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Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Tale of Our Siam Reap Tuk Tuk Driver Brothers

So we Travel Tripsters spontaneously booked our flights to Siam Reap

siam reap international airport
Every guide online said we can easily find a Tuk Tuk everywhere. 

siam reap international airport
Even the place we booked at AirBNB suggested we take a Tuk Tuk and call him for directions.  He didn't want to give us the exact address saying, they don't have street numbers and fixed address there.

siam reap international airport
While we were lining up, we had a conversation with fellow Filipinos who gave us a few tips about the temple tour.

siam reap international airport
As soon as we got out of the airport, there were a lot of men offering Tuk Tuk and pointed us on where to buy the ticket.

radi lem tuk tuk driver
We were assigned to Radi.  We explained that we didn't know where our stay is and gave him the number.  Apparently, Tuk Tuk/Remork drivers in Siam Reap are not hesitant in making calls.  He immediately called and got instructions to our place.  But before we left the airport, Radi asked us our plans and he insisted that we change our itinerary.  We decided to acquire his services for 3 days.


radi lem tuk tuk driver

Radi is not only a Tuk Tuk Driver, he also has a car which we hired for 55 USD (haggled from 60 USD).  We had Radi for 1 day where he took us early to Angkor Wat for the sunrise.  And then, he took us to the waterfalls and back.

Our ride was quite enjoyable and comfortable.  Radi speaks good English.  He shared that he is the 5th offspring from a big family of 7 children.   Being in a big family, he was forced to work his way through college.  He learned English from the Buddhist Temple.  And, now he hires a tutor to learn Chinese.  We can't help but admire at how ambitious he is.  He has been a tour guide for almost 10 years.

In Siam Reap, he says there is no agriculture or other means of income except for tourism.  The influx of tourism there right now is getting bigger and bigger and most of them are Chinese and Europeans.  But, there are also many Tuk Tuk Drivers.  In fact, they only have their turn at the airport every 3 days so they have to find clients for the rest of the days otherwise, they spend their days home studying or doing nothing.  Thus, Tuk Tuk Drivers there extend as much service as they can such as offering free bottled waters, offering to pick you up on call, dropping you off to the place you stay or where you want to eat.  Our place was around a 4 USD Tuk Tuk ride from the main city district so we really appreciated them picking us up from our place to stay and dropping us off to our choice of diner at night.

sam tuk tuk driver
Sam the tuktuk driver and lead dancer
During our first day, Radi introduced us to his younger brother Sam.  Sam was our tuktuk driver for our small circuit tour (25 USD including our first and failed attempt for the Angkor Wat sunrise).   Sam just began as Radi's trainee last year.  We loved Sam very much.  He is very sincere in giving the best service.

During our first day, Sam asked us what our plans are and we told him we wanted to watch the Apsara Dance so he volunteered to bring us to Angkor Mondial to buy our tickets.  Since the show for that day is fully booked, we decided to go to Pub Street and asked Sam to draw our address.  He was worried that we might get lost and gave his number instead.

We then learned that after Sam's whole day of being a tuktuk driver, he is also the lead dancer at Angkor Mondial.  The next day when we watched his show, he greeted us and was so glad we enjoyed his show. 

palm tree fruit
On our second day, we had Sam for our big circuit tour (25 USD).  We passed by many sellers on the street selling palm fruit.  I didn't what it was at the time so I asked Sam.  He told us that it was palm fruit.  He then dropped us off to one of the temples.  When we got back, he surprised us with a bag of cold palm fruit from his cooler.  How sweet!

sam tuk tuk driver siam reap

That day we tried catching the sunset at Phnom Bakheng temple and got down a bit late.  We knew Sam was late for his dance show.  But instead being worried for being late, he was sincerely more concern on where we would eat and what we would do the following day.  Fellow Travel Tripster Eric was really touched by Sam's kindness.  We just had to take a photo with him and give him a handsome tip. =)  Perhaps, we didn't get the best rates for our Tuk Tuk ride but it was a priceless fun and heart-warming ride for us.

Leaving here Mr. Lem Radi's Contact if you need a Tuk Tuk Driver in Siam Reap.
Tel: (855) 10 53 45 96
Email: lem.radi@yahoo.com
We Chat: Radi.Lem