One of the most spectacular temples in Asia, if not the world, is the Angkor Wat Temple.
But for a budget-conscious backpacker, the options are limited.
A one-day ticket will set you back $20, and a three-day ticket is $40 (all prices in USD).
Let’s be honest, most backpackers want to have it all, and in Siem Reap, you can have it all.
Spending a few extra days exploring the markets, cafe’s and bars, and, of course, the temples, will be well worth your time.
In the heart of this tiny French colonial town is the infamous Pub Street.
While most guidebooks will claim that this is the place to be and the center of activity — keep looking.
If you are visiting Siem Reap and want to party all night, get a tuk-tuk to pick you up somewhere at 5 a.m. to see the sunrise at Angkor Wat; these are the top five places to be.
1. No Name Bar
This is the kind of bar that makes you feel at home. The local staff is young, hip, and all speak great English.
They open in the early afternoon, but the intensity gets cranked up during their happy minute drink specials (from 7:30-7:31 p.m.).
If you miss this hilarious spectacle of bar-side mayhem, there are plenty of hilarious hand-painted signs to entertain your mind as you sip on a cold Cambodia beer.
With clever quotes like, “Bury me under this bar so my husband will visit me 7 days a week,” or “The past, present and future walk into a bar.
It was tense,” you’ll feel comfortable knowing the laid back attitude extends to their customers as well.
Located just off the main strip, on Sok San Road, this bar is located next to lots of restaurants that offer happy pizza.
Most tourists come to Siem Reap to see the temples and at night, they all want to go to the pub street.
If you want a true experience of the nightlife, you’ve got to stop by the No Name Bar.
2. Funky Flashpacker
With a Rooftop Skybar and 360° panoramic views of Siem Reap, the Funky Flashpacker is by far the most upscale place you can party all night, yet stay within a backpackers budget.
The balcony terraces are great to sit down with friends, the food is phenomenal, and they will even let you go for a swim in the amazing LED pool any time of day.
It’s not a secret anymore; this is one of the hottest places in town to party.
There is even an advisory when you check-in “Please Note: This is a ‘Party Hostel,' so, at select times, the music will be turned up a little higher at the Pool and Sky Bar.”
This isn’t just ANY hostel; this is the Funky Flashpacker!!
3. Soul Train
The Soul Train is the perfect spot for a group of friends to go and feel like they own the place.
The staff loves having customers take over their DJ stand, and some of the best DJ’s passing through town have been found playing intimate sets at all hours of the night.
Seyha is the man behind the bar, making great cocktails, and Hong, the owner, is one of the most positive and happy people you'll ever meet.
The talent of DJs, like Klaim, keep the party going until sunrise.
Welcome to the beating heart of Siem Reap's nightlife.
Angkor Wat, the jewel of Cambodia and the cornerstone of its tourism industry sit only 45 minutes away from this breezy rooftop venue.
After a day of exploring ancient temple cities, you can relax and look out over the hustle and bustle of Pub Street.
X Bar opens in the afternoon and usually closes around dawn, and stopping by at any point in your nightlife adventure will yield a different atmosphere: everything from relaxing acoustic jams or mixed favorites just as dusk falls to the hardcore madness of a 4 a.m. drum and bass session.
Food and drinks are served until close.
The music played at X Bar is not genre-specific, check show & event listings, or Facebook for an idea of what you will hear on any particular night.
So why aren't you here already?
5. YOLO Bar
A great spot to hang out, meet expats, get insider tips, and enjoy the spirit of the term Y.O.L.O (you only live once).
Just a min walk from Pub Street, this is one of Siem Reap’s best watering holes.
Locally owned and open from 5 p.m. it keeps going until late. With the right crowd, the YOLO Bar can be Siem Reap’s best place to be.
Delicious hot dogs at the owner's mom’s hot dog hut next door, and the staff always make you feel like you’re home.
Want an insider backpacker tip for when you buy your ticket for the temples in Siem Reap?
Get a tuk-tuk or buy your ticket at 5 p.m. for the following day, they will let you into Angkor Wat to watch the sunset. It’s the temple equivalent to a happy hour 2 for 1 deal!
The final itinerary is this:
- 5 p.m., have a tuk-tuk driver take you to buy a ticket for a one-day temple tour.
- Watch the sunset at Angkor Wat, return to the city.
- Get a phone number for the tuk-tuk driver.
- Start drinking at any of the five bars above.
- Stay up all night and have an awesome time.
- 5 a.m., ask to use someone’s phone, pay $0.25, call tuk-tuk driver tell him where to pick you up.
- Spend as much time as desired pretending you’re Angelina Jolie from Tomb Raider
- Go back to your hostel and get some sleep — you’re a wild and crazy backpacker!
Sean Michael Hayes has been featured on VICE.com, MTV’s “Life of Ryan,” SiriusXM’s Jason Ellis Show,” The Vancouver Sun, Offtrackplanet.com, and more. He grew up in Vancouver Canada, and loves to travel the world. Five Weeks in the Amazon is Sean’s first book (published Dec. 2014), and he is currently backpacking in Colombia. Website: www.canadianhayes.com. Buy Five Weeks in the Amazon. Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @canadianhayes