My visit to Siem Reap started off a little rocky. I planned my trip to Cambodia while I was in Bangkok. I had booked my transportation there and back as well as 3 nights accommodation. Booking this far in advance was a mistake as it didn’t allow for any flexibility. My bus picking me up was late (making we worry it would even show up at all), I had some trouble at the border, and my preplanned hostel was booked so I ended up in a 3-star hotel full of old folks!
My time in Siem Reap was interesting, to say the least. I ended up at the Hongtep Hotel. It was a fifteen minute walk outside of the city. A nice place, had a pool, and a lovely room, but no one to really talk to as it was primarily families and older couples there. Also, it being out of the central part of the city I wasn’t comfortable walking back by myself as there were no street lights!
3 Day Itinerary
Day One: Arrival
Whether you’re flying into Cambodia, or taking the bus from Bangkok like I did, your first day will be a lot of formalities. Finding and checking into your hotel and checking out the area. I suggest staying around the night market, there are tons of guest houses and hostels surrounding it and its walking distance from everything you’ll need.
Wander around and get a feel for the area. I loved the food at the food and shopping village on King’s Road. Of course while you are here, you are going to want to see Angkor Wat. There are three ticket options:
1 Day: $20USD
3 Days: $40 USD (any 3 days in a 7 day period)
1 Week: $60USD
Note: Cambodia does have its own currency (the riel), but accepts the US Dollar – many prices are even printed in USD.
Unless you’re a historian, avid photographer or archaeologist, the one day pass really is enough. 3 days at most. More than that it all just becomes a pile of rocks. I went with the 1-day pass – and it has a special benefit. You can purchase it the evening before and go into the grounds at 5 pm the night before.
So, on your first day, grab a tuk-tuk around 4:30 and get yourself your ticket. Then you can go in and watch the sunset at the temples. You can then use this same ticket the next day as early as 5-am.
That evening make your way down to pub street for some food, drinks, and anything else you may want. My favourite place was ‘Temple Bar’ where you can watch traditional dancing and music during your dinner, and afterwards, go to the attached club if you wish.
Day Two: Angkor Wat
You can visit Angkor Wat as early as 5-am to catch the sunrise if you so desire. I wasn’t this ambitious, but it’s an option.
Your tuk-tuk driver can set up a route for you, or you can tell him exactly where you’d like to go at what time. I didn’t really know where I wanted to go, so I often got dropped off at one exit/entrance and would be picked up at another. He just waited until I got there.
There are some areas that have restaurants or vendors with food and water for when you need it. Of course, there are little souvenir vendors inside as well, but not too many.
You can spend the day wandering around, taking in the history, taking lots of photos.
That evening you can take in the night market. If you get tired of walking at any point grab a foot massage – there are people all over the night market that do them – and the prices are fantastic – as low as $2 USD!
If you still have energy, you can head out for some drinks at pub street of if you were up early and now exhausted it may be time to call it a night.
Day Three: Everything Else
Depending on what you’re leaving Siem Reap. There are a few things you can get up to on day three.
- Go on an ATV Tour
- Visit the War Memorial Museum
- Visit the Killing Fields
- Check out the floating village
- Take a cooking class
- Try your hand at an escape room!
There are many different things you can get up to regardless of your remaining schedule. Personally, I made a visit to the floating village. I went at a good time and ended up on my own personal boat tour! It was just myself, the driver, and the guide. We stopped at a floating school, a market, a church, and there was even a shop with an alligator farm (that last bit was just for the tourists).