Siem Reap has an international airport although you will struggle to get a direct flight it travelling from outside of Asia. Most flights tend to have stopover at either Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur or Hanoi en route. For a budget option and if you are already staying in one of the surrounding countries I would suggest getting a coach. They are much cheaper than flights, and have the added benefit of saving the hassle of getting to/from the airport as majority drop off and pick up from the centre of the city. Taking into account travel time to the airport plus time to check in means the time you would’ve saved by getting a flight instead of a coach tends to be negligible. I travelled to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh by coach which takes circa 7 hours (due to a lack of highways) including a refreshment stop. If travelling by coach I recommend Mekong Express – their coaches are comfortable and luggage isn’t returned without a valid tag making theft very rare.
With the draw of Angkor Wat many major hotel chains have set up shop in Siem Reap however I think these are best avoided. Instead opt for one of the boutique hotels located near to the night market as this is the best area for shopping, eating and drinking!
There’s no shortage of great restaurants in Siem Reap but if you’re looking for something a little different (and a great story to tell your friends back home) look no further than the Bug Cafe. Doing exactly what it says on the tin this tapas bar serves a variety of snacks all with a creepy crawly twist, might sound more like I’m A Celebrity but some are surprisingly tasty! For a more upmarket meal it’s worth getting a taxi slightly out of the centre to visit Cuisine Wat Damnak. Offering a sublime blend of French and Khmer cuisine it’s easy to see why this was named one of Asia’s Top 50 restaurants in 2016.
The cocktail bars in Siem Reap and numerous and there are many I could list on here for their reputation alone! With only two nights in the city and one of those before a 3:30am wake up call I sadly only had chance to try a handful. My favourite was Asana, a bar/lounge within a traditional wooden house with hammocks and loungebeds to relax on whilst sipping delicious cocktails.
Of course the main reason and most spectacular thing to see in Siem Reap is the Angkor Wat temple complex, and you could easily spend at least a day if not longer exploring the temples in various states of ruin. Away from the temples catch an amazing show by Phare Circus, practice your mini golf skills at Angkor Wat Putt or head to an Artisan workshop to create your own souvenir.
Mini golf with Angkor Wat Putt provides a great way to spend an hour away from the iconic temples of this famous area, navigating miniatures temple replicas
Create your own souvenir to take home by learning the art of iron pencil drawing – using hot metal implements to burn patterns into palm leaves making beautiful pictures.
Feast on creepy crawlies at Siem Reap’s Bugs Cafe. Try tarantulas, ants, crickets and even scorpions – you might even enjoy them!