If you're going to Siem Reap, there's plenty to see and do on a budget
If you’re travelling to Cambodia and wanting to see the Angkor temples in Siem Reap, then here you'll find out how to get to and from the airport, the best places to eat, the 'off the beaten path' attractions, and much more.
Getting to Siem Reap from the airport
Taxis are the easiest way to get to and from the airport — they are extremely cheap, safe to use and not metered. There will be plenty waiting outside the airport and the official booth has a ticket system in place for tourists.
It costs about $6-7 one way to Siem Reap from the airport and takes about 30 minutes, depending on the traffic.
Travelling around Siem Reap
Image by arileu (Flickr/Creative Commons)
There are no trains or buses in Siem Reap so if you’ll have to jump onto a remork (rickshaw) or moto (motorcycle taxis) to get from A to B.
Short journeys around town cost around $2–3 per remork (seats up to four people) and it can also be hired for $10–15 per day, depending on the length of journey.
You don't need to change your money to Cambodian Riel at the airport. Most touristic places accept US dollars. If you have stacks of one-dollar bills on you it will make life easier in markets and restaurants.
Visiting the Angkor temples
Image by Jutta M. Jenning (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Almost everyone goes to Siem Reap to see the temples and they certainly won’t disappoint. Spread over 400 sq. kilometres and with more than 45 temples, the archaeological park contains different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century.
The best time for Insta photos is sunrise - arrive early to see the sun arrive in the horizon behind the main shrine's dome and to maximise your chances of a haze-free day.
It costs $37 dollars to enter the complex for one day. A three-day pass is $62 while a week-long visit pass – valid over a one-month period is $72.
Eating street food at night
Image by Adam Foster (Flickr/Creative Commons)
Khmer cuisine is one of the oldest in the world and has also been influenced by Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and French techniques to produce delicious cheap dishes. If you want to avoid the tourist stuff, then Siem Reap Food Tours offer a unique perspective into one of the misunderstood food cultures in South-East Asia.
Street food is everywhere in Siem Reap and if you see lots of locals in plastic chairs eating then you can usually trust its authenticity. Some of the cheapest options are found around the Old Market and on 2 Thnou St at the end of Pub Street.
“Off the beaten path” temple
Image by Visit.org (Flickr/Creative Commons)
If you want to avoid the Angkor tourist crowds check out Banteay Chhmar instead. It's two hours away from Siem Reap and just as spectacular. The enormous temple complex has been shrouded in both jungle and mystery for centuries.
Banteay Chhmar is the fourth largest Angkorian temple in Cambodia and is surrounded by a vast moat and crumbling towers. If you’re expecting Western restaurants and a strong Wi-Fi connection then think again - it's places such as Banteay where you learn how to become a real traveller.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
Backpacker accommodation in Siem Reap is incredibly cheap and you can stay in air-conditioned rooms and dorms for under $5 a night. Check out some of our favourite hostels here.
*Header image by Florian Hahn (Unsplash)