Saturday, October 20, 2012

Cambodia - Moori, my friend in Siem Reap

Prior to my arrival in Siem Reap, aside from my travel knick-knacks and pocket money, I have my apprehension about the place as well for I was traveling alone.

Moori at SR bus station
When my bus from Phnom Penh arrived at SR's lone bus station, I saw a small guy holding a piece of paper with my name on it. He was sent by Ta Som Guesthouse (see: Ta Som Guesthouse ) to fetch me. I was elated when he introduced himself because he spoke good English. Unlike the PP's tuk-tuk drivers who mainly know how to haggle Moori is a different class; he started a friendly conversation and I was glad that after 6 hours of travel I heard my voice again, LOL.

In our first "business transaction," Moori showed me the posted daily rate inside Ta Som Guesthouse. The 3-day unlimited temple visit costs 58 USD for transportation only. He gave me a discount of 4 USD.

In short, we had a contract for 3 days. It is worth to mention that he gave me some advices on how I can save money while temple hopping aside from daily complimentary chilled bottled water. He showed me places where I can take my lunch cheaper. Likewise, he gave me tips about the souvenir/book peddlers. A good imitation of Ancient Angkor book was being peddled for 20 USD, if not for Moori's tips I won't be able to have it for 5 USD.






Even snacks, the price of 3 pieces charcoal roasted steamed sticky rice with jackfruit inside wrapped in banana leaf, similar to our "suman," was 1 USD. I got 4 pieces for the same price because of Moori.





On top of this, I asked Moori where I can watch a good Apsara dance performance. He asked Ta Som Guesthouse to book me for a seat at Koulen 2 restaurant. He brought me there at around 6 pm; early enough to make at least 4 dashes to buffet tables. When the Apsara dance performance was about to start and people were still in queue at buffet tables, I was on my dessert.


The most memorable thing that Moori did for me was to bring me along with him on his friend's wedding at Kompong Khleang. It was an unforgettable experience indeed. It was my first time to see and celebrate a Cambodian wedding. I even met the newly-wed couple.

Prior to the wedding, Moori and his friends invited me to play pool with them. I refused politely thus they  bought me an iced coffee while I watched them play. After the games, they negotiated with a tour guy at the small pier and off we go to floating village with out own boat for a measly 20 USD.

Moori was a great help during my stay in Siem Reap. He even acted as my personal photographer outside the temples; you can even leave your personal and important belongings with him while you explore the temples. Moreover, he showed me an off-the-beaten-path to Angkor Wat, the eastern gate. This path has less crowd and wild monkeys abound in that area. The place was a bit surreal compared to the main entrance. You may refer to my post about Angkor Wat.

I really find it hard leaving Siem Reap not only due to great ancient temples but also due to its wonderful people.

I recommended Moori to my colleague who visited SR with his wife after I left. They were very satisfied with Moori's service as I was.

By the way, to know more about Moori, you may visit and contact him through his website. http://www.templetowntours.com/