Siem Reap, located in northwestern Cambodia, is the gateway to the world-famous Angkor temple complex, which includes the magnificent Angkor Wat. The province also contains a vibrant capital city boasting many luxury hotels, beautifully-aged colonial buildings, a buzzing Pub Street, silk farms, markets, and much more.
The city of Siem Reap, also the capital of the province, is a must-visit destination for all visitors to Cambodia. This is where the glorious 12th Century Angkor Wat temple, the largest religious building in the world, is located. Situated on the northern bank of the Tonle Sap Great Lake, this mesmerizing eighth wonder of the world can be easily accessed by plane, land, and boat.
The ruins of Angkor, located in thick jungle, are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are over one thousand temples ranging in scale from nondescript piles of rubble scattered through rice fields to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat--the best-preserved temple.
Apart from the legacy of the vast Angkor temple complex, Siem Reap has a lot more to offer to tourists, from the spectacular floating village on the Tonle Sap Lake to the heritage site of the Kulen Mountain, to the recently discovered Koh Ker ruins.
In town, there are a bevy of ethnic craft shops, galleries, cafes, eateries and top-notch restaurants serving every type of cuisine. The famous Pub Street and the night markets of Siem Reap are now renowned tour destinations in their own rights. Additionally, siilk farms, rice-paddy countryside, fishing villages and a very rich bird sanctuary near the Tonle Sap Lake make Siem Reap one of the most captivating places in the world.
The official language of Cambodia is Khmer, although French is still spoken by the older generation. English is gaining in popularity, particularly in tourist areas.
The official religion is Theravada Buddhism. Ninety percent of Khmers follow this religion. The country also has minority religions such as Islam, Christianity.
The average temperature is 27ºC. Tropical Monsoon; There are two seasons, the rainy season from May to October, and dry season from November to April. December to January is the coolest period.
The Riel is the official currency of Cambodia . Please check with your preferred forex dealers for the prevailing exchange rates. You may also check with our friendly front desk staff for more information on the hotel's exchange rates.
All major currencies such as the US Dollar, France Franc, Yen, Bath and others can be exchanged at Banks or local markets that are located in all major towns. US dollars can be freely spent thoughout the country. Most places will refuse old, or damaged US bills.
Traveler Cheque and Credit Cards are accepted by most banks and in some hotels and restaurants in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. A 2-5% commission charge is applicable. ATM is available in major cities of Cambodia such as Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. It is advisable to carry US Dollar and Riel in small denominations if you plan to travel to outskirts.
The country is well-known for its superior silk weaving, metal work and woodcarving. Visitors can find silver items, jewelry, gems, colorful cloth for sarong and hats (variegated silks), wood carving, paper maché masks, stone copies of ancient Khmer art, brass and bronze figurines and oil paintings in the different markets and shops on main avenues.
Cambodia is plus seven hours GMT. The country is in the same time zone as neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Loose, light clothing is recommended. In the dry season, which is a little cooler, a light sweater may be needed during the evening. It is recommended to bring along a comfortable pair of walking shoes, wide brimmed hat and sunscreen. Bargaining is customary in the local markets.
Government offices are opened from 07:30am to 11:30am and resume from 14:00pm to 17:00pm, Monday to Friday.
Private offices are usually opened for business from 7:00am to 20:00pm everyday. Banks are opened from 8:00am to 3:00pm, Monday to Friday and Saturday from 8:00am to 12:00 noon. It is closed on Sunday and public holidays. Markets are daily opened from the early morning to the evening.
Tipping is not obligatory in Cambodia ; however, if you meet with exceptional services or kindness, a tip is always appreciated. Bargaining is the rule in the markets, when you are hiring vehicles or buying things.
Tourist visas are required and can be obtained in advance or upon arrival at the airport in Siem Reap. In the latter case, guests must provide a passport photo and US$25. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the arrival date and must have one entirely blank page available for the visa. Guests are advised to check with their nearest Cambodian embassy or consulate. An international departure tax of US$25 per adult and US$13 per child (two to 11 years old) is applicable. The domestic departure tax is US$6 per adult/child.
It's hot, so drink plenty of water, but never drink tap water. Good quality bottled water are available everywhere. Also remember to wear high-factor sun block when sightseeing, and use an insect repellent as protection against mosquitoes. Although no vaccinations are officially required for entry to Cambodia, they are highly encouraged. And one should always bring essential medications to Cambodia, as there is no guarantee they will be available locally.