You can wander around the temples for days trying to understand the thousands stories they shelter or you can also simply admire them and enjoy. Obviously we are not the only ones liking Siem Reap. This is a very touristy destination for tourists from all over the world. Despite the fact that it can get busy with tourists, it still has an atmosphere. Something special. And if you venture in the lesser known and remote temples then you are in for an Indiana Jones like experience.
The good news is that it’s pretty easy to visit so it makes it a great destination to take your kids or parents.
How accessible is it from Singapore?
Ideally you want to go there for minimum 3 days. Given the flights schedule from Singapore, you will need a very minimum of 2 and half days (Friday afternoon off) to visit Siem Reap.
The total door to door journey from (your home/office in) Singapore to your hotel in Siemp Reap will take you about 4 hours 15 minutes. This includes the flight and taxi transfer to your hotel in Siem Reap.
How much is this going to cost us?
- Transport from Singapore will cost you from SGD 760 return for 2 pax with direct flights. This includes the air tickets and the car transfers. You can find cheaper tickets if you connect through Phnom Penh.
- Accommodation wise… you will find a range of accommodation. From a few dollars backpacker guesthouse to luxurious hotels. Overall, accommodation is cheap in Cambodia.
- Visas and entrance fees. You will have to pay entrance fees (USD 40 for 3 days) and a visa on arrival fees (for non ASEAN nationals).
Overall, it’s a relatively affordable destination since the cost of living for tourists in Cambodia is low. Of course, the bill can get bigger if you plan to stay in luxurious hotels.
How remote and risky is it?
Despite minor issues (such as scams for instance), Siem Reap is safe. Don’t worry about the antipersonnel mines. They’ve been removed from the touristic area. Medical infrastructures are decent and Bangkok is not that far in case you need to get some serious care.
What about the kids?
Siem Reap is a family friendly destination and you can bring kids and babies. Get a tuk-tuk to take the family around or rent a car with a driver if you are concerned about the heat. Bring a baby carrier to explore the temples.
When should we go?
Connections from Siem Reap
Siem Reap makes a great stand alone destination for a long weekend. However, you could combine this trip with Cambodian capital city, Phnom Penh, and, if you need to work on your tan, Sihanoukville. Alternatively, you could also fly to Bangkok in Thailand or Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Getting from Singapore to Siem Reap
Jetstar operates direct flight from Singapore.
Getting there: Jetstar – Singapore (SIN) to Siem Reap (REP) – 1.55 PM – 3.15 PM (2h20 flight)
Coming back: Jetstar – Siem Reap to Singapore – 4PM – 7.20 PM
Return ticket from SGD 340.
A lot of airlines fly through Phnom Penh for a cheaper price. If you have time, another option is to fly to Phnom Penh and then take a boat or bus to Siem Reap. You can combine your trips to Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.
Via Phnom Penh
- By bus, from Phnom Penh. 6 hours, tickets range from USD 5 to 11 (depending on the level of comfort). Bus tickets can be bought at the bus terminal in Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. You can also arrange for a pickup from your hotel to the bus terminal in Phnom Penh. Buses usually leave early morning – try not to take a bus that travels during night time. Don’t forget your earplugs in the bus as the KTV can be VERY loud! (but that’s part of the charm, isn’t it?). The bus will leave you at the Siem Reap bus station, 3 km east of the city, from where you can get a tuk tuk, taxi or moto to the city.
- By boat, from Phnom Penh. 5 to 6 hours, tickets cost USD 35. The boat departs at 7:30 AM daily from Phnom Penh Port on Sisowath Quay (near St 104). You can buy tickets at your hotel / guesthouse. The boat will leave you at Chong Kneas, about 12 km south of Siem Reap. From there, a motodop or a tuk tuk will take you to the city for approx USD 5-8. Take your earplugs on the boat too. The engine noise can be quite annoying after a while. And don’t forget your sunblock if you are staying on the deck (you’ve been warned).
Get your ticket NOW to enjoy the best fares. Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flight
Getting from Siem Reap airport to the city
The airport is about 7km away from Siem Reap city center. You have a few options. You can also check with your hotel if they can arrange the transport (but keep in mind the cost to get to the city center is relatively cheap so it might not be worth it). The journey should not take you more than 20 minutes.
- A Motodop (mop taxi) from the airport to the city will cost you around USD 2,
- A Taxi around USD 7 and
- A Van around USD 10.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
You can find anything from cheap guesthouses to charming boutique hotels such as Mystere d’Angkor Siem Reap Lodge with swimming pool and a nice restaurant for approx USD 60. We also highly recommend Sala Lodges.
There are plenty of options to stay depending on your budget. Book your tickets with Agoda
or, if you prefer, book with
To see & to do in Siem Reap
A few ideas of things to do and see.
Temples of Angkor
That’s the reason you’re here, right? And it’s a good reason. Angkor is the world largest religious complex. And it’s amazing. If you think there are nice temples in Asia, wait until you see these.
As a tourist, the entrance will cost you USD 20 for 1 day, USD 40 for 3 days and USD 60 for 1 week.
There is one trick: tickets bought after 5pm are valid for the next day. So if you arrive in the afternoon, it’s a good idea to go get your tickets at 5pm to enjoy the sunset that day and then do a full day visit the next day. By the way, we are not big fans of the sunset view from the hilltop (the view is nothing extraordinary and it’s crowed). However, Angkor Wat at sunrise is worth getting up at 5AM (also because it’s cooler and less crowed).
The other trick is that the 3 day pass can be used on non consecutive day within 7 days. So if you plan to make a break in your visits, you can do so, but make sure you double check and request this when buying your tickets.
Suggestion for 1 day:
If you have only one day, go visit Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm and Bayon. The late afternoon light on the Bayon is amazing.
Suggestion for 2 days:
If you have 2 days, you can do the small circuit (17km): Beginning at Angkor Wat, you will then see Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and Banteay Kdei, and some of the minor temples such as the Baphoun, The Terrace of the Leper King, The Terrace of the Elephants, the Twelve Prasats, Spean Thma and Sras Srang before closing the loop at Angkor Wat.
Suggestion for 3 days:
On your third day, you can go explore a more remote temple like the India Jones style Beng Mealea (65 km north east of Angkor, extra USD5 admission fee). You can hire a tuk tuk or taxi for the day to get there. Take some water and food as there is nothing there but jungle and (beautiful) stones. The temple has not been restored so don’t expect to see Angkor Wat but the Indiana Jones atmosphere is quite nice. Rocks are slippery and it can be very hot so this one is recommended for people in good condition only. Alternatively you can go visit the fine Benteay Srei temples (32km north east from Siem Reap)
How to go best visit the Angkor temples and go from one temple to another:
- By Tuk tuk: a full day rental with driver ( up to 4 pax) USD15-20. Prices can go up to USD 50 for remote temples. Our favorite as you are protected from heat and rain but still very connected with the environment. Negotiate the price and circuit before you go.
- By Moto-dop: less comfortable but a good option if you are on your own. Around USD10 a day.
- By car: from USD40 per day for the central part, up to USD80 for the remote temples (like Beng Mealea).
- By Bicycle: from USD 1 to 4 depending on the bike model. Nice but can be quite exhausting, especially if it’s hot. You want to save some energy to visit the temples…
- By Foot: for the bravest and the ones staying for a few days. Don’t forget to bring water and a cap.
Honestly, the most interesting thing to do in Siem Reap is to visit the temples. So if you have little time, you should focus on this. However, if you have more time or if you need a break from the temples, Jayavarman V, VII and their friends, you can have a look at the below:
Floating village on the Tonle Sap
The Mechrey village (11km from Siem Reap) has become quite touristy, however, the trip to get there is quite nice. You can rent a bike or get a tuk tuk to take you there.
Artisans d’Angkor aims at reviving traditional Khmer by training craftsmen. You can visit the showrooms and workshops from 7.30 am to 6.30 pm and, of course, buy local quality (and pricey) souvenirs. There are other options for shopping in Siem Reap. Just look around and you will see many shops.
And of course,
The usual massages, cooking classes, motorbike tours in the region, etc
More info to prepare your trip
Wifi is available in most of the hotels, bars & restaurants in Siem Reap (not in the temple area).
What to pack for Siem Reap
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
- Language: Khmer
- Time zone: Cambodia GMT + 7 , 1h ahead of Singapore
- Currency: Both Khmer Riels (KHR) and US Dollars (USD). USD for most expenses, restaurants, shopping, entrance to museum, etc. Khmer Riels are used for small purchases and street stalls.
- Phone: + 855
- Electricity: 220V 50 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
Visa on Arrival can be obtained for most of the nationalities (check at the Cambodian embassy in your country) at the Visa Counter upon arrival at the airport.
Entry Visa requirements for a Tourist visa (30 days for single entry):
- Passport valid for at least 4 months from the expiry date
- A recent photograph (4 x 6) or pay USD 2 per person
- Visa fee payment – USD 30 per person (children included) (USD bank notes only).
Visa exemption for tourists holding passports from Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
National Public Holidays in Cambodia
|Thursday||January 01||International New Year Day|
|Wednesday||January 07||Victory over Genocide Day|
|Tuesday||February 03||Meak Bochea Day|
|Monday||March 09||International Woman’s Day (observed)|
|Tuesday||April 14||Khmer New Year Day|
|Wednesday||April 15||Khmer New Year Holiday|
|Thursday||April 16||Khmer New Year Holiday|
|Friday||May 01||International Labour Day|
|Sunday||May 03||Visak Bochea Day|
|Monday||May 04||Visak Bochea Holiday|
|Thursday||May 07||Royal Plowing Ceremony|
|Wednesday||May 13||King’s Birthday|
|Thursday||May 14||King’s Birthday Holiday|
|Friday||May 15||King’s Birthday Holiday|
|Monday||June 01||Children’s Day|
|Thursday||June 18||Kings Mother Birthday|
|Thursday||September 24||Constitutional Day|
|Monday||September 28||Ancestors Day|
|Tuesday||September 29||Ancestors Day Holiday|
|Thursday||October 15||Commemoration Day of King’s Father|
|Friday||October 23||Paris Peace Agreements Day|
|Thursday||October 29||King’s Coronation Day|
|Monday||November 09||Independence Day|
|Tuesday||November 24||Water Festival Ceremony|
|Wednesday||November 25||Water Festival Ceremony Holiday|
|Thursday||November 26||Water Festival Ceremony Holiday|
|Thursday||December 10||International Human Rights Day|
* Check the exact date as it varies from one year to another – check on this website. When Public Holidays falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday will be Public Holiday.