Located in the north west of Cambodia, the small city of Siem Reap is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. Although there are a large number of interesting attractions located both in and around the city, Siem Reap is not served by public transportation. However, there are plenty of transportation options in Siem Reap to choose from, ranging from bicycles that can be hired for just a few hours or the entire day to motorbikes and cars.
Getting around Siem Reap on foot
Most of the attractions located in the city itself can be reached in 20 minutes or less on foot and Siem Reap is generally a safe city to explore, even after dark. However, it is necessary to find some sort of transportation to reach the numerous attractions located on the outskirts of the city, such as the Angkor Temple Complex.
Siem Reap by bicycle
Bicycles are available to rent at a number of guesthouses for a small fee and this is a cheap and convenient way to travel. Those who choose to hire a bicycle in Siem Reap will also have the freedom to explore at their leisure, perhaps heading into the surrounding countryside to discover picturesque winding lanes.
Cycling in the full heat of the day can be rather draining, however, so it is important to take along plenty of water.
Many of the roads in and around Siem Reap are riddled with potholes, so it important to pay special attention.
Getting around Siem Reap by motorbike
Known locally as motodops, motorbike taxis with a driver are a quick and convenient way to get around. Fares are not fixed and should be negotiated in advance, with the average price being US$1 for destinations in the city, which often rises to US$2 at night. Motodops can also be hired for the entire day for around US$10.
Although it is illegal to hire motorbikes to foreigners in Siem Reap, those who have rented their bike in another town or city in Cambodia will be permitted to drive it here.
Siem Reap by moto
Ideal for groups for travellers, motos are a popular way to reach the attractions located just outside Siem Reap. Basically consisting of a small cabin attached to the back of a motorcycle, motos can carry up to four people and come complete with a driver. As with motodops, the fare for moto rides is rarely fixed, and it is a good idea to ask staff at a nearby restaurant or guesthouse for the going rate before attempting to negotiate.
Many moto drivers also offer guided tours of Siem Reap for a small fee, making this a convenient way to see the sights. Moto drivers are easy to find, as they tend to hang out in groups near the main strip of bars and restaurants as well as outside major hotels.
Car hire in Siem Reap
Most hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap can organise car hire for the day and this is a popular form of transportation with families and small groups of travellers. The cost of car hire in Siem Reap tends to be around US$25-$30, although upmarket hotels may charge much more than this. The great thing about car hire in Siem Reap is that rental cars always come with a driver, meaning that visitors can simply sit back and enjoy the journey, without having to worry about negotiate their way through the traffic or finding their way around.
Getting to Siem Reap
Angkor International Airport is located just a 15-minute drive from Siem Reap and receives regular flights from Phnom Penh at it’s domestic terminal. There is also an international terminal, which receives regular flights from major cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Hanoi, Bangkok and Luang Prabang.
The roads leading to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh and Thailand have been dramatically improved in recent years and the journey is now relatively smooth. Buses depart daily from Phnom Penh between 06:30 and 13:00 and the journey takes around six hours. While those travelling to Siem Reap from Thailand have the option of catching a bus at the Poi Pet border crossing, many people travelling from Bangkok choose to save time and trouble by booking a bus tour in Bangkok’s Khaosan Road. Buses depart at 08:00 each day, arriving in Siem Reap some time between 17:00 and 03:00.
Although not the quickest or cheapest from of transport, travelling to Siem Reap by Hydrofoil on the Tonle Sap lake is a memorable experience. Boats leave Phnom Penh whenever they are full, and the journey takes around eight hours. Siem Reap can also be reached by boat from Battambang. This journey takes between three and five hours and is particularly picturesque.