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Siem Reap

3.9 /5 23 votes

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Best Time: November - March Read More

Ideal duration: 2-3 days

Nearest Airport: Siem Reap Check Flights

"The gateway to ancient mysteries"

Siem Reap Tourism

Siem Reap in Cambodia is a paragon of ancient glory and timeless grandeur; proudly being the gateway to one of the most astonishing architectures in world history- Angkor Wat. Although the main reason to stay in Siem Reap is to get yourself ready to explore several ancient temples, the city itself comes with a surprise package of historical and modern blends.

With a population of about 8500 people, Siem Reap is mostly seen as a launching point for visiting the Angkor Archaeological Park and other temple ruins by tourists. One of their own kind, megastructures like these can't be found anywhere else. The mysterious architectural techniques used to construct the temples still amaze the explorers. The town of Khmers has faced a tough time in the recent past, but despite that the locals are very warm, welcoming and friendly. Other than admiring the historical sites such as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, etc.; you can take a stroll around the city, make your way to the Pub Street, explore the local markets, or engage in adventurous activities for an instant adrenaline rush. Indulge into the fine dining experiences with cuisines from all over the world, buy some inexpensive souvenirs for your loved ones, talk to the locals, and take a lot of pictures - there's a lot to do in the city of historic heritage swiftly emerging as a bustling tourist spot.

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Language of Siem Reap

Khmer is popularly spoken language in Siem Reap, but due to emerging massive tourism, locals have managed to learn decent level of English to interact with the tourists. When you see a need to refuse a shopkeeper or tuk-tuk driver, say "At-tay"(no thanks) politely to avoid any hassle.

History of Siem Reap

If folklores are to be believed, Siem Reap got its name from King Ang Chan, who took over Siam (Siem in Khmer) victoriously; the battle being fought in Siem Reap. The literal meaning of Siem Reap is said to be 'Defeat over Siam'. Cambodia has had terrible tug of wars in the past several times, result of which is a poverty - struck nation now striving for a better future. Siem Reap started to develop when French acquired Angkor in 1907, but the civil war in 1975 sent the prestigious glory of Angkor behind the curtain. If that was not enough, the Khmer Rouge Regime worsened the conditions. However, after the death of Pol Pot (leader of Khmer Rouge) in 1998, Siem Reap has been revived and now is emerging as a buzzing tourist spot.

Nightlife in Siem Reap

Pub Street and Pub Street Alley are a must to head to if you're looking for an amazing nightlife in Siem Reap. Some of them are built in a very unique way, which instantly compels people to get inside. Some of the exciting bars and pubs in and around Pub Street are - Angkor What? (being a favourite among backpackers), Asana Bar (setup in a traditional wooden Khmer house), Miss Wong Cocktail Bar (Inspired from Shanghai) and Mezze Lounge and Night club (they also offer a salsa instructor to give basic training lessons on Sunday).

Shopping in Siem Reap

The Old Market or Psar Chaa is among the most popular markets in Siem Reap, where you can find almost everything- from Khmer scarves and other clothing to jewelleries and touristy-souvenirs. Angkor Night Market is another great place to spend 2 - 3 hours at night exploring and buying inexpensive stuff. Also look for Artisans d'Angkor to buy some beautiful handicrafts and get a sneak peek of an adjoining workshop crafting masterpieces. Just remember, there's always a scope getting the prices reduced for anything- so don't hesitate in showing your bargaining skills everywhere you go.

Currency in Siem Reap

Although Riel is the official currency in Cambodia, US Dollars are majorly accepted everywhere in Siem Reap. Some local currency should be carried to pay for amounts less that USD 1. Credit cards are accepted at several places with some additional charge.

Exchanging Money in Siem Reap

There are plenty of banks and ATMs available in the city allowing cash withdrawals through Debit and Credit cards. Currency exchange is possible at almost every bank, but you might get better exchange rates at local shops for money-changing.

Daily Budget for Siem Reap

For meals, transportation and a beer or two, a budget traveller can manage with USD 25 - 30. Some shopping and expensive dining can add up this charge to be USD 60, while a luxurious day spent in Siem Reap might cost you USD 100 (or more).

Religion of Siem Reap

Theravada Buddhism is followed by 95 % people in Cambodia

Siem Reap Customs

Dress modestly during the daytime to avoid the scorching heat and chances of any remarks by locals; though it's quite okay to wear revealing clothes while going to the Pub street in night hours. Strictly decent dressing-up is mandatory when you visit any temple. Cover your knees and shoulders, especially if you want to get to the top of Angkor Wat. People usually greet here in the traditional Cambodian way (Som Pas) - bowing with your joined hands closer to the chin. Showing affection to your partner in public won't please the sexually conservative locals. It can be a nice gesture to tip for a good service or meal, though tipping is not common in Siem Reap.

Restaurants and Local Food in Siem Reap

Although the Cambodian cuisine is not as fascinating as the other ones bordering the country, Khmer food is definitely a must-try. The traditional Khmer dishes Amok (a steam-cooked fish curry) and Lok lak (stir-fried beef) are the most popular ones (Try them at 'Khmer Kitchen'). The unbelievable prices for delicious food in the city are definitely going to amaze you. There are a number of restaurants offering international cuisines, so if Khmer taste doesn't please your buds, you've got a lot of other options!
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How To Reach Siem Reap

You can land directly at Siem Reap International Airport from certain International airports, and also some major nearby-towns. You can also ride a cross-border bus to enter Cambodia from Laos, Thailand or Vietnam; then heading towards Siem Reap bus station. There are no rail services currently available for Siem Reap.

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