The gateway to the awe-inspiring Angkor ruins, Siem Reap will bring you back in time to witness the immense wealth and power of the once-magnificent Khmer Empire.
Serving as the passage to the number one attraction in the entire country – the temples of Angkor, Siem Reap is a magnet for tourists coming from near and far alike. While still maintaining its laid-back nature, the city has boomed into a hub of hip cafés, fascinating cultures, world class cuisines, ancient history, and buzzing nightlife that caters to any budget.
Apart from exploring the impressive ruins of Angkor, meet the local culture through the many captivating performances and cooking classes offered in Siem Reap. Go on a delectable food journey that will be a feast for your taste buds or spend a relaxing day at Lake Tonle Sap amidst floating villages and farms. From backpackers to luxury travelers, from solo adventurers to holidaying families, Siem Reap will always have something to offer.
The easiest way to get to Siem Reap is by flying into the Siem Reap International Airport, which is served by most major Asian airlines. The city is well-connected by buses from important local cities like Phnom Penh, Battambang, and Sihanoukville and also from international cities like Bangkok, Pakse, and Ho Chi Minh. Fancy a more immersive journey? Hop on a boat from Phnom Penh or Battambang and sail your way on the mighty Mekong River all the way to Siem Reap.
Because the local currency, “riel” or KHR, is only used for small purchases and tipping, you should always carry some cash in US dollars with you. Credit cards are only accepted at high-end establishments, but ATMs that take foreign credit cards and give out US dollars are very easy to find.
Located in the tropics, Siem Reap is warm all year round, with the amount of rainfall differing between the wet and dry seasons. November to April marks the dry season, which is also considered the tourist peak season that reflects on the more expensive prices for accommodation and transportation. If you do not mind the crowd, the best time to visit is from December to February, which being the “winter” months, are generally in cooler and more pleasant temperatures. During the wet season from May to October, afternoon downpours are common and occasional floods can occur.
Reliable and cheap, tuk-tuks are the most common way to get around the city and to the temple grounds. Cycling enthusiasts could also spend their entire time in Siem Reap on rented bicycles. If you would rather not be exposed to the heat and humidity, hotels can easily arrange for car rentals.
Dominated by a variety of restaurants and cafés, the culinary options in Siem Reap is good and plentiful. Though lacking in local eats, you can easily get your hands on any type of food from around the world. If you want authentic Khmer cuisines, you would have to leave Pub Street and join the locals at the food stalls that pop up at night.
Siem Reap is a city of diverse cultures, marrying its ancient past and booming present harmoniously. With an easy-going ambiance and modern amenities, you will find your gateway to the temples of Angkor a pleasant place indeed.