Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Adventure charity biking tour_Cambodia with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA

On June, ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA held successfully “Windermere Adventure Challenge - Cambodia 2013” tour_ An adventure challenge in the name of charity by biking. This is their story about first day in 9 days trip, cycling Siem Riep & Angkor temples

Day 1 - Siem Reap & the Temples of Angkor
Team Itinerary Overview
- Arrive in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Temples - Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom (Bayon, Terrace of the Elephants)
- Ta Prohm
- Banteay Kdey
- Cycling distance: Approx 40km

Before starting

Something old, something new, something borrowed… and a hell of a lot of orange!
For some, the challenge component kicked in as we landed in Siem Reap with the benefit of very little sleep and then hopped straight on the bikes.
So we could tell the bikes apart, challengers were encouraged to ‘bring a bit of bling’ and they responded with a colourful array that went well beyond the normal bells and whistles.
Cath Zulian attached a row of bright yellow flowers to her bike bag, forgetting that she then had to lug the colourful array around while walking through the temples.
Graeme Moore attached a boxing kangaroo to the front of his bike, Cath Sharpe a crocodile head horn, Suellen Conway bright orange plaited hair extensions (appropriate for a hairdresser) and Krista Tomlinson had a pair of fluffy dice swinging from the handlebars. Geoff Bainbridge was more nondescript, with a cue ball tube cover doing the trick.

Our guide
We were introduced to our guides. Bobby, the owner of Active Travel, Cheak, Benrut and John Wayne – who quickly earned the nickname of Duke. 
Short Man explained that many of the friends are actually smaller than he is! A photo was quickly arranged of Short man and our own “Shorty” Brookes.
Bron explained as we came in on the bus that Siem Reap was Cambodia’s second largest city with a population of one million (second to Phnom Pehn’s four million) on the back of the tourist trade around the nearby Angkor Wat temple complex.

Bike around Siem Riep

There are very few high rise buildings  because no-one is allowed to build above the height of the temples as a mark of respect.
That respect became obvious when our tour of the temples began. At one stage Short Man made a passionate plea to take in the surroundings, because the scriptures on the walls were the documents of the country’s history.
“The many people who built these temples did not get to see them, and you are,” he said.
Angkor Wat means ‘city that is a temple’. It covers almost 500 acres and had one million Khmers within its boundaries in the 12th century. Its man-made moat provides a complex irrigation system that at one stage provided for two rice harvests
It is estimated that 166,000 candles have burned in a single ceremony.

The first stop was at the main Angkor Wat temple, then the Bayon temple of faces, where many of the group tried to pose kissing one of the stone figures, and lastly the spectacular Angkor Thom, made famous more recently when Angelina Jolie ran around it as Lara Croft in the film Tomb Raider.
Shorty Brookes and Cath Sharpe took the opportunity to go into a healing room, where you back up to a wall and beat your chest three times. The thumping noise echos and apparently cleans the soul at the same time.
The ride from the temples back into Siem Reap was spectacular. At one stage we wound single file through a bush track and then found ourselves immersed in busy Asian city traffic, where the only rule is that chaos rules.

 Highlights of the first day in Cambodia:
Suellen Conway
The last temple, with the trees all intertwined. I loved the fact that they are restoring it, that’s a lot better than seeing rubble.
Geoff Bainbridge
The afternoon was just great. The weather was beautiful and the temples got better as we went on. Everything became a bit surreal and easy. The ride home to Siem Reap was entertaining and the first beer when we arrived wasn’t bad either.
Samantha Smith
It was a real thrill riding through al those motorbikes and cars on the way back to Siem Reap, They just don’t know where they are going. The fact that we got there without being run over is a miracle.
Gaylene Howe
Finding my make-up bag, which I thought I had left at home, in my suitcase when we arrived. I had already spent $75 restocking at Singapore Airport though!

Windermere is one of the largest and oldest independent community service organisations in Melbourne. And ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA(ATA) is adventure travel agency operate with Windermere. ATA offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar TRUST adventure and RESPONSIBLE tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling.

You can find ATA via http://www.activetravel.asia/ or Fanpage Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Active.Travel

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kayaking Great Tonle Sap Lake – Unforgotten Experience in Cambodia

Siem Reap isn’t known for its water sports,  but one enterprising local has now made it possible to kayak down the more undiscovered parts of Tonlé Sap lake.

The Tonle Sap Lake (otherwise known as the Great Lake) is a combined lake and river system in Cambodia. It is the largest fresh water lake in Southeast Asia and the richest fishing lake in the World.

Kayaking on Great Tonle Sap Lake
We would like to invite you to join and experience the wonders of the Great Tonle Sap Lake by Kayak in the amazing floating village! 

There are two tours available, the full day or the half-day tour. Both take in Me Chrey floating village while the full day also includes a trip to a silk farm, to Pouk market which is famed for its grilled chicken, a visit to a pagoda which in the rainy season becomes a floating pagoda, and lunch at the house of a local family.

Kayaking on Great Tonle Sap Lake 
Our tour explores the spectacular Cambodian village life and is designed for all levels and abilities. We use modern kayaking equipment and our professional trained guides will lead you through this fantastic tour.

Unforgotten experience
Our journey begins by witnessing the beautiful rice paddies and the daily lifestyles of the local people before arriving at the boat dock. Here we will board a quaint local boat which will take us to the amazing floating village for your unique kayaking experience. On arrival, you will be amazed as you kayak gently through this floating village where you will be welcomed by warming smiles from the humble Cambodian people who live on this fantastic lake or you can cruise on the boat in the village and kayak gently to the Tonle Sap Lake with great scenery and seeing rare birds.


Our professionally trained guide will be able to explain the local customs on how the local people live, work, and trade before stopping a great spot for a stunning sunset (afternoon tour only) over great Tonle Sap Lake if you choose to do the sunset before transferring back by boat where our air conditioned vehicle will be waiting to transfer you back to Siem Reap town. 


Highlight
Small groups and personalized service 
Friendly environment
Enjoy delicious Khmer delicacies in a wooden floating house  
Delivering safe & professional tour

Moreover, take a trip in this summer, travelers no need to worry too much about the price of tour. It is supported by the ATA’s summer promotion. In addition, in this time the flight ticket is always at moderate.

Summer promotion 2013:
ATA has launched “Great summer holiday with lucky travels” for summer promotion 2013 in Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia. The program applies for all customers request tour on website from 25 March to 30 September 2013. Variety gifts such as discount up to 15% on tour request, free city tour, free one night at a luxury cruise or at hotel, free meal at elegance restaurant and others are in listing lucky gift. 
For more information: http://www.activetravel.asia/special_offer/2013_summer_promotions.html

Travel Facts:
ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA) offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, kayaking, overland touring and family travel packages. For more information, please contact ATA for tailoring your very own tour via:
ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA (ATA)
Telephone: +84-43-633-9576
Hotline: +84 902 24 3637 
Email: info@activetravel.asia
Address: Level 2, No 17/167, Tay Son Street, Dong Da district, Hanoi, Vietnam

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Travel guide to Kampot, Cambodia

Sleepy Kampot sits on the east bank of the Kampot River and enjoys spectacular views across to Bokor and Elephant Mountains, which make up the sizeable Bokor National Park. The town was once a trading centre and until the establishment of a deep sea port at Sihanoukville in the 1950s, Kampot was Cambodia's primary port. A smattering of small fishing boats can still be seen unloading every morning a short walk south of the main town on the dirt road parallel to the river. Given Kampot's proximity to the Vietnamese border, fish often isn't the only catch being unloaded, with smuggling - particularly of cigarettes - a handy extra earner for the fishermen.
Kampot River, Cambodia

Today, Kampot is best known for its pepper, which is truly excellent. Pepper plantations as well as a few low-key sites can be visited from town, which also forms an ideal base for trips up to jungle-clad Bokor (when possible), a highlight of any visit to the Cambodian coast. Atop Bokor are a church and a casino, remnants from Cambodia's French colonial period. Today they're both in a seriously decrepit state -- the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese spent a long stretch shooting at each other here, with one team in the casino and the other in the church.

Kampot is both somnolent and pretty, in a rundown kind of way. Plenty of villas and old shopfront trading houses, especially along the river road, make it a pleasant area to wander through -- thankfully Kampot hasn't lost too many of its older buildings to the glass and brass brigade. Given time and sufficient interest from travellers, many of these buildings will hopefully be retained.

Along with its relaxed ambience comes a host of friendly locals and an excellent selection of places to stay, from cheap backpacker-orientated guesthouses through to some fine flashpacker and midrange hotels. Kampot also boasts plenty of decent places to enjoy Cambodian and Western food and just hang out. 

Kampot, Cambodia

Within town, activities include taking a walk over the once-bombed but now repaired river bridge for a view of the town, enjoying a sunset boat cruise up the Kampot River or just hiring a bicycle and meandering about. You also, of course, need to enjoy at least one sunset over Bokor by the river with a drink in hand. 

A small but growing number of people are also attracted to Kampot to spend some time with a volunteer project. Choose from a range of options, including teaching English to children through to longer-term projects working with disadvantaged groups. Blissful Guesthouse and the Little Garden Bar Guesthouse are two good places to start with enquiries.

Biking around Kamot, Cambodia

Spend your time relaxing with the breathtaking natural backdrops of Cambodia's provinces, local treats and French colonial architectures, worth to witness in every pace of your ride. Biking Coastal towns_The best Cambodia has to offer cyclist with ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA.

ITINERARY: Phnom Penh - Sihanoukville - Kampot - Bokor - Kampot - Takeo - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat - Siem Riep
13-day tour with 8-day biking
Biking grade: Moderate to Challenge

Highlights 
Beautiful cycling roads
Sihanoukville beach
Impressive Angkor temples
Boat trip to Siem Riep

Sunday, June 16, 2013

DON’T MISS: Beng Mealea , a less-visited Angkor temple


Beng Mealea
Did you know that Angkor Wat has a stepsister?  Born to the same father, King Suryavarman II, little is known about her, not even if she is older or younger than her much more cared for family members.  Nonetheless,Beng Mealea is one of the largest Angkor temples, one of the only other Angkor-style major temples, and the most authentic.  Being abandoned for centuries one can see all original carvings, witness the strength of the jungle pulling the temple down, and play Indiana Jones (or Angelina Jolie) climbing over and under the crumbling edifice.

Much like cover girls gracing magazine racks the world over, the temples you see in the Angkor Archeological Park have been dressed up, their blemishes covered over, and preened for their daily photo shoots.  Beng Mealea makes a living on her natural beauty alone and while reminiscent of Ta Prohm, most of the trees have not been removed.  These trees will eventually bring a dignified, natural death to Beng Mealea.

Here is a photo journal of what you can see in and around the temple.  For more photos click here to see our Berng Mealea album or here for more Cambodia photos.

Outer Wall
Outer wall

The outer enclosure of Beng Mealea (above) compared to Angkor Wat’s (below) rebuilt, restored and maintained walls.  Where ropes and signs define a path for tourists in Angkor, follow-at-your-own-risk guides will take you over the fallen walls of Beng Mealea.

The Tree

While Angkor Wat’s windows (above) are both stately and striking, the missing sections are the sole reminder that it is nearing it’s 1000th birthday.  Throughout Beng Mealea (below) though, the slow strangulation by the trees reminds us of the impermanence of humanity’s creations without constant intervention.


While the majestic halls of Angkor Wat (above) greet visitors, those at Beng Mealea (below) present a danger.  Due to the Angkor Kingdom’s creativity and ambitions exceeding their engineering prowess, temples have required extensive reconstruction to remain standing. The most audacious, at Baphuon, is nearing completion.

While touring the Angkor Kingdom it is hard to fathom the scale and construction.  It isn’t until you climb, block-by-block, a deconstructed temple that you have to that you realize how large each block is.  Based on the same principles of the Egyptians and Legos, Beng Mealea is a real treat because you get to experience it hands-on. While security at other temples are there to tell you “no”, at Beng Mealea (above) they lead you over the blocks and help take photos.

Get there before it completely fades into the jungle and human history.  There is only so much time before these last blocks line up.

IF YOU GO:

Beng Mealea is easily accessible from Siem Reap or on the way to Koh Ker.  You can easily find a tour or driver in downtown Siem Reap.
Entry is $5, not included in the Angkor Archeological Park entry, so it is best to do it on a day you don’t intend to enter the Archeological Park, thereby saving a punch on your ticket.
Let’s discover the world’s remarkable awesome historical site through this adventure trip and grasp the reasons why the Tomb Raider’s film maker team chose the Angkor Complex in Siem Reap for its screen backdrops. Also experience the biodiversity of Tonle Sap listed as the World Ecological Wonder.
We have itinerary of Cycling Angkor Temple include from Siem Reap to Beng Mealea by bike. You can refer at: 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Angkor Wat One Day Guide: The Best of Angkor

One day in Angkor. Guidebooks recommend spending at least three to get the most out of it.  I chose to do it in one, and a one-day Angkor itinerary, while not optimal, is absolutely possible.

I put together this one-day guide to Angkor for people who appreciate temples, but don’t live and die by them.  I’m not ashamed of admitting that I fall into that category. While I’m crazy about modern architecture, ancient temples don’t really do it for me.

That being said, Angkor is amazing. Trust me, you’ll be impressed.  But I could only take so much of it.

If you’re only able to spend one day in Angkor, here’s what to see:

Part I: Sunset at Phnom Bakheng
Phnom Bakheng, Cambodia
Your one-day ticket gives you access to Angkor from 5:00 PM on the previous day.  Join the masses and go for sunset at Phnom Bakeng.  Your driver will take you right there.

Be aware that much climbing is involved and you’ll be one of hundreds of tourists. But seeing the sun slowly set over the Cambodian countryside is nothing short of divine.

Part II: Sunrise at Angkor Wat

Sunrise at Angkor Wat
I hope you’re willing to get up at 4:30 AM, because your guide will be picking you up from your guesthouse at 5:00! (You also definitely shouldn’t be doing shots at 2:00 AM at the bar called Angkor WHAT?! the night before, but that’s another story for another time.)

Once you get to Angkor, there will be vendors selling coffee, tea, baguettes and fruit.  Get a cup, if you’re so inclined, and make your way to the lake in front of Angkor Wat.

Seeing Angkor Wat at sunrise is an incredibly crowded atmosphere as well, but the view is so amazing, you’ll forgive it.

Part III: Explore Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
As soon as the sun has illuminated the front of Angkor Wat, it’s time to leave. You’ve already seen the best of the sunrise — seeing the silhouette of Angkor Wat illuminated from behind.

At that point, it’s time to run up to Angkor Wat and explore.  The crowds will be minimal at this time of day, and you’ll get much of the temple to yourself. That makes for great photo opportunities.

Part IV: Explore Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom is an ancient city that reached its peak in the 12th century with a population of one million (!!).  Today, the wood and straw homes in which people lived were destroyed by the elements, but the stone temples remain.

There are three main temples in Angkor Thom, and each of them deserve a view:

IV-A: Bayon
Bayon, Cambodia
Bayon was my favorite temple at Angkor. The 54 faces carved into the rocks are absolutely scintillating, and I love the tidbit that they bear more than a passing resemblance to the visage of megalomaniac King Jayavarman VII.

Come on, wouldn’t you have done the same thing?  It’s good to be the king.

IV-B: Baphuon


This temple is still currently being put back together, which is why you’ll see the yard in front of it covered with mismatched bricks.

For a real thrill, climb the stairs in the back — it’s the steepest, scariest staircase I’ve ever seen.  I’m still shocked I made it down unscathed!  But the feeling of achievement after climbing to the top is pretty unbelievable.

IV-C: The Terrace of Elephants

The Terrace of Elephants
Back in the day, this terrace was where the king would make proclamations to his audience. Public ceremonies took place.  I love imagining centuries ago when the million citizens of the Khmer empire came out to hear the king speak!

Also — I love the elephant motif that is present throughout the structure!

Part V: Explore Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm
Feel like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft?  This is your place. The temples at Ta Prohm are wrapped in centuries-old tree roots and insanely photogenic.

Consequently, this is where the tourist crowds are at their worst. Good luck getting a picture without any other people in it!  Do what I did in the photo above, and find an obscure corner.

Part VI: Extras
Extras
Honestly, by this point, you’ll likely be templed out. But if you want more, ask your driver what’s good to see.

The best destinations will cost more money and be a lengthy drive away. Figure out in advance if this is something you’d like to do.  If not, there are plenty of nearby sites, including the lake above.

If you have more than one day, you can see several more temples that were built in starkly different styles from the rest of the major temples of Angkor. If not, rest assured — you’ve seen the major highlights.

Here are a few more tips:
  • Get a driver: Tourists aren’t permitted to drive themselves.  You can hire a driver with a tuk-tuk, motorbike or bike.  I chose a bike tour, as it’s cheaper and a hell of a lot more fun.
  • Once you arrive in Siem Reap and get transferred to your guesthouse, your driver will try to be your driver at the temples. Ask him where he’d take you for the day, determine whether he knows his stuff, then take him up on it.  Most Siem Reap drivers know which temples to see.
  • Once again, take time to relax and chill. You need to take breaks at Angkor, even if you’re only there for one day.
Above all, if temples aren’t your thing, don’t force yourself to see every last one of them. Travel is about making yourself happy.  Do what makes you happiest. 

Or you can refer the bike itinerary of one travel company: ActiveTravel Asia - one of the Indochina's leading adventure travel companies, offering Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling and family travel packages. Read more their Biking Angkor Wat itinerary at: http://www.activetravel.asia/biking-angkor-wat-t318.html

Sunday, June 9, 2013

5 TIPS FOR PLANNING A SOUTH EAST ASIAN MOTORBIKE TOUR

Many adventure travelers says there’s no better way to see a country than getting on a motorcycle and going on a tour.
Gettng on a motorcycle and going on a tour
There is a silence on a motorcycle, even amid the low rumble of the engine. The wind on your face and the new smells. A leisurely pace through the countryside and the ability to stop when the impulse strikes and see things on your own terms.

Driving conditions can be dangerous in many South East Asian countries, so there is certainly some risk involved, but traffic is much slower once you get out of the cities (although you do need to still watch for people passing carelessly on blind corners in your direction). At any rate, I personally find the rewards worth the risks; though, you’ll have to make your own decision in this department.

Whether in Vietnam or Laos, Cambodia…or anywhere else in the world, for that matter, getting on a bike opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Here are some trips for planning your own biking tour. 

1. Make sure you’re legit
Before you plan your trip, find out about the laws in that country. You might need to get a license for the specific country you’re in, or you may be able to get a permit for your stay. In other cases, the occasional fine paid to a policeman who stops you is enough.

2. Know how to ride
If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle before, take a safety course in your home country before you go, as standards are usually higher. Even seasoned riders learn a lot that is counter-intuitive when they take a rider safety training class. You’ll still need some actual riding experience, but if you start off your journey slow and give yourself some time to adjust, you’ll learn as you go and come out the other end a seasoned rider.

Motorbiking in Vietnam

3. Plan your trip
Planning a trip is usually not too difficult as you will be hard pressed to find a place where people have not gone before you. Get on the Internet and start your Googling. Think about the destinations you definitely want to see, and feel free to mix and match them a little bit to come up with a route that appeals to you.

You might want to do a loop so you can bring the motorcycle back to the place you rented from and fly out of the same city, but if not, you might be able to ship it across the country for a fair price. Do your research on shipping costs ahead of time or speak to the people at the shop to see if they have options for you (keeping in mind that some may not want to rent to you when they find out how far you’re going).

4. Rent a bike
The Internet is your friend once again because renting from just any shop you see is a good way to overpay, get a shitty bike, and possibly get ripped off in the process. So, find out which bike shops in your departure city are reputable, and then check out the bike thoroughly before signing anything. Make sure gears shift smoothly, test all the breaks, and experiment with all lights as well. Take note of all the big dents or scratches and include them on the contract so you have both confirmed which ones were already there.

Also, never leave your passport with the bike shop! If they won’t take a cash deposit and a copy of the passport, go somewhere else.

5. Take your time
Once you’re on your road tour, take your time. The more open your schedule, the more you get out of the experience. You can take detours on small one-land roads and cruise off through endless rice paddies or stay in a charming mountain town for a week or two—this is what motorcycle touring is really all about.

Just make sure you stay current on your visas, and if you have to hop on a visa run or stop by the embassy in a bigger city you pass through on the way, so be it.

Whoever said traveling was more about the journey than the destination was surely referring to motorbike tours; there is nothing like the pace of a bike down country roads on the other side of the world. The vivid jungle colors, the sunsets as you drive along lost tropical coasts, and the simple things you see along the way that you surely would have missed on a tourist bus.

And indeed, the destination is so much sweeter when you get there for all you’ve put into earning its rewards.
Dreaming of a South East Asian escape? Are you looking for that great motorcycle tour holiday in an exotic south-east Asian country? Take a look through all our trips to find the one that blows your hair back. Look no further, you've found the right spot. This is where it's at for a brilliant motorcycle touring holiday in Asia with Activetravel Asia at: http://www.activetravelcambodia.com/tour.php?op=detail&tourId=66

About Activetravel Asia(ATA): ATA is one of the Indochina's leading adventure travel companies. ATA offers a wide selection of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, overland touring and family travel packages. ATA’s packages and tailor-made private itineraries will take you through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Asia.

Got any tips of your own? Leave them in the comments section below, or post them on twitter andFacebook.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Siem Reap weather: When is the best time to visit?


Enthusiastic travel agents will tell you there is never a bad time to visit Siem Reap. Which is sort of true, as long as you are flexible with how you spend your precious time once you get here. Ignore the climate stats at your peril or you could well find yourself unable to do the very things that made you want to come to Siem Reap in the first place.
Let’s be honest – this is the kind of weather most of us are hoping for.
Cambodia sits slap bang in the tropics which means that the weather is warm to hot all year round and the main difference in the seasons is the amount of rain that falls. As a rule of thumb, Siem Reap is driest from November to March with hardly any rain falling in December and January, when day after day of cloudless blues skies is a regular occurrence — very handy for northern hemisphere-dwellers who need to escape the gloom of winter over that conveniently long Christmas and New Year holiday.

Being north of the equator — although only slightly — means that December and January are also officially winter and the coolest months of the year, bringing much relief to residents and visitors as night time temperatures can plummet to a positively chilly sub-20 degrees Celsius. Occasionally, day time highs won’t break through the 30 degree mark either. This makes it one of the best times of year for cycle rides, walking tours and visiting temples too as the heat is bearable for just that bit longer each day. Some people may disagree, but I would also rather watch the sun rise over Angkor in a clear sky than an overcast one.

I’ll take a clear sky for that sunrise, every day of the week.
If you plan on visiting the floating villages or the stilt villages on the Tonle Sap, or the waterfalls at Kbal Spean or Kulen Mountain, this is also a good time of year as the lake and rivers are still relatively full following the rainy season, and generally speaking the countryside is still lush, and the paddy fields a vibrant shade of green.

Don’t be too worried though if you are about to set for off some winter sun and hear of Cambodia being in the grip of a cold snap as it was when I arrived in Siem Reap for the first time back in 2009. Yes we saw 17C at night and one day the temperature only reached 26C but it was bliss.

Such a pleasant winter climate does have its drawbacks, however. It is very much the high season, meaning hotel rates go up, tuk tuk drivers drive a much harder bargain, it can be difficult to find a decent room, and everywhere you go — from temples to restaurants — can be very crowded. Just make sure you book as much as possible in advance, get off the beaten track and find some of the quieter temples, and read up on anger management techniques for when things don’t go quite as you would wish.

December and January are great for sunsets .

From March onwards the mercury rises steadily with temperatures in April and May regularly nudging the 40 degree-mark and often not dropping much below 30 degrees at night. Any kind of physical activity – including temple visits — is best confined to early morning and late afternoon. On the plus side, April and May usually herald the start of the rainy season with spectacular and refreshing afternoon and evening storms that cool down the humans, wash away the dust and cause everything to burst into bloom.

Such is the popularity of Angkor these days, however, that despite the heat there is no longer a notable drop in visitors in April and May, which can put a strain on the electricity grid as thousands of air conditioning units work overtime. If you do visit at this time of year and aren’t a fan of the heat, be sure to book into a hotel not only with air-con but also with a generator so you don’t end up melting in the dark should there be a power cut.
May brings lovely clear mornings and colourful blooms.
From June onwards the temperature starts to drop but the rains become more frequent. There are rarely days when it rains for more than an hour or two and is very unusual for the sun not to show its face at all. The impressive torrential downpours tend to come in the afternoons leaving much of the day free for visiting the temples and other outdoor activities. The rain can be very intense — Siem Reap receives on average as much rain in August, September and October as London does in an entire year — and occasionally flash floods do occur.

You do need to be careful walking through flood waters, however, as you can’t see what is lurking beneath — as a friend of mine discovered last rainy season when he tripped into a submerged hole on Pub Street and broke his leg.


As with pretty much anywhere, weather patterns in Siem Reap are not as reliable as they used to be. All you can really be sure of is that it will almost definitely be hot when you visit, and if you come between April and October, you stand a good chance of seeing storms so spectactular that you’ll probably be glad you didn’t follow the crowd and wait until December. 

The truly adventure travelers can find out all things Cambodian at: http://www.activetravelcambodia.com/tour.php?op=detail&tourId=65

ACTIVETRAVEL CAMBODIA (ATC) is member of ACTIVETRAVEL ASIA offers a wide selection of Cambodia adventure tours, including hiking and trekking, biking, motorcycling, overland touring and family travel packages. ATA’s packages and custom itineraries will take you through exotic destinations to really experience the culture, history and nature of Cambodia. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy an unforgettable active vacation.