Siem Reap is the closest town to Angkor Wat, which is the most popular tourist destination in all of Cambodia. Most people really only visit Siem Reap in order to see the nearby temples, but you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s actually a pretty lively little city!
Check out our list of the best places to eat and drink in Siem Reap, as well as the best things to do during your visit. Enjoy!
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Complete Guide to Siem Reap
Siem Reap Travel Basics
Know Before You Go
- The currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR) and at the time of writing the exchange rate was 4032.26 to $1 USD. But Cambodia mainly uses US currency, just without the small change. Riels are used for anything under $1 USD.
- Khmer is the official language of Cambodia and nearly 90% of the people in the country can speak it. Most people in Cambodia also speak English so don’t worry about communicating here.
- Learn a few Khmer phrases to get around! “Hello” is “sous-dey”, “thank you” is “
orkun” (sounds like “air con”), and “where is the toilet?” is “ bantubdakknoeway nah?”.
- Tipping should be minimal if at all here. And several restaurants that we recommend add a 5% service charge to your bill so be sure to check before leaving more.
Getting to Siem Reap
Siem Reap is the closest city to the Angkor Archaeological Park. It takes just 15 minutes to get from the center of town to the park’s main entrance.
Siem Reap has an international airport (REP) so catching a flight from Phnom Penh or any other large city nearby is relatively easy.
If you would prefer to travel to Siem Reap by bus, Giant Ibis is a reliable, low-cost company with several buses daily from Phnom Penh. The trip takes about 6 hours and you’ll stop twice for food and bathroom breaks.
Getting Around Town
There are two apps that are similar to Uber in Siem Reap – Grab (iPhone | Android) and PassApp (iPhone | Android). You can use either to call a
If you want more freedom you can also rent a motorbike for the day. Some people also choose to bicycle out to the temples of Angkor Archaeological Park although we wouldn’t recommend it as you’ll be exhausted and burning up by the end of the day.
Where to Stay in Siem Reap
If you’re looking for a luxury hotel offering room options at a lower nightly rate, The Night Hotel is a great choice! The location is perfect, right near Pub Street, so you’ll be in the middle of the action. The large outdoor pool is pristine and
Eating and Drinking in Siem Reap
Where to Eat: Best Restaurants in Siem Reap
Pou Restaurant and Bar
Pou Restaurant and Bar is run by a group of up-and-coming Cambodian chefs who are creating unique Khmer fusion cuisine. It’s a small restaurant with modest prices but the food taste and presentation
Il Forno Siem Reap has really delicious, authentic Italian food if you’re looking for a break from Khmer classics. The cheese plate is a really lovely selection of fresh cheeses, a rarity in SE Asia. And the pizzas are thin crust and incredibly flavorful. Prices are on the higher side but it’s worth it for a fun date night!
The Christa Restaurant and Bar
The Christa Restaurant and Bar is the best go-to lunch spot in Siem Reap. It’s a laidback restaurant with super reasonable prices and a big selection of Khmer and Western food options. You’ll love coming here and enjoying a fresh fruit shake and a big bowl of soup after a long morning spent at Angkor Wat.
Genevieve’s Restaurant is a bit pricier than others in Siem Reap but you’ll appreciate the quality and presentation. The Beef Lok Lak is made with Australian tenderloin steak – it’s tender, juicy and delicious. The Lao Fish Amok is also a great choice.
Maybe Later Mexican Bar and Grill
Maybe Later Mexican Bar & Grill is not only a great spot to get delicious nachos and the best margarita in town
Where to Drink: Best Bars in Siem Reap
Wild Creative Bar and Eatery
Wild – Creative Bar and Eatery is an incredibly popular little cocktail bar in Siem Reap. They serve fun boozy concoctions at totally reasonable prices. Food options here are limited, they really only specialize in spring rolls. It’s the perfect place for a pre-dinner cocktail and appetizer. Be sure to try the Taco Loco roll. And send them a note on Facebook to reserve a table, they fill up every night.
Happy Hour at the Park Hyatt
The Park Hyatt Siem Reap bar offers an evening happy hour with 50% off select cocktails and glasses of wine. From 5:00pm until 7:00pm you can sit in their beautiful courtyard where a massive banyan tree sits at the center of a reflection pool, and enjoy delicious, discounted drinks. And if you stay for dinner, they offer a cultural show every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday beginning at 7:00pm.
The Local Brewery
The Local Brew Pub is a great spot to go in the evenings if you want to meet some friendly travelers and drink Cambodia brewed craft beer on tap.
Where to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth: Best Dessert in Siem Reap
Gelato and Coffee Lab
Where to Work: Best Coffee Shops in Siem Reap
Bang Bang Bakery
Bang Bang Bakery is a really darling little bakery and coffee shop in Siem Reap. One peek inside their dessert case and your mouth will be watering! Homemade cakes, pies, cookies, tarts, and crumbles are on display. They also have freshly baked bread and bagels and have a few decedent breakfast offerings.
The Little Red Fox Espresso
The Little Red Fox Espresso is a great place to get some work done, or just grab a really tasty breakfast. They have creative coffee concoctions, yummy smoothie bowls, and really delicious bagel sandwiches. Plus they occasionally offer live music (and air conditioning!) in the afternoons in “The Den” on the second floor.
Things to Do in Siem Reap
Explore Angkor Wat
The Angkor Archaeological Park is the crown jewel and the reason that most tourists visit Siem Reap. Read our Complete Guide to Angkor Wat to learn all about the best way to visit these spectacular temples!
Have a Cocktail at a Pool Party
Cambo Beach Siem Reap is a lively public pool that is surrounded by sand and comfy beach loungers and cabanas. You’ll pay a $5 USD entrance fee that will be credited toward your food and beverage purchases. You can also pay $1 USD to rent a towel.
It’s a lively pool with daily music, pool parties throughout every week, family swim day on Sundays, and competitions where you can win boozy blended drinks. Make a splash by jumping off the high dive, play a game of beach volleyball, or lounge on one of the bean bags by the pool – it’s a good time for all ages. Plus the food is really tasty and the drinks are reasonably priced.
Considering the relatively small size of Siem Reap, there are a ton of markets around town if you like to shop for souvenirs. There is the Siem Reap Art Center Market, the Old Market (open from 7:00am until 8:00pm), the Made in Cambodia Market (open from
You’ll find similar treasures at all of these markets – loose-fitting parachute-style pants, cheesy t-shirts, straw purses, scarves, and wood and brass statues. Most of this stuff can be found all over SE Asia but prices are reasonable so there’s no reason not to buy something that you love. Be sure to negotiate, the first asking price is never the price you should pay.
We found a few souvenirs that were unique to Cambodia. Pepper from Kampot is considered to be some of the best in the world. Silver boxes that are shaped like elephants are a good thing to pick up in Siem Reap. And you’ll see beautiful and unique brass jewelry that has been made from bullet casings found around the country.
Be Entertained at the Circus
Phare, the Cambodian Circus Show is a fun experience in Siem Reap for all ages! It combines theater, music, dance, and circus performances that will keep you entertained for the entire show. It’s like the Cirque du Solei but on a smaller scale, and with traditional Cambodian flare. Plus it’s a good cause – the performers are graduates of Phare Ponleu Selpak’s vocational training center which provides training for disadvantaged youth.
You can catch nightly performances at
Party on Pub Street
Pub Street is the party area of Siem Reap. It’s where the young backpackers go to drink too much, listen to outrageously loud music, and dance in the street. The street is lined with restaurants, bars, shops, and loads of tuk-tuk drivers hoping to take you on a tour of Angkor Wat.
The most popular bar on Pub Street is Angkor What? Bar. They play the latest jams and have outdoor tables for prime people watching. However, you probably won’t love this bar if you’re over the age of 25. We had one drink there (for blog research purposes of course) and in that time we witnessed drunk people dancing on tables and one girl covered in puke get carried out of the bar. Not our cup of tea.
We preferred the tuk-tuk bars located on Street 10 at the intersection of Alley W.
These tuk-tuks have been converted into little bars where you can sip on ridiculously cheap cocktails and have full control of the music. But beware, the alcohol isn’t high quality so you’re likely to wake up the next morning with a headache.
Visit the Museums
The Cambodia Landmine Museum is incredibly informative and well organized. Cambodia is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world and to this day civilians are injured and killed by landmines and other unexploded devices left from the decades of war that was raged here. You’ll want to get the audio guide to get the full experience.
The Angkor National Museum is a good complement to your tour of the Angkor Archaeological Park as it will help to give you a better understanding of the temples. The museum is well organized with good signage in English and will take at least 2 hours to get through all of the exhibits.
See the Floating Villages
There are several floating villages near Siem Reap and it is a popular activity to visit these temples to see the local people going about their daily lives. They live on Tonle Sap Lake in floating houses and travel by boat to get wherever they need to go. This is actually one of the most touristy things you can do in Siem Reap and probably won’t feel as authentic as you want it to.
If you want to see the villages without feeling like you’re being invasive or without being pressured to buy their souvenirs, we would recommend taking a sunset cruise on the lake. You’ll get to enjoy the views of the villages, but in a more relaxed environment.
There are also stilted villages on the banks of the Tonle Sap Lake. These houses have been built on tall stilts to keep homes from flooding in the wet season. Again, this activity is quite touristy but it’s interesting to see how people adapt to the changing seasons here.
Enjoy your trip to Siem Reap!
Want more info on things to see and do in Siem Reap? Check out our favorite travel guides!
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