Visitor's Guide

Travel

We’ve compiled some useful tips about the different ways of getting to and around Siem Reap!

VISAS

Most nationalities can get a visa-on-arrival at the airport in Phnom Penh/Siem Reap, or at the border crossing of Poipet between Thailand and Cambodia. A tourist visa costs $30 (valid for one month). Most ASEAN nationalities do not require visas unless you are planning to stay for a longer duration. You can also apply for a visa online. (E-Visa Online: https://www.evisa.gov.kh)

However, visitors from certain countries (Iran, Bangladesh etc.) cannot apply for visa-on-arrival or an e-visa, and must obtain a visa from a Cambodian embassy before arriving in Cambodia. (Note, these nationalities also cannot arrive through border crossings and must enter via an airport.)

AIR TRAVEL

Many airlines fly to Siem Reap, including budget airlines Jetstar Asia and AirAsia. The Siem Reap airport is only about 15 – 20 minutes away from the town centre. When you arrive, hire a tuk-tuk or taxi to bring you directly to your hotel/guesthouse.

Tip: Get yourself a local sim card at the airport for internet access to use ride-hailing apps Passapp and Grab for tuk-tuks!

PHNOM PENH TO SIEM REAP

Cheaper to fly to Phnom Penh? There are domestic flights and buses travelling daily from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, leaving almost every hour from 6am to midnight. Minivans cost (US$8-10) and take about 6-7 hours. Big buses are cheaper but may take up to 7-9 hours. We do NOT recommend travelling at night, as the roads are dangerous. To book a ticket, go into any travel agency to ask about the different bus companies and available timings. Be sure you get a seat number!

(Tip: We recommended: Larryta (Minivan) / Giant Ibis (Bus) and please avoid Vireak Buntham at all costs!)

Useful Links (Move to Cambodia blog): How to get from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap (and vice versa)

BUS/TRAIN FROM BANGKOK

Find your way from Bangkok either by bus or train to the border crossing of Aranyaprathet (Thai side) / Poipet (Cambodia side). The customs close at around 10pm daily.

BUS FROM BANGKOK (ABOUT 8 HRS)

There is now a direct bus service from Mochit bus station to Siem Reap! It departs at 0900hrs daily and cost about 750Baht. The same bus will take you from Bangkok to the border, and wait for you in Poipet to continue the journey to Siem Reap.

Most travel agencies on Khao San Road offer deals with mini-buses leaving early in the morning. You can also go directly to the Mochit bus station where buses travel from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet every half-hour.

Once at Aranyaprathet, cross the border on foot. Get through the Thai customs, walk past the strange hotels and casinos, and head to the Cambodian Customs Office if you need a Cambodian visa-on-arrival. Once through Cambodian customs, you’re now in Poipet!

Catch a bus or a shared taxi to Siem Reap. The best way is to share a taxi with other travellers, and it will cost about US$35 for the whole car, or around US$9 for a seat on a minivan.

TRAIN FROM BANGKOK (ABOUT 8 HRS)

Coming by train is the cheapest way of coming to Siem Reap from Bangkok, but it isn’t always the easiest! From Hualamphong Train Station (near Khao San), you can buy a train ticket for 50Baht from Bangkok to Aranyaprathet (free seating). Trains leave at 0555hrs and 1305hrs daily and the journey is typically about 6 hours.

At Aranyaprathet, you need to take a short tuktuk ride to the border (share a tuk-tuk with fellow travellers for about 70Baht in total). Cross the border on foot. Get through the Thai customs, walk past the strange hotels and casinos, and head to the Cambodian customs office if you need a Cambodian visa-on-arrival. Once through Cambodian customs, you’re now in Poipet!

Catch a bus or a shared taxi to Siem Reap. The best way is to share a taxi with other travellers, and it will cost about US$35 for the whole car, or around US$9 for a seat on a minivan.

SCAM ALERT!!

* Some buses from Bangkok will stop at a private office before Thai customs, encouraging you to apply for your Cambodian visa in advance. Just ignore this and stay on the bus. THIS IS A SCAM. Apply only at the official building which is AFTER Thai customs.* When you arrive in Cambodia, some tuk-tuk drivers will try to bring you to a recommended guesthouse (even if you tell them not to). Be firm and clear about where you want to go.

Where to stay?

ACCOMMODATION PARTNERS

BUTTERFLY PEA

 

www.thebutterflypea.com

The Butterfly Pea is a social and eco-sustainable property that offers peaceful accommodations away from the noise and excitement of town. Just a 10-minute walk or a 3-minute Tuk Tuk ride and you can experience Pub Street and all that the quaint town of Siem Reap offers.

Set along the banks of the Siem Reap River, The Butterfly Pea is a great location to relax and enjoy the quiet and peaceful setting. Following a tropical design of modern Asian architecture, the Butterfly Pea offers 14 beautiful rooms, each unique in its own charming way. Enjoy the outdoor pool, relax while having a cocktail in our lobby bar or enjoy a wonderful meal in the restaurant.

Even better, $5 from every stay goes to The Butterfly Pea Charitable Foundation,  a registered charity dedicated to assisting in the education and healthcare for the residents of Prek Toal Village and other Khmer communities in and around Siem Reap.

two dragons guesthouse

twodragons-asia.com

Since 2004, as one of Siem Reap’s primary guest houses, we have built our reputation with fine service, friendliness, reliable information, affordable room rates and cleanliness. Many travellers extend their stay having experienced the cozy ambience, excellent food and convenient location. Situated 20 minutes stroll north of the Old Town, we boast easy access to the Angkor Park area and Pub Street. The staff at Two Dragons are well informed and can offer good local advice to travellers to help maximize their time in the region.

The Mulberry Boutique Hotel

www.mulberry-boutiquehotel.com
Set in the very heart of Siem Reap yet perfectly placed, The Mulberry Boutique Hotel is a quiet oasis with a lush garden and a saltwater pool. In true Khmer fashion, we would like welcome you into our home with open arms. We take pride in following this tradition, as good hospitality and service comes from the heart. Just like any Cambodian family would, we are happy to go to great lengths to make sure you have a pleasant and comfortable stay with us. We also believe in sustainability and have adopted a plastic-free policy throughout the hotel.

FCC Angkor

www.fcccollection.com/angkor/

FCC Angkor is newly updated with design elements reflecting past and present. Surrounded by sacred, centuries-old trees and lush tropical flora, the hotel has 80 well-appointed modern rooms with thoughtful Khmer touches – from artisanal textiles and handwoven rattan baskets to bespoke furnishings. Relax at any of our two gleaming marble-tiled pools, or at the holistic spa and wellness centre. Come dine at our new concept bar and restaurant, The Mansion, while enjoying serene green views in this historic mansion oasis and annex in the heart of Siem Reap.

BABY ELEPHANT

www.babyelephant.asia

With two artists-in-residence, regular yoga and cooking classes, silversmith workshops and other events, Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel is one of the most dynamic up-and-coming independent hotels in Siem Reap. The award-winning 25-room hotel provides lush and relaxing accommodation with all the facilities and services of an international hotel including an acclaimed restaurant and bar. Guests enjoy the inclusive, family-friendly and LGBT-welcoming environment, only one kilometre away from the centre of town. Baby Elephant is an ethical hotel focused on creating sustainable employment and training opportunities for our staff, contractors and the micro-businesses in our local community. Book direct on our website for the best deals.

Venues

Our favourites places

MY CARGO

www.facebook.com/MyCargo

A unique Khmer-owned restaurant and bar with delicious local cuisine and high quality drinks, come explore the different levels and spaces! 

BAMBU STAGE

www.bambustage.com

Bambu Stage is a platform for performing arts in Cambodia— Siem Reap’s newest creative centre focusing on light and dark, shadow and light, photography and classical culture. Bambu Stage is a performance venue with daily shows, a workshop space for Cambodian puppeteers, and a gathering space for artists and art lovers. They operate as a social enterprise and collaborate closely with NGOs, other social enterprises, and ethical businesses in the community.

For show times and tickets, visit the website or call 09 77 26 11 10.

Alliance Francaise Siem Reap

afsiemreap.org

L’Alliance Française is an international organization that aims to promote French language and culture around the world. Our Siem Reap location is a modern centre for learning nestled inside a colonial building near the river on Street 22/Achar Sva St.

HERITAGE HUB

www.cambodianlivingarts.org/heritage-hub

The Heritage Hub is the Siem Reap branch of Cambodian Living Arts, a non-profit organization that has been working in Cambodia for twenty years. Set in the leafy grounds of Wat Bo, the Heritage Hub is a center for artists, researchers, and other people interested to learn more about Cambodia’s living heritage.The Heritage Hub has the mission to strengthen living arts and culture to bring cultural, creative and economic value to Cambodia, especially Siem Reap. They run regular talks and demonstrations, stage occasional performances and festivals, and provide rehearsal space for local groups, and space for traditional music teachers to hold classes every Saturday and Sunday morning. From December 2019, the Heritage Hub will stage a public performance three nights per week by Medha – a groundbreaking all-female drum troupe that formed in January 2017. Stay tuned for more information about the upcoming show!

PASSAGEWAY

Tucked between Alliance Française, Khéma Déli Restaurant and Bred Bank, the atmospheric passageway had already previously played host to not only the festival’s opening night, but to a wide array of art and cultural activities in Siem Reap. Just facing the Siem Reap riverside, come join us for a cool evening under the stars!  

MIRAGE CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE

miragesiemreap.business.site

MIRAGE Contemporary Art Space is a creativity incubator, art gallery and an independent art and design consultancy based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Our mission is that of re-discovery, presentation and preservation of Khmer art and culture, operating in a multicultural and inclusive manner, promoting artists and performers that fully reflect the cultural diversity of Cambodia. We believe that artists and creative professionals need to experiment, bounce ideas off one another and work in a collaborative manner to create their next master work. We offer this space to artists to to exhibit, perform, meet, share, influence, collaborate and amalgamate ideas and inspirations.

ONE ELEVEN GALLERY

www.oneelevengallery.com

Siem Reap’s only international contemporary art gallery, the newly relaunched One Eleven Gallery is the latest addition to Siem Reap’s emerging art scene. Boasting a vast array of high calibre, internationally renowned artists, One Eleven Gallery is also the cheery younger sibling to San Francisco’s quirky and iconic 111 Minna Gallery. With regular rotating exhibitions, showcase artists and special guests, One Eleven Gallery is as diverse as the bold and colourful works on show.

Team’s Picks

These are the places we love, and we know you’ll love them too!

The VILLAGE CAFE

www.facebook.com/villagecafecambodia/

A chic French-inspired bistro cafe with a full bar and an upstairs gallery. On the menu, you’ll find delectable tapas, wholesome salads and hearty steaks and burgers. On weekends, the bistro transforms into one of the coolest night spots in Kandal Village.

Khema Angkor 

https://khema-restaurant.com

Khema Déli Restaurant is all about great feelings and memorable experiences.

 Khéma offers a collection of gastronomic choices: from imported artisanal cheeses, house-made cold cuts, grills, in-house signature dishes to delightful pastries, freshly baked breads and more… at a really reasonable price. Definitely a great value for money!

Weekly events not to be missed:

  •         Free-flow Breakfast (Monday-Friday) from 6.30 am to 11 am
  •         Free-flow Brunch (Saturday-Sunday) from 6.30 am to 3 pm
  •         Free-flow Wine & Dine (Thursday) from 6 pm to 8 pm

 Feel free to book at [email protected] or call +855 (0)15 416 888

Laundry Bar

www.facebook.com/laundry.bar.3

Located just a stroll away from the Old Market, this Siem Reap late-night institution serves up cool sounds, price-friendly drinks and a laidback vibe. Get chatting with the friendly patrons or play a game of pool with an ever-present challenger. The bar frequently hosts local and visiting DJs, so check out their Facebook page for the latest event.

Eat and Drink For Good!

The following businesses are all social enterprises that not only have fantastic food and drink, they also contribute back to the community in significant ways through various initiatives. We highly recommend them!

Sister Srey

www.sistersreycafe.com
A long-time favourite amongst the expats in Siem Reap, Sister Srey cafe now works closely with APOPO, a unique NGO which trains southern giant pouched rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis. A percentage of their profits are donated towards landmine clearance with APOPO here in Cambodia!

Footprints Cafe

www.footprintcafes.org

Fantastic coffee and a fantastic menu featuring lots of vegan and vegetarian options! Footprint Cafe’s mission is to harness the financial power of tourism for the benefit of the local community by donating 100% of net profits back to the local community as grants for educational projects.

Spoons Cafe

egbokmission.org/spoons-cafe

Having a meal at this pretty, open-air cafe is an easy and delicious way to contribute to the personal and educational development of underserved Cambodian young adults. The cafe is a training facility and multipurpose space for EGBOK students to gain hands-on experience while providing guests with authentic Cambodian cuisine and hospitality. Choose from a delicious array of Cambodian cuisine, from street food favorites to classic home style dishes. Stop in for a coffee and sweet treat, or stay longer for a hearty meal.

New Leaf Book Cafe

www.newleafeatery.com

Opened in 2013, New Leaf Book Cafe is the perfect place for brunch and a book! Each month 30% of New Leaf’s profits are donated to a chosen charity or project and 20% is shared among our Cambodian staff. To date, they have donated over US$ 40,000. We are currently donating profits to PEPY Empowering Youth and SeeBeyondBorders.

Haven Restaurant

www.havencambodia.com
HAVEN is known for its delicious food and a favourite dinner spot. It is also a training restaurant for vulnerable young adults from shelters and orphanages, as well as underprivileged young adults from very poor rural areas. While enjoying a dish from our special selection of flavourful Asian and Western food – including many vegetarian tidbits – you are supporting our training program and are thereby helping disadvantaged young adults to achieve a secure and independent future.

Marum

www.marum.com
Take a break from temple touring and enjoy creative local cuisine, delicious cocktails and fruit shakes, made using only the freshest ingredients. Marum is run by Kaliyan Mith, an NGO that has been working with street children and other marginalized young people since 2005 in Siem Reap, Cambodia.