Getting around in Siem Reap, even by foot, is very easy and tuk-tuks are awaiting weary feet on every street corner. Bicycles (for as low as $1 for a daily rental) do make for an interesting and fun means of transport, especially through the shady foliage of the Angkor temples. Please note that although motorbikes are now available for rent, it is not advisable unless you’re willing to take the risk of crazy, chaotic traffic!
To prepare yourself for Siem Reap, we highly recommend reading Move to Cambodia, a great website written by Lina Goldberg. It is full of useful tips and information, and very well updated.
Many international airlines fly directly to Siem Reap every day. The Siem Reap International Airport is only 7km and a 20-minute ride away from the town center. The airport now has an official taxi stand, and you will be encouraged to book a taxi with a standard flat rate.
Tuk-tuks are officially no longer allowed into the airport, but some tuk-tuk drivers manage to find their way in to look for guests at the arrival area, and others are gathered outside the main airport exit. (The one-way tuk-tuk fare from the airport ranges from US$5 to $7 – depending on your bargaining skills!)
Overland from Bangkok
Bangkok and Siem Reap is a mere 357 km apart and there are a variety of transport options available. The border crossing is only open from 8am to 10pm, so plan your trip to avoid being stranded. The name of the town on the Thai side of the border is Aranyaprathet, crossing it brings you to the Cambodian side of Poipet.
Minibuses have been the most popular (yet not the most reputable) choice, and tickets are sold by many travel agents throughout Bangkok, but do involve a vehicle change at the border. There is a new, increasingly popular, direct bus service running from Mo Chit bus station in Bangkok to Siem Reap (and vice-versa). It departs Bangkok at 9am daily and costs 750 Baht ($23). The bus will take travellers to the border, wait in Poipet until passengers have cleared customs, and then continues the journey to Siem Reap.
Another option is taking the a minibus or the train (from Hua Lum Phong station near Khao San) to Aranyaprathet, then taking a quick tuk-tuk ride to the border. Once on the Cambodian side in Poipet, getting a shared taxi from to Siem Reap (2 hours, approx. $35-40/per car) is a popular and efficient choice. Total travel time from Bangkok to Siem Reap is approx. 8 hours, including the border crossing, but please be aware that this may vary!
More details on Move to Cambodia
♦ Crossing the Poipet/Aranyaprathet border overland
♦ How to get from Siem Reap to Bangkok (and vice versa)
♦ Review: Direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap
Overland from Phnom Penh
There are many plenty of bus and minibus companies serving this popular route. Travel time is usually between 6 and 7 hours. Note that there is no one official bus terminal in Phnom Penh, and buses leave from each company’s own station. Bus companies usually offer a free pick-up from your hotel. The best is to pre-book with your hotel / guesthouse, or with one of the many travel agents in town.
More details on Move to Cambodia:
♦ How to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)
ABOUTAsia Travel is our Travel Partner and the award-winning travel specialist for Cambodia and Laos. As a locally-based destination management company they know Cambodia intimately.
They arrange everything including personalised itineraries, an innovative range of unique experiences, transfers and hotel accommodation. Plan your trip with AboutAsia Travel, and they will generously donate 10% of your booking to support the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops!
A few of the things that make ABOUTAsia Travel unique:
♦ See Angkor without the Crowds: Temple touring incorporates signature crowd-avoidance routes and visits to lesser known temples.
♦ Guides: Expert guides accompany you to the temples, and specialist guides on interests such as birding, landmines, photography and archaeology can also be arranged.
♦ Unique Experiences: Enjoy breakfast at the temples, sunset cocktails on Angkor Thom moat, dinner at their private countryside villa Chandara or a journey on the Tonle Sap on ABOUTAsia’s private boat, Ella.
♦ Community Engagement: 100% of ABOUTAsia’s profits go to ABOUTAsia Schools, which supports education programs in Siem Reap province.
Plan your trip with ABOUTAsia and help support the Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops! Simply mention “PHOTOFEST15” when you contact them.
Most nationalities can obtain a 30-day Cambodian tourist visa upon arrival at the airport or border crossing (have ready US$30 and 2 passport photos) or can apply for an e-visa in advance. (Planning to stay longer than 30 days? Tourist visas are single-entry only, so apply for an ordinary visa instead, which can be further extended. More details in the link below.)
Please Note: Some nationalities are not allowed to get an e-visa, a visa-on-arrival, or enter through border crossings. These nationalities have to visit a Cambodian embassy to obtain the visa before entering the country. Please check your individual visa requirements carefully prior to your trip.
More details on Move to Cambodia: Cambodian Visas
We wish you a safe journey and are looking forward to having you with us at the 11th Angkor Photo Festival!
FESTIVAL BOOKING PROMOTION!
Looking for a great place to stay while in Siem Reap? Alliance Angkor is offering all festival attendees an special rate of only US$50 a night!
Simply book directly with the Festival Secretariat to redeem this offer with our wonderful accommodation partner.
Alliance Angkor is an oasis of calm right in the heart of vibrant Siem Reap. Although just a two-minute walk from the town center and river, the property provides a peaceful setting from where you can enjoy your stay in Siem Reap.
Situated in a stylish French colonial building constructed in 1953 with seven luxurious boutique rooms, our guests enjoy an Old World atmosphere complete with modern comforts, a beautiful garden, and saltwater swimming pool. Service with a smile and an intimate Khmer experience awaits your discovery in this historic and serene villa.
The owner Olivier Muzzard, has lived in Cambodia since 2000. A long-time art fan, he strives to maintain the original ambience and spirit of the space. Be sure to look out for his collection of beautiful paintings by renown Cambodia-based artist Vincent Boulat.
OFFICIAL 2015 WORKSHOP CENTER
Alliance Angkor is also the proud venue sponsor of the 11th Angkor Photo Workshops. Thank you for supporting the next generation of emerging photographers in Asia!
Since the discovery of the Angkor complexes, the town of Siem Reap has transformed from a small village into a major tourist hub of Cambodia. More than two million visitors come to see the ancient wonder every year.
Siem Reap is the capital of the Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia, and the gateway to the magnificent Angkor Wat temples. The awe-inspiring heritage site, originally built for King Suryavarman II, was the capital of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to 13th century. Often referred to as the 8th World Wonder, Angkor Wat is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage site.
While the historical site is what Siem Reap has become well known for, visitors to the town will soon realize there is a lot more to discover and enjoy.
From its friendly and welcoming residents to its charming colonial and Chinese-style architecture, the charming town is also next to the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Siem Reap is home to a lively restaurant and bar scene, colorful local markets, museums, spas, art galleries, yoga retreats, handicraft workshops, and an array of shops with many treasures to discover.
DID YOU KNOW?
♦ In Khmer language, ‘rice’ and ‘food’ is the same term!
♦ Siem Reap literally translates to “Flat Defeat of Thailand”.
♦ Traditional boat racing, buffalo racing, Pradal Serey, Khmer traditional wrestling, and Bokator are the local sports of Cambodia.
♦ Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, the Tonlé Sap’s flow actually changes direction twice a year, draining into the Mekong River in Phnom Penh during the dry season, and then backing up during the heavy monsoon season into the enormous lake.