Siem Reap, the famous tourist spot in Cambodia

After 2 days 1 night in Phnom Penh, my journey continues to Siem Reap by sleeper bus. This was my first solo sleeping bus experience and the overall bus journey was considered quite comfy.

However, I did not sleep tight as I have read some of the other travelers’ blogs stated that we have to be aware and be alert when taking the night bus. Because some of the “pickpocket” / thieves would take advantage to steal your stuff when you asleep.  Luckily, throughout the whole South East Asia trips (about 9 solo bus trips from one province/country cross over to another province/country ) I’ve only lost one of my favorite scarfs in Cambodia.  🙁

<Double-decker sleeper bus

To cut a long story short, it is possible to go to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh by a road trip and it takes about 8 hours to arrive (by overnight sleeper bus). The road was smooth and not as bumpy as from my journey Hanoi Vietnam to Vientiane, Laos (will share it next time)

The bus stopped at the bus terminal and if you arrived as early as me (around 6-7am), there are many tuk-tuks awaiting there to send you to your hostel.However, within a short distance (less than 10 minutes) to my hostel, it costs me USD3.

Where did I stay?

I chose The Hostel Mekong after comparing most of the accommodations in Siem Reap:  the cost + the total people I need to share in a room. This was the most reasonable and affordable stay.

In overall, I gave 4 out of 5 Stars for this hostel. Here are the reasons:

  • A mini swimming pool is included
  • The hostel has a spacious area to chill and relax
  • Bar and breakfast are available
  • A pool table is available
  • The female dorm room with a private toilet is available
  • The check-in time was in the afternoon and I have arrived earlier. At least I could chill in the living room, using Wi-Fi and took a shower.

Book here: website

 What have I done here?

Everyone comes here for Angkor Wat. If you did not visit it, it seems it’s pointless that if you tell someone that you have been here before.

Entrance Ticket: 1 Day / 3 Days / 7 Days? 

My answer is 1 Day. Unless if you are really interested in all temples’ architecture/ designs.

Because the weather was rather hot and to visit all the temples you have to take transport from one to another which considered quite exhausting. My Angkor Wat trip starts at 430am until 12 pm noontime which is more than enough for me.

Most of the hostel /hotel would provide the tour to visit Angkor Wat. I booked the transportation arrangement with Mekong Hostel.

Suggestion: Try to ask other travelers [in the same hostel] to visit Angkor Wat together in order to share the transportation cost.

In the early morning, a Tuk tuk driver will pick you up to buy the entrance ticket around 430am.

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Entrance Fee (Year 2017):

1 Day: $37 

3 Days: $62

7 Days: $72


What have I seen in Angkor Wat?

Sunrise. All the tourists gather in the early morning just to witness the sunrise. Yes, it was impressive. I took many of the sunrises pictures and found this is among this best (what to do you think?) 🙂

And many pictures from different Wats :

Since I came alone, most of the pictures I was asking strangers to take it for me.  And some local people might “standby” at the temple and offered the service to take the photos for you (they only asked for tips after they took the pictures).

PUB STREET 

As you can see from the street name,  it is the street full of clubs, bars, and restaurants.

Famous Bars:

Angkor What? Bar is the very first bar to open on Pub Street back in 1998

Temple Club & Temple Balcony – another favorite and popular club for tourists on Pub Street

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Angkor Night Market 

Opened in 2007 and apparently, it was the FIRST night market in Cambodia and it is just next to Pub Street.

Siem Reap Art Center Night Market

Location: Right across the bridge from the old market (Psa Chas), 5 Minutes walking from pub street

It is one of the newer night markets in town and as you can see from the street name “Art Center”, you can find various and a range of souvenirs and handicrafts over here.

WAR MUSEUM CAMBODIA

It is the Biggest War Museum in Cambodia. What I liked here was they provide a free guide (a war veteran) and you can examine and hold the small arms.

Entrance Fee: USD 5  (Year 2017)

More info: check here

It was a short trip for me. I stayed there for 3 days 2 nights and heading next to Sihanoukville, which is a province in southwest Cambodia known for its beaches. Will share next post soon!

Cheers.

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Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia

Phnom Penh, the busiest and biggest city in Cambodia. It is located at the confluence of the Mekong and Tonle Sap river.

From the local street food stalls, Royal Palace, local temples to the nightlife, pub, clubs, fine dining and five-star hotels. It covers both historical attractions and modern city lifestyle.

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How to go Phnom Penh from Ho Chi Minh City

From HCMC Vietnam,  it is possible to go to Cambodia by bus. The bus journey takes about 6 hours to arrive at Phnom Penh.

Alternatively, from Saigon, you may go to Chau Doc town in Mekong Delta (there is a daily direct bus of Futabus/Phuong Trang from Saigon and the bus journey is about 6-7 hours) then travel by boat/ferry to Phnom Penh (about 5 hours).

Cambodia Visa

The nationals of Malaysia, Philippines, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar do not need a tourist visa and may stay in Cambodia for 21 and 30 days respectively.

For other national’s requirement:

Check out more about Cambodia visa

Recommended Bus Company

I took the bus company of Giant Ibis Transport

The bus provides complimentary WIFI, electrical outlets, and snacks for the whole bus journey. It is absolutely an affordable luxury.

The cost is $18 per trip and you can purchase the ticket online in advance.

HOSTEL in Phnom Penh

One Stop Hostel  It is just 5 minutes walking distance from Giant Ibis bus stop to the hostel and it is convenient to access to many tourist places.

What to see in Phnom Penh

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum a.k.a S-21 Prison

…more than 35 years ago |3yrs 8months and 20days| the Genocide in Cambodia…

A former high school before it was turned into a killing and tortured place for over 17,000 Cambodians/ victims. It is a heartbreaking place where each of the classrooms was the place where the victims got tortured and killed.

Most prisoners were then brought to the Killing Fields which is just outside of Phnom Penh.

Highly recommend to pay a visit. Entrance fee: USD 5 (year 2017)

The Royal Palace of Cambodia

It is one of Phnom Penh’s most splendid architectural achievements. The palace was built in 1866 by His Majesty Preah Bat Norodom, great grandfather to Cambodia’s current King. This site was specially chosen by a Commission of Royal Ministers and Astrologers because it had great geographical significance in relation to the King, who was regarded as a direct descendant of the gods, whose role it was to live and govern on earth under the influence of heaven.” – source: tourismcambodia

Entrance Fee: USD 10 (year 2017)

*Remember to wear appropriate dress code – no sleeveless shirt/ short pants, otherwise you may need to purchase the t-shirt on the spot (USD 3) in order to enter

Central Market (Phsar Thmey)

In the Khmer Language, Phsar Thmey means “New Market”. From outside, you can see the unique colonial-style building of this market.

The building was built and constructed in 1937. It is also considered one of the landmarks in Phnom Penh.

Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 18:00 Address: Street 130, Phnom Penh

The Killing Fields of Cheung Ek

It is situated 15 km south-west of Phnom Penh. A place where more than 17,000 Cambodians been killed and buried in mass graves.

Many of the victims were brought to this place after been tortured in Toul Sleng.

PRICE: admission including audio tour US$6

OPENING HOURS :  7.30am-5.30pm

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Independence Monument aka Vimean Ekareach

It was built in 1958 to celebrate the independence from French in 1953. The independence monument is designed in Angkorian’s style and it now serves and known as the monument to Cambodia’s war heroes.

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National Museum of Cambodia

One of the world’s largest collections of Khmer art including sculptural, Khmer ceramics, bronzes, and ethnographic objects

Opening hours: 8.00am until 5.00pm daily. Last admission tickets are sold at 4.30pm.

Admission costs :

  • $5 for foreigner ages from 10 to 17 years old
  • $10 foreigner ages from 18 years old and above
  • 500 riels for Cambodians. Children and school groups are free.

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Conclusion:

I stayed for 2 days 1 night in Phnom Penh which I think it’s more than enough to discover the tourist places in Phnom Penh.

From there, I took an overnight sleeper bus (Giant Ibis Transport) and heading to Siem Reap for the famous Angkor Wat.

Overall, the local’s English speaking level is high especially in the city and also at the tourist spots. It is no issue for foreigners like us who travel alone. Bear in mind that Cambodia is using USD currency and Cambodian riel.

It is still considered high expenses to travel here especially for us who are coming from a developing country. On average, one meal is around USD 2.

 
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