Cambodia

Special thanks to  Laura Gregory for recommendations.

Even as recently as 10 years ago, Siem Reap was just a place that travelers stopped by in between treks around Cambodia. Now, it’s a vibrant, busy city full of great dining, exciting nightlife, and beautiful hotels; it’s become a destination itself. Stay in Siem Reap and have easy access to Angkor Wat, a complex of 12th century Buddhist temples that have become one of the world’s wonders (they attract over 2.5 million visitors every year!). Even if temple-hopping isn’t your cup of tea, Siem Reap itself still has so much to see and do.

SIEM REAP

Things to Do

Angkor Wat: You can’t miss these extravagantly-designed Buddhist temples that will make you feel like an extra in an Indiana Jones movie (fun fact: The Temple of Doom was filmed at Ta Prohm). Ask your hotel to arrange a tuk tuk driver to take you for a day; or find a tuk tuk driver yourself. You’ll stop along the way to buy a ticket (day passes run at ~37 USD). Refreshments alongside the temple roads provide cool relief from hot, muggy days. The temple complex is huge; your driver will wait for you to explore each temple and drive you to your next destination when you're finished. Make sure to hit Bayon Temple, Banteay Srei, and Ta Prohm. (We checked out lots of the temples, but temple fatigue is a real thing, so if you just want the highlights, don’t miss those three!) Many people go before the sunrise to see the light sweeping into view; we slept in and went mid-morning and it was still breath-taking!

 

Food Tours: Take the Siem Reap Food Tour, guided by ex-pats chef Steven Halcrow and American writer Lina Goldberg. We took the morning tour, and were whisked around markets, street stands, and even to a nearby village to see (and eat) fresh hand-made rice noodles.

 

Pub Street: The Cambodian equivalent to Bangkok’s Khao San Road, go here for the most famous bars and pubs in Siem Reap. Drinks specials abound and many clubs stay open til 4:00 AM.

Places to Eat

Breakfast:

 

Sister Srey Café: Owned by an Australian ex-pat, this café has delicious Western breakfast and lunch offerings, as well as great coffee. Order the avocado toast and an iced coffee, and sit in their open-air patio and people-watch.

Lunch/ Dinner:

Bug Café: Speaking of beehives, this restaurant is well-known for its… protein-filled offerings. The staff will give great recommendations for both first-time creepy crawler eaters and seasoned professionals.  

Café Indochine: Great traditional Cambodian and Khmer cuisine; lots of vegan and vegetarian options.

Cuisine Wat Damnak: A great blending of French and Cambodian flavors, this well-regarded restaurant has been recommended by the New York Times (and us!).

Pou Restaurant & Bar: A renowned restaurant; the flavorful curry dishes were amazing. Try the beef Lok Lak, the couple’s dumplings, and the grilled beehive salad (it adds a nice crunch!).

Places to Drink

Pub Street: Bars and nightclubs cover every inch of Pub Street, and the party doesn’t ever stop. Many restaurants have beer and drink specials daily!

 

Siem Reap Brewpub: If you’re looking for something a bit quieter than bustling Pub Street, try this local brewery: they have beer samplers and a kitchen that offers local cuisine and snacks.

Boutique Hotels: These small, intimate hotels are on every corner; stay here for a welcoming, intimate vibe. We stayed at Grand Elysee Siem Reap; their staff was wonderful and friendly, and the room was gorgeous.

Hostels: Hostels are also incredibly common in Siem Reap, and are a great way to meet new travelers. Mad Monkey Siem Reap is probably the most popular hostel; it’s conveniently located on Pub Street.

Luxury HotelsPark Hyatt Siem Reap is a luxe hotel with a spa, pool, and Cambodian restaurant on-site. If you’re wanting to splurge (by SEA standards, which is still incredibly affordable), this is the place for you to stay.

Place to Stay

General Tips

Get a tuk tuk: they are at every corner, or your hotel can call one for you. Be prepared to haggle; they are easy to bargain with!

General Tips

Siem Reap is a small city and it’s very walkable. Stroll along the Siem Reap river in the middle of town and check out the many food and drink trucks. Almost every place will accept Cambodian currency (the riel) or American dollars.

You can (and should) haggle at the markets! Don't be rude, but be assertive. It doesn't hurt to say you're going to check other stalls and might come back (it might even convince a vendor to lower his price!).

You need a visa to enter! Visas upon arrival are an option, but for the easiest airport experience, get a visa ahead of time.

There are SO MANY dogs running around in Siem Reap. Try not to pet them, for obvious health & safety reasons. It’s hard. Really hard.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

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