Once you mention Siem Reap, the first thought is about Angkor, the ancient temple where the Kmer people used to live from the 9th to 15th centuries. However, Siem Reap is not famous just for that Archaeological Park, but for many other great things.
Siem Reap is the major tourist destination in Cambodia and the second most visited town. Its economy is based on tourism, since half of the population works in tourist industry.
This resort town is full of expensive hotels and there is plenty to do in and around the city. Besides being close to Angkor Wat, it is also not far away from the biggest sweet water lake, the huge Tonle Sap Lake.
Warnings & Dangers in Siem Reap
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
Siem Reap is probably the safest place in Cambodia and that is why it has become a well visited tourist destination. Petty crime unfortunately cannot be excluded, while some other major crime acts are not very common. Tourists should never leave their valuables unattended anywhere, because even a hotel room is not safe of thieves and they will find a way in even though it is locked.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
The traffic in this city is very chaotic and it is always suggested to take a taxi or a bus, which is very cheap and fast way of going through the city, instead of driving. Many people decide to rent a motorbike, but they should be very watchful and always use a helmet.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Although this is not a place where groups of bag snatchers wait for their pray, pickpocketing and bag snatching are frequent especially in public transport, markets and night clubs.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The climate of Siem Reap is such that it includes the monsoon season which lasts from May to October and the flooding in that period is considered normal, as well as typhoons and tsunamis.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The risk of being kidnapped or mugged in Siem Reap is not at the high level. Nevertheless, travelers need to be cautious since that risk is possible as anywhere in the world.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Regarding the fact that terrorism is a constant menace to the whole world, Siem Reap is not an exception. There is the risk of terrorist attacks in Cambodia, so tourists should remain vigilant.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams risks are frequent in Siem Reap and some of them are characteristic for that destination. In case you decide to rent a motorbike, your own lock for securing it is the best solution since some companies tend to use the copy of the key and steal them. Banknotes should always be checked and tourists should be aware that tuk-tuk drivers may drive them around the town in order to make the price higher. Baby-milk scam is a common type of scam in Siem Reap, when a poor woman begs for some milk powder for her baby.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Cambodia is safe for solo female travelers as long as they practice their common sense and keep their possessions firmly. Sexual assaults are very rare, but the risk should not be ignored.
So... How Safe Is Siem Reap Really?
Although, most visitors come here to see the ancient temple Angkor Wat, Siem Reap can offer plenty of things to do in and around the city. For those who want to experience the markets, bars, and shops, the central area of Siem Reap is ideal place. The others who are interested in sightseeing can explore Wat Thmei Pagoda and Wat Preah Inkosei along with a National Museum.
Unfortunately, there is an unpleasant side as in any other tourist destination. The most frequent and reported crimes are pick-pocketing and bag snatching. The drink spiking with the aim of theft is common in SiemReap, especially at night.
The land mines at Phnom Kulen and Koh Ker can be risky for those tourists who want to go off the path and visit outlying temples.
Siem Reap is safe when more violent crimes are concerned, so the only thing tourists need to do is to follow the advices, act as in any other tourist destination and enjoy their wonderful journey.
- Visas - Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines inhabitants do not need a visa to enter Cambodia. For all the other countries, it is necessary. Tourist visas cost 35$ for 2 months and they can get it once they arrive at the airport, or via the Internet.
- Currency - The Cambodia Riel (KHR) is the official currency. Considering the fact that Siem Reap is a major tourist destination, prices are higher than in the other places in Cambodia. Credit cards are accepted while ATMs charge a fee of 5$ per withdrawal.
- Weather - A tropical wet and dry climate is characteristic for Cambodia. The city’s average high temperatures are over 30 degrees C in any month. The wet season lasts from April to November with approximately 1500 mm of rainfall per year.
- Airports - Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport is the busiest and largest airport with direct flights from many Asian cities and other countries. It is 7 kilometers away from the town.
- Travel Insurance - The travelers are always advised to get travel insurance in case of medical difficulties, theft and loss of personal items. Additionally, for Siem Reap, travelers are advised to check whether their insurance policy covers the traveling by motorcycles, since many tourist decide to tour Siem Reap on a motorbike.