Siem Reap, Cambodia Guide - - Hotels, Restaurants, Nightlife - Classic Travel
It would be hard to say "Siem Reap" without conjuring up images of the majestic temple of Angkor Wat. Containing some of the largest religious monuments ever built, Angkor existed only in myth until the late 19th century, when it was discovered deep within the Cambodian jungle. Watch the sun rise over the ancient carvings of the imposing Angkor Wat, or marvel at the wild Banyans that have conquered the structures at the smaller Ta Prohm temple--you will, no doubt, be awestruck at the resiliency of the Cambodian culture. And although Siem Reap has been known primarily for its convenient proximity to the temples, it has grown into a destination in its own right. There are luxury hotels at reasonable prices and you book them right here on ClassicTravel.com. With all of the amenities of a big city, Siem Reap manages to eminate a small town feel: most of the businesses don't have street addresses, rather they offer directions centered around local landmarks (down the block from the Old Market!). You may come for the sightseeing, but you'll leave with an appreciation for Khmer culture, a love for the traditional Amok dish, and perhaps more than a few of John McDermott's stunning black and white prints.
Cambodia Landmine Museum
(20 miles northeast of Siem Reap on Road to Banteay Srei)
This museum provides a detailed account of Cambodia's political and social upheaval, including the Khmer Rouge insurgency, which ended only 10 years ago.
Embrace your inner tourist and head straight to the top of this 12th century beauty to enjoy the picturesque Cambodian sunrise. Beware of the crowds, though, as everybody will have the same idea. After sunrise, the crowds generally disperse, which allows for prime viewing of the inner courtyards. A host to several different religions over its many years, Angkor Wat is host to exquisite religious reliefs and serves as a stunning example of traditional Khmer architecture. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a treat for both the soul and the mind, offering aesthetically spectacular views and classically Cambodian memories.
A smaller temple within Angkor, Ta Prohm has been left entirely to its own devices, leaving the modern-day viewer with remarkable religious reliefs covered in the roots of the crawling banyan trees that populate the temple. Definitely a site worth seeing on your trip to Angkor.
About 20 miles north of the main Angkor Wat temples, Banteay Srei, translated as the "Citadel of Women," is a stunning temple dedicated to Shiva. Created with red sandstone, the temple has beautifully preserved bas-reliefs depicting ancient Hindu stories. It would be helpful, although not entirely necessary, to go with a guide who can explain the significance of the carvings. It's also probably best to go early in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat of the sun.
Housing more than 6,000 pieces of Khmer Art, Conservation D’Angkor was created in the early twentieth century with the goal of safeguarding Cambodia’s Khmer treasures. Filled with religious sculptures, wooden statues, and countless other riches from all over the country, this warehouse contains over four centuries worth of art. Located less than a mile away from Angkor Wat, the conservation is not open to the general public, but we can arrange a private visit.
658 St Hup Quan, Mondol 1
(855) 012 814 500
A New Zealand owned and operated company, Helicopters Cambodia offers a number of flight options around the country. Select a scenic flight plan, a multi-destination flight plan, or even design your own special tour, whichever way you choose, a helicopter is a wonderful way to see this beautiful country. Each flight can hold up to five adult passengers (quite often four adults and their tour guide), and the company requires a minimum passenger number on certain flights.
617/615 Hup Guan Street
This plush spa with modern art on the walls and fresh orchids in vases is a special haven for those that wish to be pampered at a fraction of the cost back home. One hour massage is USD22.00
The Blue Pumpkin
365 Mondol 1
Immerse yourself in white, white, white when you step inside the Blue Pumpkin (unexpected, no?). Take a seat on one of the cozy couches that line one side of the cafÈ to enjoy a coffee or cocktail, or sit down at a table to have a light meal. The Blue Pumpkin is the perfect place no matter what your dining needs. As an added bonus, they’re completely wifi, so bring your laptop and send some e-mails!
Butterfly Garden Restaurant
535 Wat Bo Road
A nice contrast to the chaos of the Siem Reap streets, the Butterfly Garden is a relaxing environment in which to dine on Khmer specialties. Sit outside in the garden and watch in wonder as nearly 1500 different species of butterflies flutter around the 500 different kinds of flowers and trees—like dining in Eden.
The Red Piano
341 Svay Dangkom
Visit Angelina Jolie’s favorite haunt in Cambodia—the star was known to frequent The Red Piano while filming Tomb Raider. You can even order a Tomb Raider cocktail, named after, and initiated, by the starlet. Order off of the extensive (and quite eclectic) menu, and choose anything from burgers, to traditional Cambodian cuisine, to Indian samosas.
Central Sivatha Rd
Located in an old wooden building on the main road leading to the temples, Cafe Indochine is the perfect place to indulge in classically Indochine food (which is to say Thai, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and French cuisine!) while watching the Siem Reap crowds pass by on their way to the temples.
The Balcony Cafe and Gallery
An across-the-street alternative to The Red Piano, The Balcony Cafe offers a wide selection of local Khmer fare along with a few Western dishes. Relax and watch the busy town center from this delightful restaurant's namesake balcony.
Opposite Angkor Wat Temple
Conveniently located, Chez Sophea serves up deliciously simple French fare in a can't-be-beat location.
John McDermott's gallery showcasing his black and white photography is a wealth of aesthetically exquisite views of Angkor Wat and other local sites. Stop by and pick up one of McDermitt's magical photos--what better way to be reminded of your amazing visit than to have a stunning snapshot to bring home.
Spices, coffee, and bath products.
Conveniently located near John McDermott's gallery, Tiger Lily carries Khmer-inspired silverware, laquerware, local prints, and home accessories. Consult with artist Judie Wong who can help you design your own objets d'art, or simply help you to select one of her original creations.
Psar Chas, the Old Market
Riverside in the south end of town
Because many businesses use the Old Market as a way to orient themselves within Siem Reap, it is the perfect place to begin shopping. Filled with the requisite assortment of Buddhas and other trinkets, it also tends to have a great selection of books on the various temples, including Angkor Wat.
Angkor Night Market
Near the Old Market area
Take a stroll after dinner through this newly opened market that stays open until midnight. Buy touristy trinkets under the cover of night, peruse the jewelery and arts section, or simply take in the bustling atmosphere. An atmospheric activity for a tame kind of night.
Tel. +855 063.760.610
Using Cambodian silks, designers Kellianne Karatau and Cassandra McMillan have created several collections of beautiful, classic, and feminine designs. Made with the modern woman in mind, the fashions found at Jasmine are wonderful for every occasion, from office wear to evening wear, you're sure to find the perfect fit.
Svay Dangkum, Mondol 1
Tel. +855 63 53 10
Meaning "fair" in Khmer, Samatoa is a clothing shop dedicated to the fair practices of tailoring. Created in order to give Cambodian women a means of long-term employment, Samatoa offersa vieriety of traditional Khmer-wear in local silks along with 48-hour tailoring services. If you opt for the latter, make sure you have a clear design in mind, an already-made sample is preferrable, to give to the tailors.
Tourism of Cambodia
The Official site of Tourism of Cambodia providing information about Cambodia travel, passport and visa, transportation, travel information and much more...
Cambodia Travel Tips:
Although we’ve listed some great boutiques, don’t miss the gift stores in luxury hotels—they typically carry higher quality merchandise. Expect to pay a little bit more, but the five-star hotels will generally carry unique pieces, and sometimes they’ll stock high end designers. But keep in mind while you shop, that anything bought must be lugged around for the rest of the trip; try to buy stock items (things you can get all over Cambodia) at your last destination. It’s also a good idea to think ahead and pack an extra bag to carry home all your goodies—you’re going to need it!
It is an extremely smart idea to keep the address and number of your hotel with you at all times; there might be a language barrier and a written confirmation of where you need to go can often bridge the gap.
Visa and Travel Documents
Most nationalities are able to receive one-month visas on arrival, but make sure to bring US dollars, extra passport sized photos and photocopies of your passport. You can also obtain visas prior to travel by contacting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via the telephone number or website listed above.
Immunizations are recommended, but consult your physician or healthcare provider:
Diptheria and tetanus
Japanese B Encephalitis
Also, although malaria is still rare, dengue fever is on the increase and commonly contracted by travelers. Make sure to sleep beneath a mosquito net in open-style rooms and always apply repellent. Bring all prescription medication.
At the Airport
Luggage allowances vary airline to airline. Visit the sites below.
Cambodia’s currency, the Riel, exchanges at a rate of about 3,990 to the US Dollar.
As the dollar is still valuable in Cambodia (!) we advise bringing a good number of singles ($200) to use as tips, which locals greatly appreciate. Higher-end restaurants often include service charges in the bill, and although tips are not expected in more casual restaurants and bars, they are appreciated.
Shops are not responsible for damages incurred during shipping, so we recommend purchasing shipping insurance if you chose to ship items home.
Cambodia’s country code is +855, and operates on Greenwich meantime +7 hours. (When it’s noon in Cambodia, it’s midnight in New York.)
opposite Old Market
Located on Pub Street, the destination for Siem Reap nightlife, The Warehouse is a spacious alternative to other packed bars. The kitchen is open until ten if you get hungry (early on), and the two-story bar has an extensive cocktail list. Whether you come for the music or the free wifi, you can stay a while as The Warehouse stays open until 3 am.
Old Market behind Pub Street
Siem Reap's first gay-owned bar, Linga is a sophisticated lounge with great cocktails, a delicious tapas menu, and can't-be-beat beats spinning all night on its dance floor. Also favored by straight expats and locals.
The Angkor What?
The original Pub Street bar, The Angkor What? is always packed--chill at the bar, groove on the dance floor, or just relax with friends in one of the cozy corners.
The Arts Lounge
Hotel de la Paix
Located in the swank Hotel de la Paix, Arts Lounge is a sophisticated lounge in which to kick back with a cocktail and enjoy the art installations around you. The art exhibits usually combine traditional and contemporary Khmer art, focusing on highlighting the Cambodian culture, people, and arts. Feel cultured as you take in the aesthetics and sip on a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.
Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor
1 Vithei Charles de Gaulle
Sit back and relax in one of the comfy armchairs in an elegant atmosphere for a killer martini or a satisfying nightcap.
Planning a trip to Vietnam & Cambodia?
Classic Travel plans the perfect luxury travel experience to Vietnam and Cambodia for the independent traveler. The hotels we use are hand picked by our travel expert and the guides are always the most knowlegeable in the area. We arrange everything in advance including suggested restaurants, what to do in small towns along the way, visas and information on health requirements. Our membership in the elite Virtuoso organization ensures you of VIP treatment through out your journey. Our sample itinerary includes information and custom images all of the hotels we recommend. Feel free to speak to one of our experts, Ken Lewis, (800.874.3991 ext. 21) or email [email protected] to receive more information or a quote.