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Long time no talk Dean. These wonderful photos stir the juices a bit. Rinie and I talked last year after our enjoyable time in Turkey about taking a trip to Cambodia later this year. I don't know whether it will happen, but your photos definitely have me thinking. I'm not a hot, humid weather person. When would you think a good time of the year to travel in Cambodia might be? You were there in November. How was that?
Hi Curtis. You couldn't pick a better place for photography than Cambodia. It's truly an amazing experience. You will love it and the people are so nice too. Haven't been to Phnom Penh though, just Siem Reap. You may want to put Myanmar on the radar as well as it's just opening up to tourists.
November was really good. Not too hot ... around 25C most days but humidity was quite high still but no at it's high.. The temperature doesn't really vary that much but the rainfall and humidity do ... and so do the crowds !!!
Travelling is always an exercise in trade-offs ... temp/rainfall/humidity/crowds. Dec/Jan/Feb are more pleasant weather wise as far as humidity & rainfall go, but the BIG downside is the never ending bus tours from Korea & China. The place is just toobusy. I can't travel anywhere in peak season as crowds just destroy the whole trip for me.
Photographically, you really need to be there when it's a bit humid unfortunately, because during the low-humidity months there's no rain and the place is a bit of a dust-bowl. You wont get the nice lush greenery in your shots. Also the floating village which 90% of visitora don't get to, and something you should definitely see, is no longer flooded !
From our planning, early November seemed like a good time to visit because the rain had fully subsided yet the fields were still green, crowds are no where near capacity and the river near the villages are still flooded. We still had a bit of rain which was great because it gave the temples a nice wet sheen. I would of actually preferred a little earlier, but we wanted to secure Sam as our guide and kind of planned around his availability.
You really need to hire a guide/car while in Siem Reap as opposed to getting around on tuk tuks. Our guide, Sam, was absolutely brilliant and I can pass his details on to you if you like ... book him months in advance though. Apart from the obvious heightened experience & efficiency only a professional guide can bring to trip, being driven around in an air-conditioned car mitigates a lot of the humidity. A driving guide in Siem Reap will set you back USD $35 per day. We had lots of refresher stops along the way while hopping from temple-to-temple, sampling local cuisine and just basically resting and chatting to Sam.
I think you need around 5 full days there (outside of travel days) to really get a feel for Siem Reap. Maybe a couple of more days if you want to just laze around a pool etc. Breaking up days from visiting to temples with trips to villages etc is something to consider as well as you do get "temple-fatigue". Breaking the days up gives you more of a fresh outlook with the temples. Locals love there photos taken and getting off the tourist track is always a highlight. We went to villages that had no electricity that never see any tourists which opens your eyes. Seeing things like a fire next to each village house ... burning rubbish as there's obviously no rubbish collection was an eye opener but all part of it.
I would give down-town Siem Reap a miss ... too touristy and not that pleasant. Much better off staying a a nicer hotel with a good local Khmer restaurant and a pool !!
So glad you're both thinking of going to Cambodia and I'm sure you will love it. More than happy to pass on any info that may be of use to you when the time comes.
Maybe we may see you n HK for a few days as well !!!
Lovely images too BTW ... the first one is superb.