The city of Siem Reap is not going to win any awards for style or beauty. It is basically at the moment a huge building site in many areas. We had a lovely time there and most of the restaurants we ate out at were fine. There are a few places to visit and I would suggest if you are in Siem Reap make your first stop the Angkor National Museum to get a good introduction of Angkor Wat before visiting it.
Last month we spent 9 nights in Siem Reap. We stayed at the Privilege Floor at the Lotus Blanc Resort. Easily the best hotel we stayed in during our three and a half months in South East Asia. I have put a link above to my trip advisor review if you are looking for a bit of luxury when you are in Siem Reap.
Our goal in visiting Siem Reap was visiting Angkor Wat and the other temples. Below I have written several tips to make your trip to Angkor Wat easier and more effective.
Tips to visiting Angkor Wat
First tip is decide on what pass to buy. There are three types of passes. The seven day US$60, three day US$40 and one day US$20. We bought a three day pass which is valid over one week which means in the hot weather you can break up your touring with rest days if your there a week or five days. The ticket seller photographs you for the photo pass. One thing we found out later is that you should get a free map of the temple area. We did not. If you buy the pass late in the afternoon it allows free entry to Angkor Wat at sunset and you still get three days to visit it again and the other temples.
Second tip visit the Angkor National museum in Siem Reap before you go to Angkor Wat. The museum gives you background information on the different eras, mural, history of the sites and an insight into the history of the area.
Third tip is visit Angkor Wat at 5am for the sunrise viewing and make sure you buy the ticket the night before.
Fourth tip is go across the West Gate entrance causeway to the inner area. We went to the right side small lake for the sunrise and photos. It was fine and not as crowded as the left side.
Fifth tip use a guide if you can and make sure there a real one and accredited. We paid US$45 for a whole day. Money well spent. Tuk Tuk for the day costs between US$18-25. Depending on how much distance you cover. They have the mini tour and the grand tour. We did both.
Sixth tip is drink lots of water or fresh coconut juice. Lastly just enjoy the experience. Best bits for us were visiting the less popular temples and exploring them by ourselves.
I have written reviews on each of the temples we visited during our time at Siem Reap and the link below are further tips about the entire site.