Siem Reap, in Cambodia, is most well known for its famous Angkor Wat Temple Complex, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Due to its proximity to the temples, it’s a tourist hub that attracts many expats, and more recently digital nomads and remote workers.
I originally wrote this digital nomad guide to Siem Reap whilst living and working there. However, as things have changed significantly in the last couple of years, I enlisted the help of other Digital Nomads currently based in the town to ensure it’s as well-informed, up-to-date and well-rounded as possible.
Read on to learn all about Siem Reap as a digital nomad destination.
FAQs About Siem Reap As a Digital Nomad Destination
Let’s start with some of the most frequently asked questions about Siem Reap as a digital nomad destination. These also apply to it being used as a workation or bleisure trip destination.
Where is Siem Reap and Why Should I Go?
Siem Reap is located in Northwest Cambodia in Southeast Asia. The airport is less than a 20-minute taxi or tuk-tuk ride from the town centre.
Aside from the Angkor temples, this small resort town is full of tempting restaurants, nightlife, accommodation, and activities to suit all budgets.
It’s friendly and welcoming to both those who visit for a short time and those who fall in love with it and stay for many months and even years. It’s also relatively easy for many nationalities to get a Cambodia Visa on Arrival.
What is the Weather Like in Siem Reap?
Cambodia has a tropical climate, meaning it is generally warm and humid. The average temperature is about 27 degrees Celsius with a minimum of about 16 degrees Celsius.
There are three seasons: Cool season that runs from November to March with temperatures reaching 29 C. Hot season that runs from March to May when temperatures can reach 40. And rainy season that runs from May to October when temperatures reach about 33 Cand humidity is as high as 90%.
There can be A LOT of rain during this season.
What’s the Best Thing About Siem Reap?
The weather, which is generally lovely (albeit humid at times), means you can get lots of pool time in – there are many swimming pools in Siem Reap that can be used by the public.
There are also plenty of places to socialize, and due to the small size of the town, you soon get to know lots of people.
We also loved the festivals, Khmer New Year and Water Festival are the best and both last several days.
What’s the Worst Thing About Siem Reap?
It does get extremely hot and humid in April and May, which can be uncomfortable when walking or cycling around, or at times you find yourself without air-con.
It can also be difficult to find things to do outside of the temples, bars, and restaurants…but with a bit of research and adventure, you can find enough to do to amuse yourself.
Also be prepared for noise, Cambodians know how to celebrate (and commiserate) and weddings and funerals that can last for days, often accompanied by very loud Khmer music played through loud speakers.
Is English Spoken in Siem Reap?
Yes, but mainly by young Cambodians living in Siem Reap, those working in the tourist industry, expats, and Western tourists. Some of the tuk-tuk drivers also speak some English and a few excellently.
Older Cambodians and those living in the more remote countryside around Siem Reap tend to mainly speak Khmer and you may struggle to communicate with them, similarly many stall holders in the traditional markets in town also converse mainly in Khmer.
Is Siem Reap Safe?
Yes, it’s relatively safe. You do hear stories of a few opportunist bag snatches and house robberies (especially around festival times), however, there isn’t a lot of violent crime.
However, as you find in most towns and cities there are some areas to avoid at night such as Wat Polanka and Wat Damnack. However, providing you take the normal precautions you should be fine.
The other thing to be careful of is the traffic; it’s pretty much a free-for-all and there doesn’t seem to be many rules. You just need to keep your wits about you and be extra careful of the tuk-tuks and moto’s when crossing the road or cycling/ motorcycling around.
What Are the Best Areas in Siem Reap to Live In?
This really does depend on what you’re after. The centre can be very busy and touristy, not to mention extremely loud around Pub Street at night. However, if you’re too far out in the sticks you may find it difficult not being near the amenities.
Personally, I preferred the area around Wat Bo Road, it’s a little bit out from the main tourist area around Old Market and Pub Street but still within easy walking distance of everything.
What is the Internet Like in Siem Reap?
The internet is actually quite good which was quite a surprise, the only times you may struggle is if there’s a power outage which does happen from time to time.
Most of the cafes, restaurants, and hotels have good speed internet as do the co-working spaces (which is to be expected of course).
Rental accommodation often comes with some sort of internet but if it doesn’t or it’s not quick enough you can easily arrange for it to be installed or upgraded.
Do You Need a Car to Get Around Siem Reap?
No, not at all. In fact, due to the traffic here, it’s often quicker to not use a car.
Day to day we used a bicycle to get around or walked; a lot of other people use motorbikes!
If we went out drinking or were going somewhere at night, I’d use a tuk-tuk. You can get to most places in town by tuk-tuk for a couple of dollars. There are the traditional old tuk-tuks or nowadays more modern tuk-tuks which you can book via Passapp.
Favourite Cafes to Work From in Siem Reap
There are many, many cafes in Siem Reap and I’ve by no means sampled them all. However, a selection of favourites amongst Digital Nomads and Expats alike are as follows:
The Little Red Fox Espresso is located in Kandal Village amongst other cafes and artisan shops. It’s one of the best cafes in town serving what is probably the finest coffee. It has a relaxed atmosphere, nice air-conditioned seating areas upstairs and downstairs, and a small terrace, all with high-quality wifi.
The music is good and the walls display trendy artwork. In addition to the coffee, there is a short but quality menu of tasty food, including a fantastic carrot cake and unlimited complimentary water.
New Leaf Eatery is located on a quiet side street a short way from Old Market. This relaxed, airy space has good coffee delicious juices and also a good stock of books you can swap or buy.
The wifi is also pretty reliable, making it a nice place to spend an afternoon working.
BioLAB Cafe is located in Wat Bo Village and is a favourite amongst Digital Nomads and Expats.
It has an original, quirky interior and is well set up for working online with tables, power points, and excellent wifi. It even has a co-working area if you want to use that.
Great Co-Working Spaces in Siem Reap
In addition to the numerous cafes to work from, there are also these great co-working spaces in Siem Reap. These co-working spaces are one of the best ways to combat loneliness, one of the main challenges of digital nomad life.
The 1961 is situated on the riverside to the north of town and is made up of air-conditioned open working space and private offices. They also have spaces that can be used for events and an art gallery.
Prices range from $10 per day up to $1,400 for an unlimited annual pass. It is probably geared more towards creative Digital Nomads but anyone could happily and comfortably work here.
In addition to being a co-working space, they also offer a selection of regular events, including movie nights and a book club!
Format Cowork is a newly launched coworking space and business community located in Slor Kram. It has small shared office spaces with air-con with a maximum of five desks per room.
There is also plenty of outdoor seating and a small air-con video call room for members to use at their convenience, plus a covered moto parking area bikes/motos.
Dedicated desks can be rented on a weekly or monthly basis ($40 per week or $125 per month) to ensure optimal work efficiency for members.
AngkorHUB is currently still closed following the pandemic, but according to their website may reopen in the future, so I’ll leave this in for now and will update if and when it reopens.
With a very central location, located less than five minutes from Pub Street, this open space offers hot desks, fast internet, comfortable chairs and air-conditioning. It’s a great place to meet people and also has skype booths for making private calls.
Jeff the founder, is always trying to do something new and to provide value and contribute back to the community.
This co-working space opens daily 8am to 8pm for guests, but monthly members get 24/7 access, along with members-only monthly networking events.
Added bonuses were a generator back up when there is a power outage (which happens occasionally in Siem Reap) and 4G internet.
There’s also a garden with coconut and banana trees, and a hut with a hammock where you can skype from.
Other Favourite Hotspots in Siem Reap
Siem Reap is a very sociable place so it’s almost inevitable to spend a lot of time (especially on weekends) out and about in the bars and restaurants in town. There are many places to eat, including these unique restaurants, in Siem Reap. You’ll also find there are often great happy hours on drinks, food offers, and events going on.
These are some of the favourite hotspots amongst digital nomads and expats here:
Viva which is just outside Pub Street, is great for an after-work drink and perfect for people-watching. It’s only $1.5 for a margarita or $5 for a jug (and those prices are ALL the time…not just in happy hour)!
The Harbour metal bar has really friendly staff and is mostly known for live music and open mic on Wednesdays. It also used to have a tattoo parlour, but currently, under new ownership, I believe this is no longer open.
Jungle Burger has the best burgers in town and also comes with a free beer or soft drink. Their Moo Moo Balls are also especially tasty.
Picasso Bar is to be found in Alley West, just a stones throw from pub street.
This small but very sociable venue has a horseshoe-shaped bar in the centre, ideal for chatting and playing bar games like jenga. They serve up excellent high quality cocktails.
Pomme is located in near Wat Damnack on Sala Kamreuk road. It has a beautiful beer garden, and serves delicious cocktails, craft beer and soft drinks.
With its weekly events and daily deals, Pomme is a great place to go for dining, drinking and meeting friends any day or night of the week.
Star Bar is popular for live music, quizzes, live sports and American food (wings and pizza). It always has an entertaining atmosphere! It also has a pool that you can enjoy during your visit.
Places to Visit Near Siem Reap
There are several incredible places to visit just outside of Siem Reap.
It goes without saying if you’re in Siem Reap for a couple of days or an extended period you will at some point visit the main temples. I’d highly recommend you also take the time to explore some of the more off-the-beaten-track, lesser-known temples such as Koh Ker, Banteay Srei, Beng Mealea, and Kbal Spean.
Lotus Fields and Tonle Sap Lake
I loved getting out of the centre of town on my bicycle, it’s lovely to ride out towards Tonle Sap Lake past the lotus fields. There are several hammock bars on the roadside where you can stop for a rest, a refreshing drink or a bite to eat.
You can also go on a boat trip on Tonle Sap Lake and visit Khmer and Vietnamese floating villages.
West Baray Lake
This man-made reservoir is lovely for relaxing in a hammock with a book, drink or local food. It’s also good for people watching as there are often locals there having lunch with their families and jumping and swimming in the water.
Phnom Kulen National Park
About 50km from Siem Reap, Phnom Kulen is definitely worth a day trip. Whilst there you can hike to the top of Kulen mountain to visit the reclining Buddha, along with the locals praying there. There is also a nice jungle and forest view from the top.
Around the bottom of the mountain, there are several stalls where you can buy food (although it may be safer to bring your own) and also refreshing waterfalls to cool off in. At the weekends and on public holidays it is also very popular with local families.
At around 170 km away in far West Cambodia, Battambang isn’t exactly close to Siem Reap but worth a mention as a destination for a short break from the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap.
It’s been named by UNESCO as a City of Performing Arts, because of its numerous ancient Khmer, Thai, and French colonial buildings and the temples and pagodas dotted around.
Getting out to explore the green surrounding countryside by bicycle, moto or tuk-tuk is wonderful. You’ll also find plenty of accommodation and eateries in and around the city.
There’s also a great selection of tours and activities you can book online to experience more of Siem Reap and Cambodia.
Digital Nomad Budget for Siem Reap
Below are some of the price ranges for key things you’re likely to buy as a digital nomad in Siem Reap
Rent – Depends on number of rooms, location and length of rental agreement.
- Western style apartments/ houses – $200 – $1,500
- Khmer style house – $180 – $700
Public Transport – Local tuk tuk – $1 – $3
Coffee – $1 – $4
Street Food – $1+
Restaurant Main Course and Drink – $3 – $20
Alcohol – Many places have happy hours when prices are lower but standard prices are:
- Beer – $0.50 – $3
- Wine – $2 – $5
- Cocktails – $1.50 – $6
Activities – depends on the activity. Some examples are:
- Temple Pass – 1-Day ($20), 3-Day ($40), 7-Day+ ($60). Free if you’ve lived in Siem Reap for two or more years
- Museums – $5 – $12
- Bicycle hire – $2 – $5
- Swimming pools – free (if drinks/ food purchased) or $0 – $10
- Yoga – $6 – $12
- Phare Circus – $10+
Hotels and Hostels – obviously, high-end hotels will cost much more but standard prices are:
- Dorm Bed – $3+
- Hotel Room – $6
Hotels and Hostels in Siem Reap
Recommending places to stay in Siem Reap is difficult as there are just so many hostels, guesthouses, and hotels in and around town, although many have closed in the last couple of years. Which you choose very much depends on what you’re looking for, so doing some research before arriving is best.
If you’re looking for something and bit more personal and quiet to enable you to work there are many guest houses. Of these, our favourite guesthouse is Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel. We can’t sing their praises highly enough, I even took a birthday staycation there which was amazing.
Then of course there are many hotels which range wildly in price depending on the location, quality and facilities. Jaya House River Park, Navutu Dreams Resort and Wellness Retreat, Victoria Central Residence are all great options at the higher end of the scale.
Another option is to do a home swap with someone to help you work from anywhere in Siem Reap. You could even join Noad Exchange the new membership-based home swap network for remote workers if you have your own home or a rented house. Use our referral code CanWillTravel to get three extra starting credits for your first three nights of stays.
Siem Reap Digital Nomads Facebook Group
There aren’t any specific Facebook groups for digital nomads in Siem Reap but there are some expat groups which are a goldmine for useful information hints and tips. The main ones are Expats and locals living in Siem Reap, Cambodia and Siem Reap Expats & Locals.
For the ladies, when I lived in Cambodia the FB Group ‘Reaper Bitches’ now renamed ‘Reaper Babes‘ was set up. It was an offshoot of Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine (LMBDW) which is very popular n Australia and Singapore and get ladies together to collaborate and share ideas, socialize, and drink wine. This has evolved over the last couple of years when social meet-ups were difficult. It became more of a safe space for women to ask questions as well as feel supported. I have no doubt that more social events will start to pop up from it soon though.
There is also Wat’s Up! – Events & Nightlife in Siem Reap which has listings on all events, happy hours and deals/ offers in town.
I hope you found our digital nomad guide to Siem Reap useful. If you’re considering somewhere a bit different, with a very low cost of living for a stop on your digital nomad journey, Siem Reap could be a perfect choice for you.
Do you have any questions about being a digital nomad in Siem Reap, Cambodia? Drop them in the comments below.
Travel Resources for Cambodia
Planning your trip to Cambodia? Here are some of our recommended useful resources to help you have the best time possible:
● TRAVEL INSURANCE IS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR TRAVEL. If you’re travelling long-term like us and from the EU, then True Traveller is our go-to option.
If you’re from a non-EU country, another option for long-term travel insurance is SafetyWing, which you can pay for on a month-by-month basis. This is also good for shorter trips.
● Compare Rental car prices in Cambodia on Rentalcars.com.
● Booking.com usually have the best hotel prices in Cambodia.
● Our go-to for self-catering accommodation in Cambodia is Vrbo.
● Before booking accommodation in Cambodia, check reviews on Tripadvisor.