Siem Reap Town is best known as the gateway to the temples of Angkor. The connections to Siem Reap are plenty from all corners. An international airport is located at the edge of town. Direct buses are available from Bangkok and from Phnom Penh. Buses with one step-over are available from Ho Chi Minh City and even from Pakse or the 4000 islands in Laos. This means that connections to and from Siem Reap are plentiful in almost all directions internationally and particularly with its neighboring countries.
Domestic is not a problem either as you can see in pic. Hotelbus means usually a long distance nightbus that has relatively good beds to sleep. Single at one side of the bus and 2 persons on the other side of the bus. This in a way of one on floor height and one above that. The mattress is quite soft and the length is good for tall people of around 6.1 feet (1.85 m)
Siem Reap is part of the province with the same name. The influx of mass tourism and settlement of expats from all over the world. Being it teachers, U.N. employees, INGO employees, investors or simply retired foreigners, left an impact on Siem Reap. The town has been expanding over the past two decades and continues to do so. Call it development or globalization. Siem Reap is still dealing with power outages as a part of being a less developed nation. But it does have Starbucks, Burger King, Domino Pizza and the like. It had a huge growth in hotels over the last two decades. From 5-star hotels to homestays.
The town has more to offer
The main reason for its popularity is Angkor and most visitors don’t get to know more about Siem Reap other than that, the markets and Pubstreet. The topics we describe in this post, but Siem Reap has more than that.
The Siem Reap river that runs all the way to Kulen Mountain and Tonle Sap lake gives Siem Reap an extra characteristic due to the bridges over it. The evening streetfood stalls and lantern lights along it. The big wheel and the Hard Rock Cafe next to it. Just to name a few.
Pubstreet is the area with nightlife, restaurants, clubs, souvenir shops and agencies. Shaped in a triangle with on one side the Siem Reap river and on the other side the govt referral hospital. The third side of the triangle shape is the main road that you have to cross to some of the nightmarkets. Along that road you’ll find about the same as mentioned within Pubstreet area. Pubstreet area is the heart of Siem Reap. Prices are a bit higher than outside the area, although you can get a Angkor draft beer for as little as $0,50 in several restaurants during happy hour time, which is usually from 9 am to 10 pm. Keep in mind that this price is going for the last 6 years or longer.
When you prefer less noisy, less crowded, less touristic, just take a seat in one of the small alleys. Many of the popular restaurants are owned by expats and many of the restaurants have food items on the menu that are rare in western countries. Frogs and crocodile for example. The evenings get crowded, especially on the junction of the two roads where the Pubstreet name signs light up and all tourists are there to take there pics and videos. In the eve’s also the insect sellers show up. You can either pay for some to eat or pay to take a pic of it. Another typical thing in this area are the many small fried icecream stalls. Where they make icecream softer on an aluminium plate with a sort of mason tool.
Although Siem Reap is just a small town, you are in heaven when you like markets. You could almost say that there are more markets than bars. Markets can’t be counted on the fingers of one hand. As mentioned, cross the side road of Pubstreet and there are signs hanging above the road with arrows and names of night markets like Noon Night Market which all open after 6 pm. At the river side is the Old Market located which closes around 6 pm. At the other side of the river is another market called Art Center Night Market to be reached over that one special design bridge which you cross at the light with the name. On that same side of the river but on the other side of the Hard Rock Cafe is the Made in Cambodia Market with products typically and traditionally from Cambodia.
A bit more to the edge of town there are so called Container Markets. Why this name? They’re built from (old) cargo containers as you know them from ships and trucks. One of them is opposite the luxurious Angkor Tara Hotel along the Charles De Gaulle road, but didn’t run well and got financially broke with the result of having just a few container restaurants left. The other one is still completely up and running with the name Palm Container Night Market that can be recognized by the giant ‘Transformers’. The ‘toys’ from the movie Transformers. Those container markets are only open in evenings and for food and drinks, but is a more tranquil hangout area than Pubstreet.
In case you’re a big hearted person who is into charity, there is plenty to help in Siem Reap. When you sit at a restaurant in Pubstreet, then you’ll be in for a couple of visitors at your table. People in wheelchairs, blind people, people with one arm or leg amputated. These are landmine victims and they are with many in Cambodia. Beside those real victims there are healthy younger guys roaming around selling books. In case you want to help, we recommend to buy books from the real victims or donate your money to them. Beware that there is a possibility that when you give to one, you’ll be soon overrun by many others, or they will search for you every following day.
It has to be mentioned that overall they’re not a scam. That they’re not lazy and that it’s not a business for them to beg. Most of them prefer to get enough to make their kids study but prefer to make that happen by starting their own little business. This means get a small car to sell books for example. One of those victims who made it that far can be found on the edge of Pubstreet along the river next to the restaurant Sister Srea. The books are all copies and be sold for around $10. It’s hard to start a bargain with a landmine victim. Other forms of charity can be found too, as there are several orphanages or homes to be helpful to.