Visiting Siem Reap in Cambodia.
Siem Reap has an International Airport, many hotels and restaurants plus good road links so perfectly placed for sightseeing the amazing sites at nearbye Angkor. Siem Reap does not have any particular sites of interest to look at - it does however have
a really nice little river wandering through it which is just right for a peaceful stroll in the evening following some hard days out sightseeing at Angkor. There is a fairly small Royal Residence in the Town but this is not open to look
round - the gardens opposite are ok for a quiet sit however. As a matter of interest "Siem Reap" means "Siam Defeated" and denotes the victory over the Thai Kingdom of Ayutthaya by the Khmer during the 17th Century.
Travelling too and from Siem Reap - Flights to Siem Reap. Siem Reap does for a start have an International Airport - which is also known as Angkor International Airport.
Apart from domestic flights from Phnom Penh the airport has direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Saigon, Bangkok, Guangzhou, Singapore, Macao, Hanoi and Da Nang. In addition and perhaps of particular interest there are also several flights a week directly too and from Myanmar. Siem Reap itself is only around 6kms from the airport so quite a cheap taxi ride if you negotiate properly
- however some hotels will actually offer free transfers so remember to ask when booking your hotel.
Visas for Cambodia can be purchased on arrival at some locations in the country - please see our Cambodia Tour Home Page topic for more about obtaining Cambodian Visas and the costs etc..
Siem Reap by Boat or Bus.
You can catch a hydrofoil from Phnom Penh or from Battambang which crosses the Tonle Sap Lake - this is fairly expensive though.
Buses are an alternative - routes into Siem Reap include coming from Phnom Penh, Pakse, Battambang and Don Det in Laos. If travelling in from Thailand the border part and changes are a little convoluted - this
method of travelling into Siem Reap is quite well described on this wiki
Siem Reap travelling by hiring a Car and Driver for a one-way drop-off.
If travelling in from Phnom Penh the distance is around 250 kilometres so instead of taking a bus it might be worth hiring a car and driver instead. Although of course somewhat more expensive this does allow you to leave when you want, not
have to pack your suitcases so thoroughly - and also enables you to stop off here and there as you wish if you spot something you want to look at.
Once you get through the busy Phnom Penh traffic the roads - which are generally in reasonable condition - quieten down enormously. The drive is often through really nice countryside and if you do this trip by car then get your driver to stop off at Kampong Kdei (part of the old road) where there is a lovely old bridge complete with snake heads guarding it (above photos).
Currency can you use in Siem Reap and where to get it plus a bit about Siem Reap Hotels.
The only currency you can realistically use is US Dollars - small change will however be given in
Cambodian Reil. ATMs (you can only get US Dollars from the ATMs) and also currency exchange facilities are widely available around the Old Market area
of Siem Reap and of course your hotel should have exchange facilities too.
Siem Reap is full of hotels ranging from very low cost through to five star plus and of course the prices go accordingly with it all. Many of the hotels do have web sites so it is quite
simple to find somewhere a few days before travelling - however during the peak season i.e. Christmas and into the New year Siem Reap is inundated with tourists so booking early might be advisable. We stayed at the Somadevi Angkor during
March with the season therefore getting quieter. This was a large and nicely furnished double room with a nice garden and pool view and was quiet at night -
the cost for a double room was 85 USD per night at the time of our visit and this included a very good full breakfast and free airport transfers.
Siem Reap River. This pretty little river goes through the town and is really pleasant to explore - there are quite a few small
bridges crossing it as well as wildlife living in it. As you go out of the town you start to come across stilt houses which always seem to be imminently ready to
fall down - some have.. One thing about wandering along the river especially in the early evening is the amount of bugs flying around - worth having a bit of an anti-bug spray beforehand perhaps.
Siem Reap Restaurants and Bars. There are plenty of restaurants and even more bars to use in Siem Reap - especially you
will find many around Pub Street in the Old Market area. The prices in the restaurants did vary even though their menus seemed quite similar - there is a
huge choice of food including Pizza places, Indian, Chinese, Khmer, Thai as well as Cambodian food. One thing in particular which did vary on price was the price
of drinks - especially beer so it's worth wandering down Pub Street before settling for your choice of restaurant to check this out if you plan on having a few drinks with your meal.
Getting around in Siem Reap - tuk-tuks or perhaps a nice bike ride.
Some of the larger and much more expensive Siem Reap hotels are somewhat on the outskirts of the town but
most of the town's action takes place around the Old Market area.
You can therefore wander around most of what you probably want to see by foot however
just about every hotel has it's resident tuk-tuk and sometimes taxi drivers. Since probably the main reason for being in Siem Reap is to go and tour round
Angkor - and this touring can quite easily be achieved by using tuk-tuks - it might be worth getting to know a driver and do a deal with him for your several days of sightseeing.
The advantage is that he will be more happy to take you to some of the temples at Angkor which normal tours may not include - and be prepared to let you mess him about a bit
by changing your itinerary at the last minute etc. Tuk-tuk drivers are licensed by the Town's authorities and should have a reasonable standard of vehicle and ability to drive safely. These licensed tuk-tuks also will clearly display their
licence number. Be aware that out on the streets there are unofficial tuk-tuks around as well and the standards for these vehicles and their drivers are less certain.
Another way to get around is by hiring bikes - note though that Siem Reap roads are really busy and congested - but once out of town things are a lot better.
Siem Reap travel, attractions and sightseeing including trips:
Via our Resources Page
there is a menu showing more of our travel websites covering holidays and tours of Cambodia's immediate neighbours of Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar
as well as further afield destinations such as Cyprus, Greek Islands, India, The Canaries and The Algarve
- plus our England
subjects cover walks as well as topics on churches, canals and wild flowers.