Living and working in an exotic tropical city such as Siem Reap is a dream for many people. This beautiful city is the other main choice for expats who want to live in Cambodia, especially for its relaxed way of life, scrumptious food, and business opportunities. It’s a popular resort city because of its proximity to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor. The city is filled with modern hotels, restaurants, spas, and world-class dining. The infrastructure has also improved and Siem Reap has managed to retain its ancient charm.
Finding a long term place to stay can sometimes be challenging in Siem Reap, especially if you’re looking for a cheap one since many properties have turned into short term accommodation for tourists. But there are several agents and websites that will help you find the perfect property. You can also join Facebook groups and scroll through the latest listings.
The town has numerous housing options, from basic fan rooms to luxury villas with a pool that can cost more than $1000 a month. You will find plenty of apartments with a shared pool and a parking space. Some landlords will cover utilities such as cable and water. There are also Khmer-style wooden houses available, they’re usually more spacious, making them suitable for families. The most popular area for expats is Wat Bo because it’s surrounded by shops and restaurants. Sala Kamreuk is also becoming an expats’ favorite area to reside in.
The easiest way to get around Siem Reap is by Tuk-Tuk and you can get pretty much anywhere in the town for $2 to $5. It is common to bargain for the fare; you should be able to talk the drivers down to a dollar if you’re a good negotiator. Many tuk-tuk drivers can speak English very well due to their popularity among tourists. Just note that they’re sometimes slower than other transportation modes.
Motorcycle taxis or moto can be found anywhere across the town. Trips around downtown areas cost around $1. The drivers typically do not provide any helmets for the passengers. They also do not speak English very well. There are not many taxis in Siem Reap and the taxis are mostly just locals driving their own car and there is no meter or fixed price, so the fare can vary quite a bit.
As a tourist town, Siem Reap has numerous entertainment venues. There are cinemas, restaurants, and spas just minutes away from each other. If you want to enjoy the tourist activities, you can go to cultural performances, visit wildlife sanctuaries, or cycle around Angkor Archeological Park.
The nightlife in this city is thriving and it offers cocktail lounges, restaurants, lively bars, and nightclubs. You can go bar-hopping in Pub Street which has numerous bars accessible on foot. The most popular Bar is probably Miss Wong Cocktail Bar that offers a Shanghai-style atmosphere.
Siem Reap is a safe town, but you should always take personal precautions. There are many cases of bag snatching, especially handbags and cross-body bags. Always be aware and keep your belongings safe. You need to watch where you walk, it is best to avoid empty and dark streets.
English is very common in the town which makes it easier for you to shop, dine, and make some local friends. However, it’s good to learn Khmer because it will improve your stay. Knowing some Khmer helps a lot with bargaining, getting closer to the local life, and finding more local friends.