For many people Siem Reap is just a destination to go to for ease of access to Angkor Wat.
There is more to the area than that though and is worthy of a few days to explore wider than the magnificent temples.
Voted 20th in the 2020 Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards Popular Destinations.
Peak season in Siem Reap (and for visiting Angkor Wat) is from late November to April. Rainfall is low, if not non-existant, and temperatures sit in the mid to late 20°C/77-82°F for much of the time. The temperature does rise during March and April so beware.
End of April and May is the time when the weather starts to turn. Showers become more frequent although can be pleasant breaks from the heat.
Wet season really arrives from June and ramps up until September which is the wettest month of the year. The rainfall is often made up of fairly short, but heavy showers, which can make this time of year more pleasant for some travelers especially with smaller crowds around the temples.
There are no direct flights from the UK to Cambodia so you will need to make at least one stop on your way to and from Siem Reap. Many people combine a visit to Cambodia with time in Thailand or Vietnam.
Probably the best flight connections are through Bangkok, we flew on Thai and had a two hour stay in the airport before our onward flight to Cambodia.
However many people will use a mix of airlines to suit their timetable and budget. Singapore is another excellent option for flights from the UK and to Siem Reap.
Probably one of the most enjoyable ways to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap is by train, if you have the time and a more adventurous spirit.
Trains leave Bangkok for Aranyaprathet twice a day, although the early morning train is probably the best option.
The train takes between 4 and 6 hours and has some excellent sights along the way. Vendors will pass through the train selling food and drink although it is often targeted more at Thais than tourists so you may want to bring some of your own as well.
Once you arrive at Aranyaprathet it is Tuk Tuk time for the 6km trip to the Cambodia border. Once you have passed through the border and enter Cambodia you need to head towards the free bus to the Popiet Tourist Passenger Terminal where you can catch a taxi, bus or shared mini-van for the two and a half hour trip to Siem Reap.
You can also catch a bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap if you not afraid of being in a bus seat for the best part of 10 hours.
Walking – Siem Reap is a small, compact city and the roads, in comparison to many Asian cities, are much quieter.
Remok (Cambodian tuk-tuk)– Many hotels have their own Remorks available for residents but there are also plenty around the city. Bigger than their Thai cousins the Remok can usually hold 4 passengers comfortably – we managed 4 on a Thai tuk-tuk but one was sat on an unsecured drinks crate and had to hold on tight to stop being thrown out.
Bicycle – Hire a bike from your hotel (they may have free ones available) or from a rental shop to really explore the area. Roads are flat and usually safe. Bikes are also an excellent and cheap way to get around the temples of Angkor Wat.
Taxi – Usually a man and his car so don’t expect a meter or to go through a taxi company. Make sure you negotiate a price before agreeing the trip. Some people love their own personal taxi for the day to tour the temples but make sure the price is right
Moto (Motorcycle taxis) – Can be fun and hairy. Make sure you have your destination written in Cambodian as most riders do not speak English well if at all. Negotiate a price in advance and wear a helmet.
Find out about where to stay in Siem Reap
The gateway to Angkor Wat, many people miss the other attractions available nearby.
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