What is the current situation in Siem Reap
Until extremely recently Siem Reap was under an intense lockdown, which severally impacted not only peoples movements, but also people’s pockets. The lockdown is now over, but bars remain closed and restaurants are only offering take-out only. This will undoubtedly change soon, but in the short-term if you want to come to Siem Reap to party, now is not that time.
It is though still possible and relatively easy to travel here, with a bus ticket from Phnom Penh setting you back $12-13. There is still no night bus, but again this might be a situation that changes.
Here is our Siem Reap Travel Guide
The floating village in Siem Reap
When it comes to floating villages in Siem Reap there is a actually a fair bit of grey area as to what constitutes one, as well as a great many to choose from. In certain parts of the province there are a number of villages that consist of houses on extremely high stilts. During the dry season it involves climbing a lot of stairs, while during the wet season you travel about by boat. They are though fixed abodes.
And then you have actual floating villages, where people, shops and even churches are situated on boats, or at least floating structures. The most famous of these from a touristic point of view is Tonle Sap floating village, which during its hey-day would have seen thousands of visitors on a daily basis.
When visiting during current times you are likely to be one of just a handful of visitors, obviously not great for the local economy, but a rare chance to truly enjoy this cultural adventure. It costs $20 to take a boat trip and of course you have the opportunity to buy crafts at the obligatory stop at the local gift shop.
Here is our Tonle Sap Lake Travel Guide
Visiting an empty Angkor Wat
Of course the main touristic reason to visit Siem Reap is to see the marvel that is Angkor Wat. If you live in Cambodia you have most likely already visited at some point, but you also most probably would have been grouped with thousands of flag waving tourists, all needing to be dodged to get that perfect picture.
As things stand this may well be your last chance to visit a truly empty Angkor Wat, particularly if plans to open the country to Chinese and Korean tourists bears fruit.
Of course it is not completely empty, with there being local as well as foreign tourists coming to take advantage of the very same thing you are, the lack of people.
There are though less people than there have probably been in 20+ years, obviously disregarding the last almost two years of Covid-19 and what it has done to the tourist industry.
There are though few enough people to mean that you are able to take some amazing pictures, without having to try and dodge the hordes international guests. For those inclined there are guides offering full tours for $10, but the real joy and beauty is in being able to stroll along at your own leisure and really take in the sheer magnitude of the place.
Here is everything you need to know about Angkor Wat
How to visit an empty Angkor Wat during Covid-19?
Visiting now is not all that different to normal times, with you needing to pick up your Angkor Pass at the huge ticket building located next to 60 Meter Street.
And it is here that you first truly get to understand just how much tourism has been affected. The building has the size and infrastructure to deal with thousands of guest per hour, but as you buy your ticket you are likely to be one of just a handful of people.
There are varying lengths of tickets that can be purchased, but a two day pass will set you back $37, with all major credit cards (and Union Pay) being accepted.
You may want to know about the best time to visit Angkor Wat
Visiting other sites – Angkor Wat Map
Of course the main complex represents just a tiny part of Angkor Wat and there are temples littered all around the area that can be visited as part of your Angkor Pass, so many in fact that we cannot list them all. Of course how many you can fit in a day depends on your ability to deal with temple fatigue, but again now is truly the time to make the most out of that pass.
You may want to learn the full story of Angkor - The mythical city of Khmer Empire
Hotels in Siem Reap during Covid-19
When you drive through Siem Reap it is the vast amounts huge hotels that are closed, or have for sale signs on them that really shows the magnitude of how this city has been affected by the pandemic.
There are though still a number of great hotels, with now also being a time to get great deals. As things stand avoid using apps such as booking.com, instead simply rocking up and asking for the best price will ensure the best available deal.
One such hotel that is particularly good value right now is Sabara Angkor Resort, where a standard room will set yo back $25, and a suite with private pool as little as $50-60, again depending in your negation skills.
So, whilst we all hope that normal life returns soon, now might be one of the last opportunities to make the most of a bad situation. As things open up the chance to visit an empty Angkor Wat will surely become something of the past. At least we hope so.
Siem Reap - Angkor Wat Tour in NEW NORMAL
Craving to visit the empty Angkor Wat? Here are our recommended tour packages in Siem Reap below. You can either check our Cambodia tour collections for your reference. In case you need to make a custumed-made itinerary, feel free to contact our team at your own convenience.