Siem Reap, Cambodia
The gateway to the ancient temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park, Siem Reap is an essential destination on any tour of Cambodia. Iconic Angkor Wat and other landmarks in the vast UNESCO World Heritage area can be visited on a 1-day or 2-day tour, making time to sample the region’s other diverse charms.
Even with a constant stream of tourists, Siem Reap holds onto its small town atmosphere. It offers the chance to observe traditional Cambodian life existing alongside luxury hotels and restaurants. A tour of a silk farm or a floating village are just two of the many activities and attractions available.
The ferry port is located south of the city on the shore of the vast Tonle Sap Lake, where cruise ships arrive and depart to Phnom Penh, Battambang and other destinations, and smaller boats operate tours of the local floating villages.
Siem Reap Ferry Port is 12 kilometres south of the city, and can be reached using local transport or shuttle transfer arranged by your cruise operator. The port is on the north shore of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in south-east Asia, which connects Siem Reap with the Mekong River.
Cruise ships share the ferry pier with local tour boats, but during the dry season passengers may need to transfer to smaller boats to reach the port.
- ticket office for tour of Chong Kneas floating villages
- drinks and snacks
Cruise ship passengers are usually transferred via shuttle bus to accommodation in Siem Reap prior to touring the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Independent travellers have the option of hiring a tuk-tuk (motorised rickshaw) or local taxi, which will be waiting for new arrivals and can take you to your hotel.
How to Get Around
There are several modes of transport to choose from when travelling between Siam Reap port and the city, with options to suit every price range.
If your cruise liner has not already arranged transport, you can take a motorbike taxi or car to your Siam Reap hotel for a fixed rate.
Travel time from Siem Reap Ferry Port to the city:
- It is a 20- to 30-minute ride to Siem Reap (a taxi is $6 to $7 and a tuk-tuk is $2 to $3).
If you are taking a tour around the Chong Kneas floating villages, it can be arranged at the port or with your cruise operator or hotel. Round trips depart throughout the day from Siem Reap Ferry Port and usually cost around $15.
- Currency - the riel is the official currency, but in practice the US dollar is widely available and is the preferred option for transactions costing more than US$1. Riels are used for transactions and change totalling less than US$1, as US coins aren’t in circulation.
- Time Zone - Siem Reap is in the Indochina Time Zone, which is seven hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
- Weather - Siem Reap is tropical, with two distinct seasons. The hot and humid rainy season typically lasts from June until October, while the dry season is divided into a cooler period from November to February, with the hottest months from March to May.
- Angkor Wat - the most famous sight of Cambodia, the temple of Angkor Wat has earned its place among the finest ancient monuments in the world. Built in the 12th century, much about this sprawling complex remains a mystery, and the rich symbolism of its architecture, statues and reliefs will fascinate visitors.
- Angkor Thom - the myriad temples, statues, gates and other relics of nearby Angkor Thom are equally fascinating. It is best known for the 216 stone faces adorning the Bayon temple, but other marvels include the Elephant Terrace and a giant reclining Buddha carved into a temple wall.
- Floating Villages - the Chong Kneas stilt villages are the best known of the traditional villages, and can be seen from your boat as you approach Siem Reap Ferry Port. But a more authentic experience can be had by taking a trip to Kampong Phluk, inside a mangrove forest.
- Landmine Museum - gain insight into the continuing problems the rural population faces with a day trip to the moving Cambodian Landmine Museum, close to Banteay Srei Temple. As well as displaying defused landmines and informative exhibits, the museum offers the chance to meet people whose lives have been personally affected and to provide support for local awareness campaigns.