How to Spend 5 Days in Siem Reap: The Ultimate Itinerary
What are the top things to see and do in Siem Reap in 5 days?
Siem Reap is the gateway to the magnificent temples of Angkor, including the iconic Angkor Wat. With 5 days to explore, you can cover the highlights while also venturing to some lesser-visited gems. Here are the top things to see and do:
- Spend at least 1 full day at Angkor Wat. Marvel at the massive moat and get lost wandering through the many levels and corridors of this 12th century Khmer masterpiece. Arrive early to beat the crowds.
- Devote another day to exploring the other biggies of the Angkor Archaeological Park. Top picks are the haunting faces of Bayon, the jungle-consumed ruins of Ta Prohm, and the intricate carvings of Banteay Srei.
- Journey into the countryside to the sacred mountain of Phnom Kulen. See the River of 1000 Lingas and waterfall where the Khmer empire began.
- Take a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake to visit floating villages and learn about this unique ecosystem. See fishermen and flooded forests.
- Browse the Angkor National Museum to immerse yourself in ancient Khmer history and culture.
- Enjoy a traditional Apsara dance performance. Marvel at the intricate hand gestures and costumes.
- Shop and bar-hop on buzzing Pub Street. Pick up souvenirs and enjoy Siem Reap’s lively nightlife.
With temples, nature, and culture covered, this itinerary lets you experience the highlights of Siem Reap in 5 days.
How to Spend 5 Days in Siem Reap – Summary
|Top Things To Do||Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei, Phnom Kulen, Tonle Sap Lake, Angkor Museum, Apsara Dance, Pub Street|
|Where To Stay||Central Siem Reap, Near Angkor Park, Riverside, Luxury resort|
|Getting Around||Tuk tuks, bicycle, e-cars, private car, songthaews, walking|
|Best Time to Visit||Nov-Mar (dry season), Apr-Jun (hot), Jul-Oct (wet)|
|What To Pack||Lightweight clothes, hat, walking shoes, sun protection, mosquito repellent, light sweater, swimwear, water bottle, phrasebook|
|Costs||$400-600 per person for 5 days (moderate budget)|
|Visa||Visa on arrival available for 30 days|
|Vaccinations||Hep A, typhoid, tetanus-diphtheria recommended|
|Language||Khmer, English common|
|Scams||Rigged ATMs, taxi meters, fake tickets, overcharging, counterfeit goods|
|Food||Amok, lok lak, spring rolls, red curry, sticky rice|
Where should I stay in Siem Reap for 5 days?
With 5 days to explore the Siem Reap area, you’ll want lodging that offers comfort, convenience, and ideally a pool for relaxing after long days temple-trekking. Here are some top options to consider:
- In the heart of Siem Reap: For easy access to Pub Street and the night markets, stay right in the thick of things in central Siem Reap. Viroth’s Hotel is a popular mid-range choice with a pool and free breakfast.
- Near Angkor Archaeological Park: For early temple access, stay minutes away along the road between Siem Reap and Angkor. Steung Siemreap Hotel offers value rooms and a pool close to the park.
- Riverside retreat: For a quieter stay, consider the banks of the Siem Reap River. FCC Angkor Boutique Hotel has stylish rooms with balconies overlooking the river.
- Luxury resort: If you’re looking to splurge, check into a luxury resort like Shinta Mani Angkor. You’ll enjoy 5-star amenities and lavish Khmer-inspired decor.
No matter where you stay, be sure to book a place with a swimming pool so you can dip in and cool off between temple visits. And pick somewhere near downtown or the park for easy access.
How to Spend 5 Days in Siem Reap – Tips and Benefits
|Angkor Wat, Bayon, Ta Prohm, temples||Marvel at incredible Khmer architecture and carvings|
|Tonle Sap Lake boat trip||Witness floating villages and flooded forests|
|Biking around Siem Reap||See the town at your own pace|
|Khmer cooking class||Learn to make amok, lok lak, and other specialties|
|Apsara dance performance||Experience traditional Cambodian cultural arts|
|Phnom Kulen sacred mountain||Explore waterfalls and the origins of the Khmer empire|
|Affordable tuk tuk transportation||Conveniently get around Siem Reap and the temples|
|Ideal dry season weather||Comfortably explore the temples in cooler temperatures|
|Vibrant Pub Street nightlife||Unwind after long temple days with food, drinks, shopping|
|Delicious local cuisine||Savor flavorful dishes like fish amok, curries, and fresh mango sticky rice|
What is the best way to get around Siem Reap?
Siem Reap is easy to navigate, with several convenient and affordable options to get around:
- Tuk tuks: For zipping between temples or around town, tuk tuk rides are the most popular choice. You can flag them down or arrange a driver for the day. Agree on a price before setting off.
- Bicycle: For casual temple touring or cruising around town, renting a bike is a fun option. Many hotels and guesthouses offer bike rentals.
- Electric bikes: For a comfortable way to get around without pedaling, try an e-trike or e-tuk tuk.
- Private car with driver: Hire a car and driver for the ultimate in convenience. Hotels can arrange this for temple tours or transfers.
- Songthaews: These are shared pickup trucks running set routes. Handy and cheap for budget travelers not looking to splurge.
- Walking: Siem Reap town is compact. Stroll through the Old Market area, along Pub Street, or around your hotel neighborhood.
For sightseeing at Angkor Park, a tuk tuk is your best bet. For everything else, consider a combo of walking, biking, and the occasional tuk tuk ride. It’s easy to get around!
What is the best time of year to visit Siem Reap?
The best time to visit Siem Reap is during the dry season from November to March. Here’s a breakdown of weather and travel conditions by season:
- Dry Season (Nov-Mar): Hot but not too humid, with temperatures averaging 80-90F. Blue skies make temple vistas pop. High season means bigger crowds and higher prices.
- Hot Season (Apr-Jun): Extreme heat of up to 104F with intense sun. Temple exploration can be draining. Low season means smaller crowds and lower prices.
- Wet Season (Jul-Oct): Cooler weather around 80F but very humid with monsoon rains. Temple visits can be muddy but atmospheric with green landscapes. Smaller crowds.
Peak season is November through February when the weather is ideal, but lodging prices spike. For the best blend of great weather, smaller crowds, and lower costs, aim for March or later April.
No matter when you visit, be sure to bring sun protection, breathable clothing, and water to stay comfortable in the Cambodian heat.
What should I pack for 5 days in Siem Reap?
Packing for Siem Reap means preparing for hot, humid weather while temple exploring. Here are some essentials:
- Lightweight, breathable clothes: Tank tops, shorts, skirts, lightweight pants
- Hat and sunglasses to shield from the sun
- Sturdy walking shoes for temple terrain
- Small backpack or crossbody bag for carrying water and essentials
- Power bank and adapter to charge devices
- Sun protection: sunscreen, aloe vera, etc
- Mosquito repellent
- Light sweater or jacket for cool evenings
- Swimsuit to use hotel pools
- Collapsible water bottle to refill and stay hydrated
- Day pack for longer temple visits
- Portable battery powered fan if visiting in hot season
- Phrasebook or translation app for chatting with locals
Pack layers you can add or remove as needed, and include a stylish outfit or two for enjoying Siem Reap’s restaurants and nightlife. Travel light to stay mobile in the temples.
How much does it cost to spend 5 days in Siem Reap?
With strategic planning, you can enjoy 5 days in Siem Reap on a moderate budget. Here are rough estimates for daily costs:
- Lodging – $30-60/night for budget hotel or dorm bed. $100-150 for mid-range hotel. $200+ for luxury.
- Food – $5-15 per meal at local eateries. $15-25 at nicer restaurants.
- Attractions – $45-60 for 3-day Angkor Archaeological Park pass. $5-20 for other sites.
- Transportation – $10-20 per day for tuk tuks and transportation around town and temples.
- Activities – Budget $50+ for add-ons like boat trips, cooking classes, shows.
So for 5 days, expect to budget around $400-600 per person as a moderate estimate, excluding flights. You can pay less by staying in dorms and eating cheaply or more if splurging on 5-star hotels.
Do I need a visa to visit Siem Reap for 5 days?
Many nationalities can visit Siem Reap for up to 30 days without needing a visa in advance. This visa-free access applies to citizens of ASEAN member states, plus others including the USA, Canada, UK, EU, Australia, and New Zealand.
Upon arrival at Siem Reap airport, you will get a visa on arrival valid for 30 days for $30-40 USD. Bring passport photos and cash.
If staying less than 30 days, this visa on arrival is all you need. Only get a full tourist visa in advance if planning a longer visit or needing multiple entries.
The visa process is quick and easy for short Siem Reap trips. No need to arrange anything ahead of time for stays under 30 days. Just have passport photos, US dollars, and your passport ready when you land.
What vaccinations should I get before visiting Siem Reap?
No vaccinations are required for entering Cambodia, but a few are highly recommended for staying healthy:
- Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers to Cambodia. Spread through contaminated food and water. Given as a 2-dose vaccine over 6-12 months.
- Typhoid: Recommended especially if staying with local families or traveling off the beaten path. Caused by bacteria in contaminated food/water. Get injectable or oral vaccine.
- Tetanus-diphtheria: Should be up to date on routine 10 year booster shots. Recommended for all travelers.
- Rabies: Consider if spending extensive time outdoors. Transmitted through animal bites. Three-dose vaccine can be completed in 3-4 weeks.
- Japanese Encephalitis: Low risk in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Recommended for long stays in rural areas, especially during wet season.
Talk to your doctor or a travel clinic at least 6 weeks before departure to allow time for recommended vaccines to become fully effective.
What language is spoken in Siem Reap?
The official and most widely spoken language in Siem Reap is Khmer, also known as Cambodian. Khmer uses its own unique script.
Many people working in the tourism industry also speak conversational English, especially those at hotels, restaurants, shops, and tuk tuk drivers.
You can get by easily in Siem Reap with just English, but learning a few Khmer phrases is helpful and appreciated:
- Hello – “Sua s’dei”
- Thank you – “Orkun”
- Yes – “Batt”
- No – “Te”
- How much is this? – “Tleay neung nih khnong?”
Also install a translation app like Google Translate to aid conversations. And don’t be shy about smiling, gesturing, and using your phrasebook. Locals will appreciate you making an effort with their language!
Are there any scams to watch out for in Siem Reap?
Siem Reap is generally safe, but a few common travel scams to be aware of include:
- Rigged ATMs: Only use ATMs inside banks. Avoid “convenient” stand-alone ATMs which may clone your card.
- Tampered taxi meters: Only use official metered taxis from the airport or your hotel. Ignore drivers offering fixed fares.
- Temple ticket scams: Purchase tickets only from the official booth or your hotel, never from individuals.
- Overcharging: Agree on fares before taking tuk tuks or rides. Don’t accept claims you underpaid after the fact.
- Counterfeit goods: Avoid buying luxury name brand goods on the street which are likely fakes.
- Orphanage tours: Skip these, as most are scams profiting off children. Donate to legitimate organizations instead.
- Theft: Use hotel safes, and keep valuables secured in cross body bags instead of backpacks.
With common sense precautions, you can avoid potential scams. Know the official rates for temples and transportation, and politely stand your ground if someone tries to overcharge you.
What should I eat in Siem Reap?
Siem Reap offers incredible opportunities to dive into authentic Khmer cuisine. Be sure to try:
- Amok: Mild curried fish baked in a banana leaf
- Lok lak: Tender beef stir-fried with black pepper sauce
- Fish amok: Same as above but with fish instead of beef
- Fresh spring rolls: Rice paper wraps with veggies, herbs, shrimp or pork
- Bai sach chrouk: Pork and rice cooked in coconut milk
- Khmer red curry: Rich, savory curry with lemongrass, chillis, and kaffir lime
- Nom banh chok: Noodles with green curry and fish or pork
- Lap khmer: Beef or fish ceviche with mint, lime, and chili
- Sticky rice and mangoes: Simple, perfect dessert
For inexpensive Khmer staples, eat at the central market food stalls. For fancier fare, try sophisticated restaurants along the river. Don’t miss this tasty cuisine!
How to Spend 5 Days in Siem Reap – Key Takeaways:
- Focus on Angkor Wat plus highlights like Bayon, Ta Prohm, and Banteay Srei temples
- Stay in central Siem Reap or near Angkor for convenience
- Hire tuk tuks or bicycles for getting around
- Visit during dry season from November to March for ideal weather
- Savor authentic Khmer cuisine like amok, lok lak, and sticky rice
- Enjoy nightlife along Pub Street or a traditional Apsara dance show
- Budget around $400-600 per person excluding flights for a 5 day trip
How to Spend 5 Days in Siem Reap? – Frequently Asked Questions
How many days do you need in Siem Reap?
Most travelers spend 3-5 days exploring Siem Reap. This allows enough time to see the main temples of Angkor Archaeological Park and take a couple day trips to sights outside the city. With 5 days, you can see the highlights at a comfortable pace without feeling rushed.
What is the best way to see Angkor Wat?
Purchase a 1-3 day pass and explore the ancient Angkor temples by tuk tuk, starting early to beat the crowds. For Angkor Wat, arrive right at sunrise to see the morning light hit the temple. A guide can explain the intricate carvings and history. Spend at least 3-4 hours here.
When is rainy season in Siem Reap?
Rainy season in Siem Reap runs from around June through October. The heaviest rainfall is typically in September and October. Roads may flood and attractions are less crowded. Travel is still possible with umbrella and poncho.
Is Siem Reap safe?
Siem Reap is generally considered very safe, especially around the downtown and Angkor temple areas frequented by tourists. However, you should still exercise normal travel precautions as you would elsewhere. Avoid poorly lit areas at night, don’t carry valuables openly, and travel by trusted tuk tuk drivers.
Can you travel to Siem Reap solo?
Absolutely! Siem Reap is a very popular destination for solo travelers. It’s easy to meet fellow travelers to team up with, or hire a private driver or guide if you prefer to tour solo. Stay in hostels to socialize and get travel tips. Solo female travelers may get unwanted attention, so exercise caution.
How much cash should I take to Siem Reap?
Take enough cash in US dollars for any visa fees, transportation, tours or activities you book ahead of time, and about $10-20 per day as backup. Otherwise, use ATM debit cards to withdraw local currency once there, as ATMs are common. Major hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards.
What should I avoid in Siem Reap?
Avoid tap water and ice, raw vegetables and fruits that can’t be peeled, undercooked meat and fish, neglected temple rules, mosque and temple visits if scantily dressed, OFF!
With efficient planning using this 5-day itinerary, you can explore the majestic Angkor temples, discover Cambodian culture and cuisine, and fully experience the magic of Siem Reap.
Follow these tips to maximize your time in this unforgettable temple town.