Siem Reap is arguably the most well-known city in the whole of Cambodia. Renowned for its cultural and historical significance, as well as its infectious party vibe, the city provides both casual travellers and wild backpackers a place to relax and enjoy whilst learning about the city’s origins.
The city of Siem Reap is 314 km (143 miles) northwest of the country’s capital Phnom Penh. One reason visitors will make the journey is to visit Angkor Wat, Siem Reap’s historical centrepiece.
Built in the 12th century during the Khmer Empire, this incredible Buddhist temple complex attracts over two million visitors each year and features over a thousand individual temples for you to explore. We recommend waking up early and witnessing the famous 5 am Angkor Wat sunrise — the warm morning glow provides a breathtaking silhouette of the temple’s spires unlike any other.
Pub Street in Siem Reap — also known as Street 8 — is the ultimate party-goer’s dream. Comprised of rowdy Irish pubs, fancy cocktail bars, and cuisine from all around the globe, you’ll be hard-pressed not to find something to satiate your hunger (including delicacies like scorpions). Some bars and clubs stay open until 4 am, leaving you enough time to take in the Angkor Wat sunrise!
If you do pull an all-nighter and decide to venture over to Angkor Wat, please be mindful of how much you’ve had to drink. The temple complex is sacred ground and an intoxicated nuisance stumbling all over the place will be seen as highly disrespectful.
Places to stay may be luxurious — or 14-to-a-room basic
Within the city, you’ll find stunning luxurious five-star hotels complete with on-site swimming pools, beautifully air-conditioned balcony rooms, and incredible first-class service.
On the other end of the budget scale, there are plenty of low-priced hotels and backpacker hostels to choose from. Hostels generally have shared rooms for up to 14 people. These places tend to be extremely cheap and basic, but there’s a huge party atmosphere with like-minded people.
Shared accommodation prices in Siem Reap start at a very modest $4 per night but can go up to the $20+ range — the latter is usually for your own private en-suite room.
If you decide to stay in a shared room, we recommend storing valuables in a secured locker — you can usually find these on-site, and you pay a small deposit which you’ll get back at the end of your stay.
Getting to Siem Reap
Siem Reap is very easy to get to. There are numerous low-cost bus routes going in and out of the city, your choice depending on how much luxury you desire or how little air conditioning you’re willing to withstand.
From the capital Phnom Penh, bus journeys typically take between 5-6 hours or one hour on a plane. If you’re travelling from Sihanoukville, all buses stop via Phnom Penh. Expect the travel time to be upwards of 10 hours.
Also, expect some overcrowding and bumpy roads along the way!
That being said, it doesn’t matter how you get to Siem Reap or how long it takes. The pilgrimage is well worth it and you’ll be amazed at what Siem Reap has to offer.
See below an overview of all travel distances and costs.