I simply adore sunsets. Some early risers prefer sunrise but for me, sitting down at the end of the day with a cold, refreshing drink makes me happy. I always try to seek out the best sunset spots; when we are at a beach I look for beanbags, in a City it’s a rooftop bar.
During our recent trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, I discovered there were quite a few sky lounges, and I found myself wanting to visit as many as I could within the time we had available.
If you enjoy City views, people watching from up high, sunsets, cheap beers and cocktails, this is our pick of the best rooftop bars in Siem Reap.
We visited during September which is end of rainy season, therefore despite our best endeavours to see a favourable sunset, every night was cloudy. However this didn’t deter me from sampling as many sky lounges as possible, and I can confirm that I had a lovely time researching for this post!
Location: The Alley West, Old Market Area (opposite X Bar, down an alley which leads to Pub Street)
Tip: if you like Indian food, there is a nice restaurant in this alley called Curry and Kebabs.
If it’s sunsets you seek, Central Prestige has the best unobstructed sunset view. Walk up a set of spiral stairs to a small area with pretty lighting, then choose your seating for optimum comfort. Lounge in a beanbag, sit with friends around a table, or perch on a high stool overlooking the street.
The music isn’t too loud and draught beers are $1, so If you want a quiet drink away from noise of Pub Street, head here.
Location: Wat Bo Road, Preah Sangreach, Tep Vong St
Every Wednesday between 17.00 – 22.00 , beers and tapas cost only $1 each
To reach this sky bar, enter the hotel and take a lift to the 4th floor. There are a few tables around a small swimming pool if you fancied a lazy dip after a day’s temple touring, and there is also a good sunset view.
However, what makes this sky lounge so special, is Wednesday’s $1 deal! All a-la-carte tapas, beers and cocktails are just $1 each and they are delicious. We loved it so much we came here twice and ate the entire menu.
If a sky lounge with good food and a quiet atmosphere is what you are looking for, this one is a hot favourite.
Location: City Centre, Sok San Road, Corner of Angkor Night Market, close to X-Bar
Opened 1 January 2018, the design is based on Singapore’s Gardens By The Bay. Walk up a set of spiral stairs to the roof, and you will be greeted with a pretty and colourful view. Most of the bar stool seating is arranged around the outside, but if you are here for dinner and drinks, leather seats and tables are the centrepiece. Draught beers are $1 and cocktails $2 but do note there is no sunset view, so this sky lounge is best visited after dark to receive the full lighting effect.
Location: 102 Sok San Road, near the Angkor Night Market
This is an unusual rooftop bar as it has a small mini ramp/half pipe for skaters, although the sensible person in me doesn’t think it’s a good idea to put $1 beers and skateboarding together.
In low season we were the only people here admiring the panoramic views of Pub Street in the distance. During high season, this is apparently the place to be for expats, live music and party people.
There aren’t many seats on the rooftop, but the floor below is bigger, open-air and has a pool table. From the rooftop you can see the sun setting but it’s obstructed by the half pipe. The graffiti style writing changes colour, and some good old-school pop-rock is played. It’s a quirky bar, and I like that.
Location: Street 8, Pub Street
Temple Bar ha a spacious sky lounge overlooking the bright lights of Pub Street. We sat on a large beanbag admiring the hanging display of bikes, and people watching on the street below. No sunset view from here as it’s obscured by buildings, but the 50c draft beer and happy hour cocktails make up for it. Fancy a tray of deep fried crickets? Order this delicious $4 protein snack with your next round of drinks (only joking, I wouldn’t describe them as “delicious”, crunchy yes, delicious, not so much).
For budget conscious travellers seeking a slice of Cambodian culture, Apsara traditional dance performances are held nightly at 19.30 and 21.30. We were here in low season, so there were only the later performance.
Location: Above Temple Bakery, Achar Sva St
Note: No happy hour drinks or 50c draught beers, bottled beers for $2. They also serve cocktails.
If it’s sunsets you are after, this Temple Bar has the better view out of the two. Sit on a beanbag or stool, watch monks cross the river bridge, and the sunset behind a small Buddhist temple.
Location: Mad Monkey Hostel, off Sivatha Boulevard
Open: 18.00 – 01.00
A five minute walk from Pub Street, this backpacker rooftop bar lays claim to being the best party hostel in town. With a beer pong table and lines of shots offered hourly, they could be right. If you are missing that sand-between-your-toes feeling and swinging in a hammock, Top Banana have recreated a beach scene for you.
You don’t have to stay here to enjoy the beach-party vibe, anyone is welcome which is perfect if you are travelling alone and want to meet people before you hit the town.
Location: 319 Funky Lane, Steung Thmey Village, Svay Dangkum Commune
Another contender for Siem Reap’s Number one party hostel, their skybar is open 24 hours.
Flashpacker or backpacker the end result is still the same; a lively party vibe perfect for meeting people. With live DJ’s, two bars, the promise to turn the volume up loud, and daily themed events, this rooftop bar definitely hits the spot with the younger crowd.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, we know there are a few hostels and restaurants who also have small rooftop bars, but we didn’t have chance to visit them all. I do feel, however, that we definitely visit the best.
Have you been to a rooftop bar in Siem Reap? Which one would be your favourite? Tell us in the comment section below.
- A 30 day tourist Visa (cost is $30) can be obtained on arrival at Siem Reap and Phnom Penh airports. It’s the quickest, most efficient visa application we have experienced.
Note: You may have to show an onward flight. We flew from Singapore with Jetstar. At the document check counter, we were asked to show our flight out of Cambodia. This is the first we had heard about having to provide proof of an onward journey, but thankfully we had a ticket. I am unsure if other airlines ask for this, whether the man was having a bad day, or if it’s required at border crossings by land, but I thought it’s worth a mention.
- Official currency – Cambodia uses two currencies; Cambodian Riel and US Dollars. Most prices are quoted in US$ but you can pay with a mixture of both currencies. Change will often be given the same way. Eg: A $2 taxi ride can be paid with $1 and 4,000 riel.
$4,000 riel = $1.
5,28 = £1
4,764 = Euro
- Driving – right hand side of the road.
- Tipping – Not compulsory or expected, however if tipping is your country’s custom, or you feel you had a nice tuk tuk driver, good tour guide or tasty meal, then by all means feel free to tip a $1, or tell them to keep the change.
- Data – Buy a Smart sim card for $3 which lasts for 1 month. At the airport, we saw a sign for 26G data for $6, in town we bought 4G for $5. Download the Smart App to monitor data, or dial *087*888# from your phone.
- Pass App or the Grab App are cheap and easy ways of getting around the city.
How to get to Siem Reap
Fly: Siem Reap has a good size International Airport
Bus: from Phnom Penh: Giant Ibis tickets cost $16 (plus $1 booking fee), the journey takes 6 hours.
There is good legroom, charging point, wi-fi, plus 2 stops for toilet/lunch
There is no public transport so Khmer Tuk-Tuks and rickshaws are the only way to travel. If you enjoy haggling for the best price, use a street driver, fares should be between $1-$2. For a haggle-free experience, download the local Pass App or Grab App, they are often cheaper than the street drivers.
We stayed in these three different places:
Budget: Panda Angkor is a little further from the centre (Pub Street), but was clean and comfortable, breakfast included.
Quiet Hostel: The Siem Reap Chilled Backpacker is more like a hotel than a hostel. Excellent location in the Wat Bo area, and a 10-15 walk along the river into the centre. Quiet, decent sized room, swimming pool, but breakfast isn’t included.
Mid-range Hotel: Soria Moria Boutique Hotel (now Everland Boutique Hotel) was amazing. Excellent location in the Wat Bo area, and a 10 minute walk along the river into the centre. Huge rooms, quiet, breakfast included. Baby Elephant Boutique Hotel also receives rave reviews.
Other options to consider:
Party Hostel: If you want to party, Mad Monkey or Funky Flashpacker both receive rave reviews.
Luxury Hotel: Angkor Note Residence (formerly Jaya House River Park) receives rave reviews. Park Hyatt Siem Reap is another favourable hotel, they also serve an amazing afternoon tea.
Learning just a few words of the local Khmer language will bring a smile to locals’ faces, and make you feel part of their culture instead of just another tourist.
Hello - Susadei (soos-a-day) NB: informal
How are you/I am fine - Soksaby (soks-a-bye) NB: The same word used for both
Goodbye - Lee hi – Goodbye NB: informal
Thank you - Arkun
No - Ot The (ot-tei) – (you will need this for the persistent tuk tuk drivers!)
Sorry or excuse me - Som Dtoh (som-toe)
If you are travelling around Asia, we recommend you check bus, boat and train schedules ahead of time with 12Go Asia website. You can also book your tickets in advance online (as we did) to save time and hassle.
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