6 Practical Tips
to travel to Siem Reap

Written by Ophelie
Published 14th Jan 21
Will take 5mn to read

To travel to Siem Reap? Yes, yes and yes! One of the most suitable destinations for solo travellers, Siem Reap in Cambodia will give you a real taste of South East Asia. You won’t remain indifferent to its hidden charms. How to get get there? What about hostels? 6 practical tips to set up your solo travel to Siem Reap!

What to know before starting a solo travel to Siem Reap

Overview

  1. How to get to Siem Reap, Cambodia
    1. By plane
    2. By bus
  2. Hostels for solo travellers in Siem Reap
  3. Food 
  4. Best time to travel to Siem Reap
  5. Visa to visit Siem Reap
  6. How to move around
  7. What to see when visiting Siem reap

Average budget for a solo travel to Siem Reap, Cambodia

  1. Accomodation: 2 to 15$ (private room) a day
  2. Food: 1 to 4$ for a meal
  3. Things to do: Floating village > 18$ – 20$ a day / Tonle Sap cruise > 35 -40$ / Angkor Wat 1 day pass > 32$

Disclaimer: this post aout how to travel to Siem Reap is for you to plan a future trip. Currently, e-visas are suspended in Cambodia due to Covid-19. Sadly. But let’s keep optimistic we’ll travel soon again!

Prepare your solo travel to Siem Reap - 6 Practical tips

How to get to Siem Reap in Cambodia

I got surprised when people asked me where actually is located Cambodia. This stunning country seems to be still quite unknown outside of the backpacking scene. But no worries! If you want to travel to Siem Reap in Cambodia, it’s accessible. And like most of solo travel destinations in South east Asia: you won’t get any heart attack when budgeting your trip. It’s all sweet and pretty cheap.

Even if Siem Reap is kind of isolated in the North-Western part of Cambodia and isn’t the Cambodian capital, it’s for sure a hub spot for solo travellers and backpackers. Angkor Wat temples are next door. And just because of that, Siem Reap is well accessible by plane or bus. Depending on where you start. Quick overview:

By plane: from Europe, Asia, Australia

If you start your solo travel to Siem Reap from Europe, it’ll be a longer trip. Direct routes aren’t that easy to find. The solution: A lot of travellers transit through Bangkok, Thailand. From there, you’ll find a larger choice of flights and busses to reach Siem Reap in Cambodia. If you aren’t in a rush and want to save bucks, the bus is definitely the cheapest option. More on that in a few lines!

Travel To Siem Reap by plane – from Europe

  • Paris to Siem Reap Cambodia: ca. 1500$
  • Paris to Bangkok: ca. 560 USD – Bangkok to Siem Reap: 170 USD
  • Airlines from Europe to Cambodia: KLM, Air France, Lufthansa, Etihad, Vietnam Airlines
  • Flight comparators to Siem Reap Cambodia: Skyscanner, Google flights, Momondo
  • Time difference Paris – Siem Reap, Cambodia: +6h

From other countries in Asia it’s pretty quick and cheap to travel to Siem Reap by air, or as alternative to Phnom Penh airport. If you’re currently in Australia routes go mostly through Singapore. It’s a good way to get cheap flights. The disadvantage is that you’ll need to book two different flights. 

By bus – from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos in South East Asia

If you are somewhere in South East Asia now, good news: you’ll find your way to Siem Reap! Cambodia is comfortably nested between its 3 neighbours Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. Let’s start with the most common starting point of solo travels in South East Asia: Bangkok in Thailand. Busses run from there to Siem Reap on a daily basis – it’s a very common route for solo travellers and backpackers. But be prepared to spend min. 8h in the bus.

For those starting their solo travel to Siem Reap from Vietnam: two options. If you are in Hanoi, take a flight to Siem Reap. Unless you’re ready to spend days and nights in the bus. Really, the amount of travel time by bus isn’t going to be worth saving a few dollars on a flight. It’s easier if you’re in the South: from Ho Chi Minh you’ll probably have to make a stop in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital. And take another bus from there to Siem reap. It’s not really a problem. Both cities are well connected. It’s also a good way to pay a one or two days visit to the Cambodian capital.

And now, if you are a lucky one traveling in Laos (I miss Laos a lot, that’s why I get emotive!): best is to take a plane from Vientiane or Luang Prabang. I wouldn’t recommend to travel to Siem Reap by bus. Most bus companies go through Thailand, making you cross two borders. And frankly, crossing multiple borders in South East Asia isn’t the most pleasant thing to do. So, flying from Laos to Cambodia is a better option if you want to travel with peace of mind. It’ll take around 8h to fly and cheapest tickets cost around 200$.

siem reap cambodia_street at day
Siem Reap Cambodia - street

By bus – Travel to Siem Reap from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos 

  • Busses from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos to Siem Reap Cambodia: from 35$
  • Bus companies to travel to Siem Reap: Giant Ibis, Mekong express
  • Price comparators: 12go.asia, busbud

Crossing the border can be a bit intimidating. But no stress, a lot of travellers do it every day. Usually, you’ll just get off the bus, get the visa’s stamp and find your bus waiting for you on the other side. Easy peasy! Just remain calm and it’ll be fine – says the girl who panicked every time. Just have with you all papers needed, some cash just in case and your passeport. Check visa’s requirements before you travel to Siem Reap.

Hostels in Siem Reap and Cambodia: among the best ones for solo travellers

When you get into the solo traveling scene, Cambodia comes to your ears as a very cool solo travel destination… and it’s not for nothing! I was first anxious at the idea of starting a solo travel to Siem Reap. And I was mistaken. Because you find a lively community of solo travellers in hostels in Cambodia. Making it pretty easy to meet people.

And you’ll also find a place for your liking. From party hostels to familiar and quieter atmosphere, accommodations in Cambodia have their little something. Some of the best hostels I’ve stayed in were in Cambodia, and my absolute favourite one was in Siem Reap! What you get in some hostels: queen size bed with curtains in dorms, pool, clean facilities and staff super nice… all of that for 6$ in Siem Reap. Really, Siem Reap and Cambodia in general offer good quality-priced hostels with a nice social vibe. Look on booking.com and hostels’ reviews from other travellers.

In Siem Reap, I stayed at the Pool party hostel – a very cool and cosy place, from far my favourite hostel in my whole solo travel in Cambodia. I personally loved this one for its small size and the hippy, familiar vibe. It makes it easy to meet other solo travellers and to enjoy Siem Reap’s nightlife with them! 

My tested Siem Reap’s hostels for solo travellers
Pool party hostel – small size and chill vibes. Travellers +25 y.o. Famliy-run hostel, tuk-tuk service, tours, activities at the hostel and pool! Outside of city center.
Siem Reap Pub Hostel – Activities at hostel. Chill vibes. Close to Pub Street.

Food: how and what to eat when you visit Siem Reap

When you first visit Siem Reap’s streets, you might really not be tempted by trying street food. Like a lot of cities in South East Asia, it’ so chaotic, loud and also sometimes smelly that you actually don’t get hungry. At the beginning. We human beings get used quickly to anything… and you’ll probably end up eating street food and loving it! My advice: avoid crude aliments, unpeeled fruits and stands looking dirty. There is also another asset to eat local: imported prepared food is expensive in the supermarkets.

While visiting Siem Reap’s city center and its markets, there are very good local restaurants. In Pub Street you’ll find nice venues to eat and drink cocktails. At hostels in Cambodia, there is often a kitchen and they cook local dishes but also occidental ones.  Basically, local food is healthy in Asia. Above all if you’re lactose intolerant and allergic to so many products like me, you’ll appreciate eating diets in Cambodia. 

Siem Reap’s weather and touristic seasons

How to plan your solo travel to Siem Reap at the best possible time? Two things to think of: weather and tourists! Unless you’re a fan of crowded places the best time to travel to Siem Reap is outside of the high season, running from December to March.

Monks walking in the city Siem Reap Cambodia
old market bridge things to see siem reap
Things to see in Siem Reap - Old market bridge

You’ll tell me, if everyone travels to Siem Reap between December and March it’s probably because the weather is also at its best. True! December / January are the driest and sunniest months of the year in Siem Reap.

Rain season begins around May up to November. With a peak in September / October. It’s not as bad as it sounds. Though, it rains almost every day. And even if it lasts only a few hours they are very heavy rainfalls. You basically can’t go outside. From March to Mai it gets hot, the tropical way – above 34 degrees during the day and with sticky humidity. It might not be best time to travel to Siem Reap if you plan exploring the outdoors all day long.

artisans-d-angkor-siem-reap
Artisans d'Angkor
siem-reap-preah-prom-rath-view-of-pagoda
Pagoda at buddhist temple Preah Prom Rath

So, what’s the best time to travel to Siem Reap? To get a good compromise between good weather and an acceptable amount of tourists, I ‘d recommend May to September. As a real life example, I did travel to Siem Reap in July. Only a few days with rain showers – which actually felt good to take a break from the heat. It was otherwise sunny, quite hot but still bearable. And above all… no crazy crowds of tourists!

Visa before starting your solo travel to Siem Reap in Cambodia

Visa is an important thing to prepare before visiting Siem Reap. And in general, before entering any country in South East Asia. To solo travel to Siem Reap, you can get visa on arrival for most nationalities. You’ll just need to submit a visa application online before traveling. Then, download it and print it. One thing sure: apply to the e-visa only on the official government website.

E-visa to travel to Siem Reap, Cambodia, as tourist

Price: 36 $ I Lenght of validity: up to 30 days I Waiting time: ca. 3 days I Valid for 3 months after you receive it

How to move around when visiting Siem Reap

By tuk-tuk! Basically, it’s our Uber version adventurous. You’ll quickly become expert in hailing tuk-tuk drivers and surviving the rides. Honestly, tuk-tuks are a lot of fun… as long as you hold tight on! But you can trust them. Tuk-tuks, along with motorbikes, are THE way to move around in Siem Reap. Don’t hesitate to ask for non touristy places to the drivers. That’s how I visited Angkor Wat avoiding the tourist crowds… thanks to my tuk-tuk driver! The challenge: find tuk-tuk drivers who are awake. You’ll notice this: they use to comfortably sleep in their tuk-tuks, at any time. And it’s pretty funny to see!

 By bike? Tested and… quite approved. To visit Siem Reap by bike is literally an adventure. Traffic is crazy so you’ll need to move strategically. However, it’s a good and cheap way to see the surroundings by yourself. The countryside and the outskirts of Siem Reap show another side of the city. Floating villages, monasteries along the river: you catch a glimpse into the local way of life, calmer than in the city centre. Just be very careful, take the side roads and ride at day light.

preah-prom-rath-pagoda-siem-reap
siem reap temple preah prom rath

What you don’t want to miss in Siem Reap: Things to do

I don’t know if I already said it? Siem Reap in Cambodia is one of the best solo travel destinations to start your trip in South East Asia! I’m still emotional when thinking of my travel to Siem Reap. Maybe because it was my first trip to Asia and a cultural choc for me. Also because I met cool solo travellers who made me appreciate Cambodia even more. Above all, because Siem Reap has got this good balance between activities, parties and chill out vibes. Here is a quick list of 8 things to do in Siem Reap for solo travellers:

  • Wat Preah Prom Rath: buddhist temple
  • Made in Cambodia market
  • Old Market Bridge and Art center night market
  • Outskirts along the river
  • Tonle Sap Lake – 4 floating villages. Less touristy one: Kampong Khleang. More info on this blog article.
  • Angkor Wat
  • Artisans d’Angkor
  • Pub Street
  • King’s road Angkor wheel
Find all these landmarks on Siem Reap’s map –
to keep on your own Google account
siem-reap-cambodia-pub-street-night
Things to do in Siem Reap - Pub street at night
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I am made of photography,stories from the road and a good dose of passion. I am Ophélie, French-born traveler always on the go. My travel photography blog is about my travel experiences, tips and my addiction for adventure. To help you explore countries on your own… as an independent and curious traveller.

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