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By the way, we would recommend you to combine your visit to Siem Reap with other popular and interesting places of Cambodia, for example: Angkor, Battambang, Kep, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kampot, etc.
How to Book a Hotel in Siem Reap
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Hotels of Siem Reap
A hotel in Siem Reap is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Siem Reap hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Siem Reap are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Siem Reap hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Siem Reap hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Siem Reap have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Siem Reap
An upscale full service hotel facility in Siem Reap that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Siem Reap hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Siem Reap
Full service Siem Reap hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Siem Reap
Boutique hotels of Siem Reap are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Siem Reap boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Siem Reap may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Siem Reap
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Siem Reap travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Siem Reap focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Siem Reap
Small to medium-sized Siem Reap hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Siem Reap traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Siem Reap hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Siem Reap
A bed and breakfast in Siem Reap is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Siem Reap bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Siem Reap B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Siem Reap
Siem Reap hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Siem Reap hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Siem Reap
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Siem Reap hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Siem Reap lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Siem Reap
Siem Reap timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Siem Reap often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Siem Reap on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Siem Reap
A Siem Reap motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Siem Reap for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Siem Reap motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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For the province with the same name, see Siem Reap Province.
Siem Reap ក្រុងសៀមរាប
Pub Street in Siem Reap
Nickname(s): Temple Town
Location of Siem Reap, Cambodia
Coordinates: / 13.36222; 103.85972
Siem Reap Province
• District Chief & Governor
Khim Bunsong (CPP)
• Deputy Governor
Kim Chay Hieng (CPP)
18 m (59 ft)
Siem Reap (Khmer: ក្រុងសៀមរាប, pronounced [siəm riəp]; Thai: เสียมราฐ) is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in northwestern Cambodia. It is a popular resort town and a gateway to the Angkor region.
Siem Reap has colonial and Chinese-style architecture in the Old French Quarter, and around the Old Market. In the city, there are museums, traditional Apsara dance performances, a Cambodian cultural village, souvenir and handycraft shops, silk farms, rice-paddies in the countryside, fishing villages and a bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake.
Siem Reap today-being a popular tourist destination-has a large number of hotels, resorts, restaurants and businesses closely related to tourism. This is much owed to its proximity to the Angkor temples, the most popular tourist attraction in Cambodia.
Siem Reap: History
Sisophon, Battambang & Angkor Wat received by King Sisowath, 1907
The name "Siem Reap" can be translated to mean "Defeat of Siam" (siem in Khmer), and is commonly taken as a reference to an incident in the centuries-old conflict between the Siamese and Khmer kingdoms, although this is probably apocryphal. According to oral tradition, King Ang Chan (1516–1566) had named the town "Siem Reap", meaning "the defeat of Siam", after he repulsed an army sent to invade Cambodia by the Thai King Maha Chakkraphat in 1549. However, scholars such as Michael Vickery consider this derivation to be simply a modern folk etymology, and maintain that while the names Siem Reap and Chenla (old Chinese name for Cambodia) may perhaps be related, the actual origin of the name is unknown.
The traditional tale claims that King Ang Chan of Cambodia tried to assert greater independence from Siam, which was then going through internal struggles. The Siamese King Chairacha had been poisoned by his concubine, Lady Sri Sudachan, who had committed adultery with a commoner, Worawongsathirat, while the king was away leading a campaign against the Kingdom of Chiang Mai. Sudachan then placed her lover on the throne. The Thai nobility lured them outside the city on a royal procession by barge to inspect a newly discovered white elephant. After killing the usurper, along with Sudachan and their newly born daughter, they invited Prince Thianracha to leave the monkhood and assume the throne as King Maha Chakkraphat (1548–1569). With the Thais distracted by their internal problems, King Ang Chan decided the time was right to attack. He seized the Siamese city of Prachin Buri in 1549, sacking the city and making slaves of its inhabitants. Only then did he learn that the succession had been settled and that Maha Chakkkraphat was the new ruler. Ang Chan immediately retreated to Cambodia, taking his captives with him. King Maha Chakkraphat was furious over the unprovoked attack, but Burma had also chosen to invade through the Three Pagodas Pass. The Burmese army posed a much more serious threat, as it captured Kanchanaburi and Suphanburi. It then appeared before Ayutthaya itself.
Nightlife in Siem Reap
The Thai army managed to defeat the Burmese, who quickly retreated through the pass. Maha Chakkraphat's thoughts then turned to Cambodia. Not only had Ang Chan attacked and looted Prachin Buri, turning its people into slaves, but he also refused to give Maha Chakkraphat a white elephant he had requested, rejecting even this token of submission to Siam. Maha Chakkraphat ordered Prince Ong, the governor of Sawankhalok, to lead an expedition to punish Ang Chan and recover the Thai captives. The rival armies met, and Ang Chan killed Prince Ong with a lucky musket shot from elephant back. The leaderless Thai army fled, and Ang Chan allegedly captured more than 10,000 Siamese soldiers. To celebrate his great victory, King Ang Chan supposedly named the battleground "Siem Reap", meaning "the total defeat of Siam".
Pub Street in Siem Reap
In reality, surviving historic sources make this folk tale appear very unlikely, since they date the decline of the Angkor kingdom to more than a century before this, when a military expedition from Ayutthaya captured and sacked Angkor Wat, which began a long period of vassal rule over Cambodia. The 1431 capture coincided with the decline of Angkor, though the reasons behind its abandonment are not clear. They may have included environmental changes and failings in the Khmer infrastructure.
From the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, infighting among the Khmer nobility led to periodic intervention and domination by both of Cambodia's more powerful neighbors, Vietnam and Siam. Siem Reap, along with Battambang (Phra Tabong) and Sisophon, major cities in the northwest of Cambodia, was under Siamese administration and the provinces were collectively known as Inner Cambodia from 1795 until 1907, when they were ceded to French Indochina. In fact, during the 18th century, under the rule of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, it was known as Nakhorn Siam (Siam's city), not as "Siam's Defeat".
Siem Reap: Re-discovery of Angkor
A part of Sivutha Blvd in the downtown area
Siem Reap was little more than a village when French explorers such as Henri Mouhot "re-discovered" Angkor in the 19th century. However, European visitors had visited the temple ruins much earlier, including António da Madalena in 1586". In 1901, the École française d'Extrême-Orient (EFEO; French School of the Far East) began a long association with Angkor by funding an expedition into Siam to the Bayon. The EFEO took responsibility for clearing and restoring the whole site. In the same year, the first western tourists arrived in Angkor, a total of about 200 in just three months. Angkor had been 'rescued' from the jungle and was assuming its place in the modern world.
Grand Hotel d'Angkor was built in the mid-1920s.
With the acquisition of Angkor by the French in 1907 following a Franco-Siamese treaty, Siem Reap began to grow. The Grand Hotel d'Angkor opened in 1932 and the temples of Angkor became one of Asia's leading draws until the late 1960s. when civil war kept them away. In 1975, the population of Siem Reap, like all other Cambodian cities and towns, was driven into the countryside by the communist Khmer Rouge.
Siem Reap's recent history is coloured by the horror of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Since Pol Pot's death in 1998, however, relative stability and a rejuvenated tourist industry have revived the city and province.
Royal Residence, Siem Reap
Siem Reap now serves as a small gateway town to the world heritage site of Angkor Wat. It is a vibrant town with modern hotels and restaurants, still managing to preserve much of its culture and traditions. Siem Reap ranked fourth in the World's Best Cities of Travel and Leisure survey in 2014.
Siem Reap: The Wat and the river
A covered pedestrian bridge over the Siem Reap River, next to the Old Market in Siem Reap
The Town is a cluster of small villages along the Siem Reap River. These villages were originally developed around Buddhist pagodas (Wat) which are almost evenly spaced along the river from Wat Preah En Kau Sei in the north to Wat Phnom Krom in the south, where the Siem Reap River meets the great Tonle Sap Lake.
The main town is concentrated around Sivutha Street and the Psar Chas area (Old Market area) where there are old colonial buildings, shopping and commercial districts. The Wat Bo area is now full of guesthouses and restaurants while the Psar Leu area is often crowded with jewellery and handicraft shops, selling such items as rubies and woodcarving. Other fast developing areas are the airport road and main road to Angkor where a number of large hotels and resorts can be found.
Siem Reap: Economy
Dancer performing for tourists at a restaurant
Tourism is a very important aspect of the economy of Siem Reap - it was estimated in 2010 that over 50% of jobs in the town were related to the tourism industry. The city has seen a massive increase in tourist trade in the couple of decades after the end of the Khmer Rouge era, and businesses centered on tourism have flourished due to the tourism boom. Visitor numbers were negligible in the mid-1990s, but by 2004, over half a million foreign visitors had arrived in the Siem Reap province that year, approximately 50% of all foreign tourists in Cambodia. By 2012, tourist number had reached over two million. A large number of hotels have sprung up in the city, these range from 5-star hotels and chic resorts to hundreds of budget guesthouses.
Most tourists in Siem Reap come to visit the Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, (about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) north of the city), and other Angkor ruins. There are many shopping opportunities around the Psar Chas area, and there are also a number of western-styled pubs and bars catering to tourists.
A large number of NGOs and other not-for profits organizations operate in and around Siem Reap, and they play a vital role in the economy, as well as helping to develop it for the future. Thousands of expatriates call the city home and they also have a significant impact on the economy.
Siem Reap: Attractions
Satellite view of Siem Reap (to the left in the satellite image) in relation to Angkor archaeological sites such as Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom
Siem Reap: Angkor Wat
Main article: Angkor Wat
Buddhist monks in front of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat (Wat temple) is the central feature of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site containing the magnificent remains of the Khmer civilization. Angkor Wat's rising series of five towers culminates in an impressive central tower that symbolizes mythical Mount Meru. Thousands of feet of wall space are covered with intricate carving depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. The most important are the Carved Bas reliefs of the Hindu narratives. They tell a story about gods fighting demons in order to reclaim order which can only be achieved by recovering the elixir of life known as amrita. The gods and demons must work together to release it and then battle to attain it.
Siem Reap: Angkor Thom
The towers of Bayon in Angkor Thom
Main article: Angkor Thom
Angkor Thom is an inner royal city built by the end of the 12th century and is renowned for its temples, in particular the Bayon. Other notable sites are Baphuon, Phimeanakas, The Terrace of the Elephants and The Terrace of the Leper King. The city can be accessed through 5 city gates, one on each cardinal point and the Victory Gate on the eastern wall.
Siem Reap: Other temples
A number of significant temples are dotted around Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom within the Angkor Archaeological Park, including Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Banteay Kdei, Phnom Bakheng, Ta Keo, Ta Som, East Mebon, Pre Rup and Neak Pean. These temples may be visited along the grand circuit or the small circuit routes. Other sites are the Roluos group of temples located to the east of Siem Reap.
Siem Reap: The Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Center
The Landmine Museum offers tourists and Cambodians the chance to see (safe) landmines up close, understand how they work, and what they can do to help rid Cambodia and the world of their continuing threat. It is located approximately 25 km north of Siem Reap (30 minutes by tuk tuk), just 7 km south of the Banteay Srey Temple complex in Angkor National Park. On the way to the museum there are quaint countryside villages, rice paddies and wide views of locals working their fields, as well as local handicrafts "outside the hussle and bussle of town." Some two dozen at-risk Khmer children are educated and live, along with staff, at the Relief Center located on the museum property. The organization has plans for building a farm behind the Center sometime in 2016.
Siem Reap: War Museum Cambodia
The War Museum Cambodia covers the last three decades of the 20th century when the Khmer Rouge was active in Cambodia. There is a vast array of vehicles, artillery, weaponry, landmines and equipment on display. The museum is making use of guides who are war veterans who fought for the Cambodian army, the Khmer Rouge or the Vietnamese army.
Angkor National Museum
Siem Reap: Angkor National Museum
Opened on 12 November 2007, the Angkor National Museum offers visitors a better understanding of the area's archaeological treasures. The Golden Era of the Khmer Kingdom is presented, including the use of state-of-the-art multimedia technology. The museum covers Khmer history, civilization, and cultural heritage in eight galleries.
Siem Reap: Markets
A view of the Old Market (Psar Chas) in Siem Reap
Main article: Psah Chas
The Old Market or Psah Chas is located between Pub Street and the Siem Reap River, and offers a mixture of souvenirs for tourists and a variety of food produce and other items meant for the locals.
Other markets in Siem Reap include the Angkor Night Market which is located off Sivutha Street, Phsar Kandal (The Central Market) located at Sivutha Street which mainly caters to tourists, and Phsar Leu (The Upper Market) which is located further away along National Road 6 but is the biggest market of Siem Reap used by the locals. The Made in Cambodia Market (initially called "Well Made in Cambodia") is a night market for tourists in Siem Reap where all the products sold should be made in Cambodia. The market hosts daily shows and other events in King's Road.
Craftsman at Artisans Angkor creating Buddha images in stone
Siem Reap: Artisans Angkor
Main article: Artisans Angkor
Artisans Angkor is a semi-public company founded in 1992 which aims to revive traditional Khmer craftsmanship and provide employment for rural artisans. It is also associated with a silk farm where visitors may learn about sericulture and weaving. It also participates in the restoration of historical Angkor sites by repairing and replacing damaged sculptures.
Siem Reap: Cambodian Cultural Village
Opened on 24 September 2003, the Cambodian Cultural Village assembles all the miniatures of famous historical buildings and structures of Cambodia. There are 11 unique villages, which represent different culture heritages, local customs and characteristics of 21 multi races.
Siem Reap: Notable sites near Siem Reap
Lingas carved into the riverbed of Kbal Spean.
A number of notable sites further away from Siem Reap are also accessible from the town.
Siem Reap: Phnom Kulen
Main article: Phnom Kulen
The Phnom Kulen National Park is about 48 km from Siem Reap and contains a number of attractions such as its two waterfalls and the Kbal Spean's "river of 1000 lingas".
Floating Village of Kampong P'luk
Siem Reap: Floating Villages
There are three floating villages around Siem Reap - Kompong Khleang, Kompong Phluk, Chong Kneas, with Kompong Khleang considered the most authentic.
Siem Reap: Tonlé Sap
Main article: Tonlé Sap
The Tonlé Sap, Khmer for "Vast Body of Fresh Water" and more commonly translated as "Great Lake" is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia. It is located in the heart of Cambodia about 30 minutes south of downtown Siem Reap and has many attractions. The area around the Tonle Sap including the province of Siem Reap is part of the Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve.
Siem Reap: Phnom Dei
Phnom Dei is a hill near Siem Reap.
Siem Reap: Banteay Srei
Banteay Srei is a 10th-century temple located about 30 km northeast of Siem Reap. It is notable for its fine intricate decorative carvings on rose pink sandstone.
Siem Reap: Local specialty
Painted bottles of Sombai Liqueur with pictures of Angkor temples
Siem Reap: Rice wine
Traditionally rice wine may be made by the Cambodian households or villages for their own consumption. Some are also produced commercially or inspired by this tradition, an example is the Sombai Infused Cambodian Liqueur (Sombai) produced in Siem Reap. This beverage takes inspiration from the Sraa Tram (or soaked wine) that Cambodians drink traditionally and the infused rums from the islands. The particularity of the bottles of Sombai is that they are hand-painted making it attractive to tourists visiting Cambodia. The workshop and its tasting parlour installed in a traditional Khmer wooden house, has become a tourist attraction in town.
Siem Reap: Climate
According to the Köppen climate classification, Siem Reap features a tropical wet and dry climate. The city is generally hot throughout the course of the year, with average high temperatures never falling below 30 C in any month. Siem Reap has a relatively lengthy wet season which starts in April and ends in November. The dry season covers the remaining four months. The city averages approximately 1500 mm of rainfall per year.
Climate data for Siem Reap, Cambodia (averages: 1997-2010, extremes: 1906-2010)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst
Siem Reap: Transportation
Siem Reap International Airport
The town is 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport (IATA code REP) and is accessible by direct flights from many Asian cities, and by land from Phnom Penh and the Thai border. It is also accessible by boat (via the Tonle Sap lake) and bus from Phnom Penh and Battambang. A new airport is planned 60 kilometres (37 mi) from Siem Reap.
The boat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap
It is possible to get from Bangkok to Siem Reap via Poipet. The road from Poipet to Siem Reap is newly paved and sealed as of 2013. If travelers take a taxi from Bangkok to Poipet and from Poipet to Siem Reap, it is possible to complete the whole journey in 6–10 hours, depending on border-crossing times. This journey is also possible by bus and minibus. Tickets can be bought online via the official Nattakan website. Getting to Siem Reap from Bangkok is also possible by train via the Aranyaprathet station to the border with Cambodia and later via shared mini-buses or taxis to Siem Reap.
Siem Reap: Sister cities
Fontainebleau, France, since 11 June 2000
Sankt Goar, Germany, since 13 May 2015
Kōta, Aichi, Japan
Siem Reap: References
Glasser, Miranda (14 September 2012). "Temple Town, Cambodia's new ladyboy capital". Phnom Penh Post. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
"Chapter 2: Spatial Distribution and Density of Population" (PDF). Statistics Japan.
Joachim Schliesinger (2012). Elephants in Thailand Vol 3: White Elephants in Thailand and Neighboring Countries. White Lotus. p. 32. ISBN 978-9744801890.
Zhou Daguan (2007). A Record of Cambodia. translated by Peter Harris. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-9749511244.
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski (29 January 2009). The Sultan and the Mermaid Queen: Surprising Asian People, Places and Things that Go Bump in the Night. Editions Didier Millet. pp. 100–. ISBN 978-981-4217-74-3.
John Stewart Bowman (13 August 2013). Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Columbia University Press. pp. 511–. ISBN 978-0-231-50004-3.
Stone, R. (2006). "ARCHAEOLOGY: The End of Angkor". Science. 311 (5766): 1364–1368. doi:10.1126/science.311.5766.1364. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 16527940.
Gerald W. Fry; Gayla S. Nieminen; Harold E. Smith (8 August 2013). Historical Dictionary of Thailand. Scarecrow Press. pp. 362–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7525-8.
Higham, The Civilization of Angkor pp. 1–2.
Robin Biddulph (January 2015). "Limits to mass tourism's effects in rural peripheries". Annals of Tourism Research. 50: 98–112. doi:10.1016/j.annals.2014.11.011.
"Executive Summary from Jan–Dec 2005". Tourism of Cambodia. Statistics & Tourism Information Department, Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia. Archived from the original on 13 April 2008. Retrieved 25 April 2008.
"Tourism Annual Report 2012" (PDF). Ministry of Tourism.
"Angkor Temple Guide". Canby Publications.
Where we are located - Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Center
Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Center
Land Mine Museum video by Al Brenner
Poem of the Land Mine Museum by Al Brenner, additional video footage of Museum
"Angkor National Museum website". Angkornationalmuseum.com. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
"Psar Chaa". Lonely Planet.
"Angkor Night Market". Lonely Planet.
"Local markets in Siem Reap". Siemreap.net.
"Shinta Mani "Well Made in Cambodia" Market". Siemreap.net.
"Laura Mam and Krom performing in town". The Phnom Penh Post.
Walter E. Little (2011). Textile Economies: Power and Value from the Local to the Transnational. AltaMira Press. pp. 207–208. ISBN 978-0759120617.
"Restoration of Angkor site". Artisans Angkor.
"Siem Reap floating villages: What to expect and why we choose to go to Kompong Khleang". Triple Adventure Cambodia.