The Ultimate Siem Reap Budget Travel Guide
Siem Reap is one of Cambodia’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to the world-famous Angkor Archeological Park. The name Siem Reap is from the local Khmer dialect and means “defeat of Siam.” The name is said to have been given to the city by King Ang Chan.
Before its rise to prominence, Siem Reap was a little known quiet village in Cambodia. At the turn of the 20th century, an expedition into the nearing forest would change the fate of this quiet region forever. About the same time, Angkor was rediscovered, thrusting Siem Reap into the limelight as archeologists and tourists gained interest in the previously little-known haven. The village thrived and bloomed into the current stunning city.
Today, Siem Reap boasts world-famous accommodation which ranges from luxury hotels to budget hotels and restaurants. There are dozens of eateries and clubs lining the streets of the city, all ready to host tourists eager to explore the ancient ruins of Angkor. The temples at Angkor Archeological Park never cease to impress, which is why this park is truly one of Southeast Asia’s most remarkable places.
In this Siem Reap Travel Guide, our aim is to give you the most helpful budget tips, DIY Travel tips, places to stay, things to do and see, sample budget itinerary, places to eat and more.
Best time to visit Siem Reap
If you’re looking for the best experience in this stunning destination, plan to visit during the dry months between November and April. Luckily, Siem Reap is in the cooler northern region of Cambodia, with temperatures averaging about 25°C during the dry season. These conditions are perfect for outdoor adventures.
Climate in Cambodia
- Cool season: November- March (23-29c)
- Hot season: March-May (27c -37c)
- Rainy season: May – October (24c-33c)
How to get there
From Manila, Philippines
One of Siem Reap’s admirable qualities is that it’s easily accessible from almost every other major city in the region. There are direct flights from Manila, with the cheapest direct flights provided by Cebu Pacific Air. A direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap takes about 2 hours.
From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
For those who don’t mind a stop at Kuala Lumpur, then you may use AirAsia, whose prices are a great bargain, too. From KL, It takes about 2 hours and 5 minutes to reach Siem Reap International Airport.
Siem Reap International Airport is about 7 km from the town center. Unless your hotel offers free airport transfers, here are the other options:
- Prepaid taxis cost US$12, see the prepaid booth just outside the terminal.
- Prepaid Tuktuk rides are also available for $9.
- Motodop (motorbike taxi) for US$5.
QUICK TIP: Be sure to pick up your free Siem Reap Angkor Visitors Guide and the useful Siem Reap Pocket Guide from the airport or at your hotel’s concierge. It contains helpful info on Siem Reap and the Angkor Archaeological Park, including recommended hotels, bars, restaurants, shops, and travel maps.
Visa for Cambodia
If you are a Philippine Passport holder, then you may get into Cambodia visa-free up to 21 days.
Visitors to Siem Reap have a variety of options for getting around the city.
- Grab a Bike – For those looking for a budget way to tour Siem Reap, biking is your best option. Expect to pay about $1 for the whole day bike rental.
- Tuktuk – Tuktuks are quite popular in Siem Reap, too. If you’re traveling alone or as a couple, expect to pay up to $15 for a day. Tuktuk rentals typically charge $18 for a party of three, which is more affordable if you can form a group and split the cost.
- Taxi – If you’re looking for a little luxury, then a taxi is a convenient way to experience some. Although you get to pay about twice as much as you’d pay for a Tuktuk, you get to enjoy some conveniences such as some freshwater and cold towels.
- Green E-bikes can be found throughout the city. $10 per 24 hours, open 7am-7pm. There are designated charge points within the small and big tour sections of Angkor. One hour charge gives you 5 km. A full charge is 42km. A passport is required for Green E-bikes rental.
Learn some local lingo
Khmer is the language spoken by most people here. Before visiting the city, you can learn some of the commonest phrases in Khmer online, although the locals are very friendly and will be willing to teach you a few phrases during your visit. That said, here are some common words and phrases you can use during your visit:
- Hello – Choum Reap Sue
- How are you? – Ta neaksoksabayteh?
- Please – Suommehta
- Sorry/excuse me – Sohmdtoh
- Thank you – Or-koon
- Yes – Baat (men)/ Chaas (Women)
- No – Dteh
- Where is…..?- Nov erna?
- I need a doctor – K`nyomtrouvkrouhpeit
- I’m lost – K’nyomvungvehngplouv
Places to Stay in Siem Reap
Siem Reap has a variety of accommodation options for visitors in the city. For those looking for high-end accommodation, you can opt to stay in these hotels:
Angkor Paradise Hotel
(Check Rates and Availability)
Address: National Road No 6, Phum Sala Kangseng,, Sangkat Svay Dangkoum, Krong Siem Reap 17000, Cambodia
The Angkor paradise hotel is a fantastic 5-star hotel where they serve great food. There are happy hour deals that will be keeping you lounging on the bar a while. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi, free parking and rates are inclusive of breakfast. The rooms are impeccably clean and have air conditioning. Enjoy some time on the pool if you love swimming, or sample different cuisines at the restaurant.
Tresor d’Angkor Suite
(Check Rates and Availability)
Address: Krous Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
The Tresor d’Angkor Suite is an excellent getaway that offers a lot of nice characteristics of luxury hotels in Siem Reap. There’s free Wi-Fi, free parking, great rooms, and top-notch customer service. There’s an excellent patio for drinks and breakfast. Upon request, the hotel will arrange a Tuktuk within minutes for you.
For those who are looking for Budget Hotels, here are the two highly recommended places to stay:
(Check Rates and Availability)
Address: Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Dorm Point is an excellent place to stay is you’re looking to save money. For about $2, you not only get a place to spend the night but free Wi-Fi, free parking, air conditioning and breakfast at their restaurant. There’s airport transportation nearby too.
Champei Khmer Guesthouse
(Check Rates and Availability)
Address: National Road 6, Banteay chas sangkat, Slor kram communce., Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Another budget hotel, the Champei Khmer Guesthouse provides lots of niceties at an affordable amount. There’s free parking, free Wi-Fi, room service and free breakfast.
Also See: Top Ten Hotels in Siem Reap Cambodia
Best Places to Eat in Siem Reap
Le Bel Air
Address: 116 street 26, Siem Reap, Siemreab-Otdar Meanchey, Cambodia Cambodge
Le Bel Air is the perfect place to sample top quality Belgian and Franco-Belgian cuisine such as steamed mussels. It’s a culinary experience worth sampling and will erase any bad food experiences you’ve had in the past. Beer prices are great at this hotel too.
The Fresh Fruit Factory
Address: Taphul Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Another nice place to eat too, especially if you are looking for a tasty smoothie and some delicious pancakes.
Address: Chocolate Rd, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Another hotel famed for exceptional cuisine, The Haven provides a wide range of mouthwatering cuisines at great prices. The oreo cheesecake, Khmer curry and salt, and pepper calamari are favorites of many.
Things to Do and See in Siem Reap
Siem Reap abounds with exciting activities for everyone. You could try any of the following ones.
Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours
Experience a tour of Floating Village and Tonle Sap Lake by boat
You can also opt for one of the many exciting outdoor adventures such as Angkor Wat Park Zip Line Adventure from Siem Reap
Tours & Sightseeing
There are plenty of exciting places for touring and sight-seeing including Angkor Temples
Visit ancient ruins
The city is famous for such ruins as Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat, and Ta Prohm
Food, Wine & Nightlife
You can learn to make local cuisines by taking the Cambodian Village Cooking Class before later taking the Siem Reap Street Food Evening Tour.
Wi-Fi and Internet Access
You can easily buy a sim card at the airport once you’ve landed in Cambodia. Wi-Fi is almost omnipresent in the city with almost every hotel, café, guest house and club providing it for free. Many places in the city offer co-working space at very low rates in case you want to use it Wi-Fi out of your hotel.
Best Places to Shop in Siem Reap
There are lots of stylish boutiques, crafts markets and artisanal workshops in Siem Reap that are usually open well into the night. These include Sombai, Angkor Night Market, Angkor Handicraft Association, Old Market, Lucky Mall and Gemological Institute of Cambodia.
You can find many places in the city to exchange your US dollars, PHP or other currency into Riel (KHR), although most facilities readily accept USD and pesos.
If you want to bring Riel (Cambodian Currency) and stop worrying about where to change currency in Cambodia, I recommend Sanry’s Money Changer. Sanry’s has branches in Glorietta, Greenbelt, Paseo de Roxas (+63(2)8938520), Greenhills, Market-Market, Alabang Town Center, and Trinoma.
Money Saving Tips
- Using US dollars instead of pesos goes a long way in saving you some of your hard-earned cash as the rates for pesos are crazy in this city.
- Consider staying in budget hotels too to save more money.
- The Old Market is quite affordable compared to other places so you may want to shop there.
- Also, if you must use Tuktuks, consider traveling in groups.
Top Siem Reap Guided Tour Packages
There are different tour packages that you can opt for while visiting Siem Reap.
Angkor Temples Small-Group Tour
This full-day tour of Angkor Temple Complex takes to see the world-famous Angkor Wat. You also get to visit the jungle temple of Ta Prohm and the smiling stone heads of the Bayon temple. Some tour package includes a sumptuous Cambodian lunch.
- Visit the Angkor Thom complex where you will explore the fascinating beauty of Bayon and the world-famous Ta Prohm (Tomb-Raider) Temple
- Marvel at the enormous and beautiful Angkor Wat, one of the largest religious monuments in the world
- The temples on this tour are among the biggest in the Angkor Complex
- Visit Phnom Bakheng at sunset, which has a 300 person limit at the peak, so we keep the group small to ensure you enjoy this marvelous stop!
Angkor Wat and The Royal Temples Full-Day Tour
This is a private full-day tour of Angkor Wat and the royal temples. You get to explore the Bayon. Visitors can also view the royal enclosures and the Baphoun temple, as well as tour the Phimeanakas. Included in the package is a Khmer-style lunch.
Full-Day Angkor Tour by TukTuk
This tour starts at Sunrise where a Tuktuk will pick you up at Siem Reap. You get to view the majestic Angkor Wat as the sun rises. A knowledgeable tour guide takes you through the World Heritage complex. You get to experience Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm too.
Full-day bicycling tour of Angkor Wat
This tour starts at sunrise, so you get to enjoy the view of Angkor Wat at this time. You’ll pay for the entrance to the park. A tour guide takes you to see the ancient monuments at the park such as the Elephant Terrace, Bayon and Ta Prom. You also get to learn the history of the area.
Bike the Temples
- Embark on a 30km biking adventure of nature and temples
Dig into lunch at a local restaurant, plus enjoy fruit, snacks, and water throughout.
- Listen closely to your local English-speaking guide who will tell you all about the area.
- Kids sized bikes are available too so the whole family can get involved.
Sunset Dinner on Tonle Sap Lake with a Floating Village Tour
This tour is a little different from the rest as you get to see the sights from the water. a professional guide tales you through the tour. Included in this all-inclusive, family-friendly tour are free drinks and buffet dinner.
Sunrise Angkor Exploration Tour
- Walk through Angkor Wat and marvel at the incredibly intricate carvings on its walls
- Witness a sunrise unlike any other at the beautiful Angkor Wat Temple, one of the largest religious monuments
- Explore the beautiful Bayon Temple, known for the many mysterious faces engraved on its towers
- Wander in awe at the beauty of the world-famous Ta Prohm Temple, surrounded by massive trees
- Convenient hotel transfers as well as expert commentary from your local tour guide!
Sample Siem Reap Itinerary and Budget
Assuming you are visiting Siem Reap and staying in a budget hotel like King Angkor Villa ($12.22) for two days, here’s a sample itinerary and budget for the most popular places in the city. The list does not cover money spent on accidents or beer.
Room: $24.44 ($12.2 X 2 nights)
- Arrival in Siem Reap
- Old Market (FREE)
- Angkor National Museum ($12)
- Cambodia Cooking Class ($24)
- Bike Rental: $1
- Angkor Tour – Entrance Fee: $37
- Angkor Night Market
- Dinner at Pub Street /RnR
- Lights out
- Tuktuk: $15
- OLD market (FREE)
Assuming the hotel you book offers free breakfast, then you should spend about $25 on meals if you limit your expenses to $5 per meal. Add $10 for incidentals like snacks and refreshments. If you follow this itinerary, then the total cost of your trip should be $59 per day, excluding airfare or train transfers depending on how you’re traveling.
More Travel Tips:
- Bring a refillable water bottle – It’s always hot and humid in Cambodia and you need to stay hydrated. By bringing your refillable water bottle, you are not just saving the environment by eliminating plastics, you will also save money (I refill water at the hotel and restaurants).
- Bring a comfortable footwear
- Appropriate attire when visiting temples – The basic rule is to cover your shoulders and knees (both sexes), and ideally, you’d cover your ankles too.
Published on: Mar 29, 2018
Updated June 20, 2018
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