Since it was our first time to visit Siem Reap, my friends and I decided to get a tour guide. I’m really glad that we got chhen Kol He’s fluent in English and his knowledge of Cambodian history and culture is really extensive. Every now and then, he'd also mention a bit of trivia, like the spots where Tomb Raider and The Two Brothers were filmed. I really learned a lot from him during our tour of the temples and the village of Kompong Khlueng . I also enjoyed our discussions on a wide range of topics, from strange culinary practices to traditional Khmer wedding ceremonies.
I appreciate the fact that he took us off the beaten track. At Beng Mealea, we not only walked the “prescribed” tourist trail, but we actually climbed over the boulders and walked across the narrow ledges of the ruined temple. When we arrived at Angkor Wat, he led us through the west entrance first in order to avoid the crowds coming from the main entrance. He’s also a pretty good photographer, and he knows the best spots and angles for taking fantastic pictures. I also admire his patience in taking our pictures with four cameras (since each of us carried one).
At the end of each tour, he also offered us cold towels (which were really refreshing) and cold bottled water. We had chosen to visit Siem Reap during the rainy season, and fortunately, he had the foresight to provide each one of us with umbrellas. Although it wasn’t included in the itinerary, we also asked him to recommend a restaurant where we could watch Apsara dancers. Not only did he call to make reservations, but he also got us really good seats near the stage.
I highly recommend him to anyone who’s visiting Siem Reap, especially the first-timers. His stories will definitely enrich your visit to Angkor Wat and its neighboring temples.