Siem Reap, Cambodia…I love you. I adore the people. I’m obsessed the temples. I am moved by the history. I can’t get enough of the buzz in the city. The food is amazing. Nothing but LOVE…There are SO many temples around the region that it would take one at least a month to see them all. I’ve highlighted the MUST sees in 3 days below.
Visa For Cambodia:
We’re American’s, so it was necessary that we have a Visa to go to Cambodia. You can apply for a Cambodia E-Visa at least 2 weeks prior to leaving. This allows ample time for processing. Upon arrival, customs is very fast and easy, just present your printed E-Visa information. The cost is $30USD/pp
Where To Stay In Siem Reap:
Borei Angkor Resort & Spa
The Borei Hotel had outstanding service and rooms (4-5 star). They’ll even pack you a breakfast for your early morning Angkor Wat excursion. It’s Located 10 minutes ($2 by tuk tuk) from downtown/Pub Street. The rate includes a HUGE breakfast buffet (one of the best we’ve seen)! $65USD/night
Aspara Centrepole Hotel
The Apsara Centrepole Hotel is located within walking distance to Pub Street (the Main Street in Siem Reap). This hotel has spacious, clean rooms and great service. $34USD/night
How To Get Around Siem Reap:
From The Airport: It’s best to arrange transport with your accommodation from the airport, to make for an easy arrival.
Getting Around Town via Tuk Tuk: We had the MOST AMAZING tuk tuk driver that we utilized for our entire stay.Adam is a local Cambodian, with great english, comparable rates and lots of knowledge about the temples/sights to see. He was polite and punctual and I’m so happy to give him more business, as he has a family to provide for. His English name is Adam and he can be contacted via email at [email protected] or via Fa cebook (Name: Davuth Kang
Itinerary of Temples In Siem Reap:
Your Tuk Tuk driver will help you arrange an itinerary of the best temples to see during your time in Siem Reap, and I’ve listed here the one that Adam provided for us.
DAY ONE IN SIEM REAP
Temple ticket purchase: $40 per person for a 3 day pass, $20 for a one day pass
1. Angkor Wat:
If you want to see it at sunrise, then prepare to walk up at 4am. If you’re going to wake up early, it may as well be for the largest religious moment in the world. Built in the 12th century AD, making it over 900 years old, it was initally a Hindu temple for the God Vishnu, but was later transformed to a Buddhist temple.
Known as the Tomb Raider Temple, this gorgeous structure is such a cool marriage between nature and a man made building.
3. Ta Nei:
Located deep in the jungles of Angkor, this is not a popular tourist stop, so you’ll really enjoy some peaceful moments amongst untouched ruins.
4. Ta Keo:
One of the tallest monuments of Angkor.
5.Angkor Thom South Gate:
The best preserved gate of the 5 main gates.
6. Bayon Temple:
Located in the center of the city, Angkor Thom, and best known as the ‘Temple of Many Faces,’ this was our FAVORITE temple, besides Angkor Wat.
7. Phnom Bakheng:
A Hindu and Buddhist Temple in the form of a temple mountain. Recommended for sunsets, as you can see for miles, it’s a 20 minute trek up a dirt hill, so be sure to wear proper footwear.
DAY TWO IN SIEM REAP
1. Preah Khan:
Translated as ‘Sacred Sword’ the endless amount of corridors inside made this our 3rd favorite temple. Be sure to take photos inside the doorways, they are just incredible.
A beautiful temple with a massive tree overwhelming the entrance.
This temple was never finished, but the construction that was done is so impressive.
A mountain temple, which translates to ‘Turn The Body’, so it’s believed that funerals were held here.
Banteay Syrei translates to ‘The Citadel of the Women,’ it’s though to have been built by women. This one takes about an hour to get to…it’s quite far away from town and all the other temples, but the pinkish color of the stone is amazing, making it a MUST see.
6.Phare Circus (8pm):
See Details Below. DO NOT MISS THIS–BUY TICKETS BEFORE!
DAY THREE IN SIEM REAP
A one hour journey from town through dirt backroads/villages, you’ll get a real picture of the countryside/life of Cambodia. The floating village is a MUST see, but do know, it’s quite heart-wrenching as the poverty here is so vast. You’ll take 3 different boats along your journey: Boat #1 is a long, 4 person motorized boat that will take you through the grassy river, while Boat #2 (a larger boat) actually takes you through the floating village. Boat #3 is a small, rowboat, rowed by a local woman. Here you’ll wind through a vast array of trees and wildlife. It’s a beautiful, peaceful experience and one of the highlights of our trip. Cost: Boat 1 &2 $25USD, Boat 3 $5USD
Comprised of three temples: Bakong, Preah Ko, Lolei and Prei Monti. Bakong is the highlight of the three.
DAY FOUR IN SIEM REAP
The journey to Ben Mealea is over one hour and should be done by car, as a Tuk Tuk can be quite uncomfortable at that length of a distance. This temple is completely overtaken by nature. The total cost for a car for one day trip is $50USD.
Things To Do In Siem Reap:
‘More than just a circus, the Phare Circus’ performers use theater, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell unique Cambodian stories; historical, folk and modern. The young circus artists will astonish you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm and talent.’
This was BY FAR the highlight of our trip to Siem Reap, besides Angkor Wat, of course. You MUST GO SEE THIS. Be sure to book tickets ahead of time, as they fill up quickly. Also, pay the extra for the VIP front row seating, it’s totally worth it! Cost per entry ranges from $18-$35USD depending on the seating and the season. Shows run nightly daily.
Pub Street is the GO TO place every day/night for souvenir shopping, bar hopping, restaurants, street food, massages, and people watching.
The Angkor Night Market is your typical night market full of souvenirs and random items. Be SURE to bargain!
Massages at Pura Vida:
The BEST way to end your temple hopping days is to have a foot massage ($4USD) and/or full body massage ($9USD). We liked Pura Vida Massage best because they seemed the cleanest, had the best service and they had multiple locations all over town.
Where To Eat In Siem Reap:
Genevieve’s restaurant is SO SO SO amazing for both service and local food! We ate here 3 times during our stay in Siem Reap. Be sure to get the Lok Lak, Amok Chicken, or Khmer Curry. Yum Yum Yum!
II Forno is a great option for awesome pizza and bruschetta! They even have Prosecco!
Khmer House is another great place to get cheap, delicious, local food!
TIPS ABOUT CAMBODIA:
Scarfs are not enough cover ups for some of the temples, so bring a long sleeved shirt.
Bring an umbrella, sunscreen, a hat, water, snacks, and wear comfortable shoes.
US Dollars are the primary currency, although they will give you Cambodian currency as small change after purchasing items.
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