If you come here in June - september, you will probably find some rains everyday, specially in the afternoons.
So bring an umbrella - anorak and carry it always with you. It might be very useful if a sudden rain gets you while you are temple visiting or riding on a motorbike...
Or injured, for that matter - medical facilities in Siem Reap are pretty basic - no big hospitals here. If you get something seriously wrong with you evacuation by air to Bangkok is your best bet - make sure your travel insurance covers you for this eventuality.
I do not want to be condoning piracy but I do know these are very popular with backpackers. For US$5-US$10, you can bargain hard for pirated coloured copies of "Lonely Planet" guides - usually of Cambodia and the neighbouring countries like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore. The quality ain't bad - and you save a lot of money compared to the originals but I leave it to you as reader of this tip to make a judgement call for yourself with regard to respecting copyrights.
Just be beware of claims from stallowners that these guides are the original.
I am sure many guide books remind visitors to Siem Reap and Angkor to keep to the well marked trails once you are in the National Park or in the countryside as the many years of civil war in Cambodia had left the country ridden with unmarked hidden land mines.
It's not any fun going home minus a leg, a limb or both....
The civil war in Cambodia has left a country scarred and a nation of people suffering. Everywhere in Siem Reap, you will find victims of the war with crippled legs and arms, begging for money. The problem is once you start feeling pity for one, the others will come running for you. How much money can you give?
The best season to visit Siem Reap and the Angkor monuments is during the dry and cool season from November to February. During this season, there are blue skies most of the time, and the weather is dry and cooling.
However, it can get warm during the afternoons, but the air is dry so it is not so uncomfortable.
IF YOU ARE CROSSING THE BORDER OVERLAND: I heard several horror stories from fellow travelers about the visa process at land crossings. The customs officials will demand more than the $20US fee and you will have to pay in either Thai Baht or US Dollars. I’ve heard stories of extorted fees from an extra $20US on up. If crossing into Cambodia overland I recommend procuring your visa beforehand to avoid the corruption at the border or be prepared to shell out some extra cash.
Although guests are allowed the unique opportunity to climb and explore the magnificent and often crumbling structures, care should be taken. It implore any visitor to these unique temples to exercise care and caution during their time in Angkor, it is the only way to ensure that this amazing edifice will remain for future generations to enjoy. Many of the temples are currently under reconstruction and some of the lesser temples still need to undergo major preservation. And removing any objects from any of the Angkor temples is strictly forbidden. But also, as a visitor to these sacred sites please be respectful, many of these temples are still in use. Much of the ugly behavior we experienced from other tourists were shouting and shoving – especially on the steep and narrow steps to the top of Angkor Wat, which is not only rude but dangerous.
Many staircases leading to the top of the temples like those in the Royal Residence, Angkor Wat main temple, Bakheng Hill temple etc. are very steep and there is hardly any space on each step to keep your leg comfortably. On the top of that, there are no handrails to hold. One needs to do a three point climbing to be secure. One should avoid taking these staircase. If it is an absolute must, I will advice to have shoes with an excellant grip (rubber sole for eg.)
Siem Reap is really booming right now. As a result more young people are moving into the city to work, live and get educated.
The only problem this causes is that the roads through Siem Reap are frantic with scooters especially early in the morning and around 5 p.m.
Most don't have any formal driving qualifications whatsoever and the frequency of horrifying crashes is on the rise.
So the tip is - cross safely.
It's sad, but you can't trust the police there!
When we were walking towards the ruins, we flashed our passes at the policeman as we thought he needed to check them (we didn't see the usual blue uniform Angkor staff). The policeman then asked me where we were from and I guess I made the mistake of answering him. Cos after that, he and another man started following us (4 girls) as we walked towards the ruins.
The policeman tried to asked me things and I didn't give him a clear answer or kinda ignore him when I realized that they were following us. When we were applying extra insect repellent, he actually asked us if we have an extra can to give him. We replied in negative.
The policemen pointed us to the left side of the ruins even though we noted a path/entrance to the right and no visible entrance on the left. So we started walking towards the left and I said to my friends (in Mandarin) that something didn't seem right and that we should quickly turn and walk to the right. One of my trip buddy said we should ask the police if it's the right direction! Good grief! They are the last people to trust!
So I did a U-turn, started walking off to the right, and the rest followed. The 2 men started shouting at us to get back to the left, but we continued to ignore them. They didn't come after us. So obviously something wasn't right.
I can't imagine what would have happened if we had followed them. It could be we loose a couple of dollars or something worse...
Just be careful and be mindful of the police or people following you...
Okie, I think in general you should just be careful and mindful of the police. From what I was told, their monthly salary is about USD20 and the reason they join the police force is so that they can "earn" extra income through bribes, tips and "extortion".
When we were at Baphuon, a policeman was sitting near the entrance and kept trying to get the tourists attention. As I had read some warnings in other Virtual Tourist members' page, I knew to ignore him and just walk away. My cousin had responded when the policeman called out to her and I told her to just walked away and ignore him.
We saw a Caucasian tourist stop and responded to the policeman, I think he probably had to give some "tips". On our way out, I decided to warn a Caucasian couple of the policeman and his antics.
So if you do spot such policemen hanging around, do give a little heads up to follow tourists.
many children and disabled adults selling books around the streets and more at the temples. they are polite,not intrusive around seim reap but at angkor its a differnt case.eveing times you find younger kids/babies with parents hanging around at bars,although the security stop them from pestering you whilst eating and drinking its only when u leave to go back to hotel they come up too you. i was freindly with a few of them,gave them cold drinks,opened in front of them ,or ice creams.. common trick is mother and baby,no milk/powder,u buy them some from shop and they resell it back when u are gone,so always open things u buy and stand to see they eat/drink it.the younger kids will come up and want hugs of you,and grab your hand whilst walking.but be polite and resist the closeness of them
The whole town is dusty. Fine sand and dust littered the entire town. It's the first thing you see, you smell and you feel. Be prepared for a dust bath.
If you can call those roads highways, in Highway 6 you can find here and there cows and other animals crossing the road, so be careful if you rent a car!!