Handy Information About Siem Reap For First Timers
By Lorraine Harding
Here is some handy information if you have never travelled to Siem Reap before…and it is a wonderful place to come for a holiday.
Siem Reap is an easy city to get around because it is small and has one of the 7 Wonders of the World, plus there are a whole lot of other incredible temples for you to see – which is nothing short of stunning.
It is truly an amazing place…and Siem Reap offers much more than many other holiday destinations.
Arranging Your Visa
Siem Reap has its own international airport and is easily accessible by air from several countries.
You can arrange an e-visa prior to departing for your trip, or purchase a visa at the airport when you arrive in Siem Reap.
For visas obtained at the airport – you will need to provide a PASSPORT PHOTO.
There are 2 types of visas available when coming to Cambodia:-
A tourist visa can only be extended however you must leave Cambodia before this time.
Business Visa (Normal Visa)
A business visa can be extended for as long as you choose with 3 months, 6 month and 1-year extensions available.
Cost: $35.00 (for the first month).
Thanks to the Cambodian Government, they have made it easy to extend visas and most people go through an agent when staying for a longer period of time.
If you decide to get your visa at the airport, fill out the paperwork at the desk then give the Customs Officer your:-
TIP: It is best to have the correct money at the airport and a single photograph already cut out.
Getting From The Airport To Your Hotel
The airport is 6 – 8 kilometers (4 – 5 miles) from Siem Reap Airport depending on where your hotel is located.
Getting transportation to your hotel is easy and there is a well organized system put in place at the airport that runs smoothly.
You can get to Siem Reap city via car, tuk-tuk or motorbike.
Once you step outside the airport – you will be directed to a counter, where you will prepay for your vehicle and driver.
The price is set and will take you to your hotel anywhere in Siem Reap:-
- Mini Van – $15.00
- Car – $10.00
- Tuk – Tuk – $9.00
- Motorbike – $9.00
TIP: There is presently one ATM machine at the airport that takes both Visa and Master Card – however, it only dispenses large notes, which can be hard to change and it is advisable to bring some small US dollars with you before arriving.
There are three seasons in Cambodia – cool, dry and wet season.
Cool Season: December – February.
Dry season: March – June: You can expect sunny, dry and hot weather.
Wet season: July – November: During this period it will bring 75% of Cambodia’s rainfall – so when it rains, it pours heavily and be prepared.
In 2016 during these months, it rained for approximately 1 hour per day and the rest of the time was fine.
Plastic raincoats can be purchased in Siem Reap for as little as $1.00.
If you are coming in the wet season a great idea to keep your ticket dry is bring a zip lock bag with you and this will protect your ticket from the rain.
Changing Money and Banks
To change money is an easy process in Siem Reap and there are plenty of money changers on Pub Street and surrounding roads if you are dealing in cash.
Otherwise, there are 4 main banks with many ATM outlets around town.
They take all major bank cards from around the world (Visa or MasterCard) and you can withdraw your money in either US dollars or Cambodian Riel as both are used in Cambodia.
4,000 Riel = US$1 (local rate).
TIP: Traders will take both currencies (or a combination of both), however Riel can come in very small denominations – so select US dollars at the ATM machine or you may end up with a pile of notes.
If you contact your bank beforehand, most will make arrangements so that you can withdraw money from your card at ATM machines while overseas.
It is always a good idea to have travel insurance while traveling overseas…and Cambodia is no exception.
There are several English speaking Doctors in Siem Reap, who are able to assist with minor injuries. However the hospital is not equipped to handle some life-saving emergencies, so air evacuation is arranged to fly to either Singapore or Bangkok.
Water In Siem Reap
Like all countries in Asia, we advise DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER and use bottled water – however most people brush their teeth with the tap water and seem to have no problem.
What About The Food?
The food is completely safe to eat and mostly made up of fresh ingredients…so it is easy to eat healthy in Siem Reap.
There are some wonderful places to dine with a large variety of cuisines available that include Western, Khmer, Indian, Asia, Mexican and Italian…you’re sure to find something to suit your taste.
There are also many small juice bars that have a variety of fruits and vegetables, making you a fresh juice while you wait, which are both healthy and nutritious.
TIP: If you are coming to Siem Reap on a budget – you can get great food for as little as US $1.00.
If you have your own phone you can collect a FREE SIM card at the airport (outside the airport from the booth).
There is lots of free internet in Siem Reap and many establishments such as restaurants, bars and coffee shops offer free WiFi.
Buying Toiletries and Small Items
There are several convenience stores and supermarkets near Pub Street, so it is easy to shop for small items you may need or have forgotten.
People & Culture
Many people in Siem Reap speak English and the official religion is Buddhism.
The people of Cambodian are very religious and will often have shrines in their homes and work.
The Khmer people are friendly, helpful and many of the tuk tuk
drivers like a laugh or joke with you as you walk on by.
Getting Around Siem Reap
Siem Reap is a small city and easy to walk or bicycle around, exploring what is on offer.
There are many hidden gems that you may come across down small, colorful allies that house an array of restaurants and shops.
It is easy to arrange your tours to the temples by either going with a tour company or organizing a private tuk-tuk driver. Most tuk-tuk drivers speak English and are more than happy to help you arrange a visit to the places you would like to see.
All of our locations use Google Maps to make it to find your way around Siem Reap.
Where In The World Is Siem Reap?
Siem Reap is in Cambodia, located in Asia and borders Vietnam, Laos and Thailand making it a central place to come.
Having its own international airport, Siem Reap is an easy place to get to and you can fly directly from several countries.
Siem Reap is 321 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital Phnom Penh, which is convenient to travel back and forth by bus or plane.
Value For Money
Siem Reap is a wonderful place for a holiday and is great value for money. If you are on a budget or looking at high end – and everything in between…Siem Reap has much to offer and is exceptional value for money compared to Europe, Australia and the USA
Siem Reap is a jewel in the crown of Asia…and a holiday you’ll never forget