Siem Reap Travel Guide
Siem Reap is synonymous with the ancient temple complex of Angkor Wat, but this little town in Cambodia has its own personality of its own. Granted, some roads are not developed, and you could see a great cultural divide from rich to poor, it is worth finding out and seeing the place for yourself. If you love history and seeing ancient temples then this place is for you.
Hostel – Hostel in Siem Reap can vary wildly from $2 (this means just a mat on the ground with a mosquito net to cover you with) to around $5-8 for normal dorm rooms. A private room can go for around $20 upwards.
Hotels- There are numerous hotels that you can choose from. Budget hotels can range from the $25 up range and the more expensive ones can range from $100 up, which has a pool in the compound.
Food – The food in Cambodia is cheap. Like in all Asian countries, the cheapest way is to eat the street food. For example, for some dish with rice or noodles on the street, you will pay around $2. The food in the restaurant is obviously more expensive, but it won’t break the bank. Normally, a dinner in the restaurant can cost $5-10.
Transportation – You can easily get around Siem Reap on tuk-tuks. If you plan to rent one for the day, it will get around $25 to tour the Angkor Wat compound. But if you need just to get from A to B, it will cost you around $2 for a trip. Those, who want to travel from one place to another within Cambodia or neighboring countries like Thailand, Laos or Vietnam, the best is to pick minibusses or deluxe sleeper buses.
- Save money moving around on a bicycle. Most hostels and guesthouses offer free or cheap bicycle rentals. You can use as to go to Angkor Wat and, so to travel around. But be aware that the weather in Siem Reap is quite hot, so before to go somewhere on the bicycle, put the suncream and cover your head.
- Rent a bike or pick a tuk-tuk. If the bicycle is not your mode of transport, bike or tuk-tuk can get a really good option that will not break a bank. To rent a bike for a day or some or pick tuk-tuk is much cheaper than move around on taxi.
- Don’t change all your money to local currency. Even if Cambodia has their own currency (the Cambodian Riel), the US Dollar is the preferred currency and you can see most of the prices in restaurants, hotels, or tourist attractions in USD. So there is no need to carry all your money in the local currency. You can have just a little bit to pay for small things on the street, for all others occasions better to use USD.
- Stay at the hostels for free. Many hostels suggest a place to sleep for some work and help. So if you don’t mind to devote 5-6 hours per day to work, ask the hostels in the city if they have something for you. Like that, you won’t only live for free, but also have time to see all around.
- Map your course before you go – there are so many temples in the area that even two days can be not enough to see all. So, before to start your meeting with the city make a list of the places you’d love to see.
Top things to see and do in Siem Reap
- Angkor Wat – A UNESCO World Heritage Site that you must see if you came to Cambodia. To visit the complex costs $37 to get a day pass, but if you’re planning to stay longer, best to invest in a multi-day pass ($62 for 3 days, $72 for 7 days), all payable in dollars at the gate before you get in the compound. The best time to go is before sunset or sunrise, as most visitors wait for the sunrise to go up at Angkor Wat. If you are planning to climb up the temple, pick some clothes that cover the shoulders and the knees. It’s impossible to go to the top of Angkor Wat in shorts or tank tops. You can still climb up some of the ancient stairs in the compound, but take extra care as they don’t have any railings.
- Angkor Thom – Bigger than the Angkor Wat compound, the highlight of this is Bayon – which has four heads on every pillar it has, quite eerie and amazingly detailed. There is also Ta Prohm – famous for being a location for the Tomb Raider film. Here you’ll see trees that seem to pop out of the ancient ruins, and Baphuon – a temple that has collapsed and has been rebuilt stone by stone.
- Pub Street – the nightlife capital of Siem Reap. The best pubs and clubs can be found here. At Pub street, you can get a dinner while watching an Apsara dance and also shop for local wares and clothes while you’re at it. This is also your best bet to get the famous fish spas – where you dip your feet in the water and the fish will slowly nibble on your dead skin. Great to experience and definitely worth a try.