Siem Reap is known as the Gateway to the Temples of Angkor. It's a small town located a short distance away from the magnificent Temples, which results in thousands of tourists flocking here every month.
At first glance, it's easy to tell that the town is a major traveller hub. Countless hotels, bed and breakfasts and hostels line the main streets, tuk tuk drivers anxiously wait for you to jump into their vehicle and Western luxuries such as KFC is definitley present.
Due to the large numbers of travellers, it is very easy to have a great time in Siem Reap. Accommodation prices range from US $4 to about $100. There are countless bars and restaurants, most quoting prices that seem to low to be true! Beers for under US $1, free appetizers with your meal, and seafood starting from US $2, are some of the things which you can expect to find on any given menu.
As hinted above, the currency of choice appears to be the US dollar. The locals actually seem to be annoyed at times, if you try to relieve yourself of the Cambodia Real which you've accumulated in your wallet, as they prefer their payment in dollars.
What made my stay here quite memorable was the flooding in the streets. Due to the monsoon season, everywhere was covered in water, and everyone, myself included, had to wade through the roads without shoes to get from point A to point B.
Most of the nightlife takes place on Pub Street. This was roughly a 15 minute walk from my hotel, and I waded through the streets to get there. I made this journey with two Irish backpackers who I'd befriended in the guesthouse common room only a few minutes before. We were all hungry, and all the good restaurants were a distance away.
We ate our fill at one of the many restaurants without causing too big a dent in our pockets. Afterwards, we simply crossed the street and headed to one of the major bars/clubs in the town, called The Temple Bar. The inside décor was fabulous and the crowd was quite lively. The nightlife in Siem Reap is something to go home boasting about.
During the day, there are several different things that you could do to occupy yourself, provided that you're not visiting the temples. There are countless internet cafes where you can surf the internet, and most also provide headsets so that the customers can utilize Skype. There are also small shops where you can browse, and maybe shop for an item or two.
If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can rent a bicycle for anything from $1 to $2. There are many interesting wats and shrines located all throughout the town, but most people simply do not take the time to notice them. The streets are well paved for the most part, and if you apply the regualar safety procedures, you shouldn't have a problem biking in Siem Reap.
Siem Reap is a gateway city which is a destination all in itself, and provides good value for your money.