Siem Reap: the home of Angkor Wat, the heart and soul of Cambodia!
Siem Reap arrived on the world map in the early part of the 20th century, when French explorers “discovered” Angkor Wat. At the time, Siem Reap was merely a village, part of an area that Thailand had long controlled until the French Protectorate was established in 1863.
The French began to restore the temples, and Angkor Wat quickly became one of the central cultural attractions in Asia. The central highlight is the Temples of Angkor, but Siem Reap offers a perfect mix of cultural experiences, adventures, burgeoning markets, and nightlife. A lineup of dining experiences and the opportunity to experience life in Siem Reap, from simple pleasures to high-end dining and accommodation experiences, await the intrepid traveller.
Angkor Wat is the most famous ancient temple site in Cambodia. It is an awe-inspiring sight with its 5 lotus-like towers rising 65 metres into the sky. Located in Siem Reap, this UNESCO World Heritage site was once the largest pre-industrial city in the world. It remains one of the world’s ancient wonders and is a must-see for any visitor to Cambodia.
The temple ruins are what remains of the ancient Khmer Empire. The empire encompassed much of Southeast Asia from the 9th to the 13th century. It dominated the area of present-day Cambodia, as well as parts of Thailand, southern Vietnam and Laos. At its zenith, more than a million people lived in the capital city of Angkor.
Central Siem Reap and Pub Street
The central shopping and restaurant area is concentrated around the south of the city near the Old Market. Nearly every week, a new bar, boutique, shop, or restaurant seems to open; such is the pace of development. What can seem a sleepy town by day (because everyone is at the temples) is teeming with people in the high season after sunset, with tuk-tuks and motos jostling for space on the small streets.
Perhaps the most famous street in town is Pub Street – no guess where the name comes from! It is lined with bars and restaurants and is the go-to place for travellers looking for an enjoyable night out. The adjoining alleys host a myriad of smaller, idiosyncratic establishments for those who prefer a quieter evening.
For most visitors to the Kingdom, visa are obtainable upon arrival at both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. At land crossing from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, visa can be obtained at International Check Point border.
Tourists can also get visas prior to their arrival through a Cambodian Embassy or Consulate overseas. Tourists also can get eVisa through online E-Visa before travelling.
Some nationalities are required to get visa in advance at Royal Embassy of Kingdom of Cambodia in their country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Arab Saudi, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Nigeria.
Siem Reap International Airport
Angkor Wat is served by the Siem Reap International Airport (REP), located 9 kilometres from the city’s centre. Taxis and tuk-tuks are easily accessible from the terminal and will cost around USD$10 to the city centre.
Pre-Covid, the airport was handling over 4.5 million passengers annually, and with the pandemic now easing, like in many countries, airlines are returning to their regular schedules.
Departure cities and the airlines servicing them include;
Bangkok – Thai AirAsia, Bangkok Airways and Thai Airlines
Kuala Lumpur – AirAsia
Singapore – Singapore Airlines and Cambodia Airways
Hong Kong – Hong Kong Express
Hanoi – Bamboo Airways and Vietnam Airlines
Ho Chi Minh – Vietnam Airlines and Cambodia Airways
Phnom Penh – Angkor Air and Cambodia Airways
Kunming – China Eastern
Guangzhou – China Southern
Shanghai – China Eastern