It was a humid summer night and we just flew in from Bangkok after a long exhausting day. Siem Reap is known for being home to the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat, that’s why we were there. Although excited to be here, it was down pouring from the second we stepped off the plane in Cambodia. Luckily for us, our luck was about to change. We first met Kao upon arrival. He was waiting for us holding our names on a piece of cardboard and oh my, what a cute little man he was! He took us over to our tuk tuk and drove us to our guesthouse where we’d be staying for the night. The ride was free of charge, it came with the guesthouse. Kao told us it was the first rain of the year and that they’ve been needing it. He also told us the rain was here because we were finally in Cambodia, what a charmer.
Summary of Siem Reap and Angkor Wat Itinerary
- Tuk tuk tour of Angkor Wat
- Schein Guesthouse
- Fish Pedicures
- Foot Massages
- Pub Street
We stayed at Schein Guesthouse, about a quarter mile from downtown Siem Reap. I would highly recommend this hostel for someone looking to see Angkor Wat. The guest house is clean, bright, and perfect for budget accommodation. It’s comfortable and like I said, clean, very important.
The location is great, located downtown but not directly in the mix of all the touristy streets where it’s very loud. The hostel offers free hot breakfast, free airport pickup and they arrange tuk tuk drivers you can rent for the day to tour Angkor Wat or anywhere else you’d like to see.
The stay was only $8 USD/night and the tuk tuk rental with driver was $14/day. We were lucky enough to get Kao again. He was a Cambodian native who didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He laughed hysterically at everything we said, he made us happy.
Other travelers have also suggested Mad Monkey as a hostel to stay in if you’re looking to meet other young people and stay at a location more centrally located in the downtown area. Mad Monkey hostels are all around Cambodia; if you’re young and looking for a party it’s usually a solid option.
Sites & Activities
Angkor Wat is the main attraction in town and is a must see! The temple complex is the largest of it’s kind in the world.
Spread out over 18km, your tuk tuk driver will bring you everywhere you want to go and drop you off to walk around each temple structure for however long you wish. For the actual entrance fee into Angkor Wat there a couple options. You can buy a one-day pass for $20 USD or a three-day pass for a higher amount. We only bought the one-day pass and it felt like it was enough time to see everything we wanted to.
You could get lost wandering around for hours in some of these temples. One of the highlights is the temple of Bayon, the last one we visited. There were massive trees inside the structures that have grown roots in and out of the walls, it’s very cool. Not to mention it’s where they shot the movie, Tomb Raider, with Angelina Jolie.
Siem reap is a charming little town. We got fish pedicures for $3 USD that even included a beer! What a deal.
The fish ate off our dead skin after we nervously put our feet in. I have to admit I was quite the scaredy cat…it took me ten minutes to finally put my feet in. The fish see your feet as bait so as soon as you put your foot near them they literally jump up out of the water with their mouths wide open, chomping the air looking for your feet.
I was mortified until a local girl who was walking by talked me through it. I made it through it alive.
Later in the night we also treated ourselves to foot massages, of course. For $5/hour, might as well.
The most happening part of downtown is Pub Street. Around ten pm this place goes off.
There are plenty of places to grab cheap drinks, listen to loud music and party the night away. The most popular and well-known bar is right in the center of it all, Angkor What? Yes, that’s what it’s called, Angkor What? It’s not a type-o. It’s a place for young people to get drunk and dance…the usual party scene. There are also several alternatives if you want to walk around and check out different bars. Wherever you go around Pub Street, it’s always happening with music and a lot of people, that’s typically a good sign of a party to me!