Siem Reap is incredible! This Siem Reap Travel Guide covers everything you need to know before visiting this ancient city.
Found in northwestern Cambodia and not too far from the Thai border, Siem Reap is the gateway to visit Angkor Wat; a spectacular collection of ruins from the Khmer Kingdom. The town is rural, with the old quarter boasting some great restaurants and bars built for the ever-growing number of tourists.
Visit the beautiful Angkor Wat Ruins whilst in Siem Reap – this is a must. The Landmine Museum gives a depth exhibit on the destruction caused in past wars, whilst a Cambodian cooking class is high on the list of things to do in Siem Reap.
The south of Cambodia offers a haven of quieter beach resorts and villages like Kampot, Sihanoukville or Koh Rong.
Budget:Dorms and family-run guesthouses can be found from $3 – $15.
Midrange: $20 to $50 depending on facilities.
Luxury: High-end, luxury hotels around $80+.
Transport: Tuk Tuks are cheap and cost around $2 – $6 to get around Siem Reap, whilst hiring a Tuk Tuk driver for the day to take you around Angkor Wat will cost around $15.
Average cost of food:
Food is incredibly cheap in Siem Reap, with rice and noodle dishes being found from $2.
Mid range local restaurants cost $3 -$10 per head whilst meals cost between $10 – $15 per head at popular restaurants in Pub Street and its surrounding area.
A great thing about Siem Reap is that you will always find a place to suit your budget and needs.
You can find cocktails for $2.50 with local beer ranging between $0.50-$1.50.
The Cambodian BBQ restaurant is a favourite of mine and an experience in itself.
Best time to visit Siem Reap
Based in South East Asia, Siem Reap is warm all year round. The best time to visit is in December and January, when you can expect warm, sunny and dry days.
We have spent the Christmas holidays here and, although the temples are a little more crowded than at other times of the year but the bars and restaurants aren’t too busy.
November to March is dry season but also pleasant temperatures; so visiting anytime during these months is perfect.
Temperatures reach 40°C during April whilst September and October has the most rainfall, so avoid these months.
Where to stay
The Funky Flashpacker is a great choice for those on a budget, just a few yards from the Night Market and Pub Street. This hostel offers clean and modern rooms, with dorm beds starting at $7, double rooms starting at $20 and a hotel pool to relax in after a long day exploring temples.
The newly renovated Heart Language Angkor Hotel is another popular choice for backpackers looking to meet fellow travellers, dorm rooms start from just $2 (!!!) a night but make sure you choose the air-conditioned rooms during hot months.
For those who wish to splurge, the Sala Lodges is an ideal place to stay for romance and relaxation. Sala Lodges offer contemporary wooden bungalows with stunning decor, prices starting at $197.
High-end luxury can be found at De Sarann Villa, with villas starting at $270 a night; all with private pools.
Save money in Siem Reap
South East Asia destinations are cheaper countries to visit and Siem Reap is no exception. However, there are still some more ways you can save money in Siem Reap, great for those on a tight budget.
- Happy Hours – Take advantage of the happy hours. Pub Street in Siem Reap has many different bars and restaurants to choose from but they all offer different happy hours. Check them out and stick to these times to get up to 50% drinks. This is a super helpful tip in the Pub Street area because drinks can be surprinsgly more pricey than you would expect
- Eat away from Pub Street – Of course, Pub Street is a tourist spot full of some great restaurants. However, to save money, eat in the local restaurants or even hostel/hotel cafes that are further away from Pub Street.
- Stay outside of Pub Street – Similar to the last point, Pub Street is touristy so staying in a hotel away from the street will work out cheaper.
- Get a reusable bottle – It is not safe to drink the tap water in Siem Reap so we recommend you bring a reusable water bottle with a lifestraw.
- Negotiate tuk tuks – Getting around Siem Reap on aTuk-tuk is very common but make sure you negotiate a price before your ride. Check with your hotel or hostel for the expected price to be sure you are not being overcharged.
- Book Angkor Wat with your hotel – Many travellers head to Siem to visit Angkor Wat. However, there are may group tours available but this is not the best way to see the ancient ruins. Speak with your hotel or hostel to see fi you can arrange a driver/tuk-tuk for a morning at Angkor Wat – this means you can send as little or as long as you want, you can leave as early as you want and you can explore a little more independently. You can always pair or team up with other solo travellers and negotiate a price with a driver.
- Hostel work – Running low on cash? It is not uncommon for backpackers to work in a hostel in order to stay longer in Siem Reap, especially if you like the vibe and get on well with the staff already.
- The Old Market – head to the old Market from 5pm to midnight each night to try super cheap but tasty local street food.
- Skip the tour guide – When arriving at Angkor Wat, you will often have guides offering tours around the temple. Avoid these, they will be asking for a big ‘donation’.
- Take US dollars – Although the Cambodian riel is used among locals, the dollar is used more often so stick with this currency.
How to get to Siem Reap
Fly – Direct international flights are available from many popular cities in Asia, including Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. Domestic routes from Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville are limited and costly. A taxi from Siem Reap Airport into the centre of the town costs around $5.
Tip: When flying internationally into Cambodia, make sure you have US dollars with you. You will need to get a visa on arrival and they will massively overcharge you if you try to pay in a different currency than USD. There is an ATM but there is a large fee for withdrawals.
Bus – Buses from Phnom Penh are available, costing $5 -$13 depending on level of service, but beware the trip can be bumpy due to damaged roads. Direct buses are also available to and from Kompong Cham (US$6, taking 5-6 hours), Battambang (US$4.75, taking 3 hours) and Sisophon (US$3,75, taking 2 hours).
International bus tickets are available to and from Bangkok but be wary of companies over-charging for your Cambodian visa on entry into Cambodia.
How to get around Siem Reap
A days tuk-tuk hire with driver will cost approx $10 ideal for visiting the major temples at Angkor Wat.
Tuk-tuks, motorbike taxis and hired cars are cheap and will set you back anywhere between $2 for short trips to $5 for a taxi from the airport into town and vice versa.
Many guesthouses offer bicycle hires for those wishing to cycle around the city. Be sure to get insured though and the cost of motorbike insurance can be lower than you think.