Ultimate Travel Guide to Siem Reap, Cambodia for 2017

“Eat, Pray, Love” has the surprising ability to fill you up with the will to cross oceans and the see the world. Cambodia offers the perfect combination of budget and beauty for the traveler in you. You can relax and learn at the same time. Siem Reap is located in north-western Cambodia and is the capital city of Siem Reap Province. Let’s explore the city on paper so you can make a beeline there for your next holiday.

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The History of Siem Reap

 
Siem Reap is a perfect mix of the old and the new. Like, all beautiful cities, Siem Reap is known for its beauty and charm. This kaleidoscopic city is the gateway to the historical city of Angkor Wat. The name “Siem Reap” translates to “Defeat of Siam” (siem in Khmer). It is a reference to an incident in the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer kingdoms. As per tradition, King Ang Chan (1516–1566) named the town “Siem Reap” after he defeated the army sent to invade Cambodia by the Thai King Maha Chakkraphat in 1549. There are many contentions regarding the history and history buffs can have a gala time trying to expose the truth!

Basics

Visa: Tourist visa of 30 Days. Can be extended easily.

Currency: Cambodian Riel KHR [$1 ~ KHR 4000]

Time Zone: IndochinaUTC +0700

Phone Calling Code: +855

Weather: Warm & Humid. High/Low: 35/26.

Rainfall: 24mm

Accommodation

 
Thanks to budding tourism, Siem Reap has a large number of hotels, resorts and restaurants. This solves your problem of house hunting. But the peak seasons can make it difficult to find lodgings for an affordable price. You must do the due diligence before your arrival to avoid holes in your pockets.
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Cost of Living

Basic meal in a restaurant: $4

Street Food: $0.50+

Transportation: $1-2 mostly,  $15-18 for full day temple tour in tuk-tuk

Bicycle rent: $1-2/day

Mobile: $30-50/month based on usage

Coca-Cola in a Café : $0.67

Cappuccino in a Café: $1-3

Pint of beer (0.5L) : $1-$3 in a bar

Temple Pass (1 Day): $20

Museums: $5 – $12

Swimming Pool: Free if you buy food/drinks

Culture

 
The city has a vibrant culture buzzing with markets selling a range of items, starting from food, and spices to clothes. It has a touch of Chinese and French architecture. You can shop and visit museums and artisans in the city.
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Language and Communication

 
Being a tourist city, language these days is not a problem. But learning the local language Khmer will definitely give you an upper hand. People give you fuller smiles and more vibrant nods if you put some effort in learning a few Khmer phrases. It reflects your respect for the culture. If you are planning to stay longer, make sure that you learn a few survival phrases like “I want food” & “Where is the loo”!!

Know Khmer !!

Hello!

Help!

Thank you!

Please

Food

Suostei

Chuoy

Aw-koon

Soum

Ahar

Yes

No

Cheers!!!

Sorry

Toilet

Bat (M) / Ja (F)

Awt Tay

jul mouy

somtoh

Dakuhn

Eat, Eat, Eat

 
Siem Reap has a wonderful variety of Mexican, French, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Thai and Indian restaurants. It’s all about exploring. You can rely on travel apps, talk to locals or do your research online. Local cuisine like sugar palm, soup dragon, Cambodian BBQ is also great. Rice is the staple food and is served with almost everything. Rice meals are safer bets and you can avoid any taste accidents. There are plenty of grocery shops and international popular food chains.
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PUB STREET Epicentre of all the fun. Nightlife, shopping & drinks.

NEW LEAF EATERY short way from Old Market has good coffee and good stock of books you can swap.

LITTLE RED FOX ESPRESSO located in Kandal Village amongst other cafes and artisan shops.

CAFE ARTILLERY pride themselves on being eco- conscious. They serve a whole range interesting healthy, fresh foods which suit all kinds of dietary requirements.

VIVA Just outside Pub Street, great for after work It’s only $1.5 for a margarita or $5 for a jug.

BLUE PUMKIN small chain of Cambodian Coffee shops. Their cafes are always very digital nomad friendly.

THE HANGOUT located in the Sok San Road Thursday unlimited wings. Also regular cinema nights, which make for a perfect chilled out evening.

JUNGLE BURGER has the best burgers in town and also come with a free beer or soft drink.

LUCKY SUPERMARKET Fresh breads and pastries of the day are sold for half the price after 6 daily.

THE HARBOUR metal bar and tattoo shop has really friendly staff and often put on events such as games nights, stand up comedy shows and speed dating

THE IVY GUESTHOUSE near to Old Market have a weekly $1 Friday Tapas night. All tapas is $1 as is their ice cold beer, the perfect place to start a Friday night out!

Commuting

 
Taking a flight to Cambodia is smooth these days. There is no dearth of public transports and you can even hire private vehicles. Many tourists rent bicycles and enjoy the city at their own pace. The local rickshaws are called tuk-tuks. A moto (unmarked motorcycle taxi) with a driver will cost you around US$10 per day. Far away destinations will cost you more. Remember to bargain because the drivers often quote high prices. Also, make sure you get an idea of prices from reliable sources online.
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Sightseeing and Attractions

Angkor Wat Temple is the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site. It contains the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization.

How to reach: Take a 30min tuk-tuk

What it costs: Entry to the temple complex is $20/day or $40 for a 3-day pass.

Best time: Early morning to see the sunrise.

Other Temples

Koh Ker   |   Banteay Srei   |   Beng Mealea   |   Kbal Spean

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Lotus fields and Tonle Sap lake

It’s lovely to ride out towards Tonle Sap lake past the lotus fields. You can also go on a boat trip on Tonle Sap lake and visit Khmer and Vietnamese floating villages.

West Baray

This man made reservoir is lovely for relaxing in a hammock with a book, drink or local food. It’s also good for people watching as there’s often locals there having lunch with their families and jumping and swimming in the water.

Phnom Kulen National Park

About 50km from Siem Reap this is definitely worth a day trip. Whilst there you can hike to the top of Kulen mountain to visit the reclining Buddha, along with the locals praying there.

Stay Healthy

Gym Facilities

Angkor Muscle Gym.

$1/day for basics.

Sport Club Fitness Gym.

$1/day for basics.

Angkor Century Resort.

$8/day for AC gym

Raffles Grand d’Angkor.

Spa, pool and tennis court.

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Yoga Classes

Angkor Bodhi Tree. $6/class.

Sessions of Kundalini, Hatha and meditation.

Siem Reap Hostel.$5/class.

Ashtanga yoga overlooking Wat Damnak.

Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa.

$8/class or 10 classes for $60.

The Peace Cafe. $6/class.

Classes in a traditional wooden house

Legal Matters

 
Make sure that you take care of the paper work and health care issues. Though, a very tourist friendly country, one must be careful to avoid any scuffle with the authorities. Be in touch with family and friends. Needless to say, guard the passport with your life.

Ministry of Tourism: 023 211 593

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation: 023 214 441

Department of Immigration: 023 890 380 / 012 434 849 / 012 856 233

Tourist Police: 097 7780013 / 012 402 424
Address: Mondul 3 Village, Sangkat Slor Kram, Siem Reap City, Siem Reap

AMBULANCE: 063 761 119 / 012 630 399

POLICE STATION: 012 630 863 / 012 630 002

Be safe at all times

 
Even though, I have been assuring you about the safety of the city. It is important to be alert at all times. Be sure to note down the numbers of authorities and keep in touch in your embassy. If you have any health care issues, make sure you know the routes to health care centers and have indispensable medicines stocked at all times. Meet trusted people from your country and don’t venture out alone before you are confident about the land and that will take some time. Never ever be out of the grid. People should be able to contact you, and you them. This means splurging on an internet connection. With all this information under your belt, I would suggest you don’t waste any time in taking the trip of your lifetime.
Bon voyage!
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