Apr 23, 2014

Siem Reap Accommodation : MOTHERHOME Guesthouse

While in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Motherhome Guesthouse was our choice of accommodation and I'm happy they've exceeded my expectations.

We got the 23USD daily room rate (good for 2 pax) which included a decent buffet breakfast and an airport/bus roundtrip transfer. Seriously, even without the breakfast, Motherhome's rate is already good value for money plus their customer service is really outstanding.

Motherhome Guesthouse
When we got here, right after settling down on the lobby and me filling out the registration form, they served us this refreshing drink which is actually pineapple juice and handed us chilled towels to freshen up. 


Motherhome Guesthouse

 Our room is complete with standard hotel amenities.

Motherhome Guesthouse
It has a flat TV, coffee and tea making facilities, a small ref, a nice air-conditioning and a very comfy bed. Yes, there is free WIFI and free use of their computers at the lobby.

And what made my friend really happy wasn't when he saw the bathtub but when he found out there's a hairdryer (well, you cant mess with his hair, hehe).

Motherhome Guesthouse


When I heard that the room rate includes a buffet breakfast, I lowered my expectations, but truly we are more than satisfied.
Motherhome Guesthouse Mother's Cafe

The unlimited breakfast selection is ample for everyone and they taste good.
Motherhome Guesthouse
They have your typical American breakfast. 
 Of course, you'll find me digging into the Khmer specialties right away.


Motherhome Guesthouse

This section can take your order. You might want to sample their noodles with the ingredients you prefer and have your eggs cooked the way you want it.
Motherhome Guesthouse

What's breakfast without coffee, tea and orange juice? Of course they have that plus fresh fruits too.
Motherhome Guesthouse

My overall experience with Motherhome Guesthouse is indeed more than satisfying. The place is a bit old but I feel that they are well maintained. My only complaint is probably the unpaved roads outside which tends to be dusty. Well, there was some road construction happening during our visit and so maybe the street is paved now.

Motherhome Guesthouse
At Motherhome Guesthouse, customer service is top priority. The staff know their job well and there's always that extra hand and extra smile awaiting everyone. 

Related Stories :
OUR INDOCHINA ITINERARY
HOW MUCH I SPENT IN MY INDOCHINA TRIP
HOW I SURVIVED 3 NIGHTS IN HO CHI MINH CITY
OUR HO CHI MINH ACCOMMODATION : HONG HAN HOTEL
CROSSING BORDERS : VIETNAM TO CAMBODIA
CAMBODIA : CHARMED BY THE TEMPLES OF ANGKOR (Part1)
CAMBODIA : CHARMED BY THE TEMPLES OF ANGKOR (Part2)
CROSSING BORDERS : CAMBODIA TO THAILAND

Apr 18, 2014

CROSSING BORDERS : Cambodia to Thailand

Overland travel from Cambodia to Thailand took us a total of 8 hours by car including the processing of our documents while crossing borders. We initially planned to get to Thailand via Nattakan bus for 28USD per person but we failed to advise our hotel to reserve us seats earlier and because the bus line going that route was fully booked, we have no choice but try other options.

By CAR

Our hotel (Motherhome Guesthouse) assisted us to look for other options going to Thailand. They sent us to Easy Travel agency to check our options. The choices include riding a van, another less known bus line or by car. Considering the differences in price, length of travel, comfort and customer service, we all agreed to hire a car. We paid a total of 128 USD or 32 USD per person. The advantages include, faster travel time, more comfortable trip and the best part is someone will assist us once we get to Cambodia's Poipet border and will walk us through the immigration until we crossed and reached the border of Aranyaprathet, Thailand. 

If you haven't heard of it yet crossing these two borders in South East Asia is really challenging and if you are not well-informed you'll most likely be one of the many preys falling for those scam artists that ply this area while crossing that 50 meter distance apart. Just remember, once you arrived at the Cambodian immigration at the Poipet border and secured an exit stamp, just walk straight, you can already see the Thailand border from afar and then cross the street because the Thailand immigration is on your left and then walk straight until you see the sign that will guide you to the Thailand immigration.

Also read - Crossing Borders : Vietnam to Cambodia

Travel from Siem Reap, Cambodia to the Poipet Border took us 2 hrs. I'm not sure if there's a speed limit but our driver is really very conscious to keep our speed at 40kph while traversing the highway. The traffic scene in that part of Cambodia is boring compared here but I'm not complaining because it's not stressful and polluted.
TOYOTA CAMRY, our service going to Poipet Border
Our service picking us up at our hotel at around 9am then proceeded to POIPET border.

POIPET Border

SECURING EXIT AND ENTRY STAMPS

We stopped at this spot of POIPET and someone from the travel agency welcomed us and walked us through the Cambodia immigration which is just 10 meters away on our right. The smell of this place is so unpleasantly strong that reminds me of a fish port back home, you wouldn't miss it for sure.


This is it!
Well, that one level establishment with several windows is the place to have your passports stamped. 


Be sure to have filled out that embarkation card you got when you entered Cambodia before lining up on that window to have your biometrics taken and your passport stamped.


Afterwards, just walk straight, our guide was in front leading us.
You'll passed through this Cambodia Arch and then cross the street to the left to get to the side of Thailand's immigration building.

Once you cross the street, you'll enter that grilled entrance and just walk straight then follow the signs.

That's it the Kingdom of Thailand! Turn left to enter the building and then access the stairs. An embarkation card will be given right there before going up.

You can fill up the embarkation card while lining up. 


 The lines can get long as was our case.


But once done, just head straight to the exit. It took us a total of one hour to complete the process and cross the border.


Our guide was just waiting for us at the exit to accompany us to our new vehicle going to Thailand. We left the border at 1 PM.

We arrived in Bangkok, Thailand around 5:30pm. Photo above is our nice driver with his ride who drives like crazy but glad he got us to our destination safely in Pratunam. Traffic situation in Thailand is very similar to Manila and you know what that means and they are right-handed which made it more difficult for me to relax and doze off while our driver was speeding away.

To complete our Indochina experience, watch out for my Thailand posts soon.

Now up : Thailand : 2 Nights in Bangkok

Apr 12, 2014

CAMBODIA : Charmed by the Temples of ANGKOR (Part 2)

If you haven't read the first part of my Cambodia series, you can check it out here

TA PHROM

My trance like state went further when we visited the iconic Ta Phrom, the temple made more famous by the Hollywood movie Tomb Raider. A jungle merging with architecture, huge trees growing from the ruins, its gigantic roots delving into stone walls, the intertwined branches forming a roof over the structures leaving you with a feeling that is eerily beautiful. 
Ta Phrom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Approximately 1km east of Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom was a Buddhist monastery and university built by King Jayavarman VII during the 12th until the 15th century. He dedicated this place to his family especially her mother. Records showed that it was home to some 12,500 people who included priests and dancers. This temple was neglected for centuries until the 21st century when efforts to restore and conserve the place started and because the temple in its ruined state is so picturesque they decided to keep them the way they found it and just stabilize the structures to prevent them from further damage.
Ta Phrom, Siem Reap, Cambodia


Ta Phrom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you wanted to have your photo taken like the first two pics from above, prepare to line up and wait because most visitors converged at this spot to get that picture moment :). As you can see, there are ongoing restoration efforts when we visited this heritage site.

It's easy to get lost when navigating the enclosed walls of the temple, some are impassable, so prepare yourself for some maze like tour of the area. You can pretend to be Lara Croft for the time being and have fun like we did :).


Ta Phrom, Siem Reap, Cambodia


Unlike the usual pyramid structures of temples, Ta Phrom is a flat Khmer temple, with the inner levels higher than the outer.




Ta Phrom, Siem Reap, Cambodia
There are bridges, pathways and walkways to access the rest of the area.

Ta Phrom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

If you're curious what those huge trees are, sources said the larger ones are silk cotton trees and the smaller are either strangler fig or gold apple.

After our tour of Ta Phrom, we went back to Angkor Wat hoping to catch the majestic sunset while accessing the other route and entering the back side entrance. This wouldn't be possible without our very comfy tuktuk ride.
Tuktuk Ride, Siem Reap, Cambodia

And while walking going to the site, we saw a lot of these cute monkeys who are quite checking us out.
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is the view of the back entrance of Angkor Wat. 
Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

We waited until 5:30pm but the spectacular golden hues of sunset failed to show up due to cloudy skies and according to our tuktuk driver, it has been like that for a week. 

But then again, we're really thankful even with or without those nice extras we're sort of expecting, the whole Cambodia experience undoubtedly gave us all a bout of sensory overload in a positive way :).

Interested to read more? Click here below for my other IndoChina series:

INDOCHINA ITINERARY
HOW MUCH I SPENT IN MY INDOCHINA TRIP
HOW I SURVIVED 3 NIGHTS IN HO CHI MINH CITY
OUR HO CHI MINH ACCOMMODATION : HONG HAN HOTEL
CROSSING BORDERS : VIETNAM TO CAMBODIA
CAMBODIA : CHARMED BY THE TEMPLES OF ANGKOR (Part1)

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