Siem Reap makes me think of America's "boom towns" during the Wild West era, with everyone from hardworking hustlers and tuk-tuks to slow-moving gawkers and overloaded trucks filling the roads- and it even comes complete with swirling dust everywhere.
As expected, it's changed significantly since my last visit 5 years ago, and thankfully I've now managed to shoot more than enough photos of the extraordinary temples such that I no longer need to return. There's no denying the ruins are an absolute must-see for any serious traveler, but I can't imagine what one has to do to carve out any kind of time wandering through them (much less trying to photograph them) without being completely surrounded by milling hordes. Only a very few temples are accessible before 7:30 AM now, so even a pre-dawn "assault" will hardly secure any "alone time" amidst the ruins. A dozen of us were waiting to get into Pra Thom an hour before it even opened, and by 8:30 the busloads were streaming through the site. Of significant note: both the food and hotels in Siem Reap are excellent quality, especially for the price. Competition for the tourist dollar is fierce, so high quality choices abound and you're sure to find fantastic room and board if you make time to scour the reviews in advance.
I found Siem Reap to be hot and dusty, very different to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The number one thing to see is of course Angkor Wat complex and it is so vast that some people buy a 3 days pass to see all of it.
If you want to do it in a day, like what we did, get an early start and end it with viewing the sunset at a temple on a hill (you can hire an elephant and rider to take you up for USD20 for 2 pax). The second thing to see is Tonle Sap lake and it's floating village and people. Here too you can watch the sunset. Sunsets and sunrises are apparently a big thing here. The third thing you may want to do is visit the museum for victims of land mines. The thing that I enjoyed most was going to a Cambodian army gun range and shooting a real 5.56mm M4, M16 and M60 machine gun! Where else in the world would they ever let you do that (middle east doesn't count)?
If not for Angkor Wat, I will recommend staying shorter in this city. You need at least 2 full days to visit Angkor Wat so 3 nights stay is minimum in this city if you are visiting Angkor Wat.
If not, don't even visit this city.
I'm living in Cambodia and thought it was about time I visited the Ankor wat complex. I'd heard Siem Reap is going ahead in leaps and bounds and was surprised to relise how big the city was.
It has an international airport busier than Phnom penh's. If you are looking for nightlife in Cambodia that is not dominated by bar girls etc... Try barsteet. It's alive day and night and is family friendly. As usual a short walk up and down the street reading menues can save you money. I quite liked the look of Siem Reap and I shall return.
Bring along mosquito repellent as Siem Reap is still facing high risks of malaria and dengue fever. Remember to wear long-sleeved clothes if you intend to visit Angkor Wat from Siem Reap.
Angkor is the ancient city located outside Siem Reap.
this is obviously the supporting town for seeing angkor. angkor is the only reason to be here. if you are a diy traveler, tuk-tuk experiences can greatly influence your visit.
mr. sopheap (so-pip), tuk-tuk driver extraordinaire, literally made our visit. he guided us, gently, in so many ways. we saw things only he could have shared. you can find him under the trees, alongside the river near the riverside hotel. not sure if i'm allowed to put a number, but here it goes - 855 12 30 72 83. tell him sharron and bob sent you.
It would be very nice if the city can take care the dusty problem and the basket for the old thing. I cannot find so much then ppl through many thing on the street.
That s not so nice for the ppl also city..
Beautiful temples all around the city, most within an hour's drive ... I do see tourists cycling but I think it is a bit dangerous on the roads outside angkor wat.
Lots of fun !!
Siem Reap was incredible. The Colonial style buildings are beautiful and the French influence on the road system helps deal with the amount of traffic there.
The one downside, and to me it is a big one, is the lack of sidewalks. The sidewalks are taken up with parked cars, motor bikes and food stalls leaving the only place to walk on the busy street. Siem Reap is not suited for someone that wants to walk around see the shops and get a feel for the local culture (at least not in the city center). Getting around is better done by Tuk Tuk taxis (just be sure to negotiate the price first). Personally I like walking around a city and seeing the local shops that are not at the center of the tourist areas. While a tuk tuk taxi is a fun experience it is not a great way for travelers with children to get around. The Night Market, Pub Street and Art Market are all very easy to walk around with lots to see and buy. The Art Market is along the river and is quite beautiful. Pub Street offers many dining options, live music and is a great place relax after after a long day of sight seeing. The locals around Siem Reap are very friendly and helpful. The battery in my camera died and I had to buy a new one. I had to go to several places before I found the battery I needed. I had to stop and ask for directions several times. Even with the varying degrees of English ability everyone I spoke to genuinely tried to help me. A tuk tuk taxi driver ended up helping me the most and was very reasonable in his price ($3) for several stops and about 30 minutes of his time. Overall I was impressed with Siem Reap and would definitely recommend it as a travel destination.
Siem Reap is a unique and a wonderful holiday place for people of all walks life. It has potential to be one of the best attraction in the region.
However, there must be earnest efforts to maintain the cleanliness of the town through education, manpower and revival of the river.
Siem Reap is perfect place for history lover. The Angkor Complex was huge. Take your time to appreciate the nature & architecture of the temples.
Also, don't forget to visit War Museum, Killing Field or Landmine Museum to understand the history of Cambodia.
Siem Reap is very hot season in Oct - Apr, to be advise people who visit siem reap to be bring and wear mask always, apply lotion in dry weather.
Siem Reap is dry season on Oct - April, so to be advise bring mask , lotion, mosquito spray. Combodian is friendly and some well speak english.
The whole temple experience is a once in a lifetime must here. Just great that you can actually still walk around something that is that old.
Bike riding as also a must do and once you get out of the city the countryside is so incredibly interesting and beautiful.
Siem Reap is a bustling town. Travel around by tuk tuk. Very cheap. $1-2 per trip. $15 buys all day. Lots of massage shops and places to eat.
Feels a very safe place but as usual in any town / city take care. People are very friendly and you will be constantly asked if you want a tuk tuk but we didn't feel pestered. Visit the War Museum $8 round trip and $5 fee and well worth it. Also worth a visit is the landmine museum (further away but can be done when visiting temples). Airport is 15-20 mins in a car or tuk tuk. The city is a real mix of modern and third world but is a great place especially with a camera in your hand.
Most visitors stopped in this city to go to Angkor Wat. Other than being near Angkor Wat, the city really did not have much to offer.
There were a lot of spas all over the city but the few I tried really could not make it. One of the spas even asked me to wait for around 15 minutes before their masseur arrived.
People go to Siem Reap, mainly to visit Angkor Wat, but there's more to the city than the temples (though you should visit them!!).
However, due to the fact that tourists are required to pay in US$, I find everything a little bit too expensive, for this part of the world.
Some of the friendliest people on the planet live here. Try not to bargain too much cause these people could really use the money.
Many of the souveniors are handmade by themselves so do support by purchasing one or two things. Having heard that it was a city famous for pick pocketing, we were extra cautious with our belongings when we traveled.
Friendly people with warmly smile. A small city but full with typified old-style cultural. Buddhist should visit the Angkor Wat.
The city is very dusty I would recommend the local government to look seriously to solve the dusty condition of the entire city.
The city street's appearance is very important to the customers.
It is true that Anchor Wat is one of the best wonder in the world and considered to be a UNESCO Heritage with its sunset view.
Siem Reap has so many temples with good architectural designs.
For sure , Angkor Wat is a must place to go, which is unesco. also good to get a massage ,spas and yoga time in siem reap.
also take a whole day relax in hotel.
it's quietly place to relax and the place that you can learn about cambodia, history, culture, religious and people too.
Visiting all the old ruined temples & understanding the culture has been a good experience to one visiting this country.
Mini golf at Temple Golf, complete with scale miniatures of Angkor Wat and other famous crumbling temples was kooky fun.
The food was fabulous and inexpensive. Sunrise at Angkor Wat was sublime. Riding around the backstreets on electronic bikes was just plain fun.
Siem Reap was a great place to stay. I found the night life around Siem Reap really suitable for families and singles.
It wasnt seedy like other parts of Asia and we felt really safe. There is a great selection of restaurants and it has a really great atmosphere. Siem Reap is a really cheap place to stay and eat and we would definitely consider staying there again.
Cross between a 3rd world country and Wakiki in Hawaii. A good place to make a short journey to Angkor Wat and Thom.
Also Landmind museum is worth the trip. Good spas and food.
The place of Ancient City everyone should learn their history & how much their empire in the past is wonderful.
What surprised me about Siem Reap was the differences I encountered between the different temples I visited.
The history of this civilisation is interesting. Although we only used the services of a guide on one of our 5 day stay, I would highly recommend using one at least once because he was able to point out different features in the temples and gave us some general information about Cambodia which helped me formulate an informed impression of the country. In addition to history in Siem Reap there is a nightly circus, cultural performance and there is a lively atmosphere with choices of restaurants, bands and night clubs. It also offers trips to a floating village, silkworm farm and a place where they weave lotus. Overall I would highly recommend visiting Siem Reap both for it's smallness, culture, history, food and lovely friendly people
MY FIRST TIME IN SIEM REAP, AND ITS REALLY NICE, THE HISTORICAL PLACES, TEMPLES AND OTHER ACTIVITIES.
THE PEOPLE ARE VERY NICE AND ACCOMMODATING. THE FOOD IS GOOD, THE MERCHANDISE ARE CHEAP AND AFFORDABLE.ITS NICE TO GO BIKING AROUND SIEM REAP. AT THE PARK.