Siem Reap (Cambodia) – a picturesque city located in the north-west of the country in the province of the same name, known for Angkor – the center of the ancient Khmer Empire. With the discovery of this attraction in the late 19th century, tourism began to develop in the city, and the first hotel was opened back in 1923.
Today, Siem Reap is the fastest growing city of Cambodia with modern hotels and ancient monuments of architecture. Siem Reap is the most popular city in the country – annually it is visited by more than a million travelers.
There is something to see in Siem Reap besides Angkor, because it has a rich past, unites several religions and is a place for budget shopping. What you need to know about holidays in Siem Reap? We will tell in this article.
Advice! Cambodia has fairly low prices for all entertainment and services, so in order not to waste time looking for exchangers, bring along more small bills with a face value of up to $ 10.
As in the whole of Cambodia, here the temperature even at night does not drop below 25 degrees Celsius. The hottest month is April, the coldest period (in the afternoon the air warms up to 31 ° C) – from October to December.
Planning a trip to Siem Reap (Cambodia) is taking into account the peculiarities of the tropical monsoon climate, because from July to September the season of heavy rains begins here.
Despite the massive decline in prices, foreigners rarely come here during this period.
The best time to travel to Siem Reap is winter. From November to April, the dry season begins in Cambodia, it is also high, but rain still falls in late autumn, and in spring the air temperature rises too high.
Comfortable housing: where and how much?
Acceptable prices throughout Cambodia, and even though Siem Reap is a tourist city, you can rent a room in a two-star hotel for $ 15 per day. Cheap hotels (e.g. Baby Elephant Boutique, Mingalar Inn, Parklane Hotel) are located in the southern part of the city, where there are few attractions, but many tourists and cafes.
All hotels have wireless Internet, breakfast, as a rule, at an additional cost. True, having lunch in one of the nearby establishments will be much more profitable.
Important! Despite the fact that there are several hostels in Siem Reap, you should not settle there. Often in such dormitories the prices practically do not differ from hotel rooms, and from comfortable conditions there is only a bed in a dormitory and amenities on the floor.
Where do gourmets go?
Khmer cuisine is considered one of the most delicious in all of Asia. It was formed under the influence of neighboring countries, especially China, India and Vietnam, but it still remains a lot of interesting and unusual. So, every traveler who wants to know all the delights of Siem Reap cuisine should try:
- Amok – fish / chicken / shrimp in banana leaves, pickled in a sauce of seasonings and coconut milk. Served with rice.
- Khmer curry. Soup with vegetables, meat and spices.
- Lok varnish. Sliced fried chicken or beef with onion, cucumber and tomato salad.
Street food here is represented by soups with ravioli, noodles or vegetables ($ 1-3). In addition, there are a lot of rice and seafood in Siem Reap, and these dishes are usually included in business lunches in all cafes.
Naturally, a vacation in Cambodia will be considered inferior if you do not try the local fruits. It is not only tasty and healthy, but also beneficial – how many places where you can buy pineapple and mango for only two dollars?
Attractions Siem Reap
Founded by a sapper soldier, this museum is a haven of dozens of cleared mines that have been found in different parts of Cambodia. There are no long excursions or complicated stories, everything is extremely simple: a mine or its unique photo, data on how it was going to be applied and the consequences that it could lead to.
- The museum is open on weekends from 7:30 to 17:30.
- Entrance fee – $ 5 per person.
- The attraction is located in the territory of Angkor National Park, 7 km south of Banteay Srei Temple.
Nearby there is a small store with cheap souvenirs in the form of ammunition, weapons, helmets, etc.
This open-air war museum is also associated with the sad past of Cambodia. A landmark that impresses with its realism and conveys all the events of the 20th century in Siem Reap. Here are combat aircraft, tanks, helicopters, conventional and melee weapons, shells and other objects related to the war. But more impressive in this museum is a photo of Siem Reap and the rest of Cambodia from that period, which you will not see anywhere else in the world.
War Museum – a must see for every traveler who wants to better understand Cambodia.
- Entrance price – 5 $
- Located 15 minutes walk from the center.
- Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00.
Interesting to know! The ticket price includes guide services, photo and video shooting, the ability to hold weapons.
Do you like beautiful nature? Then be sure to visit this park. It is in it that the waterfalls known throughout Cambodia are located, it was here that the Khmer Empire was born 1100 years ago.
In the national park there are several attractions of Siem Reap:
- Statue of a reclining Buddha (8 meters). This place is considered sacred to the local population. For many years, Cambodians go here for pilgrimage, and even the need to climb to the top of the cliff (about 500 meters high) does not prevent them from observing this tradition;
- The ruins of the Khmer temple – the remains of the terrace of an ancient structure are stored in the National Park for several centuries;
- The Siem Reap River, on either side of which there are a thousand sculptures of Lingam and Yoni, which in Shaivism symbolize the feminine and masculine principles.
Important! You can swim in the river and waterfalls (in certain areas), so do not forget to bring change clothes with you.
The park is located outside Siem Reap – a 48 km drive, so it is better to book a taxi or a tour at the hotel in advance.
If you want to go back in time, you can drop the drawing of a fantastic car and just go to the Bayon temple complex. Located in the center of Angkor, it has been and remains a mystery since the 12th century AD.
Fifty-four towers rush into the sky with their cascades. On each of them – 4 faces (four images of King Jayarvarman VII), absolutely identical to each other. Depending on the time of day and sunlight, the mood of these people changes, and with them the atmosphere of this place.
To take a photo against the backdrop of the Bayon Temple, you need to try very hard, especially if you arrived in the morning, because it is at this time that tourists come here who met the sunrise in Angkor Wat. We advise you to take a look at this attraction in the afternoon.
On a note! On the territory of the complex and near it there are no shops with water and food – collect everything you need in advance.
This temple is a sacred place for Cambodian Shaivites. Despite the fact that it was built more than a thousand years ago, it is in good condition today. The temple is located a little distance from other temples and is surrounded on all sides by the jungle, so there are fewer people and there is the silence that is necessary to visit this attraction.
Siem Reap Royal Park is not Cambodia’s most outstanding landmark, but if you have time, come here just for a walk. It is decorated with several dozen sculptures, two lakes and many different trees. They sell delicious ice cream that you can enjoy sitting in the cool shade on one of the small shops.
The central street of Siem Reap, a place where life is uninterrupted, and the fun is endless. Even if you are not a fan of nightlife and noisy gatherings, it will be interesting for you to visit one of the colorful cafes located on Pub street.
In addition to catering establishments, there are beauty salons, massage rooms, discos and many shops. By the way, one of the features of this street in the daytime is a large number of merchants with tasty and inexpensive food.
Caution! Do not take a lot of money with you, not only because they can be stolen, but because of the low price of alcoholic drinks and snacks – from 25 cents / liter.
Cambodia is an ideal country for budget shopping. Although there are no expensive brands or designer items in the local markets, there are plenty of quality clothes, shoes, souvenirs, jewelry and spices. Despite its name, the Angkor Night Market is open during the day. Remember, the main rule of such places is to not be shy to bargain, this will help to reduce your expenses by two to three times.
Interesting to know! According to travelers, it is better to buy souvenirs and other things in Siem Reap, and not in other areas of Cambodia, since there are the lowest prices.
How to get there: all options
Despite the fact that Siem Reap has an international airport located 7 km from the city, you can fly here only from nearby Asian countries (Korea, Thailand, China, Vietnam) and the capital of Cambodia – Phnom Penh. We have identified the three most convenient and profitable routes to Siem Reap for domestic travelers.
The distance between cities is about 500 km. Every day, 5 or more planes fly in this direction, travel time is 1 hour non-stop, and ticket prices are around $ 120.
There are no direct buses on this route. For $ 8-17 you can drive to the capital of Cambodia and transfer to one of the suitable buses.
An expensive but quick way is to fly from Suvarnabhumi. The flight takes about an hour, the cost of tickets is from $ 130. A cheaper option is flights from Donmuang. AirAsia planes fly out two or three times a day from here, the travel time does not change, unlike the price ($ 80).
Two buses leave from Mo Chit Bus Station every day at 8 and 9 in the morning. The trip takes about 6 hours (due to downtime at the border) and costs $ 22 per person. The price includes lunch. From Ekkamai East Terminal, the route runs every two hours between 06:30 and 16:30. Travel time 7-8 hours, cost $ 6.
There are also buses from Suvarnabhumi Airport. They depart every two hours (from 7 am to 5 pm) and cost $ 6 per person. The trip takes 5 hours.
You can also get from Bangkok to Siem Reap by taxi, but only to the border with Cambodia. The issue price is 50-60 dollars, travel time is 2.5 hours. From there, you can get to the destination by local taxi ($ 20-30) or by bus.
- There is excellent bus service between the cities; several dozens of cars ply this route every day. Tickets cost from $ 8 to $ 15, you can buy them both at the bus station / stop or in advance on the Internet (bookmebus.com), there is no difference in price. Drive about 6 hours.
- You can overcome 230 km between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap by plane – it will take about $ 100 and 45 minutes.
- More comfortable and faster, but more expensive than a bus, there will be a taxi. You can catch a car everywhere, the cost depends on your bargaining ability and the arrogance of the driver (from 60 to 100 dollars).
- Also, you can get to Siem Reap by “Kiwi” – a car or a minibus of the same company, engaged in transportation of small groups of tourists (up to 16 people). This method of transportation will cost you $ 40-50.
Public transport in Siem Reap
The city does not have much developed transport infrastructure. Locals mostly walk or ride small scooters. Travelers can use the following means of transport:
- Knock Knock. This small sidecar motorcycle is considered a budget version of a taxi. You can catch it in every area, but it is much easier to do than to fight off persistent drivers offering their services. Such transport does not have a fixed price, so bargaining, although not welcomed by local residents, can be very appropriate;
- Taxi . The cost of one trip within the city is about $ 7. It is better to book a car at the hotel, but catching a free car on the street is also not very difficult. If you want to visit all the attractions of Siem Reap, rent a taxi for the whole day. The cost of such a service is only $ 25;
- The bike . It can be rented in almost every hotel for about $ 0.6 per hour (daily rent is cheaper). But be careful: if you are going to visit the sights, do not leave the bike unattended – it can be stolen.
Note! In Siem Reap, the motorcycle and bike arena are prohibited.
Siem Reap (Cambodia) is a colorful place with a rich historical past and impressive sights. Discover the culture of this country. Have a nice trip!
Map of Siem Reap with all the facilities mentioned in the article.
There is a lot of important and useful information about the city of Siem Reap in the video below – Kasho tells interesting and accessible.