While it’s best known as the town closest to Angkor, Siem Reap has a surprising amount of attractions of its own. Pretty colonial buildings, great bars and restaurants and a selection of interesting museums make Siem Reap worth a look before or after you explore Angkor.
Siem Reap © aschaf
The gateway to Angkor, Siem Reap is Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination. The small but bustling city is home to hundreds of hotels and guesthouses ranging from inexpensive and often poorly maintained backpacker hostels to luxurious five-star hotels.
Aside from Angkor, Siem Reap’s biggest attractions include its great bars and restaurants, the city’s charming French colonial architecture, outdoor markets and museums dedicated to the Cambodian Civil War and Khmer Rouge era.
Cambodia | Siem Reap | Pub Street © blondzilla
Main Areas of Interest in Siem Reap
Siem Reap’s nightlife capital, Pub Street is a short street that’s full of bars, pubs, nightclubs and other places to enjoy the night. Siem Reap’s popularity with expats, backpackers and locals alike gives Pub Street a mixed crowd of interesting people.
Located a short distance from Pub Street close to the Siem Reap River, the Old Market is a major Siem Reap landmark. Called “Psah Chas” in Khmer, the Old Market is frequently used for directions — most Siem Reap businesses list their address relative to the market.
You’ll find the usual items as the Old Market, ranging from t-shirts and inexpensive clothing to a great selection of souvenirs. The fresh food section, which you’ll find a little further inside, is a good place to shop for fresh fruit.
Known as “Phsar Kandal” in Khmer, Central Market is located on the corner of Achamean St and Sivatha Boulevard. The market offers a good selection of clothes, souvenirs and cheap electronic goods. Be prepared to bargain, as prices are usually inflated by 100% or more.
Pokambor Avenue runs along the Siem Reap River through the centre of the city and is one of several nice places to walk in Siem Reap. Wat Preah Prom Rath is a small temple close to the river that’s a nice break from the ruins of Angkor.
National Route 6
National Route 6 runs through Siem Reap, passing by the Royal Independence Gardens and Residence. A good selection of guesthouses and budget hotels are located on National Route 6 east of the Siem Reap River.
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Entering Angkor Wat © daverugby83
Things to Do in Siem Reap
- Angkor Archaeological Park
Siem Reap’s main attraction, the Angkor Archaeological Park is an expanse of temples and other ruins covering more than 400 square kilometres. The temples are located six kilometres from Siem Reap and attract about two million tourists every year.
If you’re planning to visit Angkor, you can arrange for a tuk-tuk to guide you around the park from Siem Reap. Access passes are available from the front gate of the park, starting from $20USD for one day and priced up to $60 for a week of access.
- Angkor National Museum
Located in Siem Reap, the Angkor National Museum offers a thorough history of the temples in the nearby Angkor Archaeological Park. Visiting the museum before touring the park offers some background on the origins of the temples and their purpose.
- Cambodia Landmine Museum
Cambodia was heavily mined during the Cambodian Civil War, with millions of unexploded mines still in underground in fields and forested areas. The Cambodia Landmine Museum contains several humbling exhibits on the problem landmines pose to Cambodia today.
- War Museum of Cambodia
Built in partnership with the Cambodian Ministry of Defense, the War Museum Cambodia is a museum dedicated to the Cambodian Civil War. A World War II era Soviet T-54 tank, MiG-19 fighter plane and Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter are among several machines on display.
- Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity
Located near Angkor Archaeological Park, the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity is a rare and endangered wildlife conservation and breeding centre. The centre takes care of a variety of endangered animals, many of which are prized for use in traditional medicine.
- Diwo Gallery
Diwo Gallery houses an extensive collection of Khmer Buddha figures and art. Located just outside the centre of Siem Reap close to Wat Svay, the gallery offers a mix of antique figures and high quality Khmer statues available for sale.
- Angkor Night Market
Visitors in Siem Reap are spoiled for choice when it comes to markets. Located close to Pub Street and the Old Market, Angkor Night Market offers a good selection of cheap clothes and souvenirs, although extensive haggling is usually required to get a good deal.
Best Luxury Hotels in Siem Reap
- Borei Angkor Resort & Spa
Located a short distance from central Siem Reap on National Highway 6, Borei Angkor Resort & Spa is a luxurious five-star hotel with superb grounds. Rooms are rustic and luxurious, while the hotel’s large outdoor swimming pool and spa are perfect for relaxing in the heat.
- Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor
Originally built in 1932, Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor is a beautiful colonial hotel listed as one of the Top 50 Hotels in Asia. Classic rooms and a beautiful outdoor pool area make this hotel one of Siem Reap’s most luxurious options.
- Shinta Mani Club
With a location close to the Siem Reap River and Siem Reap’s nightlife, the Shinta Mani Club is a comfortable and convenient five-star hotel. The hotel’s rooms and suites are decorated in a Khmer-inspired modern style.
Best Mid Range Hotels in Siem Reap
- Friendly Angkor Boutique Hotel
Located a short walk from Angkor Night Market, Friendly Angkor Boutique Hotel is a simple but comfortable mid range hotel that’s ideal for travellers seeking a convenient location. The hotel has a small swimming pool and outdoor dining area.
- Bavyra Boutique D’ Angkor Hotel
Built in 2014, Bavyra Boutique D’ Angkor Hotel is a modern four-star hotel offering a selection of simply furnished, clean and comfortable rooms. With just 10 rooms, this boutique hotel is a great option for guests seeking a quiet, relaxing experience close to central Siem Reap.
- Rose Royal Boutique Hotel
With a large swimming pool, stylishly decorated rooms and palatial architecture, the Rose Royal Boutique Hotel is an impressive four-star hotel in Siem Reap. A short walk from the Central Market, Rose Royal Boutique Hotel is extremely conveniently located.
Best Budget Hotels in Siem Reap
- Seven Candles Guesthouse
Located a short distance from the Siem Reap River and less than 10 minutes walk from Pub Street, Seven Candles Guesthouse is a conveniently located and inexpensive two-star hotel offering a selection of clean, minimalistic rooms.
- Motherhome Guesthouse
Motherhome Guesthouse offers clean, comfortable rooms close to the centre of Siem Reap. A great on-site restaurant, traditional massage spa and free Wi-Fi make this a great choice for a relaxing, productive break in Siem Reap.
- Golden Temple Villa
Located less than five minutes from Pub Street on foot, Golden Temple Villa is a convenient option for budget travellers that want to stay close to Siem Reap’s nightlife. Rooms are clean, stylishly decorated and excellent value for money.
Places to Eat and Drink in Siem Reap
Scallop Amok © fabulousfabs
Located just a couple of minutes from Pub Street, L’Annexe serves high quality French food and excellent desserts.
- The Touich Restaurant & Bar
The Touich offers a great selection of Cambodian dishes as well as select Western classics in an open air setting close to the centre of Siem Reap.
- Rico Pizza
Located a short walk from Pub Street and the Provincial Hospital, Rico Pizza offers excellent Italian pizza and limoncello.
- Old Vienna Kitchen
Despite its simple appearance — many travellers mistake it for a shed — Old Vienna Kitchen serves great Austrian food in a relaxing beer garden environment
- Genevieve’s Restaurant
Located a short walk from Angkor Night Market, Genevieve’s Restaurant serves a mix of local Khmer dishes and Western favourites.
- Sister Srey Cafe
Sister Srey Cafe offers a selection of great breakfasts, strong coffee and free Wi-Fi beside the Siem Reap River, making it a great place to browse the Internet or enjoy a good book.
- Haven Training Restaurant
One of several training restaurants in Siem Reap, Haven Training Restaurant serves excellent Khmer and Western food.
- MAHOB Khmer Cuisine
Located inside a beautiful garden house, MAHOB Khmer Cuisine serves high quality Khmer food in a stylish and peaceful environment.
- New Leaf Book Cafe
New Leaf Book Cafe serves excellent Khmer food, tasty salads and a great selection of drinks in a relaxing setting. Most of the café’s books are available for sale.
How to Get to Siem Reap
I'm leaving on a jet plane. © archer10
Sleek and modern, Siem Reap International Airport is Cambodia’s busiest airport. Daily flights to Siem Reap depart from Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. Flights are available to Siem Reap from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Saigon, Singapore and other regional centres.
- Flights to Siem Reap are also available from Busan, Seoul and Hong Kong. Seasonal flights also connect Siem Reap with Tokyo and several Chinese cities.
- Note that there is a $12USD departure tax for domestic flights departing from Siem Reap Airport to other destinations in Cambodia. There is no extra departure tax for international flights.
Siem Reap is connected with Phnom Penh by one of Cambodia’s best roads, although the trip can often be bumpy and noisy by Western standards. Full-size buses and minivans make the trip several times daily, usually in seven to eight hours.
- Buses also connect Siem Reap with other major cities in Cambodia such as Battambang and Poipet, where visitors can cross the border to Thailand.
- While direct buses are available between Bangkok and Siem Reap, the route is notorious for theft and visa-related scams. If you’re travelling to Siem Reap from Bangkok, avoid booking a low-cost bus from Khao San Road and instead book your tickets from Mo Chit Bus Station.