Siem Reap Facts

  • Name: ក្រុងសៀមរាប,  Siem Reap
  • Location:  Northwest Cambodia
  • Time Zone: UTC/GMT+7:00
  • Area Code: 063
  • Population: 200,000
  • Major Tourism Places: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Tonlé Sap Lake, Baanteay Srei and Banteay Kdei
  • Best Time for Travel: December to February

 

Siem Reap, the capital of Siem Reap Province, is located in the northwest of Cambodia. It is 311 kilometers from Phnom Penh and only 152 kilometers from the Thai border, with a population of approximately 200,000 people. Angkor Wat, a World Cultural Heritage and one of the seven Wonders of the world, makes Siem Reap a popular travel destination in Cambodia. As an important stopover for visiting Angkor's monuments, Siem Reap has a hundred years of history. Travel to Siem Reap, you should not miss it.

 

siem reap

 

History

Angkor Wat, the capital of the ancient Khmer Kingdom, is a general name for the ancient monuments of Angkor. It is a complete city composed of palaces, temples, gardens and castles.

 

In 802 AD, King Jayavarman II unified the Kingdom of Khmer and built the capital on the north bank of Tonle Sap Lake, named "Angkor". The kings of all dynasties were building constructions and palaces and temples, making Angkor gradually become the religious and spiritual center of the entire Khmer people.

 

In 1431, Thais invaded Khmer and the Khmers were forced to leave Angkor and establish a new capital in Phnom Penh. From then on, Angkor was annihilated in the jungle and was forgotten by the people. It was not until 1860 that the French botanist Henri Mouhot came to Siem Reap to collect plant specimens, and Angkor City was able to see the sun again.

 

bayon-temple

Bayon Temple

 

Since then, Angkor's restoration work has been going on, and it is not over yet. In 1866, French photographer Emile Keyser came to Angkor Wat to take photos. He became the first photographer to take pictures of Angkor Wat and let the world see the beauty of Angkor Wat.

 

The French colonial government transformed Siem Reap into a tourist city, and Siem Reap grew rapidly from a small village to a city. In 1929, the Grand Hotel d'Angkor opened and it became one of the leading galleries in Asia. In 1975, like other Cambodian towns, residents of Siem Reap were driven to the countryside by the Khmer Rouge. It was only after the destruction of the Khmer Rouge in 1998 that Siem Reap was rejuvenated and tourism was an important local industry.

 

Climate

Siem Reap has a tropical monsoon climate, with rainy season and dry season. The rainy season starts from May to October and the dry season is from November to April. The average annual temperature is 24°C.

 

Siem-Reap-temperature

 

Language

Khmer, also known as Cambodian, is a major language in Cambodia and belongs to the South Asian language family. In Cambodia, about 90% of the population (about 12 million people) speak Khmer, and there are about 2 million users in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. The earliest literature traces back to the 5th century.

 

Common words:

Hello: johm riab sua/sua s'dei

Goodbye: lia suhn hao-y

yes: baat (M)/jaa (F)

No: te

Thank you: aw kohn

Sorry: sohm toh

 

Religion

In Cambodia, the Khmer ethnic group is the main ethnic group, accounting for 80% of the total population. The ethnic minorities include the Cham, Phnum, Thai, and Xtieng ethnic groups. Theravada Buddhism is the national religion of Cambodia. Most of the Khmer people believe in Buddhism. Most of the Cham people believe in Islam. Viets people and overseas Vietnamese believe in Catholicism. Chinese and overseas Chinese believe in polytheism.

 

Currency

The official currency of Cambodia is Riel. Coins are only used for collection. Paper currency denominations are 100R, 200R, 500R, 1000R, 2000R, 5000R, 10000R and 50000R. Like most Asian countries, the US dollars are commonly used in many places in Cambodia, and hotels, restaurants, attractions tickets, air tickets, ferry tickets, taxis, motorcycles, souvenirs, etc. are all accepted US dollars.

 

currency

 

Tipping

When traveling in Cambodia, tourists can decide whether to give the tip according to their own situation and service usage. Although Cambodian banknotes have large denominations, they are actually worthless. Therefore, 50R, 100R, and 200R banknotes can basically be regarded as loose change. The tips for local tour guides, drivers, and waiters are generally 1000R and 2000R. There is a local taboo that change is given to beggars, so don't take the change as a tip.

 

Transportation

Airplane

Siem Reap International Airport is an international airport serving Angkor Wat, 7 kilometers away from the city center and 5 kilometers away from the famous Angkor Wat. It is the second busiest airport in Cambodia, after Phnom Penh International Airport. Siem Reap has direct flights to Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Seoul, Busan, Taipei, Guangzhou, Chengdu, etc.

 

airplane

 

Bus

The bus routes between Siem Reap and other regions and cities are operated by a number of car companies. These buses usually stop at the Siem Reap long-distance bus station 3 kilometers east of the city center, where there are buses to Phnom Penh, Poipet, Battambang, and international buses to Bangkok, Thailand and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Major auto companies include GST, Capitol Tours, Phnom Penh Sorya and Mekong Express.

 

bus

 

Since the station is far from the city center, tourists are not advised to go to buy tickets by themselves. Tickets can be booked at the travel agency in the tourist gathering area or at the hotel reception desk. The fare generally includes the shuttle service to the bus station.

 

Ship

Siem Reap Pier is located in Chong Kneas near Rong Temple, about 10 kilometers from the city. The fare to Phnom Penh is US$35, and it takes 5-6 hours. But if you have enough time and want to enjoy the scenery along the Tonle Sap River, the largest natural lake in Cambodia, you can choose water transportation.

 

Tuk Tuk

The trailer hangs behind the motorcycle, which is Remorque-Moto. This is the short-distance bus in Cambodia. This kind of car can be used for people or goods. It is very common in the countryside, but it is very rare in the city. The car can seat up to 4 people. You can also take a tuk-tuk while visiting Angkor.

 

tuk tuk

 

Best Time to Visit Siem Reap

From December to February, the weather is mild and there is little rainfall, which is the best season for tourism. But for photography enthusiasts, Angkor in the rainy season is more suitable for taking pictures.

 

Best Places to Visit in Siem Reap

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, known as the National Treasure of Cambodia, is the largest temple building in the world and the earliest Khmer-style building in the world. It is called one of the four wonders of the ancient East because of its grand scale, perfect symmetry, balanced proportion, and exquisite relief. In 1992, UNESCO listed Angkor monuments as a world cultural heritage. Since then, Angkor Wat has been the top priority of Angkor monuments and has become a bright tourist card in Cambodia.

 

Angkor Wat

 

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom, also called Great Angkor, was the longest capital of the Khmer Empire from the 9th to the 15th century. It covers an area of nearly 9 square kilometers. There are many ruins of Angkor in the city of Angkor. The more famous ones are Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Terrace of the Elephants and Terrace of the Leper King.

 

Angkor Thom

 

Banteay Srei

Built in 967 AD, Banteay Srei means the Queen's Palace. The Baanteay Srei fully demonstrates the superb carving skills of Angkor period, and the delicate and expressive portrayal represents the artistic talent of the Angkor people and the enthusiasm for the belief in religion.

 

Banteay Srei temple,  Cambodia

 

Tonle Sap Lake

Tonle Sap Lake is located in the southeastern part of the Indo-China Peninsula, west of Cambodia, and is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Tonle Sap Lake is connected to the Mekong River and is the natural reservoir of the Mekong River. It is like a huge turquoise emerald, inlaid on the ground of Cambodia. It provides a solid resource guarantee for the development and prosperity of the Khmer nation, and it is the "lake of life" for the Cambodian people.

 

Tonle Sap Lake

 

Recommended Tours

5 Days Phnom Penh & Siem Reap Highlights Tour

Phnom Penh, Siem Reap

Price from: $578

12 Days Essence of Cambodia & Thailand

Siem Reap, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket

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