Trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap: The Planning Stage


Continuation from The Accidental Trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap in 2011

Travel Companions: Ed and Den, Debbie (colleagues at work and close friends) and Mel (Debbie’s close friend)

After the purchase of our plane fares for our trip to Bangkok last January 2011, I immediately started looking for cheap places to stay both in Bangkok and Siem Reap. I never got worried about the budget since I know that travelling to these places won’t cost us much. Although I would have preferred showing up both in Bangkok and Siem Reap without any hotel/guesthouse reservations, I also found it important to look for one and book for our accommodations since I have no clue if January is a peak season for travelers in these places.

scavenged for useful information from my previous trip on this shoebox

When I began searching for accommodations online, it dawned on me that it was no easy thing to do. I got drained from all those searching especially on the accommodations in Bangkok. There are a lot of things to consider in both places. In Siem Reap, the things I had to consider were the guesthouse’ proximity to the Old Market, the safety of our belongings, the cleanliness of the place and so on. For Bangkok, my choice of a guesthouse would be somewhere near Khao San Road – the backpacker’s mecca in Bangkok. So I had to consider safety, cleanliness, level of noise from Khao San and the security of our belongings.

I can no longer recall how many times I visited the Khao San Road website, where majority of all the guesthouses within Khao San are listed. In Siem Reap, I kept googling for cheap guest houses and also found the guesthouse where we last stayed. This was one of my choices. But after reading a bad review that involved security, I know I had to look for a different one. Then I stumbled upon Ron and Monette’s FlipTravels blog and immediately booked at the guesthouse where they stayed in Siem Reap since it was just a walking distance to the market.

As for the accommodations in Bangkok, since there are a lot of cheap hostels listed online without any contact information, I decided that it would be best to just look for one when we arrive in the city. I told my friends of this plan and they all agreed to the idea. Also because they had no clue what to expect in Bangkok, they allowed me to take care of the accommodations.

When my friend Debbie asked me how much would be our budget for our trip, an hour after, I sent them an email containing the estimated costs we will incur on the trip.

Budget Sheet: Cebu to Bangkok | click to enlargeCebu to Bangkok budget – Php 9,500.25

Budget Sheet: Cebu to Bangkok and Siem Reap | click to enlargeCebu to Bangkok and Siem Reap budget – Php 16,166.625

Debbie and her friend Mel were only going to Bangkok so I had to separate their travel expenses and created a separate budget for my trip to Siem Reap and Bangkok.

There was also a point where I already got irritated since I felt that I was doing all the research and they were doing nothing. They were asking questions like “Will there be hot water in the place where we’ll stay in Bangkok so that we can just bring noodles?”. “Uh, Bangkok is not like Hong Kong and I don’t have an idea since we agreed we’ll look for a place when we get there.” Then they’d ask me if how much it will cost us to go to this province to see some elephants. One was even hesitant in pushing through the trip to Siem Reap and would rather stay in Bangkok since they were concerned of the expenses no matter how many times I stressed that it is cheaper to stay in Siem Reap than in Bangkok. I couldn’t finalize the reservations on the guest house because of the fickle minds. *sigh* Sometimes, things like this irritate me. Situations like this are normally bound to happen when you will plan your own trip but don’t let this hinder you from pursuing your plans of travelling. This phase will just pass 😆

I guess it was also my fault not to delegate the task to them and kept telling them they have nothing to worry about the trip. I guess they were also confident enough to let me handle all the planning since they know I’ve been to the place before. Anyway, I simply stopped searching since I got tired from all of it and I got busy with work too.

So everything was set two weeks before our scheduled trip. It was decided that we’ll go to Siem Reap then meet up with Debbie and Mel in Bangkok and look for a place there. With no itineraries listed, all of us were excited that we’ll all travel to a foreign land together!

Then all of a sudden, I received a call from Ed. It’s about our friend Den who decided to join us on the trip at the last minute. She was supposed to leave for China but since her trip got postponed, she decided to do a detour to Bangkok and Siem Reap. So I immediately contacted the guesthouse that I made reservations and inquired about their Triple Room. I didn’t get any reply at all. And then all of a sudden, I found Chyng Reyes’ blog since I was looking for info about her experience with an Aspara show, which I planned to see too. I read in her blog about how big her room was at Bou Savy Guesthouse and how satisfied she was with their service. I immediately googled Bou Savy Guesthouse and found that they have package tours. I checked one of the packages and after computing how much we’d spent in Siem Reap with and without that package, I sent them an email to inquire about minor concerns I had. After getting a prompt response from them, I booked for their $72 – 2 DAYS 03 NIGHTS PACKAGE good for 3 persons. I no longer revised the budget since our expenses will be cheaper with three heads to divide the costs of transportation and food 😀

Also, thanks to Praline’s kindness, she allowed me to borrow her digital camera since all I got is a camera phone which could die any minute on me. Since we were to leave ahead of Debbie and Mel, Ed and I had our money exchanged in dollars too. The plan was to have our dollars exchanged to Baht in Bangkok. I still don’t know if it was the better choice since my brain cells are already tired computing.

Budget, check. Siem Reap guesthouse, check. Camera, check. Backpack, check. Laptop, check.

I was all set. I didn’t sleep the night before the trip since I was working and 2 hours before I had to leave my house for the airport, I took a nap.

To be continued…


This is a series of blog posts documenting my trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap and back in January of 2011. If you haven’t read the first posts, please check on the links below:

** Off to Bangkok and Siem Reap
#1 – The Accidental Trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap in 2011
#2 – You are reading this now 😉
#3 – How to Create Your Bangkok to Siem Reap Itinerary
#4 – Arriving 5 Minutes Late on our Connecting Flight to Bangkok
#5 – En Route: Clark to Bangkok
#6 – Touchdown Bangkok!
#7 – Suvarnabhumi Airport a.k.a. Bangkok International Airport
#8 – Bangkok Train Station: Waiting for our Train Ride to Aranyaprathet
#9 – My First Taste of Authentic Thai Food


Unfinished Series from my 2008 Trip…
My First Train Ride From Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
Arriving at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok
My First Trip To Bangkok


You might also find this useful:
Modes of Transportation in Bangkok
Things to Consider When Planning Your Travel Itinerary
The Cheapest Way to Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi Airport


    • yeah, 2 years na yan and i haven’t sorted them out yet. never got the time eh and i don’t wanna throw them away pa kaya nilagay sa isang box. hehehe.

  1. hi there..

    tnx vmuch for the email! super appreciate all our inputs… hope you’ll not get tired of alll my queries 😛

    be patiently reading your blog post on this trip 🙂

    tnx and kudos!


    • hahaha. in my case, i get to deal with being able to display flexibility not only on the planned IT but also in adjusting to each group’s behaviours 😀 and when you look back at what happened, i’d simply laugh at our foolishness for those blooper moments. hehehe

  2. Hi doi. good to see you blog. will have a scheduled travel to bangkok this coming july. (personal trip). could u give me some tips since this is my first time to travel outside the country. oh by da way, bikolano man ako. sa legazpi. but i work in sorsogon, in bacman. u know that place?? hope to hear from u soon. regards..


  3. Hello,

    I was reading your blog, and asked myself how you experienced the trip. Can you tell me a bit more about Siem Reap? I am going to Siem Reap in September this year and I am gathering information. The Tara Angkor hotel is recommended to me to stay. Do you by accident know that hotel?

    • Hello Emma,

      I actually fell in love with Siem Reap (SR) because of its laid back environment. Everything’s cheap there. My friends and I joke around and say that it’s a one-dollar country since almost all of the items they sell starts at $1. But if you haggle with the locals, you can actually get the same item at half its cost. So when you visit SR, be sure to remember to haggle first before buying anything – souvenirs, water, etc. The locals of SR are very friendly too. Just make sure you pay attention to your surroundings to avoid getting scammed since it’s common in the area. If you want to know rates for certain services, better ask a trustworthy local – hotel staff, etc. or compare rates too. If you love to ride bikes, SR is the best place to rent bikes and bike around the town. You can also bike when going to the temple but now that it’s summer there, it tends to get humid and hot. When you visit the temples, you can secure a 3-day pass. You might get tired to see the temples on the second day since they will all look the same but who knows, you might like them too 😉 (1 day pass costs $20, 3 day pass costs $40)

      As for Tara Angkor Hotel, I checked google maps and it’s located far from the town center. I have not seen that hotel but looking at the pictures online, it looks beautiful. You might have to hire a tuktuk to bring you back and forth the hotel or rent a bike since it’s a bit far. If you want to be near the town center, I would suggest you book for hotels near Pub Street. That way, you could just walk for 2-5 minutes and reach the area where almost all tourists hang out in SR.

      Oh, I’ve been to SR twice already and then on my 3rd visit to the country, I stayed there for almost 5 months, crossing back and forth Bangkok everytime my visa runs out. 😉

      I hope I answered your question. Let me know if you still have any and I’ll try to answer them if I could. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by the site Emma.

      • Hello Doi,

        Thank you for your extensive response. I am very happy with your answer, because i actually can do something with it. I only have been in Singapore and Bali, and I am very curious to see Cambodia now. When I am going in September, I want to go out for diner (something more fancy) because of my birthday. And some friends recommended the following restaurants; Tonle Sap, Tonle Mekong or Tonle Chaktomuk. Do you know them by any chance?
        But it is also good to hear that you always have a wonderful time there. When are you going again?

        • Hello Emma,

          I checked the places you want to dine for your birthday on the internet and please don’t go to the Tonle Sap Restaurant. It doesn’t look good. hehehe. The reviews on Trip Advisor is not that great either. The Tonle Mekong Restaurant looked promising but it’s too far from the town center or where you’ll be staying. The Tonle Chaktomuk looked ok. 😉

          I mapped out the 3 resto’s for you in case you will stay at Tara Angkor Hotel so that you’d get an idea how far they are. Please click this google map link – – for your reference. There are fancy restaurants along Pub Street too (Old Market). I asked a friend who lives there now for his recommended restaurants and I’ll let you know as soon as I get a reply from him 😉

          I really have no information on the fancy restaurants in SR but you might want to check this link from WikiTravel – and read through their recommended restos.

          If you haven’t done so, You can also read some of the articles I wrote about SR to give you a better idea of what the place looks like here – 🙂

          I haven’t really blogged about the temples but if you want more info, you can browse through my travel buddy’s site here

          I’m not sure yet when I can visit the place again but I’m working on it and hopefully I can go back within the year too 😀

  4. You made quite a research on my question, so nice!
    Traveling is not a problem for me to travel on my birthday. So, I will take the Tonle Chaktomuk or Mekong.

    Of course, I will have a look to your written blogs to know more. I am getting more excited to go in September.

    But hopefully, you will get the chance again to come to SR as well.

    • Hi Emma,

      My friend who lives in SR just replied to my message recently and here’s what he had to say about the restaurants you asked:

      “the restaurants you mentioned are all horrendous buffet style places with apsara dance performances catering to gazillions of tourists so maybe you wont enjoy it if you’re looking for fun. for the best food, head out to viroth’s, sugar palm or raja angkor. we also eat out a lot in srey roth restaurant if you want a big feast.”

      I hope that helps in preparing for your birthday celebration 😉

  5. Dear Doi,

    Thank you so much for letting me know! I don’t want to have a buffet dinner. Then the best tip and thing to do is have a look in SR itself. I write your suggestions down as well. When we are there we will see what happens.

    Thank you again for responding! It has been so helpful.

    • No worries Emma. Yeah, it’s best to look around first and don’t book for dinner reservations in advance since most of these restaurants really cater to buffet meals with Apsara dances (traditional Khmer dance). Anyway, you still have more months to plan for this trip and I do hope you enjoy SR when you get there 😉


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