SIEM REAP TIPS: THINGS WE WISH WE KNEW BEFORE TRAVELING TO SIEM REAP

Siem Reap, nestled in the heart of Cambodia, is renowned for its ancient temples, and rich culture. It’s a destination that captures the imagination of travelers from around the globe. As avid explorers who have ventured into the depths of Siem Reap, we look back on our journey and can’t help but wish we had known a few crucial Siem Reap tips before setting foot in this city. These Siem Reap tips, born from our own experiences gained along the way, will help you navigate the intricacies of Siem Reap.

Check out our Angkor Wat Comprehensive Guide

 

1. Visa Requirements

One of the first Siem Reap tips to remember is to know the visa requirements before traveling to Cambodia. While many nationalities can obtain a visa on arrival at Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports, you should verify if you need to apply for an e-visa or obtain a visa in advance.

Applying for an e-visa online before your trip can save you time and hassle upon arrival. It’s always recommended to check the official government websites or consult with the Cambodian embassy or consulate in your home country to ensure you have the necessary documentation for a smooth entry into Siem Reap.

 

2. Currency

Let’s talk money! When it comes to currency in Siem Reap, here’s what we learned from our experience. The official currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel (KHR). However, the US dollar is widely accepted and even preferred in many places. So, don’t panic if you don’t have a stash of Cambodian Riel in your wallet.

During our time in Siem Reap, we found it convenient to carry a mix of small denominations in US dollars and Cambodian Riel. It allowed us to handle various transactions smoothly, whether buying souvenirs at the bustling markets or paying for delicious street food. Plus, it made us feel like savvy travelers ready for any situation!

Now, let’s talk about exchange rates. As of our visit, the approximate exchange rate was 1 US dollar to 4000 KHR. Remember that rates may fluctuate, so it’s a good idea to double-check before you exchange your money. We found that exchanging a small amount of cash for Cambodian Riel was sufficient for our day-to-day expenses, as many prices were quoted in US dollars.

Here’s another Siem Reap tips: When paying with US dollars, expect to receive your change in Cambodian Riel if the amount is less than a dollar. Don’t worry; it may seem unclear initially, but you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

Before bidding farewell to Siem Reap, convert any remaining Cambodian Riel back into US dollars. Trust us; you want to avoid being stuck with a pocketful of Cambodian Riel once you leave the country. It’s not widely accepted elsewhere, and finding a place to exchange it can be quite a hassle.

 

3. Transportation

From our Siem Reap tips, we learned that this city is relatively small and easy to navigate, making it a breeze to explore its wonders. When it comes to transportation, tuk-tuks are the go-to choice for many travelers. They are popular and affordable, providing a unique and immersive experience as you whiz through the streets. When it comes to tuk-tuk fares, negotiation is vital! Before you start your journey, please agree on the price with the driver to avoid any misunderstanding later. Having a clear understanding is always good to ensure a hassle-free ride.

If you prefer the convenience of fixed prices and reliable service, consider using a ride-hailing app like Grab or PassApp. These apps provide an easy and transparent way to book transportation, giving you peace of mind and helping you avoid any potential tourist scams. Speaking of PassApp, you’ll need a Cambodian SIM card to use this ride-hailing app. Don’t worry; you can purchase one at the airport or various city center telecommunication stores.

Read our Essential Tips Before Exploring Angkor Wat

Alternatively, you can book a private car for a more comfortable and air-conditioned ride. It comes with a slightly higher price tag, but it’s worth considering, especially if you plan to visit the temples during the scorching hours of the day. It provides a respite from the heat, allowing you to enjoy your temple exploration easily.

 

4. Accommodation

Finding the perfect place to stay in Siem Reap is vital to planning your trip. With many options available, ranging from luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses, you’re sure to find accommodation that suits your budget and preferences. Most hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap are conveniently located in or near the city center. Staying in this central area ensures that you’re just a stone’s throw away from the buzzing energy of the city, allowing you to immerse yourself in its vibrant atmosphere fully.

Check here for a list and the latest prices of where to stay in SIEM REAP, Cambodia

Here’s a travel tip: You should book your accommodation in advance, especially if you plan to visit Siem Reap during the high season. The city tends to get busy with tourists, and securing your preferred accommodation beforehand is a comfortable and stress-free stay. Furthermore, remember that Siem Reap is famous for its stunning temples and hosts yearly events and festivals. So, if you plan to visit during a specific festival or event, please consider the dates and book your accommodation well to secure the best available options.

 

5. Cultural Sensitivity

Another Siem Reap tips is to embrace cultural sensitivity and respect local customs. When visiting temples, it’s advisable to wear modest and respectful attire. Both men and women should have their shoulders and knees covered. Loose-fitting clothing made of lightweight fabric will keep you comfortable while adhering to cultural norms.

Here’s a travel tip to remember: We witnessed some tourists being denied entry from climbing specific temple structures because they needed to be dressed appropriately. It would be best to come prepared with appropriate clothing covering your shoulders and knees to avoid disappointment. This will ensure you can fully explore and appreciate all the wonders of Siem Reap’s temples.

Additionally, Buddhism profoundly influences Cambodian culture; showing reverence and understanding will enhance your travel experience. Refrain from touching or climbing on these sacred objects, as they hold profound spiritual significance for the local people. Instead, take a moment to observe and appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and the spiritual ambiance surrounding them.

 

6. Language

While the official language of Cambodia is Khmer, you’ll find that English is widely spoken in Siem Reap, particularly in tourist areas. This language accessibility makes communication much easier for travelers. However, learning a few basic Khmer phrases can significantly impact your interactions with the locals and show your appreciation for their culture. Simple greetings like “sous-dey” (hello) and “aw kohn” (thank you) can go a long way in connecting with the friendly people of Siem Reap.

Now, here’s a travel tip: If you happen to venture into the halal street, where you can find a variety of delicious Muslim-friendly dishes, you may find that many of the locals there can speak Malay. This is particularly helpful if you are more comfortable conversing in Malay or wish to delve deeper into the local culture while savoring the flavors of Siem Reap.

 

7. Health and Safety

As you navigate the bustling streets of Siem Reap, it’s essential to prioritize your health and safety. Tuk-tuks in Siem Reap are open-air vehicles, which means you’ll be exposed to the elements, including the hot sun. To protect yourself from the sun’s rays, it’s advisable to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses during your tuk-tuk adventures. These simple measures will help safeguard your skin and eyes from the scorching Cambodian sun.

Additionally, Siem Reap’s dusty roads can create a bit of a dusty environment, especially during the dry season. To avoid discomfort and potential respiratory issues, consider wearing a mask, particularly if you’re sensitive to dust or have respiratory conditions. A mask will help filter the air you breathe, keeping it clean and minimizing potential discomfort.

Furthermore, staying hydrated throughout your time in Siem Reap is crucial. The combination of warm temperatures and physical activity can lead to dehydration. Be sure to carry a water bottle and drink plenty of fluids, especially during your tuk-tuk rides and explorations. Opt for bottled water instead of tap water to ensure your safety and well-being.

 

8. Beyond Angkor Wat

While exploring the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat is a must-do when visiting Siem Reap, there are other captivating attractions to discover in and around the city. One such attraction is the Angkor Eye, a mesmerizing Ferris wheel that offers panoramic views of the city. Located near the Angkor Archaeological Park, the Angkor Eye provides a unique perspective of Siem Reap from above. It’s an excellent opportunity to capture stunning photographs and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you ride during the day or opt for a magical evening ride when the city lights up, the Angkor Eye promises a memorable experience for travelers of all ages.

Here’s a travel tip: If you plan to visit the Angkor Eye, check the operating hours and consider purchasing your tickets online to avoid any potential queues. This will save you time and ensure a seamless experience. Remember to bring your camera or smartphone to capture the breathtaking views from the top!

 

In conclusion, Siem Reap is a destination that captures the hearts of travelers with its ancient temples, rich culture, and warm hospitality. As avid explorers who have journeyed through this captivating city, we have shared valuable Siem Reap tips we wish we had known before our adventure. So, embark on your Siem Reap adventure with confidence, curiosity, and an open heart. Let the ancient temples and vibrant culture weave their spell on you as you create unforgettable memories in this captivating city.

 

Wishing you safe travels!

Sue & Renesh

 

* Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some links included in this description are affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide, I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting my blog so I can continue to provide you with free more each week!

 

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