The city of Siem Reap, located in Western Cambodia, more than 300 km from the capital Phnom Penh, has become popular thanks to the nearby temples of Angkor. Siem Reap has grown incredibly fast in recent years. It used to be a tiny town, but with the growing popularity of the Anchor complex, the importance of Siem Reap as a tourist center has also grown.
Now Siem Reap is a gateway to Angkor. For example, international hotel chains currently receive more than a million guests in the city annually. In addition, hundreds of guest houses and restaurants, eateries, snack bars, and beer restaurants are designed for tourists of any income.
About three kilometers north of Siem Reap are Angkor’s temples, the world’s largest temple complex. This complex has become world-famous thanks to the Angkor Wat Temple. This temple is, of course, one of Cambodia’s most significant attractions and indeed of Asia’s whole.
How to get to Siem Reap
Siem Reap’s central bus station is about four kilometers from the city. Transfer to the city from the bus station costs $3.
Siem Reap International Airport is located seven kilometers from the city center. The main ways to get from Siem Reap International Airport to Siem Reap include:
You can take a taxi. The fare to the city center and surrounding areas is 8 dollars.
Tuk-tuks do not have the right to pick up passengers at the airport, but a couple of tuk-tuks may be waiting for a random customer on the road outside the airport so you can take advantage of this opportunity. A trip to the city should cost 5 dollars.
From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by Bus
Taking the Bus is the cheapest way to get to Siem Reap. It takes about 5-6 hours and costs $12-14. We recommend you choose a sleeper bus for the most convenient overnight trip. Sleeper buses are equipped with berths or soft reclining seats and may include an onboard toilet. The first Bus departs at 0:30. The last Bus – is at 23:00. Here you can buy bus tickets in advance.
Get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by Van
Travel on a minivan takes 6 hours and costs $15. The first van departs at 7:30 AM. The last van – is at 17:30. Angkor Ebooking operates a van service and offers tickets with easy online booking. Check them if you are looking for options to travel by van. Some travelers feel skeptical about vans. Vans are always more flexible than big buses.
|Transport Name||Route Time||Price|
|SIMA CAR Minivan 7pax||Any time||$145|
|Em Samang Express VIP||04:00 - 09:00||$13|
|Cambodia Post VIP Van Van||07:30 - 12:45||$12|
|Cambolink 21 Express VIP Minibus||08:30 - 14:30||$12|
|Larryta Express Van 15pax||10:35 - 16:35||$14|
|Seila Angkor Express VIP 15 pax||12:30 - 18:30||$14|
|Seila Angkor Express VIP 15 pax||15:30 - 21:30||$14|
|Seila Angkor Express VIP 15 pax||16:30 - 22:30||$14|
|Larryta Express Van 15pax||18:06 - 00:06||$14|
|Virak Buntham Express Luxury||20:30 - 02:00||$16|
|Giant Ibis Transport Kia Grandbird||22:00 - 04:00||$13|
Go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh by Taxi
A taxi journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap lasts 5-6 hours and costs about $88. The driver can take a photo of you as evidence that he served you.
Phnom Penh to Siem Reap by plane
The flight to Siem Reap lasts about an hour, and the ticket price starts from $104. Flight time is from 55 minutes to 7 hours. You can choose the date and time of your journey in advance and buy tickets.
From Sihanoukville to Siem Reap
There are three options for traveling to Siem Reap from Sihanoukville: Bus, Flight, and Taxi.
From Sihanoukville to Siem Reap by Bus
Buses are the most affordable means of transport with convenient timetables. The price of tickets is $17-18. It takes 9-12 hours. There are sleeper buses for the most convenient overnight trip. Sleeper buses are usually equipped with berths or soft reclining seats and feature an onboard toilet, and your ticket may also include other perks like snacks or lunch. Taking a night bus is also good if you want to save on your hotel room. You can choose the date and time of your journey in advance and book tickets.
Fly from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap
The fastest way to travel is to take a flight. You can reach Siem Reap from Sihanoukville by flying by Cambodia Angkor Air. The price is $109. It takes one hour and 10 minutes.
Use Taxis to get from Sihanoukville to Siem Reap
You are free to go wherever you want by taxi. It is always a good idea to book your trip several days before to secure your trip. Taxis are available with secure online booking. This transfer by comfortable taxi takes 9-11 hours. The prices can be from $155 or more. The driver can take a photo of you as evidence that he served you.
From Bangkok to Siem Reap
There are four ways to travel – Van, Bus, Flight, and Taxi. Find the travel option that you like and buy tickets in advance.
From Bangkok to Siem Reap by mini-van
Traveling by van is the cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The departure time of vans is 3:30, 8:00, 9:30, and 13:30. Travel time is 8 hours. The price is $30. Here you can buy a ticket in advance.
Buses to Siem Reap from Bangkok
The departure time of buses is 1:30, 7:45, and 8:00. Travel time is from 8 hours and 30 minutes to 11 hours and 30 minutes. The price is $32-43. Here is the resource for ticket searching. Choose a sleeper bus for the most convenient overnight trip. There are berths or soft reclining seats in sleeper buses and an onboard toilet, and your ticket may also include other perks like snacks or lunch.
|Transport Name||Route Time||Price|
|Glassflower VIP Van 9pax||Any time||$339|
|Travel Mart Van + Minibus||06:30 - 18:00||$34|
|Giant Ibis Transport Universe Noble 37||08:45 - 15:56||$32|
|Bangkok Air Economy||10:35 - 11:45||$225|
|Travel Mart Van + Express Bus||13:00 - 00:30||$34|
|Vietnam Airlines Economy||14:20 - 15:05||$286|
|Bamboo Airways Economy||16:35 - 18:00||$409|
|Vietnam Airlines Economy||18:10 - 20:20||$399|
|Thai AirAsia Economy||20:20 - 21:25||$93|
Getting to Siem Reap by airplane from Bangkok
There are 6 flight lines if you fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap. The first flight is at 7:45. Last flight is at 17:30. Flight time is more than 1 hour. The price starts from $86.
Taxi from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Please note that this private transfer allows free pick up and drop off between any point selected. Travel time is 9 hours. Taxi prices start from $192. We recommend contacting the taxi operator via WhatsApp/Telegram as the phone signal is sometimes not working well. You can book a taxi just now.
From Ho Chi Minh by flight
The only way to get from Ho Chi Minh to Siam Reap is by airplane. There are direct planes and flights with two connections. Of course, direct flights are cheaper and faster. It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes. The price starts from $125. and ravel will take 5 hours 45 minutes. You can buy a ticket here.
From Kuala Lumpur by flight
The airplane is the only way from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap—one direct plane from Air Asia and several flights with one or two connections. Of course, the direct flight is cheaper and faster. The price is $57 without baggage. The baggage costs $45. You can have a 7 kg carry-on. The plane leaves at 13:45 and takes 2 hours and 10 minutes. Flights with connections start from $105. Travel time is much longer. You can choose your option and buy a ticket here.
How to visit Angkor
It is no secret that most tourists visiting Siem Reap come here to finally see the legendary and unique temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park that they have heard about so much.
The area of this park is about 400 square kilometers, and the often exceptionally well-preserved and skillfully restored temple complexes are not located in Siem Reap itself but are situated in some, sometimes quite a long distance from the city. And besides, for tourists not from Cambodia, you need to purchase a ticket to visit Angkor.
In this regard, three main questions arise:
- Where to buy a ticket to access the temples of Angkor and how much it costs;
- What is the most convenient way to get to each of the temples of Angkor because the distances between the temples are too great to walk?
- Which temples and in what sequence to include in the program? A tourist’s stay in Siem Reap usually is limited to a few days, and a tourist who decides to visit all the temples will have a restricted time to see each sight and see everything in a glimpse. In addition, you will have to climb the upper levels of the temples in the heat, probably for quite a long time, under the scorching sun of the tropics – all this quickly exhausts and spoils the impression of what you see.
Admission pass to visit Angkor temples
To visit the temples in Angkor Archaeological Park, you must purchase an admission pass, often called Angkor Pass.
The official website of APSARA National Authority has information that the Angkor Pass you can only buy at the official ticket center, located on Road 60, 4 km away from Siem Reap’s center, and open from 4:30 am to 5:30 pm every day. Tickets purchased from hotels, tour companies, and third parties are invalid. It’s not possible to purchase an Angkor Pass online.
However, on the websites of travel companies, after all, it is possible to purchase this ticket in advance. For example, using this link, you can purchase a mobile ticket in advance by sending your passport photo.
You can choose the Angkor pass for the period that suits you (prices for 2023):
One day for $37 / Three days for $62, / Seven days for $72.
A 3-day ticket is valid for any three days within a week. The 7-day ticket is valid for seven days within a month. Entrance for children under 12 years old is free.
Prices are US dollars, but you can buy tickets in Cambodian riels, Thai baht, or euros. You can pay for an entrance ticket in cash or by credit card (Discover, Visa, Mastercard, Union Pay, JCB, Diners Club). An on-site ATM is available to withdraw some money. Entrance for citizens of Cambodia is free.
There is no entry fee if you bring a Cambodian guide or driver. The Angkor pass is valid for all monuments in the Siem Reap area, except for Beng Melea ($5) and Phnom Kulen ($20). Besides these two sites, you should not buy separate entrance tickets to visit any particular spot.
Carry the Angkor pass with you at all times – they are checked regularly at most monuments.
The information board at the official ticket center contains strict rules:
- Tickets are non-refundable.
- Passes are non-transferable. The access has a photo taken by the webcam at the ticket office.
- Passes are not valid after their validity date. Passes are valid from the date printed on them.
- Tickets purchased before 17:00 are valid the same day. You cannot buy a ticket for the next day.
For example, if you buy a ticket at 16:00, it is only valid on that day. You will have to buy a new pass the next day.
- Tickets purchased after 17:00 are valid the same day until sunset and the next day.
- Please ensure the pass is not stamped or pierced with holes that invalidate it.
How to get around in Angkor
To get around Angkor, you can choose one of several ways: taxi, tuk-tuk (Remorque), motorbike, or bicycle. All means of transport, except for a bicycle, are available to foreigners only with a Cambodian driver.
We used Remorque (tuk-tuk) with a driver to move around Angkor, which we rented for the entire stay in Siem Reap. The same driver took us to the airport on the last day. For the whole day, everyone usually rents a tuk-tuk, a taxi, or a motorcycle with a driver.
This transport can be booked directly at the hotel through a travel agency. You can ask tuk-tuk drivers to wait for you and discuss the terms of service and routes with the driver in advance.
In addition, you can ask for advice on which places and when it is more convenient to visit not only the hotel manager but also the driver – most of them know Angkor very well and know which temples and at what time there are the least tourists. Remork-moto usually fits two people and will cost you $15 – $20 daily.
Of course, be prepared to pay a little extra for trips to distant temples or a trip in the early morning, in the dark, to meet the sunrise (which is picturesque at temples, but not always), for example, at Angkor Wat.
Sometimes, as in our case, the driver can give good advice on routes and tell you what to look for in the next temple, its history, and its features. In addition to protecting well from rain and sun, however, the cabin of the tuk-tuk is open on the sides, and the motorcycle itself goes slower than the car, allowing you to see more on the way to another temple.
Of course, hiring a taxi with a driver will cost more than hiring a tuk-tuk. In addition to protecting from the sun and rain, taxis are usually air-conditioned. You can order taxis through a travel agency or hotel. Trips to nearby temples will cost about $30 a day, and visiting distant temples (like Banteay Srei) will most likely have to pay $40.
Renting a motorcycle with a driver (foreigners are not allowed to drive a bike in the Angkor Archaeological Park) will cost you less than $10 per day. I believe most of the hotels in Siem Reap are ready to provide this booking service.
Many main sites such as Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Preah Khan, Prasat Ta Keo, Prasat Kravan, and East Mebon are close enough to Siem Reap city to reach by bike. If you are young and full of energy, you are not afraid of the scorching sun and dust on the roads. You can rent a bike. It will cost you between $2 and $4 per day (depending on the quality of the cycle). When renting a bike, say so that you will have a lock. It would help if you locked the bike when you stopped near temples.
Routes in the archaeological park of Angkor
There are dozens of temple ruins in the Siem Reap area. Your temple itinerary largely depends on how much time you have and your level of interest, although some temples are must-sees. You should see at least the temples of Angkor Wat and Bayon. They are not too far from each other.
So, if you have only half a day at your disposal, it is recommended to start the route from the South Gate of Angkor Thom, then, inside Angkor Thom, visit the Bayon temple and the terraces of the Elephants and the Leper King ->. Go to Ta Prohm temple -> visit Angkor Wat.
Rout for one full day in Angkor
If you have one full day at your disposal, you can consider such a busy itinerary:
In the morning:
- Meet the dawn in front of Angkor Wat, take a short walk along it
- Have breakfast nearby, and by 7:30 am (not many tourists yet) arrive to visit Bayon temple, the “temple with faces.”
- Visit Baphuon temple (optional), Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, and South Gate of Angkor Thom.
- Have a lunch break
- Visit Ta Prohm (a famous temple from Lara Croft, deliberately left at the mercy of the jungle)
- Return to Angkor Wat Temple
- Watch the sunset at Phnom Bakheng Temple Mount or Pre Rup Temple.
Rout for three full days in Angkor
- Arrive early in the morning at the South Gate of Angkor Thom
- Arrive at 7:30 am (still few tourists) to visit Bayon temple, the “temple with faces.”
- Visit temples of Baphuon, and Phimeanakas in Angkor Thom, Terrace of the Elephants, and Terrace of the Leper King
- Inspect Victory Gate
- Lunch break and rest
- Visit Thommanon Temple
- Visit the temple “with trees” Ta Prohm
- Watch the sunset at Bakheng Temple Mount
- Greet the sunrise at Angkor Wat
- Visit Baksei Chamkrong, Prasat Bei
- Visit Preah Kahn Temple
- Visit the Neak Pean – an artificial island with a Buddhist temple
- Visit the ruins of another temple “with trees” – Ta Som
- Break for lunch and rest
- Trip to Roluos Group, with its temples: Bakong, Preah Ko, Lolei
- Return to Angkor Wat to watch the sunset there.
- In the morning, while there are fewer tourists, drive up to Banteay Srei – the pink temple
- Visit Banteay Samre temple
- Visit East Mebon
- Break for lunch and rest
- Visit Prasat Kravan
- Visit Banteay Kdei
- Watch the sunset at Pre Rup temple.
If you also have the fourth day at your disposal and you still have the strength to discover the secrets of Angkor, we advise you to devote the fourth day to a trip to the distant, but no less interesting, temples of Angkor: Koh Ker, the huge city of the ancient Khmers, and the temple in the jungle, which was not restored at all – Beng Melia.
Where to stay in Siem Reap
In Siem Reap, you will have no problems with housing. There are a lot of hotels here, including five-star ones. You will also have a decent choice if you prefer an inexpensive guest house like Naga Angkor Hostel. If you prefer the atmosphere of the non-stop partying of young backpackers, you should probably consider staying at Mad Monkey Hostels. If you prefer a small boutique hotel with two pools, a spa, and an all-day restaurant that has excellent TripAdvisor reviews, consider staying at Jaya House River Park.
Guesthouses are scattered throughout the city, but most are located on Wat Bo Road, a large street east of the river. This street and its surroundings are the most popular area of Siem Reap. In addition to cheap housing, there are also many inexpensive restaurants and amenities for tourists.
Siem Reap hotels on the map:
Koh Ker Temple was listed as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this afternoon (Cambodian time).
Koh Ker or Chok Gargyar, as it is known in Old Khmer inscriptions, is a 10th-century temple complex and former capital of the Khmer Empire, situated in Preah Vihear, a northern part of Cambodia.
You can read about it in an article in the Khmer Times.