Get your walking shoes on if you’re planning on exploring Siem Reap, you’re going to need them. Ohh and your purse. This won’t be a cheap trip.
There’s only one reason a traveller visits Siem Reap and that’s to visit the Angkor Wat temples. This UNESCO world heritage site contains over a dozen temples built around the 12th century with a little help from our elephant friends. After that Siem Reap hosts a pretty vibrant nightlife. I’d give yourself about four or five days in this city to fully accomplish everything here.
When you get to Siem Reap you’ll need a good tuk tuk driver as this will be your guy for the next few days. We booked our room on air bnb and our host Da was amazing. He arranged a driver for us for the whole of our stay. Any time we needed him he was there. It was great. Top tip from Holly, always agree on a price before you get into a tuk tuk. You wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of the locals.
We did the Angkor wat temples in 3 days although, if you can power through I think you’d be able see most of these in just one day. 3 day tickets cost $62 and 1 day costs $34, which does seem quite expensive but some of the temples are amazing and highly worth it. It’s a shame they don’t do 2 day tickets because they would of been perfect for us. On top of the price of tickets you also have to pay a tuk tuk driver for the day which is around $15-$20. You could attempt the day without one but you’ll 100% regret it. So it’s not a cheap date.
On the first day me and Matt visited the main attractions. The Angkor Wat, The Bayon, and the Ta Prohm also know as the ‘tomb raider’ temple . Theres loads of monkeys running around some of the temples, they are such cuties but be cautious around them. After these we were absolutely knackered and in desperate need of a cold beer. Who knew it could be so tiring exploring Siem Reap.
On the second visit we woke super super early, it was hard but we wanted to catch the sun rise over the Angkor Wat temple. Apparently so did 1000s of other people. I did not expect it to be as busy as it was. Everyone climbing over each other to get the perfect shot, kids trying to sell you brikabrak and every other guy trying to sell you coffee. Do not expect romance and a peaceful sunrise. Honestly I could of passed if I’d known it was going to be like that.
Anyways, after the sun was up we rushed to visit a few of the smaller temples before they became swamped with tourists too. One of the ones we visited was beautiful, submerged under water and only reachable by a long walk along a jetty, would highly recommend visiting this one. I think we ended up going back home around 1ish, because we were absolutely knackered and needed naps asap.
On the last day we had pretty much done most of the temples, and definitely templed out. There was a small complex of about 3 or 4 temples that we went to visit. We were only out for a couple of hours on the last day hence the reason why I feel you only really need 2 days but they don’t sell 2 day tickets unfortunately. If you was a avid walker and hiker, you could probably smash out everything worth seeing in one day starting at 5am and finishing up around 4pm, maybe. But I am super unfit and my legs could not carry me that far. Nope.
Each night after a day of exploring Siem Reap and the many temples, we headed to pub street for all our food and drink needs. There’s a buzzing nightlife here filled with all cuisines, pizza, Mexican, Asian, and BBQ. If you want to be really adventurous there are plenty of food vendors selling scorpions, snakes and other bugs on sticks. Yuckkkkkk. All with a varying price range. Most places have quite good happy hour offers as well, including 50c beers. A bar we kept finding ourselves back in was called Cosy bar, just off of pub street. It was cheap, chilled and the staff were fun. If a bar crawl is your thing there’s one you can easily get involved with.
About a five minute walk away from pub street across the river is a big night market. Selling all the usual stuff you find across Asia. Jewellery, fakes, elephant pants etc. Again it’s Asia so bartering comes with the territory. I picked up a cute woven hat and matt got some trainers.
After you’ve conquered the temples and spent a few nights at pub street that’s pretty much Siem Reap covered. There are other little activities you can do such as the art galleries and silk farms, but me and Matt thought it was time to head on to the next place.
And that’s my time exploring Siem Reap. Next up one action packed day in Battambang.