Siem Reap, Cambodia - Stein Travel
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Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the main access city for the temples of Angkor, and launching pad for onward travel into Thailand. Although marred by hastily constructed modern buildings, Siem Reap does have beautiful colonial and Chinese-style architecture adorning the streets of the Old French Quarter. The town itself offers many attractions for visitors, including Apsara dance performances, museums and craft shops. Siem Reap's most famous feature is the Temple of Angkor Wat, dating from the 9th century. Situated just 3 miles (5km) from the city centre, this intriguing site has been luring visitors for decades. Nearby, there are also silk farms, rice-paddies and fishing villages to explore, as well as the bird sanctuary near Tonle Sap Lake. Siem Reap is a popular holiday destination and has numerous hotels and guesthouses, both luxury and budget, as well as Western-style bars and restaurants to enjoy. Many of these venues can be located near the Old Market. With so much in the way of amenities and attractions for tourists, the town of Siem Reap is a great base from which to venture into this fascinating province.

Information & Facts

Climate

The Siem Reap climate can be described as tropical with seasonal monsoons, and the weather is warm year-round. There are two distinct seasons - the rainy season and the dry season. Temperatures during the rainy season (June to October) average at about 88°F (31°C). Dry season temperatures, from November to May, are slightly higher at 91°F (33°C).

Getting Around

All modes of transport arrive in Siem Reap; an airport lands planes from all over South East Asia, a ferry arrives via Tonlé Sap Lake from Phnom Phen and buses arrive from all over the country (and also from Thailand and Laos). A terrible road leads to Siem Reap from the Thai border, but a six hour stretch from Phnom Phen is easy riding. Coercion from bus guides to stay in their associated hotels is common but finding available accommodation elsewhere is usually easy. There are taxis, rental cars, buses and tuk-tuks available throughout the city, while renting a bicycle or scooter is also an option. There are many attractions in the city and surrounds that can easily be reached on foot.

Language

Khmer is the official language. French is also spoken, but English is fast becoming popular with the younger generation.

Money

Riel (KHR) is the official currency and is divided into 100 sen. Foreign currency is difficult to exchange with the exception of US Dollars. Most transactions require cash. US dollars and Thai Baht are accepted, although smaller transactions are usually done in riel. A torn US dollar note renders it useless. Credit cards are only accepted in a limited number of tourist-orientated hotels and restaurants in Phnom Penh and larger towns. There are a few ATMs in Phnom Penh, but they shouldn't be relied upon as a source of money; travellers cheques in US dollars or sterling can be cashed at a limited number of banks and larger hotels, though travellers cheques are not recommended due to limited acceptance.

Time

GMT +7.

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