The main reason to come to Siem Reap is to visit the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat. To get away from the crowds in the major temples, visit some of the less-visited sites and at off-peak times (sunset is the busiest time). For more information, see this detailed guide to Angkor Wat.
Known as the City of Women, this site was built in dedication to the Hindu God, Shiva. With many outstanding, red sandstone carved statues, Banteay Srei is an astonishing site to visit. You need an Angkor Wat Pass to visit this temple.
If you’re here around the end of October, make a point of staying for the Water Festival. The festival involves a huge boat race and more than a million people flock to watch these boats and the nightly fireworks. The festival begins on the last day of the full moon in October.
Though this can seem like a tourist trap given the number of people offering this to you, the dance is very much a part of modern Khmer culture. Dancers are authentic and talented. There are several places where you can see this style of dancing, but Apsara Theatre is one of the best. It’s about $25 USD for a show with dinner included.
This lake’s ecosystem was integral in keeping the ancient civilizations afloat and it still contributes to Cambodia’s agriculture. There are floating villages on the lake, and today the entire area is a UNESCO nature reserve for its incredible biodiversity. You can rent a boat to go along the river and watch the fisherman working. It’s about $20 USD for a few hours.
Accommodation in Siem Reap is incredibly cheap. Here are my recommended hostels in Siem Reap:
All the main attractions in Siem Reap (other than Angkor Wat) are easily reached on foot, especially in the historical part of the city.
Tuk-tuk – For trips around Siem Reap, tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis should cost around $2 USD for short trips and under $6 USD from the airport into town. Negotiate your fare upfront to ensure you don’t get ripped off.
Bicycle – You can rent a bicycle here for less than $5 USD a day. You can find rental shops in the Old Market. Some hotels even have free bicycle rentals.
Taxis – Most of the taxis in Siem Reap don’t have meters, so the cost of your journey will vary. In general, taxis are more expensive than tuk-tuks. A taxi to the airport costs about $7 USD. You can also hire taxis for the day to take you around Angkor Wat, which costs around $35 USD. If you want to get to other temples like Banteay Srei, the cost can be as high as $50 USD per day so I’d stick with a tuk-tuk.
Car/motorbike rental – Motorbikes are around $10 USD per day and $30 USD per week. Car rentals are extraordinarily expensive at around $65 per day. Couple that with hazardous roads and there’s really no need to rent a car or motorbike here.
The dry season in Siem Reap is from November to early April, which is generally the best time to visit the city/Angkor Wat. It’s busiest here during December and January when the weather is most pleasant. January is the “coldest” month, with temperatures sometimes dropping to 21°C (70°F), which is a pleasant temperature for exploring.
April can be unbearably hot and extremely humid, with 31°C (88°F) as the average daily high. Angkor Wat won’t be as crowded but spending a full day exploring the temples can be overwhelming in the heat (especially if you’re cycling).
The monsoon season lasts from June through October, but this often just means an hour or two of rain per day. It does make Angkor Wat very muddy, but there will also be very few other tourists around.
Siem Reap is a safe place to backpack and travel — even if you’re traveling solo and even as a solo female traveler. Violent attacks against tourists are super rare, though petty theft can occur, especially in the Old Market and Angkor Wat. Beware of pickpockets and always keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places. Never flash your valuables and always keep your wallet and phone secure and out of reach.
You may also encounter persistent children trying to sell you stuff, sometimes becoming aggressive if you don’t shop with them. Just walk away from them saying “No, thank you.” and eventually they will give up. Keep an eye on them as well as they may be distracting you while someone picks your pocket.
Solo female travelers should feel safe here, though the standard precautions apply (never walk home alone at night, never accept drinks from strangers at the bar, etc.).
Avoid dehydration in the heat by making sure you bring lots of water to keep hydrated. Remember that tap water isn’t safe to drink, so bring a water bottle with a built-in filter.
In addition, you have to follow health regulations during Covid-19. You should wear a mask and wash your hands when visiting crowded places.
To help you fully enjoy your vacation to the Kingdom of Wonder, we’ve put together some basic packing list guidelines. Hope this will be useful for your travels.
Clothing & Footwear-Packing comfortable clothing for your Cambodian journey is important.
Electronics-Who can live without their phone? Make sure to pack all your electrical items to document your travels!
Medical, Toiletries, and Skin Protection-Going overseas can be difficult. Take care of your body by packing recommended toiletries and medical items.
Luggage-Finally, don’t forget sufficient luggage where you can put all this stuff.
What a wonderful escape plan for you to do during your holiday! Just pack your luggage and we will take care of the rest of the journey!
Lux Travel DMC has just turned 15 years old in the travel industry sector within Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries. With the prior experience from the young staff, we believe that this will be helpful for you when planning your holiday to Southeast Asia.
Let us be a part of your memorable trip to Southeast Asia!