Being home to the amazing UNESCO-listed ancient ruins that are Angkor Wat, Siem Reap is one of Cambodia’s key destinations for travelers. It’s also a vibrant city and one, due to the massive volumes of international tourists, and the ones who fell in love and stayed, emerging as a very cosmopolitan city it’s own unique Khmer way.
Let’s take a look at the must-know essentials for visiting Siem Reap, Cambodia.
For a guide to language and currency visit, and a primer to Cambodia itself visit our super guide here.
You can buy a one-day, three-day or seven-day ticket. Tickets can only be purchased from the Angkor Archaeological Park Ticket Centre at the corner of Road 60 and Aspara Road. The office opens from 5.00 AM to 5.30 PM.
You can also buy your tickets after 4.30pm and have free entry on that night and access all the next day. Which gives you enough time to go and catch a sunset that night, and then of course back the next day for a full day of temple exploring. I suggest getting to the ticket office at 4 pm so you can get up the front of the line and get away as early as possible to find a great sunset watching spot. For sunrise/sunset locations and times at Angkor Wat, and throughout the park, check out angkorsunsets.com.
Hire a tuk-tuk with driver to take you there and around the complex US$15-25 per day or rent a scooter/bike. Read the Fast Guide to Angkor Wat for more details. Also, check out the transport section further below for tuk tuk and transport tips for getting around Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.
Angkor Archaeological Park
The temples of Siem Reap are spread out over a massive area which all comes under the banner of Angkor Archaeological Park which in turn is managed by the Apsara Authority http://apsaraauthority.gov.kh
The key sights of the area are:
Angkor Wat – the poster child of the park, Siem Reap and Cambodia for that matter. Its outline features on the national flag and is the most visited temple of the park and THE most popular spot for that classic postcard sunrise photo.
Angkor Thom – Once a glorious walled royal city containing numerous temples. The gates to the area are themselves something to behold (see main feature pic). Highlights located within Angkor Thom are Terrace of the Elephants, Baphuon Temple, The Victory Gate and Royal Palace.
Other key highlights in this central cluster of temples include
Phnom Bakheng (the popular sunset viewing spot) – Built 889–910 CE, the Hindu & Buddhist temple’s pyramid-style ruins are popular with sunset viewers.
Ta Prohm – Trees rise from the ruins of this iconic 12th-century Buddhist temple surrounded by jungle.
Banteay Kdei – Unrestored historic temple & Buddhist monastery built of sandstone, with sculptures & a moat.
Ta Som – Ruins of a 12th-century Buddhist temple, with intricate carvings & a gate overgrown with a fig tree.
East Mebon – Circa-10th-century temple featuring intricate carvings, sandstone towers & animal statues.
Preah Khan – Historic ruins of a temple built by a king, with ornate stone carvings & shade trees.
Neak Pean – Historic Buddhist temple ruins on an artificial island in a scenic, lakeside setting.
Pre Rup (an alternative sunset viewing spot) – Hindu temple ruins with ornate carvings, shrines & scenic views popular with sunset watchers.
The map below features the key sites and an outline of the suggested tour pathways which are the small circuit in red and the grand circuit in green.
Siem Reap Temple Map
While most of the key historic sites are located centrally and covered by the Small Circuit and Grand Circuit as outlined in the picture above which will probably leave most people with temple overload by the end, there is more. If you want to get off the well-beaten tourist track (to a small degree) take a tuk tuk journey to some of these outer lying attractions:
Banteay Srei – (covered by temple pass) a 30-minute journey from Siem Reap city centre this 10th-century Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Nearby/on the way are Banteay Samre and the Landmine Museum. The journey there is just as interesting as the temple itself, passing through villages and rice fields.
Phnom Krom – (covered by temple pass) a 15-minute journey from Siem Reap city centre and atop a small hill you will find the remains of a Hindu Temple that was built in the 9th century. The Lotus Fields are on the way which has many bamboo hut restaurants serving local foods.
Roluos Group – (covered by temple pass) – a 10-minute journey from Siem Reap city centre. The cluster of temples here include Bakong, Lolei, Preah Ko, and Prei Monti.
Bang Melea – (entry ticket $5 – not included in temple pass) – about 90 minutes by car from Siem Reap city centre it’s another Hindu Temple which due to distance is often very quiet and peaceful. On the way/in the area is Koh Ker, Kulen Mountain, and the Roluos group of temples.
Koh Ker – (entry ticket $10 – not included in temple pass) – about 80 minutes by car from Siem Reap city centre. Once an ancient capital where 96 temples have been discovered so far including Neang Khmao Temple, Pram Temple, Chen Temple, Preng Well, Rampart of Koh Ker Temple, Kuk Temple, Prang Temple, Krahom Temple, Khmao Temple, and Koh Ker Temple.
Things to Do & Activities
Get an Aerial View of Angkor and Siem Reap
Microlight Cambodia – https://microlightcambodia.net – fly over the temples in a microlight aircraft
Helicopters Cambodia – http://www.helicopterscambodia.com – various aerial tour packages on offer covering the temples through to the floating villages of Tonle Sap.
Angkor Ballooning – http://www.angkorballooning.com – offering two flights per day at sunrise and sunset.
Exploring a floating village at Tonle Sap
Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia and is renowned for it’s floating villages. Osmose – http://osmosetonlesap.net – offer tours of the villages and nearby sites.
Take a cooking class
Take more home than just souvenirs, take home a new skill. Top places are:
Le Tigre de Papier – angkor-cooking-class-cambodia.com
Sojourn Boutique Villas – sojournsiemreap.com
Siem Reap Countryside Cooking Class – countrysidecookingclass.com
Navutu Dreams – navutudreams.com
Take a yoga class
Peace Café – peacecafeangkor.org – offers yoga classes, meditation, monk chats, and vegetarian cooking classes.
Angkor Bodhi Tree – angkorbodhitree.com – retreat and meditation/yoga classes
Angkor Zen Garden – angkorzen.com – meditation and yoga retreat.
Watch a Show
Traditional Apsara Dance – Apsara Terrace at the Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor is known for its impressive classical dance and martial arts performances – Apsara Terrace, Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor – raffles.com/siem-reap/ – 1 Vithei Charles De Gaulle Khum Svay Dang Kum
Bambu Stage Siem Reap – bambustage.com – “Temples Decoded” show and banquet $25 – Tangram Garden Restaurant, Wat Damnak Village, Sala Komroeuk Commune, Siem Reap
Phare The Cambodian Circus – pharecircus.org – Uniquely Cambodian stories told through performing arts.
Bees Unlimited http://www.beesunlimited.com visit a traditional beekeeping farm
Learn Khmer Martial Arts
Perhaps not as well known as other forms of martial arts but they are having something of a renaissance. The three most popular forms are Pradal Serey which is a form of kickboxing which some believe is the predecessor of Muay Thai, Bokator which is a form of close-quartered combat using styles mimicking animals, and Bok Cham Bab a type of wrestling. Check out angkorfightclub.com and mrlygym.com
Visit a Museum
Angkor National Museum – angkornationalmuseum.com – 8 separate galleries presenting Angkorian history, culture, beliefs and ancient artifacts.
The Cambodian Landmine Museum and Relief Facility – cambodialandminemuseum.org – the collection of defused landmines.
War Museum – warmuseumcambodia.com – an insight into Cambodia’s war years.
Watch a movie
Platinum Cinema – platinumcineplex.com.kh/siem-reap/ – a modern cinema offering 3D movies in air-conditioned comfort.
Angkor Cinema – angkorcinema.com – private cinema located in the Angkor Trade Centre
Visit a Pagoda
There are several pagodas in central Siem Reap, whilst they are active monasteries, they are also open to visitors. Buddhism is central to the daily life of Cambodians and if you are looking to gain deeper insight into the local culture then this is where to begin.
The key pagodas in the central area are Wat Damnak Pagoda, Wat Bo Pagoda, Wat Thmei Pagoda, Wat Kesararam and Wat Athvea Pagoda.
Engage with Local Craftsmen
At Artisans d’Angkor you can witness traditional ceramic, silver and wood crafts made before your eyes. More in the shopping section further below.
Eat & Drink
Siem Reap is an affordable place to fill your stomach with a mix of Western, European and Khmer cuisines. Prices range from $1 through to $10 at restaurants in the central area.
Some examples include
Omelette and Baguette Breakfast $1 (Jeanie’s Sok San Road)
Khmer Mixed Vegetables and Rice $3.50 (Kuriosity Cafe)
Fish Amok just about everywhere for $5 anywhere in Pub Street, the one pictured is from the restaurant Amok in the alleyway that runs parallel to Pub Street on its southern side. Outside Pub Street expect to pay around $2-3.
Of course, the most popular area for eating and drinking is the Pub Street area which sprawls across several streets containing numerous restaurants. The food prices here range from $5-10 for a meal. Beers start at 50 cents and happy hour Mojitos just $1.50. I’ll list a couple of highlights further below.
If the hustle and bustle of Pub Street is not your thing, try heading down Sok San Road where you’ll find several really laid back, open cafe/restaurants that are clean, comfy and serve up great food. Prices are a little cheaper too. A couple of highlights of the street are Sok San Villa, Jeanies’ and Kuriosity Cafe. Also, take a stroll along the Angkor Night Market Street that heads north to south. At its northern end you’ll find Rom Chang Khmer Restaurant which is clean and serves great value local and western food, and a little further along the popular Bugs Cafe (http://bugs-cafe.e-monsite.com) where you can try culinary creations featuring crickets, scorpions, spiders, ants and more.
Head along Preah Sangreach Tep Vong St and you’ll find Naga Guest House which is followed by several good value eateries. Many are the basic plastic chair and stainless steel table restaurants but if you will find tasty food at a fair price. There is also a wood-fired pizza bar with great prices on that same street. Head up Taphul Road towards the intersection with Oum Khun St and you’ll find several small cafes catering to western style Cambodian food with prices ranging from $1 to $4.
Looking for real local cuisine? Find your favorite Tuk-Tuk driver and head to the market on Road 60 which fires up late afternoon. Here you will find people picnicking by the roadside, market stalls with very cheap clothes and accessories, and ‘plastic chair’ restaurants that serve up local favorites where you’ll spend no more than a few dollars for a fair feast such as below.
You could also head out about 15 mins towards Tonle Sap to the huts set among the lotus fields. Some have English menus and it’s particularly beautiful when the lotus flowers are in bloom. The bamboo huts catch the breeze quite nicely and are fitted out with hammocks to relax in after you have filled yourself silly.
Local must-try dishes in Siem Reap include:
Nom banh chok – Khmer noodles – thin rice noodles are immersed in a sweet green curry featuring kaffir lime leaves, mint leaves, bean sprouts, lemongrass, and turmeric.
Lap Khmer – A cold salad featuring lime marinated beef that’s only lightly seared, or sometimes raw, along with lemongrass, shallots, garlic, local basil, mint, green beans, green pepper and red chilli.
Amok – a curry that is available with either fish or chicken as the protein. Fish is the most popular and its ingredients include coconut milk, lemongrass, turmeric, garlic, shallots, galangal, and ginger. Served with rice it’s very mild sometimes bordering on sweet. Local chefs have a tendency to burn the garlic which in my belief destroys the dish, find a good one and you’ll love this dish.
Banh chiao – a savory crepe that’s filled with ground pork and bean sprouts.
Naem – a spring roll that’s packed with fresh veg. Recipes differ but you’ll find herbs, carrot, lettuce, cucumber and maybe rice noodle inside paired with a peanut dipping sauce.
Lok Lak – Beef (or Chicken) in a pepper sauce. Often served with veggies, and in the more westernized restaurants it’s served with tomato slices, lettuce, and fries. Simple dish but it can be a bit hit and miss with the beef often being too chewy. Get a good one and you’ll be sure to enjoy it.
Sangvak – small portions of ground fish are baked in banana leaves and served with raw vegetables, fresh herbs, Khmer noodles, and a dipping sauce. Simply put the fish cake together with some noodles, and some herb leaves then wrap it in lettuce or cabbage and dip and eat.
Places to try around Pub Street
Miss Wong – misswong.net – step back into 1930s Shanghai and sip on fine cocktails and classic dim sum, hot pot and more – The Lane, Siem Reap
Le Tigre de Papier – letigredepapier.com – cozy little restaurant bar that has nice food and fair prices. Street 08 (Eastern end of Pub Street)
Elsewhere in Siem Reap
Haven – http://www.havencambodia.com – Asian-Western fusion with a mix of the healthy and classic comfort foods – Chocolate Rd, Wat Damnak area
Peace Cafe – http://www.peacecafeangkor.org – vegetarian cafe in a peaceful garden setting. Also offering cooking classes – East River Road, Siem Reap
Sister Srey Cafe – http://www.sistersreycafe.com – popular place focussed on fresh, healthy food – 200 Pokambor St, Old Market Area
New Leaf Book Cafe – https://newleafeatery.com – Locally sourced and roasted coffee, full menu of western and local – No. 306 Street 9
Blossom Cafe – http://www.blossomcakes.org – cupcakes and aircon, can’t go wrong – 6 Mondul 1 Svay Dangkum, Central Market
Blue Pumpkin – bluepumpkin.asia – 7 locations in Siem Reap – bakery with light meals
Little Red Fox Espresso – thelittleredfoxespresso.com – Australian Barista – Hup Guan Street (Kandal Village)
The Hive – facebook.com/thehive.siemreap – Australian-inspired brunch – Psar Kandal Street (Central Market Street)
Artillery Cafe – artillerycafe.com – Wat Bo Road
Hard Rock Café – Just the same as every other HRC – King’s Road Angkor, Old Market Bridge
Coffee with WiFi, Power and comfy seats
Looking for somewhere to plug-in, do internet work, or simply while away some hours in air-con comfort perusing Facebook? Here are a few spots
Gloria Jeans – Wat Bo Road – http://gloriajeans.com.kh – There are two Gloria Jeans shops in SR, this particular one is on Wat Bo Road. It’s spacious, clean, comfy and cool with fast wifi. If you like a latte with perfectly steamed milk, try here. Near the intersection of street 22 and Wat Bo Road.
Brown Coffee – https://browncoffee.com.kh – Modern, large, open, it’s a bit of an oasis with great coffee, good food, and fair prices, unfortunately, only limited seats have access to power – Taphul Rd
Costa Coffee – https://www.facebook.com/CostaCoffeeCambodia/ – The downstairs area is small but head upstairs for comfy chairs, with power sockets and A/C. King’s Road near Made in Cambodia Market.
The Missing Socks Laundry Cafe – cosy little cafe, that’s clean and a bit hip. Great coffee and delicious comfort food. Bonus, they also have washing machines and dryers where you can do a load while you enjoy the coffee, food and wifi. 55, Steung Thmei, Svaydangkum Village (just off Sok San road)
Bio Lab – biolabcafe.com – great lattes at a very fair price. The perfect place for Digital Nomads offering plenty of power sockets, seating and fast dependable wifi. Across the road from Gloria Jeans Coffee on Wat Bo Road
Temple Coffee n Bakery – the Temple group is ubiquitous across the pub street with multiple cafes, bars, restaurants and massage centers. This is their new cafe just across the river from pub street and it’s a good one. Decent meals for $3-$9 and drinks from $1.50. It’s spacious and on the second level you’ll find lounge beds/chairs (with nearby power) and there’s also a Skylounge on the third floor. Achar Sva St
Digital nomads looking for somewhere to plug-in might try these:
Angkor Night Market – http://angkornightmarket.com – open 5 PM to 12 PM – local wares, paintings, crafts and lots of t-shirts and clothes. Off Sivatha Boulevard and then along Angkor Night Market Road.
Siem Reap Art Centre Night Market – located along the riverside it offers much the same goods as the other markets. Can be much more relaxed than other markets, and prices may be a little cheaper. Across the river from Old Market.
Old Market (Psar Chas) – traditional Cambodian market at its center with tourist shops around the outer perimeter selling local wares and lots of clothes – Psar Chaa Road
Full Moon Night Market – smaller market with mostly touristy t-shirts. Sivatha Road near Lucky Mall.
BB Angkor Market – at the entry to Pub Street beneath the Triangle Bar there’s a cluster of market stalls flogging t-shirts and elephant pants.
Made in Cambodia – just as the name implies – located on Kings Road – this market area has a much more relaxed feel, with the market stalls nestled amongst several cafes and restaurants it’s a comfortable place to hang.
China Tang Market – handicrafts, souvenirs, factory outlet clothing, cosmetics, and jewelers – Sivatha Blvd.
Road 60 Market – mostly goods for locals, but cheap. Great place to try out genuine local food – Road 60 just past the Angkor Ticket Office.
Psar Leu Market – it’s where locals shop for daily needs. You could call it the local version of WalMart, it’s massive and has everything locals need and use in their daily life. Wet Market, vegetables, hardware, DIY, homewares, jewelry, clothes and fashion, and much more. National Road 6.
Eiffel Night Market – very new and still attracting tenants. Several bars are already open and they often have live entertainment. Sivatha Blvd opposite Burger King.
There are several new markets in stages of opening up. They are all surprisingly similar in that they use shipping containers for all the stalls and shops they include Boxville on NR6, Temple Container Market on Wat Bo Rd (not yet open) and Palm Container Night Market on Road 60.
T Galleria by DFS – International Chinese mall chain, designed for Chinese tourists. It’s modern and is packed with luxury brands – 968 Vithei Charles De Gaulle, Krong Siem Reap
Angkor Shopping Arcade – open 9 till midnight – On airport road (National Road 6)
Lucky Mall – luckymarketgroup.com – is the most popular mall in Siem Reap. The Mall has a huge supermarket on the ground floor which has a wide range of local and imported products. Open 9 till 10 pm – Sivatha Boulevard near to Highway 6.
Angkor Trade Center – featuring international restaurant chains, entertainment, and supermarket. Cnr of Street 9 and Pokambor Avenue.
Artisans d’Angkor/Pouk Silk Farm – artisansdangkor.com – learn about local silk production and textiles. 8:00 am to 5.30 pm – Located in Pouk district, 20 minutes from Siem Reap. There is also an Artisans d’Angkor near the pub street area on Steung Thmei St. where you can watch artisans in action and catch buses to the silk farm.
Khmer Ceramics Centre – khmerceramics.com – Traditional Cambodian craftsmanship, classes also available – #130, Vithey Charles de Gaulle (Temple Road)
Made in Cambodia Market – handicrafts, souvenirs, performances, cafes, and restaurants – Achar Sva Street / King’s Road Angkor
Angkor Handicraft Association – aha-kh.com – Road 60, Trang Village, Sangkat Slorkram Commune
most of these stock differing ranges of local and import products
Asia Market – has two locations, with a store on Sivatha Rd near Central Market St (Open 8:00 am to 12:00 am) and a new store on the corner of Preah Sangreach Tep Vong St and Taphul Rd (open 24hrs). Good range with many imported lines but some items can be found elsewhere much cheaper.
Angkor Market – Open 7:00 am. to 10 pm. possibly one of the most popular supermarkets, featuring a good range of products including imported lines. Cheeses, dairy, and some meats. Upstairs has a large range of household needs. Cnr of Sivatha Bvld. and Oum Khun St.
Thai Huot – http://www.thaihuot.com – Large range with many imported lines and quite reasonable prices. Also has bulk lots. Lots of cheeses, dairy and imported meats. Preah Sangreach Tep Vong St near to the river.
Lucky Supermarket – http://luckymarketgroup.com – Open 9 am. to 9 pm. Good range with fair prices. Probably the best range of fresh food along with the nearby Angkor Market. Inside Lucky Mall on Sivatha Blvd.
Chao Sang Hok – on Preah Sangreach Tep Vong St near to Funky Flashpacker. Good range and cheap prices on common lines. Also has a store on National Road 6.
Huey Meng Mini Mart – Close to Pub Street
Triangle Market – facebook.com/Triangle-Market – at the corner of National Highway 6 and Sivatha Blvd, it’s a handy stop to grab a few things as you head out to the temples.
Metro Market – facebook.com/metromarketcambodia/ – on Sivatha Blvd opposite the High School and near to Mad Monkey Hostel. A very new and very clean store with some outdoor seating. A reasonable range.
UCare Pharmacy – u-carepharmacy.com – Hospital Road (at the end of Pub Street), Siem Reap. Location 2: In Lucky Mall on Sivatha Road. Several other locations.
Preah Vihear Pharmacy – 3 locations including one on Tep Vong St. Good range and good service.
Royal Angkor Hospital – http://www.royalangkorhospital.com – best all-round medical facility – Route 6 Airport Rd, Siem Reap: (063) 761 888
British Khmer Clinic – http://www.britishkhmerclinic.com – British doctor, Dr Ian Ferguson – House A73 Charles De Gaulle, Siem Reap
Lysreyvyna Medical Group – http://www.lysreyvynaclinic.com – 24-hour services – #113 National Route 6, Siem Reap; (063) 965 088
Doctors Rithy Kong and Sok Leng: Consultations US$5 – no appointment necessary. Behind Akira Electrical, #11, National Route 6, Siem Reap; (012) 832 152
Tourist Police – office opposite the ticket booths for the Angkor Archaeological Park – PH (012) 402 424.
The prime way to get around is by tuk-tuk, and they are everywhere. To go anywhere in the central area is usually 2 dollars if it’s a short way you can push for a dollar. A little further and you may need to pay more.
All the drivers I have met are friendly and helpful. They are quite proactive in getting your business, they have to be because there are simply so many tuk-tuks, and some days, they may only get a couple of fares. You can negotiate the rates for daily hire or tours. BUT, not all drivers are equal, some come from the village in search of fast cash and have no or little idea of the whereabouts of the local attractions. Find an experienced driver and his/her (99.9% of the drivers are male) local knowledge will make all the difference to how much you get out of your time here. There are a couple of recommendations below.
Recommended Tuk Tuk drivers
Virak – https://www.facebook.com/tuktukvirak/
Narith – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008369865442
Pi Tuhs Professional Driver – facebook.com/pituhprofessionaldriver
Rent a motorbike/scooter is a popular way to get around if you like to go your own way. It costs between $7-12 per day depending on the type of bike and discount for length of rental. Monthly rentals are generally around $100 per month. You can hire a petrol powered bike under 125cc and not required to have a license. A full tank of fuel ($3) will last several days.
UPDATE for 2017/2018: Laws are now being enforced that prohibits the renting of scooters to foreign visitors. If you have an EB type visa (ordinary visa) then you are able to rent a scooter. In either case, scooters are no longer allowed to be ridden through the Angkor area. Electric bikes and bicycles are not affected.
Electric Bikes can be rented from greene-bike.com, ovelocity.com, and siemreap-ebike.com. Free charging stations are located throughout the city. Most electric bikes have a max speed of 25km/h and range of 40 km.
Heading in and out
Siem Reap to Bangkok Thailand – regular flights via AirAsia, Thai Smile, Cambodia Angkor Air, and Bangkok Airways. $50-80
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh – (45 mins). Cambodia Angkor Air, Cambodia Bayon Airlines, and Bassaka Air. US$60 and up
Siem Reap to Sihanoukville – (60 mins) Cambodia Angkor Air, Cambodian Bayon Airlines, and Sky Angkor Airlines. US$120
For a full range of destinations from Siem Reap see the official airport website http://www.rep.aero
NOTE: a new airport is due to begin construction in 2018.
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh – 6.5HRS – Giant Ibis US$17 http://www.giantibis.com
Siem Reap to Battambang – 3HRS – Mekong Express – US$7
Siem Reap to Bangkok Thailand – Nattakan Transportation is the only direct bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok. US$28
Siem Reap to Vientiane Laos: US$56.00
Siem Reap to Pakse Laos: US$30.00
For bus tickets visit any tour agency which are ubiquitous, or visit http://camboticket.com
Also see the post Siem Reap to Poipet.
At the core of nightlife in Siem Reap is Pub Street with its 50 cent beers and happy hours with 1.50 mojitos, and open till the wee hours of the morning. The area begins the night in very family friendly mode until the later hours when it morphs into a fully fledged party zone with clubs in full swing and mobile pop-up bars occupying the streets.
The two most popular clubs are Temple Nightclub and Angkor Wat which are in the heart of Pub Street directly opposing each other. Bars are everywhere, and later at night mobile pop-up bars appear serving up super cheap cocktails.
The Red Piano has 50 cent beers all day and night, and Triangle Bar has 50 cent beers downstairs and nightly live bands upstairs, opposite Triangle Bar you’ll find Cheers which is an open fronted bar/nightclub. Besides that, you can head upstairs to the YOLO bar which seems to be targeting younger backpackers. Directly across the road is XBar, it’s a rooftop bar offering beer pong, a DJ, pool tables, and a half pipe!
Head down Sok San Road and you’ll find a large modern Score Sports Bar & Grill which has live music on weekends and is fairly laid back and never too crazy. If you are looking to mingle with locals, keep going down Sok San Road and you’ll find the new Temple Container Pub zone and Classic Hip Hop Club. There’s also a number of smaller bars along this street offering friendly service and they are quite popular with expat guys looking to find a partner for the night and local girls looking for an income.
Here’s a pub street map from the team at Wiki Voyage showing the bars and eateries.
There’s a facebook group to keep in on latest events facebook.com/groups/394144740616218/
Where to Stay
These places are picked out based on their popularity with past visitors and value for money. They are clean and comfortable, many with pools and in-house cafe/restaurant. Also, check out my more detailed guide on choosing Where to Stay in Siem Reap.
Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel – Street 53, Number 418, Vihearchin Village, Songkat Svay Dangkom – $50
Xing Angkor Hotel – City Center, Taphul Street – $25
Damnak Riverside Hotel – No. 0141, Wat Domnak Street, Old Market Area – $20
Pension Lodge – 169 St Wat Damnak, Salakamreuk Commune – $20
Angkor Island Home – Wat Bo street – $16
ATM’s and Cash in Siem Reap
The US dollar is the main currency and it’s what you’ll be given at ATM’s. ATMs are everywhere, the most popular being those from the ABA bank. Much like any other ATM, slide your card in, select language, enter your pin and choose your account and amount you’d like to withdraw. You are asked if you want a receipt, always say yes! Your card will come out first then take your cash. Note that there is a fee for withdrawals, which varies with the amount you withdraw, as an example for $100 it’s a hefty $4.
Cash comes out in USD, and if you take out $300, you’ll get 3×100 dollar bills which are next to useless as no shop can handle giving change for that amount. You can try withdrawing $290 let’s say, which will give you some smaller notes. Use the 100 dollar bills for large purchases or exchange them at the money changer (and pay another fee!) or go to the bank and they will change it for you. The most useful notes are 1, 5, 10 and 20. Always check your change, for if you get a torn note or damaged note, no one will take it off you.
You can search Google Maps for ABA ATM locations, they are dark green in color similar to phone boxes and located everywhere. If I was making 4 bucks a withdrawal, I would put them everywhere too. The main branch office is located on Tep Vong St.
Small change is often returned in local currency, the Riel, and just keep in mind 1000 Riel is 25 cents, 2000 Riel is 50 cents and 4000 Riel = 1USD, more here.
Perhaps the best way to find somewhere is to just come here, walk around and you’ll see signs displaying rooms for rent. Many hostels often advertise rooms for monthly rental. You will pay a deposit and then one month rent in advance. On top of that, you’ll need to pay electricity each month.
You may pay 190 per month for something clean, reasonable standard with security, then 100 deposit and your electricity will depend on how much you use the air-con which may be between 40-80 p/m. Concept Residence is one such example which does monthly rentals for basic studio apartments (no fridge, shared kitchen).
For something more comfortable which includes washing machine, kitchen, weekly servicing, maybe a pool or gym then you’d be paying 280-300 p/m plus electricity but you will likely need to sign-up for a 3-6 or 12-month contract.
I would suggest scoping things out a bit first, find an area that suits you, then find a place, then scope it out over a couple of days. Why do I say that? Some places are a bit crazy, not in a bad way but you may find that are located next to a bar that opens at night and they like their music loud around these parts, or you might find a lovely place with a dreamy pool only to find that they open it to everyone for small entry fee, and a group of 20 lovely little Khmer kiddies can make a jet engine seem like background music in a temple…
Read more about renting in Siem Reap.
Cost of Living in Siem Reap
When you first land and have not yet got your bearings you’ll probably be eating and shopping in the pub street area, so expect to pay $3-$6 a meal and a bit more than you should for daily needs from the mini-marts.
Once you get your bearings you’ll find several places where meals can be bought for between $1 and $2.50 and you’ll be doing you daily needs shopping at the larger supermarkets such as Chao San Hok or Angkor Market.
Add to that your rent costs, monthly visa costs, add a little for a few beers, or what have you, and you should be able to live comfortably for between 700-1000 per month.
See more about the cost of living in Cambodia.
Siem Reap Tourist Map
Siem Reap Expat Groups and Forums
TripAdvisor Travel Forum – https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/ShowForum-g297390-i9163-Siem_Reap_Siem_Reap_Province.html
Expats in Siem Reap – https://www.facebook.com/groups/siemreap
Siem Reap Locals and Expats – https://www.facebook.com/groups/267683863384653/
Siem Reap Community – https://www.facebook.com/groups/siemreapforum/
Map of Temples, Attractions, Cafes, Restaurants and more
Here is a map of most everything we have listed on this page including Temples, Attractions, Cafes, Restaurants, spa retreats, massage, plus some extras.
This is a small excerpt from the book: Essential Siem Reap which is available from Amazon in e-book and print. The book is not expensive, and I am sure you will find it enormously useful to carry with you and get the best of your time in Siem Reap. It provides deeper insight to the temples, more off the beaten path temples, loads of activities and things to do in Siem Reap, plus guides to local foods, where to eat, and how to stay safe.
More posts on Siem Reap:
Photos from around Siem Reap