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8 things you absolutely must know before you visit Siem Reap

Most people are often believed that Siem Reap is a Cambodian capital, but it isn’t. Siem Reap is a unique blend of splendor and culture, a city that receives millions of visitors every year and the gateway to one of the wonders of the world – Angkor Wat. Many travelers come to Siem Reap, Cambodia solely to visit Angkor Wat, but there are so many things to do in Siem Reap besides visiting these grand temples.

The Temples of Angkor Wat is the central highlight of Siem Reap, it has other interesting activities besides. Siem Reap is one of those places that caters to every taste. It’s difficult to get bored in this ever-evolving city.

So, here’s 8 things you should know about Siem Reap! All are worth trying, but some are a one and done type of activity.

1/ Most local people can speak English

Most local people can speak English

Language is one of the biggest obstacles when traveling abroad. It will be difficult to communicate and learn cultures if  you do not know and can’t understand the native language or you don’t have any the same language. In reality, not many people can speak English in Phnom Phenh, but many people can speak English in Siem Reap to do traveling services, communication, and accommodation issues.

2/ US dollar is using very popular in Siem Reap

The official currency in Cambodia is the Cambodian riel, trades at around 4,000 riel to the US dollar. But there’s a 90 percent level of dollarization in the country. What this means is that you don’t need to be concerned about getting riel when you arrive in Cambodia. In fact, the visa you get on arrival must be paid for in US dollars. Especially, Siem Reap is Cambodia’s tourism hub, therefore, US dollar is more popular currency than Cambidian riel.

Most of services including eating, transportations, and hotels are use US dollar. Most tourist-oriented businesses quote prices in dollars, as do most grocery stores in the larger cities. Small stores may quote prices in riel, but they will all accept dollars as payment.

3/ Luxury resorts

Luxury resorts

Most of travelers visit to Cambodia come to Siem Reap, so there are many motels, hotels, and resorts from affordable price to high cost, from 1 star to 5 star. If you want to relax and find a peace atmosphere, you should book a resort. However, you should book hotels near central city, if you want to enjoy night market, local foods and other activities.

4/ Night market is a spotlight of the city

Night market is a spotlight of the city

Opening every evening at sunset the night market is a popular place to pick up a bargain. An area filled to the brim with stalls, handicrafts, fake watches and Cambodian souvenirs, this is the place to get some tacky keyrings.

It can be said that most fun activities are concentrated in night market. Restaurants, bars, pubs, and shoppings are usually open at the afternoon, and lots of people come to there in the evenings. The night market beside Pub Street comes alive around 6pm. This is another activity that is interesting, but a bit repetitive. All the vendors sell basically the same thing. You can get fake anything, from Nike apparel to Beats By Dre. Purchase of the trip! Definitely worth a visit, but know that you will be approached and asked to buy from every angle.

Siem Reap Art Market is located on the east bank of the Siem Reap River, opposite the Old Market (Phsar Chas) and is connected to it via a traditional wooden bridge. One of the newer night markets in town, Siem Reap Art Market has a wide range of handicrafts and souvenirs to chose from.

5/ Street foods - Cambodian specialties

Street foods - Cambodian specialties

Siem Reap street foods are very popular with affordable price to visitors. Cambodian street food offers unique and surprising delicacies that are foreign to the eyes and stomachs of most visitors. It is not for the squeamish travelers. All foods have clear pictures and prices in front of the vendors. Normally, it’s just from $1 to $2 per smoothie or juice.

Once visitors go deep into Cambodian cuisine, you will discover unique and amazing flavors. That said, street food in Cambodia, from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, will give you an amazing experience, a real culinary adventure. As you dive deeper into the Khmer street food culture, you will find rare treats and wonderful delicacies.

6/ Try a fish massage

Try a fish massage

Try a fish massage

After a tired exploring day, tourists usually provide massage services in Siem Reap. An obvious must do, you can find a variety of massages, and the typical massage here is fish massage. This is as weird as it sounds. Fish massage spas are along the side of  Pub Street for only $2 including a non-alcoholic beverage. You can soak your feet into a water tank filled with toothless Doctor Fish and have them clean off the dead skin of your feet. Very reasonable price for a fun experience right?

7/ Remember to haggle when shopping

Although most of the vendors have a clear price tags, it still can be bargained. You can bargain more for the items such as silks, silver jewelries, local candy, or souvenirs. If you buy a large number of items, you can still claim a good price.

8/ The beautiful Angkor - the symbol of Cambodian

The beautiful Angkor - the symbol of Cambodian

When arriving in Siem Reap, perhaps no one has missed the opportunity to visit the Angkor Wat world wonder as well as the nearby Angkor Thom.

Angkor Wat is an Archaeological Park, spread over 400 square kilometers and with more than 45 temples. The park contains remains of different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. The complex breaths history, spiritual beliefs and harmony (from Angkor Wat Unesco website)

This goes without saying and we don’t think a single person would visit Siem Reap without venturing out to see the wonderful temples of Angkor. Angkor is filled with limitless beauty, intrigue and even a few remarkable quirks. Travellers can call on leading archaeologists and guides, famous for their work in the Angkor complex, to share some tips and favorite corners visitors can seek out to add insight to their visits. The largest religious monument in the world offers stunning sights during the sunrise, however, it is also the busiest moment to visit. The Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom are very large so you will spend a whole day for exploring. And of course that means you have to walk a lot, so take a good pair of shoes and apply a full sunscreen lotion.

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