Siem Reap
A Lovely Small Town


Most of us never hear of Siem Reap until we plan to visit Angkor Wat. 

After that, we want to know more about this town that practically houses the grand temples.

Siem Reap is a tourist town. And for now, it's still a lovely tourist town.

It is also well equipped to handle visitors' demands. If you need to get anything, like basic items or necessities, you will be able to find it here. 

Just don't be too particular about models, brands, or prices. It's a small town so people live simply.

Downtown Siem Reap: totally walkable.
Downtown Siem Reap: Totally Walkable. © Mike.

Since the town is so close to Angkor Wat (8 km away), it is the natural base town for travelers to shop, relax, and explore. You will see tourists everywhere during the high season.

Although Angkor Wat is the major draw for tourists, Siem Reap* itself offers plenty of attractions and activities.

This is a good thing, because although Angkor Wat is magnificent, you will get 'templed' out sooner or later. This is always the case for travelers who cram many temple visits into a short period time. But you can't really fault them. The Angkor Wat temple entrance fee is not exactly cheap, and the tickets must be used on consecutive days.  

Attractions & Activities

There are plenty of attractions and activities in SiemReap, and you can also go to other areas on day trips or mini Cambodia tours. For example, I loved Kampung Phluk and the Tonle Sap lake the most. Next is the Silk Farm and the Land Mine Museum. Shopping at the local markets is also fun. So is having a relaxing dinner at Pub Street.

Dinner at Pub Street in downtown Siem Reap
Dinner at Pub Street in downtown Siem Reap.© C. Hong.

You might also want to visit the rural villages to get a glimpse of villagers' daily lives. Most Cambodians love visitors and are very hospitable.

Accommodations

The growth of tourism is also clear from the increasing number of hostels, guest houses, and hotels in SiemReap. You will see signs for accommodations at every corner. They range from the budget hostels and guest houses at $3 per night, to luxury hotels at $500 and up per night.

You really won't be lacking choices in regards to accommodations. In fact, there are so many choices that it could be difficult deciding what accommodation to pick.



Transportation

It is surprisingly very easy to get around SiemReap. Choices abound, and you can choose from bicycles, motos, tuktuks, taxis, or vans. It is also possible to explore the town on foot, seeing that it's pretty small and flat. Click here to read more about these transportation choices.

Internet  Access

There are internet cafes in SiemReap at every corner. With prices ranging from $0.50 - $1.50 per hour, connections are not at lightning speed. However, some of the better cafes have decent connections.

Some restaurants also offer free internet and Wi-Fi with meals. Some hotels also offer the same.

However, if you are bringing your laptop to Siem Reap there is a prepaid Wi-Fi service that you can purchase. It comes in $5 (5 hours of service) and $10 (15 hours or service) denominations and up. The price comes out to about the same as going to an internet cafe, but with Wi-Fi you get a much better speed.


ATMs/Money

If you are ever short of cash, there are ATM machines around. Most mini markets around town have them. The machines will even spit out US dollars instead of Riel, the official Cambodian currency. Doesn't that tell you something about Siem Reap tourism?

Also, dollar bills rule in Siem Reap. Small shopkeepers won't have enough change for your $20 or $100 bills. So if you can bring $100 dollars all in ones, you will have a much more convenient time.

These dollar bills will be useful for tuktuk rides, a bit of shopping, tipping, and also buying a bottle of water after a long day at the temples.

If you have larger bills, exchange them at your guest house or hotel. If they don't have enough change (which is usually the case), go to the nearest gas station and they will usually help you there at the shop. Sometimes you have to buy something first, but at other times you don't have to. 

Why You Should Visit Soon

Something to note about this town: it might not stay 'lovely' for long.

As Cambodia becomes a more and more popular travel destination, you can expect its 'loveliness' to decrease. Which is tragic, because the town is really nice.

It's safe, it's small, it's cute, it's walkable, it has so many interesting things, it's easy to get around, and the people are nice.

Siem Reap traffic, very quaint.
Siem Reap " traffic," very quaint. I love it. © Bryan.

My suggestion? Go there as soon as you can. There was an article talking about how Angkor might be closed to visitors for a major renovation. And yet another article about how tourist visits are now higher than ever. So the sooner you visit, the better your Angkor experience will be.

Siem Reap river
Siem Reap river flowing through the
heart of the city. © Vanina W.

*Siem Reap is sometimes spelled Siemreap, Siem Reab, or Siemreab.

Siem Reap Tourist Attractions
As the base town of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap enjoys a rapidly growing tourism industry. See for yourself the many activities you can do and the places you can see while staying in this Angkor Wat town.

Cambodian Foot Massage
Tired after a long day of visiting temples? Need some TLC for those sore feet? Why not try the foot massage available at many places? Some people swear by it. 

Mini Markets in Town
Need to go shopping for bare necessities? There are several mini markets in town where you can get what you need. 

Return from Siem Reap Town to Holiday In Angkor Wat (homepage)



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