30, you can be back by around 5 or 6 pm (covering all the four sights).
- Day Four: Another typical day trip is the one to Koh Ker. Koh Ker is extremely good even if you are jaded by the ruins. The setting is beyond all imagination. Beng Mealea comes bang on the way and you can add it without having to drive an extra inch. It is almost impossible to add Preah Vihear to this day. If you want to see all three, it has to be a two day trip.
- Independence Square - Must See: Preferably at night. 30 minutes at the place would be plenty.
- Royal Palace - Must See: The problem with this place is that they close during the middle part of the day for an extended lunch. So you have to see this first/last thing on your day. They open at 8 am and an hour and a half is plenty to see all of it at a very leisurely pace.
- National Museum - Must See: They have an excellent collection. But it is not extensive. An hour is plenty to see it all.
- Wat Ounalom - Should See: It is a decent temple, not a must see. But it is located bang next door to the museum. So you may as well check this one out.