Living in Siem Reap
Siem Reap is quite a nice place to live. It is definitely a small town and you quickly learn your way around. Despite its small size Siem Reap has lots of little shops and restaurants catering to the tourists who come to visit the Angkor temple complex.
Siem Reap also has good transport links to the rest of South East Asia from the urban civilization of Singapore to the rustic charms of an Indonesian island there is something here for everyone. Thailand itself, just next door to Cambodia, is one of the world's favorite tourist destinations.
Outside Siem Reap the country is much less developed and few people speak English. Cambodians are mostly friendly though and the visitor will be an object of some interest in rural areas. Transportation to remote areas can be time consuming and unreliable.
There are many little cafes for coffee and tasty pastries. A latte and a piece of chocolate cake is about $3. There are a variety of restaurants in town ranging from small Khmer places with Lok Lak for a couple of dollars to French restaurants where you can get a goat cheese salad and a steak for about $20.
There are lots of places offering massages and body wraps. A massage can run between $6 to $20 depending on how nice the place is. All of the large hotels offer daily pool and spa passes for between $10 to $20. There are also monthly pool and gym passes available at most hotels. A monthly pass for the pool, gym and sauna at a 5 star hotel costs about $70.
The temples of Angkor are the main tourist attraction in Siem Reap. The Ta Prohm Temple is where the carving of the stegasaurus is found. They are a ten minute drive from town and day passes are $20. You can also go in for free at sunset and have dinner at one of the restaurants and watch the sun set.
Other popular trips include going to the lake and dirt biking. There are many interesting places to visit in Cambodia besides the little town of Siem Reap. If you want to find out, come and see!
General Information on Cambodia
Offecial Name: KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA
Area 181,035km2. It is bordered to the North by Thailand and Laos, to the East and the South by Vietnam, and to the South and the West by the Gulf of Thailand.
Capital City Phnom Penh (Population approx 2 Million, 290 square kilometers). It is considered the center of Industry, Administration, Commerce, and Tourism.
Population 13,124,764 Million (2003 est.) (90-95% Khmers) the balance being ethnic Chinese, Cham, ethnic Vietnamese and hill-tribe people.
Language Khmer, secondary languages: English and French
Religion 95% Theravada Buddhist with the balance being Muslim, Christian and animist
Food and Drink Rice and fish are the basic foods enjoyed by Cambodians. Delicious noodle soups are available at cafes. Fresh seafood is plentiful at Sihanouk Ville. In major cities a wide range of culinary fare is on offer including; Chinese, Thai, French, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern.
Cambodia has four seasons:
1. Nov-Feb, cool/dry
2. Mar-May, hot/dry
3. Jun-Aug, hot/wet
4. Sep-Oct, cool/wet
Time GMT+7 hours
Currency RIEL (USD1 approximately 4000 Riels). US dollars are widely accepted.
Tipping Tipping isn’t obligatory but is widely practiced in hotels and restaurants in addition to the service charges shown on bills.
- Can be obtained at Royal Embassies and Consulates of Cambodia
- A visa on arrival, valid for 30 days, is issued at Phnom Penh International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, Poi Pet, O'Smach and Cham Yeam at the Cambodia-Thailand international border checkpoint and Bavet, Kaam Samnor at the Cambodia-Vietnam international border checkpoint.
- Visa fee: Business visa: USD25, Tourist visa: USD20.
Airport Taxi For visitors entering Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport, a taxi into the city will cost USD7 and will take approximately 15 minutes. Most hotels and better guesthouses provide airport pickups for booked guests. A (non-metered) taxi from Siem Reap International Airport into town, 8km away, costs about USD5 and takes 10-15 minutes.
Local Transport Cars and mini-buses are readily available for touring the temples at Angkor or for day trips in and around Phnom Penh. The cost of a car and driver is US$20+per day.
Hotels and Guesthouses There are many of each in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Accommodation ranges from guesthouses charging from USD5/night to luxurious 5-star hotels. In Siem Reap there are several small hotels along the road between the airport and the town. (These are peaceful as they're set among rice fields and palms but require a taxi ride for each venture outside).
Nightlife Plenty available, but take your own driver or "motodop" (motorbike taxi driver) for the evening.
Telephone Country code: 855, Phnom Penh code: 23. Phone cards are available, and can be purchased at many outlets. There are also several mobile phone systems. Mobile phones can be rented from booths on the street on a pay-per-call basis.
Opening Hours Government offices: business hours are from 7:30am-11: 30am and 2:30pm-5pm, Monday to Friday. Banks are open from 8am-3pm Monday to Friday. Markets are open from early morning to late evening, including Sundays and pubic holidays.
Postal service Airmail to Europe takes 4-5 days, and to the USA 7-10 days
Newspapers English dailies: The Phnom Penh Post and The Cambodia Daily.
Internet services The Internet and E-mail are available in city and all the provinces.
Tourist information Ministry of Tourism. Tel.: (855)23 211 593, Fax: (855)23 212 837
Emergency There are emergency services in Phnom Penh. Call 119 ambumlance, Call 118 fire truck, Call 117 polices.
International Gate Ways
- Phnom Penh International Airport
- Siem Reap International Airport
- Sihanoukville Port (Visa on Arrival)
- Airport Tax:
- Foreigner: USD25
- Cambodian: USD18
- Foreigner: 6USD
- Cambodian: 5USD (Effective from 5th January 2004)
International Border Checkpoints
- Bavet (Svay Rieng Province)
- Kaam Samnor-Koh Rokar (Kandal-Prey Veng)
- Cham Yeam (Koh Kong Province)
- Poi Pet (Banteay Meanchhey Province)
- O'Smach (Oddar Meanchhey Province)
- Phnom Den (Takeo Province): No Visa on Arrival
- Dong Krolor (Stung Treng Province): No Visa on Arrival
Getting to Cambodia
Most international visitors arrive by air at the airports in either Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. These airports are serviced by an increasing number of airlines. A growing number of tourists are also entering overland from Thailand and Vietnam.
City Airport Code
- Phnom Penh PNH
- Siem Riep REP
- Battambang BBM
- Mondulkiri MWV
- Rattanakhiri RBE
- Stung Treng TNX
- Sihanouk Ville KOS
- Koh Kong KKZ
- Poipet HPP
Cambodia has six airports at Battambang, Mondulkiri, Phnom Penh, Rattanakhiri, Siem Riep and Stung Treng.
All flights pass through Phnom Penh International Airport.