Angkor Wat is a world-famous UNESCO site so it’s definitely a must see, but it’s also worthwhile to spend an extra day or so, getting out to the outer areas of the park, to places like Bantay Srei and the landmine museum. Take a drive out to the town’s outskirts to see houses raised on stilts and Tonle Sap’s floating villages, (but for the latter, be careful not to get scammed with $25 ticket prices at the boat dock. The actual cost is only $10).
Happy Guesthouse (Location: Wat Bo area)
No 0134 Wat Bo Village,
Salakomreuk Commune, Siem Reap
This friendly guesthouse is located in a neighborhood of small, laid-back guesthouses and is only a 10-15 minute walk to the Old Market. Near to Peace Cafe (where there’s yoga), Happy offers free pickup, free internet, a restaurant with free wifi and tour deals/transportation to your next destination.
A stones throw from the Old Market and outdoor food stalls, Popular Guesthouse makes a nice pad to drop your stuff while in Siem Reap. It offers free wifi in the cafe and a upstairs cafe to hang out, lounge and take in a lazy morning breakfast. Rooms are comfortable, clean and cheap starting at $6 for a single room with fan and bath ensuite
Popular Sights in Siem Reap:
Angkor Wat (read here)
Floating Villages (read here)
Houses a children’s home providing education and support for at-risk youth and those who have been affected by landmine accidents. Home to over 30 children. Getting there: 6 km south of Bantey Srei Temple inside the Angkor Wat park. Takes about 45 minutes by tuk-tuk from downtown. Admission is $1 but to get into the Angkor Wat park, you will need to have a ticket to Angkor Wat. If you’re looking to see the major temples, you may want to get the 3 day pass. $20/day, $40/3-days.
Volunteer programs in Siem Reap:
If you wish to volunteer to teach English must commit to at least two months. www.interweavecambodia.org
NLCO or New Life Center Organization
funded by USA org, Global Connections PRoject Organization
goal: to help improve the lives of orphands and disadvantaged children
Address: #0558, Group 7, Pobos village, Svaydongkum Commune, Siem Reap, Angkor Wat.
87 Watsvay village,
Siem Reap Town
– volunteers welcome. Accepts any donations of any kind, monetary, toys, food, medical supplies, sponsors.
I can’t tell you why just yet but I love this city but I do! It’s honkity busy with activity and motorbikes, but it’s still friendly and laid back. The S21 museum carries a powerful impact and is a definite must, making the Killing Fields look a tad less thrilling. The main parts of the city are walkable but a $2 tuk-tuk or motordop ride doesn’t hurt.
Capitol Guesthouse (restaurant and bus station) – read my experience here
#14Eo, Road 182
Sangkat Beng Prolit
Khan 7 January, Phnom Penh
Located on the corner of a busy street opposite of Orussey Marketplace, Capitol is a bustling hub for tourists looking for a place to bed down, eat and shop for tours/transportation. It’s an all-in-one service provided here. Tour packages and bus tickets to your journey onward are cheap. Rooms can feel a bit cell-like and walls are thin, but it’s cozy, clean and incredibly cheap enough to make you want to extend your stay (I stayed for close to a week) and there’s free in-room wifi to make it even more attractive. While it’s not a place you’ll easily meet travelers, it will help you set up your journey. The neighboring area is more of a gritty downtown feel. It’s not pretty but there’s a lot of local action and flavor to its surroundings to make it interesting and it’s close to central (meaning: if you’re ambitious, you can walk to most things) The backstreet parallel holds a street market in the morning and the streets in the neighboring area are dedicated to individual services- tailoring, motorbike mechanics, etc…
The Killing Fields
The Royal Palace & National Museum
River front & Night market
Day trip to Kampong Cham to PP– 15,000 or $4
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum aka S21 (read here)
Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is the infamous genocide camp, where victims of the Khmer rouge were brought, tortured and killed. Perhaps the most intense site of all Cambodia it hits harder than the Killing Fields as you walk through three school buildings which were converted into a horrific torture chamber of Pot Pol’s regime carrying out orders to kill families whose members were seen as traitors. Postwar stories from the survivors as well as the Khmer Rouge lend much reflection. But perhaps the most disquieting and shocking display on the grounds are all the hundreds of photos of camp victims who were tagged and documented. Seeing s21 and the Killing Fields will leave you winded for a few hours.
.Getting to S21: A motordop or tuk-tuk drive is easily taken to s21 which is south of downtown. If you have the time, walking is also feasible but it stands a distance from the Royal Palace and National Museum along PP’s tourist coastline. The Killing Fields however, are on the outskirts of Phnom Phen and can be reached by taxi/driver or tour. There’s a one day budget tour from Capitol Guesthouse including these two sites as well as a few others.
Getting From SIEM REAP to PHNOM PENH
Overnight Bus : leaves 12 AM, arrives 6AM, $8
Capitol buses from PP go to Battambang, Poipet, Bangkok, Siem Reap, Kampong Cham,
One stop shop website: Canby Publications: http://canbypublications.com
Best guidebook to pick up in Cambodia: here