It was my first time to travel to Manila via Siem Riep Airport in Cambodia. I used to go back to the Philippines from Cambodia through Tan So Nhat Airport at Hoh Chi Min City, Vietnam. This is because before, there was no direct flight to Manila from Cambodia. If you opt to take your flight from the capital city, Phnom Penh, then you have to take two legs of flight as you have to get connecting flights from either Malaysia or Singapore. It's not convenient and is also costly, so I used to take my flight from Hoh Chi Min City, as it is nearer to my work place before from my previous company. Now that I moved on to another company in another border of Cambodia, I could either take my flight to Manila from Bangkok or Siem Riep as Cebu Pacific had started to open direct flights to Manila via Siem Riep Airport. For this trip, I had chosen to fly from Siem Riep as it proves to be more convenient for me as I don't need to stamp my passport at Thailand border, so it saved from a great deal of trouble. Well not really trouble but it means that I don't need to carry my luggage while having my passport stamped at both Cambodia and Thailand immigration and I could rent a private taxi to pick me up from my apartment and bring me straight to the airport. No hassle... :)
Actually, I was not expecting much from Siem Riep Airport. I know that it couldn't be compared to Tan So Nhat in Ho Chi Min City as well as the airport in Bangkok, but I was a bit surprised seeing that Siem Riep Airport is small yet very organized. The fact that it's small made it easy to find everything. The airport itself is clean and tidy and made up of a typical Cambodian architecture. The interior is nice and modern. It's not so crowded and the check in process is quite fast and efficient. I was actually expecting to be charged $25 for the airport tax as this is what I've heard from other travelers but I was not. Maybe, Cebu Pacific had already included it in their ticket price which is also a plus factor.
Inside the airport, you can find a coffee shop and a number of food stalls and a decent restaurant with nice interior. There are variety of foods to choose from but the serving is quite small and maybe would not be enough to satisfy a man's appetite. Nevertheless, the taste is good and a lot of varieties to choose from.
I was also quite pleased to know that inside the airport after passing through the immigration, you can find some decent souvenir shops, a couple of Duty Free shops and a book store. For those who do not bring their personal laptops, there are 3 units of PC provided with internet connection should you wish to have a quick check of your personal emails and face book. Checking around the souvenir shops and book store and having a quick check on my email is enough to keep me occupied while waiting for the boarding gate to open.
Needless to say, I was very pleased with my first experience using this airport for my flight to Manila. Everything was smooth and fast and the service is good.
I wouldn't mind using this airport again in my future flights. :)