The city that puts Cambodia on the map, Siem Reap is the gateway for visiting the ancient temples of Angkor. The city has an interesting dynamic, with a strong focus on the religious temples, but also an insane entertainment and nightlife. It’s weird how these two environments co-exist in one place.
The temples of Angkor
It’s not cheap to visit the temples, but you know funds goes towards restorations. You can purchase 1, 3 or 7 day passes. It’s $20, $40, and $60 respectively. Tickets are pretty official, your picture is on the ticket and you’ll be asked to show it at every temple entrance. Find more information at here.
Getting to the temples is another cost. The closest temples are about 20 mintues away from the city of Siem Reap and the furthest is over 40km!
The most popular way to get around is to hire a tuk tuk for the day. I made a couple friends and shared the transport, which made it much more affordable. Expect to pay $15-20 per day in the low season. And if you want to go for the sunrise, it’s usually about $5 more. You’ll also pay more for going to the further sites too. At the sites you can also hire guides, which is a great idea. They offer it in so many different languages, where the guides all speak fluently.
If you have the choice, I’d avoid visiting Siem Reap in the dry season, like I did. Many of the temples use elements of water in their structure and design, but since it was dry season (and they’re experiencing a drought), many of these were dried up.
Visiting the temples takes a lot of energy and patience. It’s super hot and exhausting, so take your time. I was planning on doing a three-day tour of the temples, but ended up only doing two. So pace yourself!
The Angkor National Museum is also a great place to spend an afternoon and learn about the temples. I’d suggest going before visiting the temples. This way you’ll have a nice background beforehand.
Aside from the temples, there are lots of restaurants, markets and spas in the city – great for when you need a break from the temples. You can get a full body massage for $5!