May 12, 2021

Siem Reap Travel Guide | Everything You Need to Know

If you think of Cambodia, what is it that comes to your mind first? Some would say Tomb Raider, others would think of  Angkor Wat, while some think of exotic food or the bad past that took place 45 years ago in the hands of the Khmer Rouge. 

Five years ago, We took a 3 hour flight from Manila, Philippines to the capital city of Siem Reap, the gateway to the temples of Angkor. We landed twenty past ten in the evening (10:20 PM) to be exact and were ushered to the immigration entrance of the airport.
The immigration process was seamless and made our way out of the airport. Awesome! because our hotel pick -up service was already waiting near the exit and quite impressed because there were no taxi touters around trying to scam or intimidate you.The driver then took us to his tuktuk, a two wheeled open carriage that is attached to the driver's motorbike. We took off towards the main road that leads to the city and passed by some nice hotels with grandiose facade. There are few expensive hotels like Sokhalay Angkor and Anjali but most hotels are not that expensive. We arrived at the hotel past 11:00 pm and the checked -in was fast and seamless. 
Where to Stay?
There are plenty of hotels to choose from that suits your budget. They can range from Php 1,500 ( $30) to Php 10,000 ( $200). You can check on Agoda to get a lower price or similar booking gateway. I highly recommend Rithy Rine Angkor Residences because of positive reviews, location, inexpensive and hospitality. We paid around Php 1,500 ($30) for the pool view room with breakfast and WiFi. For the hospitality side, the staff were great and they tend to our needs as soon as possible. Rithy Rine Angkor is just a kilometer away from the famous Pub street and there's a convenience store nearby where you can buy Angkor beer and snacks.
Cambodia is the only country that accepts both USD and Riel. While the riel is the official currency of Cambodia, the US dollar dominates. All the prices displayed in Siem Reap are in dollars. Dollar bills need to be kept crisp, clean and most importantly untorn, especially for larger notes. If your $100 bill has the tiniest of tears in it, the chances are it will be rejected. While many of the major outlets, hotels and restaurants now accept credit and debit cards, the vast majority of the country’s small- and medium-sized businesses only accept cash. There are ATM's and banks where you can withdraw foreign currencies with a fee if you run out of cash.

Tuktuk rides in Siem Reap cost around Php 100.00 - 250.00 ($2.00 - 5.00). Temple tours can range from Php 500.00- 1500 ( $10 -25). You can check this post Must See Temples in Siem Reap for more more information. You can also hire a private car that cost around Php 2,000 to 3500 ( $40-60) to tour you around. 

Where to Eat?
Pub Street is the place if you want to eat good food or have a drinking session with your friends and family. Plenty of restaurants to choose from, whether western, asian or traditional cuisine. There are several fine dining restaurants in Siem reap like the Embassy Khmer Gastronomy which earned a lot of positive reviews from travelers, Abacus Restaurant and Cuisine Wat Damnak.  

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Siem Reap Tips

  • Bring small dollar bills because small stores and shops don't have change for $100 dollar bill.
  •  Avoid fish spa. Total waste of money.
  • Go shopping at the old market. You can find just about anything under Php 250.00 ($5.00). 
  • Get a full body Khmer massage for only Php 600.00 ( $6.00).
  • Take a cooking and pottery class. 
  • Planned your itinerary well. Traffic is a major problem in Siem reap. 
  • Get a travel insurance before traveling to Siem Reap.
  • Wear mosquito repellent bands when visiting the temples during wet months.


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