After a very pleasant flight with Thai Smile, we arrived to Siem Reap mainly for - what was planned and postponed many times for a very long time - a visit to fameous Angkor temples. Cambodia from the very first moment made an impression of a very rural and authentic country, even if we were so close to the main local tourist attraction. More impressions and photos may be found in the below bonus.
Bonus : Click here displayhide
As I wrote before Cambodia is a country that Thailand must have once been. It's very strange as Siem Reap is one of the most popular tourist destinations in whole Asia, but despite the crowds coming here from all over the world (more and more from China), local life seems to continue here in its own rhythm. Our best way to start a visit in a new place is to go to the local market and that's what we did this time. The Central Market in Siem Reap is like an island of locality surrounded by sea of pubs and restaurants.
Some people come here and sell what they have directly from the ground level using just newspapers or anything they may find. I think that is how they don't pay (or pay less) for selling their products inside the market hall. Anyway the first moment was a little bit shocking.
Then we moved to the better part with poultry (I didn't know chickens have such a long legs!), fruit and vegetables. These baby bananas are so sweet and tasty I could eat hundreds of them at once.
Dried fish and sausages were also available
and rice…of course…. many different types of rice
Something for tourists - cobra vodka. They say it's forbidden to bring it to Europe but I remember having one in my parents house that my dad got form one of his patients. Our tuk tuk driver told us there are plenty of cobras here, luckily the only ones we met were already closed in bottles.
The tourist part of Siem Reap's center is much less interesting than the central market. You can buy here a crocodile skull or have a drink in one of the restaurants in Pub street.
And now the reason we came here. Angkor is a huge place with plenty of temples located sometimes kilometers away one from the other. Maybe not the only one but definitely the best way of visiting it is to take a trip and get your own tuk tuk driver that spends with you the whole day and takes you from one temple to another. We took a ONE DAY MINI TOUR from our hotel that consisted of a visit to the three most known and most important temples and got the company of our tuk tuk driver who brought us from the airport. A one day ticket to the temples area costs… 37 USD (an incredible price as compared to the local prices and the life level here but only for foreigners as Cambodians can visit Angkor whenever they want for free).
The first on our route was the biggest and most known temple of the complex - Angkor Wat, huge, beautiful, full of intersting details but so crowded that spending there more than 2-3 hours would simply be very tiring. It was also full of monkeys, some of them were focused on visitors to get something to eat, but we kept away from them knowing very good they can easily become aggresive, bite you or even steal your belongings.
Then we headed to in my opinion the most interesting and mysterious temple of the complex - Bayon. It's much smaller than Angkor Wat but the giant faces that seem to appear everywhere, even where just a moment ago you could see just a plain wall, leave an unforgettable impression.
Our third temple was the one widely known thanks to the giant trees and its roots that during ages became part of the ancient walls destroing them more and more. The temple name is Ta Prohm and as we learn almost all the Angkor temples used to look like this before they were cleared from the trees. Ta Prohm is the one and only left in condition it was discovered, yet more and more conservation works seem to be in progress as the trees continue to demolish the temple. Anyway it was nice to see this one too but for me it wasn't as much intersting as the previous two.
After almost three days spent in Cambodia it was time to continue our Asia express tour with Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia being the next stop on our route. I noticed that in this part of the world even a short tuk tuk ride to the airport may be intersting as you can see some local life and traffic that looks so different from the one we are used to.
And here we are back to Siem Reap International Airport. This time we are going to see the departures terminal that in my opinion looks much worse and is much smaller than the arrivals hall which is very strange.
There are quite a lot of flights from and to Siem Reap but no long haul flights yet. Except for numerous connections to the closest hubs such as BKK, KUL or SGN, there are many daily flights from China as Angkor is a very popular destination for Chinese during the new year period.
We head to Air Asia check-in desks to leave our luggage that normally wouldn't be included in the ticket tarrif if we hadn't paid for it extra or bought a special "value pack" where 20 kg bag, a non-vegetarian meal and an additional insurance were included. Tha pack costed just a 2-3 USD more than just the luggage so we decided to take it and taste Air Asia meals that we found decribed in many reports as very tasty. We'll see…
Here one can easily see which plane types operate to and from REP
A small garden with sculptures can be seen outside but there is no access to it
While we head to passport and security control I find out on FlightRadar24 that the plane that is going to take us to KUL has left the airport more than an hour later than scheduled. As a result our flight is also delayed. The good thing is we are going to fly a brand new A320neo, so maybe it's worth waiting? I hope there is going to be something to do here. At this point I discover that cold mornings and usually too strong air condition did their job and I'm starting to have a cold. I just hope the changes of pressure during flight won't make my head and ears explode.
There are some duty free shops but the prices make us almost faint - they are 4-5 times higher than outside the airport and look really ridiculous. I know there are mostly foreign tourists here that are usually "wealthier" than the locals but paying 5 USD for a small pack of Cambodian pepper that costs 1 USD in the city is a misunderstanding.
Luckily our wait isn't that long and boring thanks to good spotting facilities here and mostly exotic carriers (excluding the Small Planet planes flying for Cambodia Angkor Airlines and Vietnam Airlines).
I was close to booking this MH flight to KUL instead of the Air Asia one but as the prices went up one day I decided for the LCC.
Bangkok Airways A319 to BKK
Lao Airlines ATR
Finally our A320neo arrives and boarding starts. As always here we get to the plane on foot which gives some spotting facilities.
Cambodia Angkor A320
Let's get inside!
The red marked premium seats in the front and in the emergency exits rows. The cabin looks very fresh and new.
We slowly make it to our seats to discover that the difference in temperature between the outside and inside air is approximately 20 degrees Celsius! The cabin is freezing cold. I wear my hoodie blouse that I always take with me but some people wear very light clothes. A girl sitting not far away from us asks a FA for a blanket but the answer is very LCC style: we don't provide free blankets but you may buy one if you wish! (if you don't, please tell us where we should deliver your frozen body - I add in my thoughts). It's ok to offer blankets for purchase but it's not ok to make passengers do it by lowering the temperture beyond any sustainable level.
Pitch is very tipical for a low cost airline and adding to that the very full seat pocket, there's not much space for the legs, even for a 2-hours flight.
The safety card indicating we are flying the NEO version. I couldn't spot the difference between the classic and the NEO version as far as the safety measures are concerned, maybe the card is in this case just one more promotion leaflet.
View from my window before we start to taxi.
Entering the runway
Misty Siem Reap. The fog is actually a smog coming from traditional fireplaces located outside the houses - that's the way people still cook here and the smell of smoke is sometimes very intense.
Some mountains as we head towards the sea shore that will be visibile soon
Here it is
As we start to cross the Thailand Gulf, the service starts by distributing the preordered or - as in our case - included in the travel pack meals. I expected everything somewhere between Cambodia and Malaysia but not italian pasta for goodness sake! A classic rice + chicken would be something more appropriate but let's give it a try.
It's not bad but it's so spicy that I can hardly breathe. Is it Air Asia's another way to make pax order more drinks? The water included in the set is hardly enough for this spicy as hell pasta and I'm the one who loves spicy food so believe me I'm not complaining just to complain.
A quick look into the BOB shows they have much more to offer and the prices are ok. Next time I won't take the pack and order something else than pasta arrabiata.
As a leading LCC in the region Air Asia has also a huge variety of collectibles with its logo, inlcuding the above mentioned blanket as a part of "comfort set". For your own comfort please buy the blanket! :)
Entering Malaysia's land from the north-east.
A cloud that we literally circled. Judging by its shape it could cause some unpleasant turbulence. The flight is generally very bumpy but the strange thing is that the fasten seat bealt sign is off all the time. I have a feeling in other airlines (like QR for example) it would be on during entire flight.
We make our final decent over the sea. Is there an artificial palm tree shape island in Malaysia?
And short finals reveal some huge palm tree farms
Welcome to KUL - KLIA 2 - Air Asia's main nest.
Last view of the cabin and this NEO bird from outside
KLIA2 looks like a huge terminal, it's hard to believe it is just the second (and the low cost) part of this airport. Let's see where to look for our bags as the immigration process is so fast and nice I can hardly remeber it 5 minutes later.
Our bags happily arrive and we can go to catch the bus that will take us to the city. Thanks a lot for reading, the series will be continued soon! :)
Siem Reap - REP
Kuala Lumpur - KUL
Hard to say if there is any difference for a passenger between the A320 neo and the brand new A320. Maybe I found it a little bit more quiet but that's it. Nothing exceptional but it is always good to fly a new aircraft and to have a new type in collection :) Air Asia leaves mixed impressions, I would call it a very good LCC, definitely better than Ryanair for example but "the blanket case" and far too spicy food reveals some bad practices. Cabin crew was rather neutral. REP is a very local airport with crazy prices in duty free shops but generally very nice atmosphere and decent spotting facilities, WiFi was also very good and fast. KLIA2 is huge and looks like a giant shopping mall. Very fast and polite immigration officers in Malaysia, no need to fill arrival forms.
6 LIKESLIKE TO THANK THE AUTHORTHANKS ! FLIGHT-REPORT LIKED
Flight-Report is a free website hosting more than 500 000 pictures and 17 000 reviews, without ads, this website can't exist. We understand that ads can be annoying, this is why we only display a maximum of 2 non-invasive ads per page.
To continue using Flight-Report, we invite you to add Flight-Report to your blocker's "white list".