Oh Wat a feeling, it's breathtaking

Cruising: shore excursions

"[So] we had time to explore different parts of the Angkor Wat complex and didn't have to do too much in one day.

"It was very hot, so they only took us out for two or three hours at a time, then we had the rest of the day to relax.

"When we arrived in Siem Reap we were transferred to the Amansara Resort, which is not far from Angkor Wat and is just out of this world; an unbelievably beautiful five-star resort.

"There were 24 couples from the cruise and each couple was assigned an English speaking guide and a driver with a remork, which is a motorbike that tows a tuk-tuk style trailer.

"The Angkor Wat complex is absolutely huge and we went to a different section each day.

"We would arrive around 6am, before it got too hot or too crowded, and we just about had the place to ourselves, like a private tour.

"Our guide explained a lot of the history and why the temples were built.

"And we also got to see the sun rise over the main temple, which was lovely.

"By 8am, the buses start arriving and the place starts to get crowded.

"So the early morning visits were a really special way for us to see it; we felt like we had priority over the general public.

"Angkor Wat is quite breathtaking; it was a real engineering feat for those days.

"The detail in the buildings and the carvings inside them is awe-inspiring.

"We did a lot of walking around the complex, looking at the different temples.

"The walking is one of the things I like about doing these excursions; you get a lot of exercise."

Value for money

"I don't know how they did the trip for the price we paid," Gwen says of Ecruising's charter cruise package, which included all shore excursions and the stay at Amansara.

"I don't think we could have done it on our own for any less and we had everything organised for us.

"Ecruising does a lot of these charter-style trips; we had exclusive use of the ship and also the resort, with 23 other couples.

"It's the only way we will travel these days."

WHO Gwen Jones, of Kellyville, Sydney. Gwen has lost count of how many cruises she has taken but thinks it is about 20.

WHAT Visiting Cambodia's most famous attraction, the Angkor Wat Hindu temple complex, which is considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in south-east Asia.

WHERE Angkor Wat is just outside Siem Reap in northern Cambodia.

THE SHIP Gwen cruised with her husband Tom on the boutique river ship the RV Jahan. The ship was chartered by Ecruising (ecruising.travel) for a seven-day "Mekong Magic" cruise from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The Angkor Wat excursion took place at the end of the cruise.

As told to Jane E. Fraser

Have you done an interesting shore excursion? Drop us a line at travelshd@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

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