Siem Reap

Siem Reap

1. Why we should visit Siem Reap?

Siem Reap is located about ten kilometers from the north of the western end of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest lake in Southeast Asia, and about six kilometers south of Angkor Wat.

This city is home of the great symbolic Angkor Wat and the unimaginable temples of the Angkor complex. Siem Reap, with a lively cultural scene, beautiful unspoiled landscapes and interesting stories, has developed from a quiet provincial town to a fantastic travel destination and is no longer just a stopover on a trip to Asia.

2. Best time to travel to Siem Reap

High season: The best time to travel to Siem Reap is from mid-November to March with the best weather conditions and the temperatures are not too high. December and January are the coolest months with a temperature of around 26 – 28 degrees Celsius. In March it is around 34 degrees Celsius. The humidity at this time is also low, usually less than 50%.

Low season: From April it gets really hot and can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. The rainy season takes place from May to October and there can be strong winds with a lot of rain.

In the rainy season, however, the vegetation is lush and the rainforest is in full bloom. In addition, there are fewer tourists at the temple complex in the off-season and you can enjoy more tranquil sightseeing.

To summerize:

  • Cool dry season: late November to early February
  • Hot dry season: early February to early April
  • Rainy season: May to October
  • Best travel time: December to March

3. Tourist attractions in Siem Reap

Siem Reap has more to offer besides temples - and we have the following evidence for that.

Visit to Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world and probably the main reason why you travel to Cambodia.

Exploration of the other temples

Such as Banteay Srey, where you can listen to the sounds of singing monks; Bayon (with the famous faces of smiling Buddhas); Ta Prohm (a place in the Angelina Jolies films Tomb Raider); You should also watch the sunset over the magical complex of the Phnom Bakeng Temple at least once.

Visit a floating village on Tonle Sap Lake

Enjoy a boat trip on the river to enjoy a good view of the endless water and to see the life of the locals. Three most important fishing places are Chong Khneas, Kampong Phluk and Kampong Khleang.

Tuk Tuk

It is a nice experience to explore Siem Reap with the Tuk Tuk. It offers you the opportunity not to watch everything through the glass window of the car but with your own eyes and to enjoy the fresh air in the city.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Take a hot air balloon ride, especially at sunset, to enjoy Siem Reap from a bird’s eye view and admire its scenic landscape in a relaxed atmosphere.

Cooking class

Take part in a cooking class to get to know the technique and the use of the ingredients as well as to learn to cook a few Khmer specialties. In the end you will enjoy your masterpiece.

Aspara dance performance

A show will be more than enthusiastic with elaborate costumes, dancers and light show.

Night market

Stroll along the various stalls of the oldnight market, which is open every day from 2 p.m. to midnight. Here you can find clothes, silk, paintings, spices or jewelry in traditional Khmer style and made of natural materials such as bamboo.


This is where the rats are trained to track down land mines without detonating them. The guided tour of Apopo gives you the opportunity to see these special rats in action. Siem Reap has more to offer besides temples – and we have the following evidence for that.

4. Itinerary to visit Siem Reap in 4 days

The first day: discover Angkor complex 

After arriving in Siem Reap, the tour begins with the exploration of the majestic Angkor complex, which is about seven kilometers from the city center. Angkor was the capital of the Khmer empire that dominated all of Southeast Asia for hundreds of years from the 9th to the 15th century. Tourists will need to buy a ticket to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site, which costs around $40 for a day.

If you wake up early (around 5 am), you can visit Angkor Wat to take mesmerizing pictures at dawn. At this time of the day, sunlight shines through the fog and the unique architecture of this millennial temple is reflected in the water. If you are not able to get up early, you can visit the complex in the afternoon, after exploring other sites first.

After Angkor Wat, you must visit Angkor Thom. This complex is extremely vast, but the architecture of the temples is similar to one another. Therefore, if you just want to see the main buildings, we suggest you enter through the Victory Gate, cross the Elephant Corridor to visit the Ba Phuon and Bayon temples. Both of the temples is the most massive and also the most richly decorated. Ba Phuon is remembered with an ancient palace with carved pillars and stairs while the Bayon is famous for its four-sided Buddha statues.

After visiting some of the famous sites, you can take the time to go over to the Ta Prohm temple. This temple is particularly attractive for international travelers as it is possible to admire the buildings with bricks pierced by tree roots. This place became very well-known after appearing in the movie “Tomb Raider”.

The second day: floating village and Khmer cooking course 

Once the temple tour is finished, it’s time to discover more aspects of Cambodia. Start the day with a morning trip to Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, to see locals’ life on the water. These inhabitants must adapt their dwellings according to changes in the water level, creating fantastic floating villages or houses on stilts.

You will have the opportunity to visit numerous villages: Chong Khneas – the easiest to access, the most visited – Kampong Phluk, which we recommend, Kampong Khleang – the largest and most beautiful but also the furthest, Me Chrey – one of the smallest in the region and has very little touch of tourism.

Advice from specialists

If you book a tour, the Tonle Sap tour starts at 7:00 and ends around 11:00. From noon, you can enjoy Khmer specialties with a cooking class. You will be taken to a local house where the owner’s family will teach you how to cook some Cambodian dishes. In the evening, you can spend time visiting Angkor’s night market and admiring Cambodian crafts.

The third day: Scooter or bike ride 

In your third day in Siem Reap, enjoy the remaining tourist attractions of the city through the typical local means of transport: scooters and bicycles. The villages in the outskirt of Siem Reap have a lot to explore. Just follow small paths forgotten by tourists and visit some hidden temples.

First, you can go to Phnom Kulen, a beautiful mountain northeast of Angkor Wat. It was in this mountain that the era of the magnificent Angkor dynasty began. You will find a large Buddha statue lying down just before reaching the waterfall to swim and relax.

For the rest of the day, you can cycle to other tourist destinations in Siem Reap and the hidden temples, as well as enjoy the panorama and beauty of Mount Kulen. Finally, after a full-day exploration, you can enjoy a full dinner with Khmer appetizers, main dishes, and desserts.

Advice from specialists

By taking a tour, you can visit the unmissable places of Siem Reap without worrying about getting lost and learning more about history. You are able to choose the itinerary, including lunches to have a more advanced look on Cambodian gastronomy.

Tips for those who want to make a motorcycle tour at Siem Reap

  • There are many types of bikes you can rent in Siem Reap: Motorcycles, bicycle, electric bikes, quads, etc. High-powered motorcycles are more flexible and their quality is better, in my opinion.
  • You can rent bikes in the center of Siem Reap, there are many shops near the old market. The services are enough assets. You must require a motorcycle repair kit and learn some basic skills.
  • You must have an international driving license or license issued in Cambodia.
  • The price is good: $9/day. You can discuss the price if you rent a lot of bikes.

The last day: other temples & shopping for souvenir

Siem Reap is renowned thanks to Angkor Wat, but it is also home to dozens of other mysterious and glorious temples. You can spend the last day of your trip to find other temples away from the crowd. Beng Melea, for example, was once completely submerged by the forest. Additionally, Banteay Srei with reliefs and sophisticated sculptures that make its beauty. This temple is also very special because it is also known as the “Fortress of women”, a place dedicated to the honor of women.

Towards the end of the afternoon, you will arrive at Phsar Chas, also known as the old market, where many locals go shopping. This is also the place where most chefs buy ingredients for their dishes. Let yourself be tempted by light dishes such as kuy teav (pork soup) or chow chow (grilled pork with rice). It will be a good time to buy souvenirs and colorful jewelry at unbeatable prices.

Go and discover Pub Street when night falls. It is a very popular place in Siem Reap for tourists and also an ideal destination for dinner. Should you also try Angkor What bars? Visit Temple Club to enjoy the vibrant nightlife.

5. Transport in Siem Reap

By plane

Getting to Siem Reap by plane is easy with international airlines. Nevertheless, direct flights from western Europe are rare. You have to transit in another airport in South East of Asia such as Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Singapore with the popular airlines such as Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Airasia.

Transportation in the city 

Various traditional modes of transportation are used in the city of Siem Reap. You can use cars, tuk tuks, motorbikes and bicycles or just walk in the city center. Especially on the streets in Siem Reap, taxi is called “Tuk Tuk”. You can find tuk tuk on every corner, in every street and in front of every hotel, just everywhere.

6. Where to stay in Siem Reap?

List of 3 Star-Hotels

  • Central Boutique Angkor Hotel
  • La Dear Angkor Boutique Hotel
  • La Niche d’Angkor Boutique Hotel

List of 4 Star-Hotels

  • Lotus Blanc Resort
  • Tara Angkor Hotel
  • Viroth’s Hotel

List of 5 Star-Hotels

  • Angkor Village Resort
  • Sokha Angkor Resort
  • Victoria Angkor Resort

7. Useful advices

  • Appropriate clothing: short and off shoulder shirts are prohibited. Headgear and sunglasses should also be removed.
  • Loud speaking, loud shouting should be avoided.
  • Smoking is prohibited in the entire Angkor complex, including outside the temples.
  • Respect monks: ask the monks in advance if you want to take pictures. Don’t touch monks, avoid handshakes if not offered by the monk himself.

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