When I made the decision to go to Cambodia, I had a good 8 months to start researching what we would do and how we would go about it. I have always wanted to visit the temples around Siem Reap but didn’t know how to organise it for a family of 5. I started by researching other travel blogs, for the most up to date information.
While researching I came across a post of a travelling couple that I had been aware of and found the contact details of a tuk-tuk driver they had used in Cambodia. I felt comfortable that these guys wouldn’t promote him if they didn’t think he was great so I emailed him direct.
This was possibly one of my best moves as Sok (pronounced Sook) our tuk-tuk driver was amazing. His english was great, his tuk-tuk was comfortable and he was really great with the kids. He provided water and wet towels for when we returned from exploring the temples. This was great as it was stinking hot and very humid.
I organised Sok via email from Australia, his quoted price was very competitive with others that I’d found on other blog posts. We paid $90USD ($120AUD) for 4 days exploring with Sok and most people I spoke with in Siem Reap said this was a very good price. Obviously over time his costs are going to go up but I would have happily paid more for Sok as his service was brilliant.
The evening we arrived Sok came and met us at our hotel to discuss an itinerary for the 4 days that we would be hiring him. We had only thought that we would visit the temples but Sok was able to make some suggestions that we hadn’t considered, we were in Siem Reap for 7 days so we had 2 days then a day break then another 2 days with Sok, below is our 4 day itinerary:
Sok picked us up at 10am and we headed off on a bit of a tour of Siem Reap. We passed the Royal Residence on the way to a Buddhist Temple, Preach Ang Chek, then visited the Angkor National Museum. This provided us with a lot of history about the Temples of Angkor and Khmer culture, the Gallery of 1,000 Buddhas was a highlight here. We were then taken to the War Museum and taken on a guided tour, lots of old guns, tanks and land mines here. Our guide was a bit of a character who said he was known as that cat because he had 9 lives. He took great delight in having everyone touch the shrapnel in his knee. We had a brief visit to the Killing Fields memorial and then headed out to Tonle Sap Lake. The lake was very low so we didn’t stay long as it’s a fair hike out there in the tuk-tuk. On the way back we stopped at a lotus flower farm and a crocodile farm, give the crocs a miss they stink and it costs $5USD per person!
Sok arrived at 5.45am on the dot and and took us to purchase our passes to the Angkor Archeological Park which you need to visit the temples. I suggest doing this the night before after 5pm, if it’s a nice night you could then get a free sunset as the passes start from the next morning. We arrived at Angkor Wat just after sunrise, Sok will know what time you need to be there so just be guided by him. We watched the sun rise over the temple complex and then went in to explore Angkor Wat further.
Next on list was Angkor Thom and Sok provided us with a map and where to walk and where to find him at the other end. He will always find you so don’t stress if you can’t see him. From here we went to Ta Prohm which is the famous Tomb Raider Temple, made famous by Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. We finished early at 2pm as it was an exhausting day for the kids and they were keen to have a swim at the hotel.
We decided to start a bit later today after the big day perviously, Sok picked us up at 10am and we headed out to Banteay Srei, the ladies temple located about 90 minutes from Siem Reap. We were out there for a good couple of hours. Sok had a few other temples he had suggested but it started to rain and the kids were all templed out! We headed back to the hotel about 3pm which was lucky as Alannah and I came down with food poisoning that evening from some cashews we ate out at the temple. I was very thankful that we headed straight back as I wouldn’t have enjoyed get caught somewhere other than my hotel room.
We had another relaxed start and Sok picked us up at 9am. The silk farm is about 40-50mins from Siem Reap, doesn’t sound like much but its a bit of a hike in a tuk-tuk. This was always going to be a short day for us as the kids were struggling a little in the heat and preferred to have some down time at the pool.
Sok will happily keep taking you places all day if thats what you want. That’s the beauty of having a driver that allows you to choose your own itinerary. We took each day as it came depending how the kids were feeling and what they wanted to do. Almost like a choose your own adventure book from when I was little!
Sok’s english is fantastic and he will tell it to you straight regarding tourist traps, we couldn’t decide whether we should go out on a tour of Tonle Sap Lake and Sok very gently advised that we probably wouldn’t get much out of it as the lake was very low and there wouldn’t be much to see. He advised me on what I should expect to pay for tuk-tuk drivers into Pub Street and what we would expect to pay from our hotel to the Phare Circus. This was great as it meant we didn’t get ripped off from the start. For example, I asked what it cost to get a tuk-tuk from our hotel to the night markets, he advised $2USD, when we left to go into town, the tuk-tuk driver outside our hotel knew we had just arrived, we asked him how much and he said $5USD. We said how about $2USD and he promptly agreed. If we hadn’t of known this, $5USD each way would have added up pretty quickly when we were doing it each day and we would have been none the wiser.
The best thing about Sok was that it was easy, he thought about how the kids would cope each day and how much time we should allow for activities. Sok has a child of his own so is very patient and understanding with kids. He’s a great driver and I felt safe all the time.
If you are heading to Siem Reap and looking for a great tuk-tuk driver, drop Sok an email and see if he can arrange it. He’s busy because he’s good. Say hi from us, especially from Caelan. If you are looking for a private driver and not a tuk-tuk driver leave me a comment below with your email and I will be in touch. I have a contact that another couple at our hotel used and he came highly recommended by them.
Also, one of my readers can highly recommend Tree House Nursery for childcare options in Siem Reap. A Mary Road travel blog has great information regarding crossing the Thailand-Cambodia border if you are heading into Thailand from Cambodia.
Have you been to Siem Reap? If you contact Sok please let me know about your experience in the comments below.
Sal & Co.
Disclaimer: I do not get anything in return for this post, I am doing this because I honestly believe that Sok was an exceptionally good person and any extra work that he gets will make me very happy. They do it hard over there and I’m just happy to help him. If you do see him, please tell him how highly we speak of him.