A Pinay's Travel Guide To Siem Reap Cambodia

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Walk with ChaMike in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodia was the other half of ChaMike's Dual-Country trip, the other one was Thailand. Supposedly it was a TRI-COUNTRY adventure (Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand) but because I spent almost a month in Ho Chi Minh for work (Read Work with Cham in Ho Chi Minh Vietnam), I skipped it and pursued Cambodia-Thailand instead. 

It was a birthday trip. My last birthday as a MISS <gasps>. So despite the loads of work in my current job, I braved myself into asking my boss for a 4-day leave. Luckily, he allowed not just me, but also Mike! The boy had no plans in visiting these countries but because he wanted to join me in my wanderlust-ing he gave in. Hurraaaah!

Before I tell you about our adventure in Siem Reap, here is a list of the things you need to know before going to the Kingdom of Cambodia.


1. Cambodia is one of the Southeast Asian countries and shares a land border with Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
A lot of travelers consider going to these other countries whenever they visit Cambodia (like us) or vice versa. Travel time from Manila to Siem Reap is 3 hours.

Asia Map

2. Visa is not required for Philippine Passport Holders
Filipinos are not required to apply for a visa and are permitted until 20 days of stay in the country from the date of entry.

Siem Reap bound inside Cebupac
3. The only airline that offers direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap is Cebu Pacific Air
Even if Cambodia has a close proximity to the Philippines, the only airline that services direct flight from Manila to Siem Reap is Cebu Pacific for three times a week - Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Other airlines offer a layover at another country. 

Siem Reap International Airport

4. Siem Reap is 1 hour behind Philippine time

5. Cambodia, like the Philippines is a tropical country that experiences two seasons- Wet and Dry

November to February is cool and dry. These months are said to be the best time to go to Cambodia. It has comfortably warm days, clear skies, no rain, light breeze and cool evenings.

March to May is hot and dry. These months are the summer season where the temperature rises mid to upper 30 degrees and the sun is quite intense. These months are also good for visiting Cambodia if you can endure the hot climate.

June to August is hot and wet. Hot season continues while the rain starts pouring on these months. It is said that the temples look best during the rainy season because of the lush greenery, the surrounding moats and the reflection from pools.

September to early November is cool and wet. These months are cooler than the previous months. September continues to rain, but by October the rain frequency drops off. September was the month we visited. The skies were clear in the morning and night. The rain occurred every afternoon but not that heavy and frequent. 

Clear skies in the morning of September
Rainy September afternoon

6. The currency in Cambodia is Cambodian Riel but you can use US Dollars almost anywhere 
Good thing I didn't exchange my dollars as all the establishments we went to in Siem Reap accepts dollars. So spare your time exchanging your dollars to Riel. Although, take note that the smallest amount of dollars that they have is $1 - they don't have US coins so when they give small change they give riel instead. 

Set lunch for $15
7. Note down the Philippine Consulate in Cambodia
Address: House No. 15, Street 422, Sangkat Tonle Bassac, Khan Chamkarmon, Phom Penh
Business Hours: Monday- Friday | 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Phone: +855 23 222 203 
Email: phompenhpe@ezecom.com.kh, phompenhpe@dfa.gov.ph


1. Siem Reap is a quiet and safe city, well known for its temples
Siem Reap is not as cosmopolitan as the two neighboring cities - Ho Chi Minh and Bangkok. But why are there so many tourists? The main attraction of Siem Reap is the majestic temples of the Khmer Empire that is considered to be the largest religious monument in the world. Apart from the temples around the city, the locals are extremely nice, we always felt safe. We even biked around the area without being paranoid. Also, we never encountered swindlers and scammers, so I guess this is one of the major reasons why foreigners like it here. 

Tourists at 6 in the morning!
2. You will encounter the word Khmer many times
What is the meaning of Khmer anyways? Khmer is anything that speaks about the Hindu-Buddhist Empire in South East Asia originated in Cambodia. Khmer Empire once became the largest pre-industrial empire in the world during the 11th to 13th century.

3. Food, transportation and accommodation are extremely cheap!
Aside from the temples, nice locals and safe surroundings, I fell in love in Siem Reap because of the extremely affordable standard of living. Take for example our accommodation - for only $100 for 3 nights we had a stylish room with tub, a pool at the center, inclusive of plated breakfast, airport transfers, complimentary ride at the city and use of bicycle for free! Doesn't get any cheaper than that!

La Rose Blanche Boutique
4. Their main transport system is a tuk-tuk
Tuk-tuk or an auto rickshaw is a motorcycle with back carriage used as transportation service for several countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Sri Lanka. I noticed, tuk-tuks in Cambodia have four wheels while the one in Thailand has only three.

Riding a tuk-tuk was a cheap way of going around the town. It was also relaxing and breezy, Mike and I even fell asleep during one of the rides. 

Riding a Tuk-tuk around

5. Dress appropriately. They have a strict dress code when entering temples.
They consider the temples a sacred place so they have a strict dress code. Avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless tops. Although, I was allowed to enter because I had my shawl with me. Best bet is to wear a hat, sunnies, breezy top and comfy pants. Bring a shawl if you are wearing a sleeveless top. You can also bring an extra top like what we did. Plus bring a face towel because you'll be dripping wet from sweat!

Siem Reap OOTD

Top: One piece swimsuit with customized hologram print that I wore as a top from Georgina Sasha
Bottom: Breezy pants from Terranova
Footwear: Flat Sandals
Sunnies: Georgina Sasha Sunnies
Shawl: Pashmina from Ben Than Market, Ho Chi Minh
Straw Hat: H&M

Biking OOTD
Top: Pink sleeveless top from F21

Bottom: Comfy pants from tiangge
Footwear: Paez in Salmon
Straw Hat: H&M
Bag: Longchamp

6. Almost anyone can understand and speak simple English
We did not have any difficulty asking locals for directions, price, discounts and recommendations.

Mike haggling with a local seller
Going around Siem Reap is a must for every girl (and boy) who wants scenic & mythical places, new discoveries and most importantly who loves cheap trills!

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