Most of my friends have been to Cambodia and have been talking about Siem Reap for years. I suppose I've always thought Cambodia is so close and I can make a short trip anytime. I finally got the chance when recently I saw a great promotion from Vietnam Airlines for only $143 for a return direct flight from Hanoi. I can't imagine abetter deal than that.
So last week, after a 2 hour flight from Hanoi, I arrived at Siem Reap at 5.30 pm. The Airport is a small but stylish building and we had no problems getting through immigation and customs. Visas for Vietnamese are not required but for other foreigners they cost US$20 and are available at the embassy in Hanoi or upon arrival. My friend had arranged accommodation and we were greeted at the airport by the smiling tuk-tuk driver from the Golden Banana Boutique Hotel.
After 20 minutes in the tuk tuk, we arrived at the hotel to be served with a glass of iced lemon juice with mint, similar to my favorite cocktail, Mojito. We checked into our 2 storey room, in the corner of the complex which looks over the swimming pool from a small balcony connected to the living room on the second floor, perfect!!! After unpacking, we ordered from the poolside bar before relaxing in and around the pool for an hour or so.
The hotel is only a 5 minute walk to the old market area of Siem Reap where most of the bars, restaurants are located. I have to say, this is one of the best hotels I've ever stayed at with a very friendly, homely atmosphere and helpful staff. It's quiet, tastefully designed and worth coming back to. When I'm in Siem Reap next time, I'll be staying here, that's for sure!