We had a fantastic time in Siem Reap, Cambodia. In this post, we will talk a little about our time in Siem Reap, costs and why a 2 day visit just isn’t enough!
2 days in Siem Reap
We plan on visiting Cambodia at length in the future. However, as we were so close (1 hour flight time from Bangkok) we simply couldn’t wait to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site for ourselves sooner. We chose to squeeze in a 2-day visit to Siem Reap after reading articles stating this was enough time. I want to say that this is a load of rubbish, THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TIME! Yes, we had an absolutely incredible time at Siem Reap BUT we could have easily spent another several days here.
If you plan on getting an e-visa, make sure you use the official site or you will pay a lot more than you need too.
If you plan on getting a visa on arrival, it will cost $30 and last for 30 days. Try to have the exact money. To get a visa on arrival you will need to fill out 2 short forms, a Customs declaration form (Blue) and an immigration card (yellow). You will usually be given these forms on the aeroplane, but you can also find them in the airport.
For full visa information you can check out the official site mentioned above, as it may be different for different countries. It took around 45 minutes to get through immigration and collect our bags. We found the immigration staff here to be quite rude.
We arrived at our accommodation around 11am. We stayed at Golden Butterfly Villa and would highly recommend staying here. Ideally situated, it is only steps away from restaurants, laundrettes, night market and main ‘pub street’ area. Costing only around £20 per night, this is an absolute bargain.
Booking a tuk tuk driver for the day was easy via the villa reception. Not wanting to wait until the morning to start exploring the Angkor Wat, they helped us arrange a half-day tour. We gave them a short list of some of the temples we wanted to see, and they helped us amend our plans to include suggestions we hadn’t even heard of (and wow were they great suggestions!).
* Look out for our temple itinerary early next week! *
If you’re heading to Siem Reap, then there is a high chance that you are off to see the phenomenal Angkor complex. Neither of us had expected the UNESCO site to be quite so BIG! Honestly, you literally have to see it to believe it. A Tuk Tuk was definitely the best way to get around between temples, as the distance between them is quite vast. We would have liked to hire a push bike and cycle around a bit too if we had longer.
There is no ‘set’ amount of days recommended to visit. Your level of interest in temples and history would determine what is enough time or not. For example, I could have quite happily explored for a further several days taking everything in Martyn was templed out towards the end of our full day. (We visited on a half day and one full day).
Current entrance price:
1 day pass $37
3 day pass $62 (valid for 10 days)
7 day pass $72 (valid for 1 month)
Tickets allow you access to the entire archaeological park and other temples, not just the Angkor Wat!
When hiring a tuk tuk driver to take you around Angkor Wat for the day, you are looking at around $15 – $20 for ‘small circuit’ and $20 – $30 for ‘large circuit’. Yes you can probably find cheaper, but for a full day driving around and waiting outside the temples for you to finish I think thats a more than reasonable price.
Our tuk tuk driver was called Mr Jen. A young man just starting his career, he was absolutely fantastic. Having a good driver brings SO MUCH extra to your experience. We spent ages talking to Mr Jen and finding out all about his life. At one point, exhausted from the heat, we asked if he would like a drink with us in a nearby stall. As we wandered into the tiny stall, we noticed a lone female with a tiny baby sat on a hammock. She beckoned for us to join her, and we all sat together drinking a Sprite whilst Mr Jen and the lady were teaching us how to speak Khmer, apparently my pronunciation is much better than Martyns *smug*.
When visiting the temples, is it always best to be respectful and wear appropriate clothing. Wearing pants/skirts that cover the knees and covering your shoulders will do.
No matter how tempting it is, please don’t buy anything from the child street vendors in and around Angkor Wat. The children are often kept out of school and work long days in order to make money for their parents / guardians.
During the day, pub street is a quiet place to stroll, but of a night it’s a completely different story. Some of THE LOUDEST music I have ever heard, blasts from nearby bars and you can find cheap cocktails galore! It was fun for something different, but not really our scene so we headed a little further away. There are a lot of great looking restaurants around here too, but we didn’t try any restaurants on pub street.
Are you planning on visiting Cambodia anytime soon? Let us know how you get on!