Around one million people live in Siem Reap, one of the most populous regions in the country. In the south, the province borders the Tonlè Sap Lake, while in the north the area extends almost to the border with Thailand. It is not clear exactly what Siem Reap means. In many places you can read “defeated Siam”.
Siem Reap, the provincial capital of the same name
The pretty little town is popular with tourists and expats alike. In recent years, a real scene has established itself with clubs and bars along Pub Street and elsewhere. Anyone who misses the nightlife in places like Mondulkiri or Ratanakiri will be well served here.
The culinary table is richly laid in Siem Reap. There is everything your heart desires. Even if it has to be roast pork. It’s all there. Compared to some other regions in Cambodia, the choice of hotels and guesthouses is huge. From simple backpacker accommodation for less than 10 $ per night to absolute luxury for more than 1,200 $. There is something for every taste and budget.
Popular pages: Discover Cambodia
Places of interest in Siem Reap
- Angkor Tempel: Angkor is by far THE highlight in Cambodia. The largest ancient temple complex in the world with its most important temple Angkor Wat is located approx. 9 km north of the city of Siem Reap and attracts millions of people from all over the world every year. A visit is particularly worthwhile at the moment, as visitor numbers have dropped dramatically due to coronavirus. While there were more than 10,000 per day before corona, there are currently only a few hundred. Tickets are available from 37 dollars. You can find more information about this, the most popular temples, tour guides, clothing, sunrise, etc. here at Visit Angkor under “Angkor Temples – Witnesses in the Land of the Khmer”.
- Phnom Kulen: The mountain range north of Angkor attracts visitors with several highlights. Above all Wat Preah Ang Thom with its sleeping Buddha. Or Kbal Spean, the river of a thousand lingas. Here, the rock reliefs carved into the riverbed in the Stung Kbal Spean stream are captivating. Then there are the waterfalls, which are perfect for swimming. A picnic at the edge of the waterfalls is particularly popular with Cambodians. There are small covered wooden stands that you can rent. If you don’t have a picnic with you, you can buy something at the BBQ. Those with a head for heights are drawn to the cliffs at Mahendraparvata. The view of the surrounding jungle is magical. Tip: As the road up to Phnom Kulen is bumpy, it’s worth taking a jeep. You can hire one from my friends André and Lily from cambodiajeep.com.
- Pagodas: You will encounter Buddhist pagodas everywhere – not just in Siem Reap. Many of them are beautiful. Especially the murals. Entering a pagoda is permitted. Of course, a donation is appreciated. In return, you will receive a blessing and a red ribbon around your wrist for protection. Wat Damnak is the largest pagoda. One of the most beautiful pagodas is Wat Preah Prom Rath directly on the Siem Reap River near the Old Market.
- Royal Palace: The second residence, so to speak, of the reigning king Samdech Preah Bâromneath Norodom Sihamoni in the center of Siem Reap when he is not in Phnom Penh. Opposite the palace is a small park. Lined by an avenue of trees with huge philodendrons and bats hanging upside down in the treetops. Also nearby: The Preah Ang Chek & Preah Ang Chorm shrine, the two patron saints of Siem Reap.
- Floating villages: Another attraction are the floating villages on the Tonlè Sap. In particular, Kampong Khleang, which is further away, has schools, pagodas, clinics and everything a community needs.
Markets, adventures & co.
- Made in Cambodia Market: Here you will only find products from Cambodia, no imported goods. What started out as a weekly market at the Shinta Mani Hotel has now become an Institution in the heart of Siem Reap. Here you can find many beautiful souvenirs ranging from small works of art made from beer can tops to handmade jewelry and fine liqueurs. Open daily from 12.00 – 18.00 hrs.
- Old Market & Night Market: These two markets, which are also aimed at tourists, are located opposite Pubstreet and on Sivutha Boulevard. Anyone familiar with Asian markets will know about the endless photo opportunities at these lively markets.
- Pshar Leu Market: The main market in Siem Reap on Route 6, where you can find everything your Cambodian heart desires. If you have a sensitive stomach, you might want to avoid the fish and meat section. For example, it can happen that one or two fish jump out of the bowl
- Angkor Eye: The counterpart to the famous London Eye since 2020. At 85 m high, it is slightly lower, but equipped with 48 cabins. Rides are available from Thursday to Monday between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. According to the website, tickets for tourists currently cost just $ 1.
- Angkor Zipline: Climbing park for those with a head for heights near Angkor. High in the treetops of the jungle, you shimmy through the terrain on ropes and thin walkways. Price from 53 § for tourists. Information and booking booking on the website.
Arts & crafts in Siem Reap
- Angkor National Museum: Archaeological Museum on Boulevard Charles de Gaulle, which presents artefacts from Angkor and provides information about the culture and art of the Khmer civilization of the time. Opening hours from 8.30 am – 6.00 pm. Admission $ 11 .
- Artisans d’Angkor: Founded in 1992, this Organization provides work opportunities for people in rural areas in particular. This goes hand in hand with the promotion of traditional arts and crafts, including stone and wood carving, silk weaving and painting. Also worth a visit is the silk weaving workshop with guided tours. Admission is free.
- Theam’s House: A real gem in the north of Siem Reap to the west of Charles de Gaulle Boulevard. In the midst of art and handicrafts, Theam Lim has created a place of peace and encounter. As a former technical assistant and artistic director of Artisans d’Angkor, he trains a team of apprentice artisans. At the same time, he devotes himself to his own painting. Admission $ 5.
- Open Studio Cambodia: An artist collective, that works with Cambodian contemporary artists in Siem Reap. Studio visits are offered where visitors can meet the Cambodian artists directly and also purchase works.
- Khmer Ceramics Fine Arts Center: Lovers of pottery will get their money’s worth here. There are beautiful ceramics for sale. You can try out your pottery skills in the pottery classes.
- Phare, the Cambodian circus: more than just a circus. Phare* Phare* combines theater, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell unique Cambodian stories. The show is on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 19:00 – 20:00. Tickets from 10 dollars. If you like, you can come from 5 p.m. and try street food for as little as 1 dollar and buy something in the souvenir store. The proceeds go towards the festival’s own social projects.
- Sacred Dancers of Angkor: Authentic Apsara dance show under the patronage of Princess Buppha Devi (Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia) and with the support of UNESCO. Shows every Wednesday and Sunday from 19:00 – 20:00. Admission $ 30. Address: Devine Sala, 234 River Road, Treang Village, Siem Reap
- Bambu Stage: Popular performing arts venue with daily shows, workshop space for Cambodian puppeteers and meeting place for artists and art lovers.
Nature and animal protection
- Kulen Elephant Forest: At the foot of the Kulen Mountains live elephants that carried visitors to the temples of Angkor on their backs for 22 years. Today, a 1,100-hectare protected forest is available to them for a species-appropriate life. Half-day tours am Vor- oder Nachmittag zum Preis von $ 50.
- Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary: Largest water bird colony in Southeast Asia on the edge of Lake Tonlè Sap and part of the UNESCO biosphere reserve. Tours of the reserve are offered on the website of the Cambodia Bird Guide Association.
- Apopo Hero Rats: Belongs to the UK-funded Belgian NGO based in Tanzania. The organization teaches rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis in humans. Magawa, an African pouched rat, has been awarded the PDSA Gold Medal. The animal equivalent of the George Cross, the highest British award for bravery. In 7 years she has cleared 141,000 square meters of land from landmines in Cambodia. You can adopt a rat or learn more about the work with the rats at the Visitor Center in Siem Reap.
- Butterfly Paradise: Tropical garden of recent construction with waterfalls and small streams for observing butterflies, snakes, turtles, insects and more. A larger-than-life yellow caterpillar greets you at the entrance.
- Banteay Srey Butterfly Center: Another butterfly farm that has existed for some time and is located a little outside on the way to the Banteay Srey temple. A great way to combine a visit to the temple.
- Angkor Botanical Garden: New park (opening May 2022) on the Charles de Gaulle towards Angkor. More than 500 different plants, a highlight for lovers of tropical plants. To protect the park from pollution, plastic packaging may not be taken into the park.
- Pagoda Cats: Josette Vanneur’s initiative for stray cats and dogs. Her morning feeding ritual is really worth seeing. I visited the cat heroine for the first time in 2017.
Tour operators in Siem Reap
If you look at Triadvisor, Viator, With Locals etc. you will find numerous offers, especially for Angkor and food tours. We have also compiled a list of offers for you here, most of which cannot be found on the aforementioned portals.
- Siem Reap Food Tours: For $ 75 you can travel across country through the flavors of Cambodian cuisine. Founded by Steven Halcrow and Lina Goldberg, the tour has been mentioned in the New York Times and Vogue, among others. Further information and booking on the website.
- Bees Unlimited: Eco tours with Dani Jump. I once took part in the combo tour, which I really recommend. You learn a lot about the production of various products, visit small craft workshops and try out some unusual dishes here and there. Other tours include Market, Siem Reap, Angkor Nature, Rafter Beekeeping and Floating Village. Price depending on tour from $ 50.
- Retreats & Culinary Tours: project by Australian Lara Dunston, editor for international food and travel magazines. Her tours promise a better understanding of Cambodian cuisine, which in her opinion is greatly underestimated and often misunderstood.
- Jeep tours: Cambodia Jeep (run by my friends Lily & Andre) specializes in organizing tours with original jeeps for all kinds of occasions. Not only in Siem Reap, but all over the country. Highlight: Once a year, a tour lasting several days takes place with jeeps under the name Lotos Rallye.
- Masthead: if you want to explore Angkor in a very special vehicle, the Masthead 1902 is the perfect choice. Although the car brand does not exist, the ride is still a lot of fun. How do I know that? I did it :-D
- Helicopter: See the world from above – by helicopter over Angkor, Floating Villages, Siem Reap and more. Helicopters Cambodia makes it possible. From $ 100.
- Travel Asia a la carte: provider of luxury travel in Siem Reap and Cambodia. Including cruises on the Mekong.
Hotels & Guesthouses
- Onederz Siem Reap: Hostel with rooftop pool*, 300 m from Pubstreet. Also offers single rooms. On weekends, resident DJ Angela Hemming aka “Punkbits” plays house music. A bed in a mixed dormitory is available from 5 dollars.
- Lub d Cambodia Siem Reap: By its own admission, the largest hostel in Siem Reap* near Wat Bo. Also with single rooms. You can get a bed in a mixed dormitory from 6 dollars.
- Sakun Angkor Boutique: Small, fine guest house* in the Wat Damnak district. Large and modern rooms. From $ 23 per night.
Medium price range
- Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel: Ethisch geführtes Hotel GoGreen! vision near Pubstreet. Offers community yoga classes, a saltwater pool, healthy food, spa and massages, among other things. From 45 dollars per night.
- Babel Siem Reap Guesthouse: Environmentally friendly guesthouse* with a focus on responsible tourism. Restaurant also with vegan dishes. Beautiful garden for chilling out with pool. Offers a refill station for various household and beauty products. From 30 $ per night.
- Hillocks Hotel & Spa: Small resort* with individual 60 sqm villas, pool, spa and cooking class. From $ 70 per night.
- Navutu Dreams Resort & Wellness Retreat: 28 rooms and luxurious suites, 3 pools and 2 yoga studios invite you to relax and unwind at Navutu*. From 90 $ per night.
- Phum Baitang Resort: The “green village”, ein 5* luxury resort with 45 villas, several restaurants and bars. Villa with terrace 80 sqm or pool 130 sqm. From $ 330 per night.
- Jaya House River Park Hotel: One of the world’s 20 weltweit besten Hotels*, according to Travelers Choice, right on the Siem Reap River. Hotel manager Christian de Boer launched the “Refill not Landfill” project to avoid plastic. Considered accommodation for sustainable travel. Also 5*. From $ 160 per night.
- Shinta Mani Angkor and Bensley Collection Pool Villas: Another hotel with a sustainability concept*. Since 2004, underprivileged Cambodians have been receiving a world-class education as part of the Shinta Mani Foundation, giving them the chance of a better future. Overnight stay from $ 180.
- Park Hyatt: In the center of Siem Reap with the luxury and service* that connoisseurs of the chain are accustomed to. Overnight stay from $ 250.
- Sokha Private Mansion Villa: If you want to go the extra mile, you can bed your head in the 400 square meter villa at the Sokha Siem Reap Resort & Convention Center* for a reduced price of $900 a night. The regular price is $ 1.500.
Food & drink
The choice is huge, although unfortunately some restaurants, cafés and bars have had to close due to Corona. Many places to eat can be found in the tourist center in Pubstreet and the adjacent small alleys. There are also endless street food stalls, for example along the Siem Reap River, offering their delicacies at small tables with matching tiny plastic chairs. A panopticon of smells and delights. Irrespective of this, the upscale restaurant scene in Siem Reap is getting stronger and stronger.
- Trorkuon: Im restaurant at the Jaya House River Park Hotel is home to Cambodian chef Tim Pheak. He learned his trade at the luxury resort Song Saa Private Islands. Extravagant delicacies such as ants can be found on the menu here.
- Embassy Khmer: If you miss Cuisine Wat Damnak, which has relocated to Phnom Penh, in Siem Reap, Embassy Khmer Gastronomy is an adequately high-priced substitute for the discerning palate. Located in Kingsroad at the end of the square where the “Made in Cambodia Market” used to be.
- Mahob: Mahob Cuisine is also very culinary, but not quite as expensive. A sophisticated atmosphere with great food and drinks.
- The Muffin Man – the name says it all. Muffins in every conceivable variation. The latest creations are constantly presented on the Facebook-Page like “Today we have freshly baked blueberry, raspberry, double chocolate chip, apple cinnamon crumble, caramel and vegan banana walnut muffins.”
- Sombai: Cambodian alcoholic delicacies at their finest. Liqueurs made from rice schnapps and alcoholic jams. Sombai means “some rice, please” in Khmer. Joëlle Jean Louis and Lionel Maitrepierre, an expat couple from Siem Reap, brought Sombai to life. You can buy it in restaurants and bars in Siem Reap or as a souvenir in the “Made in Cambodia Market” near the Shinta Mani Hotel. Lionel Maitrepierre, an expat couple from Siem Reap, have brought Sombai to life. You can buy it in restaurants and bars in Siem Reap or as a souvenir in the “Made in Cambodia Market” near the Shinta Mani Hotel.
- The little Red Fox Espresso: Catering to almost all dietary requirements, this café, which opened in 2014 has established itself as a permanent institution in the heart of Siem Reap. Open Thursday to Tuesday from 7.00 am – 3.30 pm and 3.30 pm – 10 pm.
- Banllé Vegetarien Restaurant: As the name suggests, this is a purely vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Also popular among Cambodians. Opening hours Wednesday to Monday from 7.00 am – 9.00 pm.
- Haven Restaurant: Of course, Haven should not be missed here, as I have a very special relationship with the owners Sara and Paul. The restaurant stands for good (also) vegan cuisine and a very special training concept for the staff.
- Spoons: Wat Damnak also has a training concept. Cambodian cuisine, ranging from popular street food to classic dishes.
- Dine with the Locals: A project originally founded by Thomas Wanhoff. With a keen instinct, he selects families who each book a very specific recipe for their guests. The right host can be booked via the website at a price of 22 dollars per person. I tried it and was so impressed that a blog article appeared here at Visit Angkor shortly afterwards..
Nightlife in Siem Reap
- Pubstreet: Often the central meeting point for all those who are new to Siem Reap. Everything from party people to restaurant visitors meet here.
- Temple Club: A small chain with various venues with a younger crowd. On Pubstreet and near Kings Road. It offers a nightclub, sky lounge and a restaurant. The club is unmistakable on Pubstreet.
- Paper Tiger Eatery: One of the first restaurants to open on Pubstreet. In addition to Khmer dishes, it also serves pizza.
- Picasso Bar: Small, fine Tapas-Bar with unmistakable charm on Alley West. The horseshoe-shaped bar under the barrel vault makes it easy to strike up a conversation. Large selection of drinks and great tapas.
- X Bar: The dance and nightclub with a view of the entire Pubstreet from above attracts visitors with music of various genres and live music.
- Stewart On 26: Stylish bar that is also open during the day. “Funky Friday” on Fridays with resident DJ Don Stone. Near Wat Bo.
- Beatnik: Vis a vis to Pubstreet. At the weekend,especially on Fridays, it’s pretty much the place to be. Hard to believe, but this is where I had one of the best chocolate mousses ever. Dj Punkbits makes an appearance from time to time and joins in the party.
- Barcode Siem Reap: Gay bar with dance floor after the show. Open from 9.00 pm from Thursday to Sunday. North of the Preah Prom Rath pagoda on New Street A.
Special: Psah Chas Alley 1 und Alley West
Psah Chas Alley 1 starts directly at the Sister Srey Cafe and opens up a completely different world in Siem Reap. Small stores, bistros, boutiques – all lovingly decorated with plants on the walls, painted signs and more. Turn left at the 2nd junction onto Street No. 9 and continue straight ahead to West Alley. Here, dozens of umbrellas make the alley one of the most beautiful in Siem Reap. West Alley also has cafés, restaurants, small boutiques and souvenir shops.
Siem Reap is considered malaria-free, but it is still an advantage to ensure you have sufficient mosquito protection. The Royal Angkor International Hospital located in the city is modern and works internationally with various health insurance companies.
Arrival in Siem Reap
Siem Reap has a new airport, Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, approx. 40 km east of the provincial capital. There are currently direct flight routes to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh, Bangkok and Singapore, among others. In the country, the border with Thailand between Bangkok and Siem Reap has recently been opened.
Articles about Siem Reap
Current articles about Siem Reap. More articles under the category “Discover Siem Reap”.
Josette Vanneur has found her passion with the Pagoda Cats. For me, she is the hero of Siem Reap’s cats and dogs. Since a visit I’m thrilled!
There are more than 20 pagodas in Siem Reap. A photographic tour of the city’s well-known and lesser-known pagodas.
Information on prices for Tuk Tuk trips in Siem Reap, day trips with Tuk Tuk to the Angkor temples, special tips in dealing with Tuk Tuk drivers & more.
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