25 Useful Travel Tips When Going to Cambodia
1. It’s cheaper to buy from the sellers outside the temples than in the market.
- Magnets (2 multi-colored for $1; 4 single color for $1 or 50 cents each)
- Scarfs (5 for $10)
- Bamboo Sticky Rice ($1.75)
- Raincoats can be bought for $1 a pair.
2. I highly recommend getting the Ancient Angkor book as a souvenir. This is the book that Cambodian kids will be offering you. It only costs $9 for TWO Ancient Angkor books or $5 each.
3. They call the restrooms, WATER CLOSET.
4. No need to change currency. USD is widely used in Siem Reap, Cambodia
5. You should try the pineapple on sticks sold by street vendors outside the temples. If you like spicy, I highly recommend adding the chili salt on the pineapple. Soooo good! (Cost: $1 for a whole pineapple that is cut into 4 pieces.)
6. Prepare $40 for a 3-day ID pass to explore the Angkor temples. A single-day pass is available for US $20 and a week-long pass can be purchased for US $60. Better not lose it or you’ll end up paying another fee for a new ID.
7. If you plan on renting a bike, you need to bring a copy of your passport and indicate which hotel you’re staying at. Bike rental costs $1 to $2 for a regular bike per day or $5 to $10 for a mountain bike.
8. Bring insect-repellent lotion to avoid mosquito bites.
9. When going up Angkor Wat temple, please check the guidelines on what and what not to wear: Shoulders to knee should be covered. Skirts should be long enough to cover the knees. Sleeveless shirts are not allowed. And no, a shawl is not allowed to cover your sleeveless shirt. Also, when it rains, they do not allow visitors to go up.
10. Bring a bottle of water, especially when going to Angkor Wat. There is not much shade below while waiting for your turn to go up. Too much heat will drain all your energy away.
11. If you want to visit TA PROHM, best time to go is before sunrise or around 6am or else, be prepared to fall in line just to get a picture with the famous backdrops.
12. Baphuon is not for people afraid of heights. The stairs are very steep so if you come here, bring a pocketful of courage to be sure.
13. Slather a good amount of sunscreen when visiting Banteay Srei because there is very little shade in the area.
14. Don’t forget to LOOK UP at the ceilings to appreciate the beauty of the temples’ architecture, like that of Bayon Temple
15. Best for pictorials: PRE RUP and PREA KHAN. There is very little crowd and they have all the elements of Cambodia ruins: romance, adventure and mystery.
16. Go to Phnom Bakheng in the afternoon. Phnom Bakheng offers a breathtaking 360 degree view, best place to watch the sun set. Only take the elephant ride uphill ($20, 5-10 minutes) and enjoy the trek down to see the nice ruins below, which is also good for picture-taking. The elephant path is different so at least you get to see both views.
17. After your TonLe Sap tour, please don't forget to give at least $1 as a "token of appreciation" to the boatman.
18. Aside from exploring the temples of Cambodia, ATV sunset ride by QUAD ATV Tours is also nice. ($28 each, with hotel pick-up and drop-off.)
19. Tuktuk ride is $2 PER RIDE and NOT per person. That’s the normal cost from pub street to the hotel. Take note: that’s per tuktuk ride and NOT per person. Make sure to clarify with the driver first because sometimes they’ll charge you more.
20. When looking for a place to eat, you can never go wrong with PUB STREET. And take note, there are still plenty more to choose from at the side streets :) Average meal per person is approximately USD 5 - 6. Yes, USD is the main currency being used so don't bother having your USD exchanged to Riel banknotes.
FYI: Rarely will you be able to dine at an air-conditioned restaurant/shop in Siem Reap. Also, from our 6 days stay, we never once saw a Cambodian dining at the restaurants in Pub Street. Our tour guide told us that electricity and rental are very expensive and so do the food costs that's why most of them eat at the comfort of their homes and not at restaurants.
22. When in Cambodia, you must try the amok dish. It tastes like Tom Yam + Thai Curry soup (only a teeny bit sweet).
23. Have a good Cambodian steak. Ask the Tuktuk driver to take you to AnnAdya Restaurant. They serve really good Cambodian steak ($5.50) and ice-cold Cambodian draft beer ($2)
24. Cambodian BBQ Restaurant is one of the top rated restaurants in Cambodia but the restaurant beside it serves the same food at the lower cost. (with cheap beer, too) Why is it popular? Mainly because they sell exotic meats like snake, crocodile, ostrich and kangaroo.
25. If you are hiring a tour guide, check the reviews if he/she is good at taking photos and if he/she is nice enough to wait for you while you take your time exploring the temples.
Siem Reap, Cambodia Tourism: Where To Go and Eat - 6D5N - Day 4