Cambodia: Siem Reap

Siem Reap was the second city we went after we arrived in our Asian trip in begin of 2017. We landed in Bangkok and we took a bus who crossed the borders of Thailand and Cambodia to arrive straight in the very touristic Siem Reap. If it was not for the amazing Angkor Temples very near to it, probably Siem Reap would be just a very quiet and small city in West Cambodia. Instead, the city hosts the around 2 million tourists that visit the historical temples every year.

What to do in Siem Reap

I dare to say that the city lights up only during the night when the old night market runs and all the small central streets of the city start to get full of tourists. Most of them pretty tired from a long day visiting the Angkor Archeological Park and some of them just getting excited to do it on the next day. The fact is that there’s not actually much to do in Siem Reap instead getting ready to visit the temples.

At this huge night market, you will find a lot of clothing to buy. If you bargain around, you will buy t-shirts for 1,50 American Dollars each. You can also buy pants, scarfs, paintings, souvenirs, get a massage, a fish massage in the feet, have a cocktail, eat the delicious Khmer food and even have the very cheap beer for $ 0,50!

The city is enough for you to chill out before and after the temples, but you can’t expect anything big or very well structured. Siem Reap has the scenario of a countryside city with very limited resources. But the hotels are pretty nice and most of them even have swimming pools!

Book a hotel before or not?

Well, if you already know how many nights you intend to stay in the city, if you know your exact date of arrival, why not? Use and get yourself a nice hotel with a swimming pool. The days around there were very warm and having a swimming pool around will be very welcome!

But if you are a traveller that likes to be a little bit more spontaneous and more flexible with dates, nothing to worry about. You will find a hotel with an empty room (or bed, if you are the hostel kind of person) that fits your wallet.

We arrived in town earlier than we imagined and we just had to walk around 800 meters to find a very cool place. The swimming pool was amazing and the location was incredible: really near to the night market, that is exactly where you want to be. The best part is that we got a nice room with air conditioning and private bathroom for only US$ 15,00 per night. That place made us happy!

Small but not so much

Let’s say that the touristic area is pretty small. The city itself can be a bit bigger than expected. Besides we like to be spontaneous, we booked a hotel in the city while programming our itinerary. The first night we were in an amazing hotel, very central and very comfortable. The second and third night we were a little bit out of the centre. Ok, a lot out of the centre. Our second hotel was 5 km away from the touristic area and was in an area that you had absolutely nothing. Not even a restaurant. To get to the city centre we had to take Tuk Tuks that cost 3 dollars each way. We regretted staying so far in the end, so if we can give you a very important tip is:

Take a hotel near to the Night Market. This is the touristic area and this is what works in the town. Outside this area won’t fit your plans too well, believe me. Also, while exploring the city, try not to go too far from touristic areas. When we were walking to our second hotel we went through some places that got us a little bit worried.

On the other hand, while walking those 5 long kilometres, we found a very beautiful temple. It was a pretty pleasant view after walking in such weird streets.

Well, if you are going to visit the Angkor Archeological Park, you can’t escape Siem Reap. So, just relax and enjoy the best what the city can give you.

Date of our visit to Siem Reap: 01 – 04.04.2017