Visiting Siem Reap in their New Year and join in Water Fighting Festival of Cambodia for me is a worth experience even though this is the hottest period of time in the year. If you are finding a place to enjoy Water fighting with other people without too much crowded, Siem Reap is a good choice for you. Here is also my 2 days in Siem Reap itinerary and hope it will help you to enjoy this beautiful land.
1. Best time to visit
The climate in Cambodia is quite similar to Vietnam, but it is a bit more sunny here. You can come here at any time of the year except for the time between March and May to avoid extremely hot weather and the rainy season from July to August. The most ideal time to visit Siem Reap is between November and February.
But there is Water festival season in Siem Reap in April (same day with Songkran in Thailand) so even if the weather is hot, it’s worth to experience one time in Cambodia for April
- The USD is also widely used here. (The official currency of Cambodia is Riel)
- Updated 2019: 1USD = 4,000 Riel
When you go to the luxury restaurant or even street food stand, Night market or Pub Street, they sell things in USD . So having USD only is enough for you to visit Siem Reap.
Generally, Riel is only used when you trade or exchange for less than 5 USD such as motorbike taxi, snack and so on. Some services like travel services, restaurants, hotels, entertainment are all listed by USD.
- Cambodia does not circulate coins.
If they do not use coins, how they will charge you back if it is 0.5 or 0.75 USD? The answer is they will give you Riel instead (yeah, it’s pretty complicated currency system)
- Cambodians do not spend 2 USD because they think foreigners consider that the 2 USD is a lucky currency. Therefore, if they pay for a 2-dollar worth of goods or service, they will receive the two 1 USD as they do not want to take away the “luck” of others.
3. Move in Siem Reap
– I recommend you to move around with Tuk-tuk.
– There are 2 apps which you can book Tuk-tuk in advance and know about the price: Grab (normal Grab app) and Pass App. (They really save me a lot of time for bargain and money compared with other vehicle as car)
– Cambodian drivers are very honest (I met a lot of drivers and all of them are very honest and kind). Even they are not really good at English but they still can understand what you say.
The main means of transportation in Cambodia is tuk-tuk and Remork (the first time I know this vehicle name and it seems to be existed only in Cambodia). Tuk-tuk can carry 2-3 people. If you going with a large group, choosing Remork of vehicle is the most suitable to save money (it can carry up to 7 people)
In Cambodia, tuk-tuk is seen everywhere. This vehicle is pretty interesting and runs at a moderate speed so you can conveniently enjoy the street scenes.
Usually, you have to pay from 1 USD to 1.5 USD for 1 kilometer as long as you remember to bargain before going or as I mentioned above, you can book Tuk-tuk via apps (Grab and Pass App)
Here is PassApp Logo and how Tuktuk and Remork will show on your Grab app (what a cute illustration!)
4. Things to do in 2 days in Siem Reap?
Perhaps, 2 days in Siem Reap can be not enough to unleash all the city. This land actually has a lot of places to go, just that you have enough time or not.
#1 Day 1: Visit Angkor complex – Enjoy Beer and Music Pub street + Go shopping in Angkor Night Market
Day: Sunrise in Angkor Wat – Other temples inside Angkor Complex
Night: Angkor Night Market – Pub Street
(1) Sunrise in Angkor Wat – Visit Angkor Complex
This Complex is quite famous and the pride of Cambodian people. Angkor is definitely an attraction that cannot be missed when you come to Siem Reap. Because the Angkor complex is very large, far away from the center and surrounded by forest, it is not easy for you to find your way there.
For a complete tour, you need to learn about transport and the destinations you will visit in Angkor.
(1.1) Which transportation is available to go to Angkor Complex?
If you have a little time, you can choose a tour for a day and also I highly recommend you to wake up early to catch the sunrise in Angkor Wat because it is really worth to be in your bucket list.
The price for a 1-day tour including Sunrise in Angkor Wat is about 20 USD per person (in fact, this price is still expensive, some people even book for 15 USD/ day). This is the price I booked with my hotel with a 4-seat car. The driver is very friendly and careful.
Please also note that this expense is not included a tour guide, the driver will only help you to move from Angkor Wat to other temples such as Bayon Temple,… inside the Angkor Complex.
But you also have other options such as Tuk-tuk and Remorque. Almost all hotels in Siem Reap will offer you the tour so make sure to ask them about the price before you go.
(1.2) Ticket price and where to purchase the ticket?
(*) There are 3 types of ticket you can purchase:
37 USD for 1 day
62 USD for 3 days
72 USD for 7 days
(**) Where to purchase the ticket?
The ticket office is located separately with Angkor Complex and will open from 4:30 AM until 5:30 PM
(***) Some useful notes:
- The driver will come to ticket office first for you to purchase the ticket so no need to worry.
- Beside paying by cash, you can proceed payment by VISA card, Mastercard, JCB card.
- You had better remember to keep your ticket carefully because all guard stations require checking your ticket. If you lose your ticket, you will not be allowed to enter the gate.
How to enjoy Angkor Complex?
Angkor complex is very large, depending on whether you have enough time to visit all the attractions in Angkor. Usually, if going within a day, you can visit 4-5 main destinations. At first, you should visit Angkor Wat then moving to Angkor Thom, Bayon temple, Taprohm temple and Elephant temple if have more time.
Most of the temples are very large so you ought to bring a drink and snack in case you are hungry. Besides, a paper fan, a towel and a hat are important things to avoid the hot weather in Angkor. However, Angkor is actually a great place to take “selfie”. Everywhere in Angkor is beautiful that will help you have many memorable photos. If you do not like tuk-tuk, you can rent a bicycle to ride to Angkor to enjoy the scenery on the way. In fact, there are many tourists like traveling by bike to Angkor.
Temples in Angkor is very ancient. It is not so special through photos, but it is extremely great when you come and see it with your own eyes. Because Cambodians are very religious, remember not to wear revealing clothes before entering the temples.
(2) Enjoy Beer and Music Pub street + Go shopping in Angkor Night Market
Angkor Night Market, located right in the center of Siem Reap, is very a well-known market. This market mainly offers jewelry, souvenirs, clothes and food. When buying something, you can freely bargain because the people here are so open and friendly.
For example, they sell the shirt you like with the price 4 USD but you can bargain it down to 2 USD. Besides, the food in this market is extremely delicious. Angkor Night Market will be certainly a great place for your lunch or dinner.
After getting bored with the market, why don’t you drop by Pub Street – a place likened to the Tay Bui Vien Street of Vietnam. It will be an interesting experience to sit in a café and listen to music (normally EDM music). Although beverages in some cafes are a bit expensive and not very good, space is very comfortable (the best drink in this area is fresh beer).
#2 Day 2: Kampong Phluk (Tonlé Sap Lake) + Dessert at Cafe Khmer Time + Massage by fish at Pub Street
Day: Visit Kampong Phluk Village (Tonle Sap Lake) and enjoy lunch at a floating restaurant
Enjoy the Patbingsoo (shaved ice dessert with fresh fruits but in unique Cambodian taste) at Cafe Khmer Time
Night: Experience massaging by fish at Pub Street
(1) Visit Kampong Phluk (Tonle Sap Lake)
- There are 4 villages built on stilts on the Tonle Sap and Kampong Phluk is a one of them.
- There are two season in Kampong Phluk: Dry season (November to April) and Wet season (May to December). In the dry season, the water level is low, we can see the tall houses along the road. When the water level is high in wet season, it’s like a new village and will be called a floating village with floating houses. This is also the place where you can take a boat through the flooded forest, which also attracts many visitors so I can’t miss this place to introduce to you if you have 2 days in Siem Reap.
- Ticket price is 25 USD per person which mean 50 USD for a boat with a boatman (He or she will take you around the lake and even if their English is not so good but they are very honest and will always remind you where is an attractive destination)
(2) Dessert at Cafe Khmer Time
After eating lunch in Siem Reap, I suggest you to try one famous dessert in here, I called it Patbingsoo since it is made by Korean style but the taste is very Cambodia with shaved ice and very fresh fruits.
Address: Cafe Khmer Time
Open hours: 9:30 AM to 7:00 AM
Price: 5 USD for a set of one Yellow dessert (I just made the name) including fresh orange, mango, passion fruit, watermelon and one scoop of lemon ice-cream + a cup of Lemongrass tea.
Other dessert options are from 2 USD – 5 USD
(3) Experience fish massage in Angkor Night Market
Yes, it is Angkor Night Market again! I believe that I need to come back here to enjoy my 2 days in Siem Reap because once is not enough. This time, let’s try something very unique: massage by small fishes!
A hundred small fishes will bite your food skin but do not worry much, they just make you feel ticklish a little bit at first, once you get used to with them, it will be really fun to experience!
Address: You can see this popular service everywhere in the Angkor Night Market
Price: 3 USD for 30 minutes per person (may vary between stores and you can bargain with them)
5. What to eat in Siem Reap?
Cambodia food is not really as hard to eat as many people thought, especially Siem Reap cuisine is very good and tasty. I’m not a big fan of oily food but I have to say I’m totally in love with Cambodian food. Because you have 2 days in Siem Reap, I cannot suggest you so many things but there are some signature dishes in Cambodia you must try:
Read also: Best Restaurants in Siem Reap Reviews 2019 (Included price)
- Where to enjoy Cambodian food? for delicious and cheap dishes, a night market is an ideal place.
- Average price of traditional Cambodian food? there are many dishes with various prices 5 USD, 2 USD or less. Despite being cheap, most dishes are very tasty.
- What is must-try food in Cambodia? Amok, Beef Luk Lak, Salad and Coconut ice cream are specialties so do not forget to try. If you come here with friends, you just need to order 4-5 dishes to eat together for a full meal.
- What to drink? I recommend you to try smoothie! It depends on restaurant but the price range is 1-2 USD. When you order an orange juice, the salesman will take the whole orange into a blender. This is a bit weird but it turns out Cambodian is not used to making juice.
6. Some tips I wish to know before I came to Cambodia:
- Costumes: Most of the destinations in Siem Reap are temples so you must wear discreet costumes, otherwise you will be “reminded” by guards when visiting.
- The weather in Siem Reap is relatively sunny so you should bring your hat, jacket and sunscreen.
- When shopping at the night market, you can freely bargain because the seller will sell the reasonable price for you. Don’t be afraid, most tourists coming here all bargain.
Siem Reap is so beautiful and peaceful and people here are also gentle and friendly. Cambodia may be not very attractive when you heard at first but this land is really a place worth going to. I believe with my 2 days in Siem Reap itinerary, you will definitely change your initial views on Cambodia. Not believing? Carry your backpacks up and go, you will change your thoughts!