By Markus Openhoefer
For more than a decade, I’ve lived and worked in Southeast Asian cities, such as Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok and Vientiane. One of my favorite places to hang out and do my remote work during the day is at a fine cafe with fast WiFi.
Working in a relaxing atmosphere cafe is the thing of now and the future.
Currently, I’m living in Siem Reap. My house is just a few minutes away from ancient Angkor Wat. In this post, I hand-picked some of my favorite coffee shops in Temple Town. These cafés offer more than just a tasty coffee and snacks. You’ll find these places comfortable to sit and sip your favorite drink or do your remote work with high speed Internet.
Travelers who come to Siem Reap appreciate the city not only for the impressive temples at Angkor Wat but also for its laidback pace of life - an element that has seen it become a top spot for digital nomads, cyclists and those who like to relax for a few days. The explosion of coffee shops in Siem Reap has helped to fuel this trend.
Modern coffee shops have nothing in common with the small stalls, where black roasted coffee beans are mixed with condensed milk.
In the former fishing village, at the foot of one of the world’s largest temple complexes, a lively coffee shop scene has now developed.
The first modern coffee shops were opened by foreigners who settled here. They soon became popular with locals, especially young Cambodians. They come to coffee shops in Siem Reap to do their schoolwork or meet friends in a modern atmosphere. Nowadays, the crowd is a mix of locals, expats and travelers.
The Bean Embassy
Right next to the popular Haven restaurant on Chocolate Road, the Bean Embassy (Insta @thebeanembassy) opened in 2020. Indeed, it sees itself as an ambassador for coffee. On offer is a Robusta from Mondulkiri or a House Blend with beans from South America. The beans are roasted in the coffee shop - you can't get it much fresher than that!
The ambience is also outstanding. Small seating areas, a sun deck and a coffee bar make the Coffee Embassy the perfect place to read a book or take Instagrammbale photos with friends. There is a small breakfast menu, but you can also order delicious food from the Haven restaurant next door.
The Bean Embassy is good for relaxing in a quiet atmosphere when in Siem Reap. There is wifi and power outlets, but only a few seating options that are good for working on a laptop.
Open since 2021, Cafista on Wat Bo Road (near Road 6) is still considered one of Siem Reap's insider tips. The café on the first floor of an apartment building is lovingly decorated and offers great backgrounds for photos. A unique selling point is the coffee specialties.
My tip: The Orange Espresso with espresso, orange juice, honey, rosemary syrup and lime juice. In addition, there are a lot of other in-house creations that you should definitely try.
The cafe has croissant and cheesecakes if you want to snack a little more. The wifi is free and fast, and if you want to work, you can sit at the long table (where these lines are being written) right by the door or window. There are power outlets there, too. There is plenty of space for parking in front of the café.
The decoration and love of details are quite outstanding.
There is a lot to discover. When in Siem Reap, you should not miss this new place in town - get your camera ready!
For several years now, Biolab on Wat Bo Road (Corner Street 22) has been one of the favorite cafes in Siem Reap for digital nomads. There are several tables on the second floor where you can see people on their laptops throughout the day. The coffee shop underwent a slight remodel and expansion in 2021, and you can now sit in a tropical garden setting as well.
The coffee here is also home-roasted, and you can order classic specialties, such as hot latte and Iced Americano. Biolab also serves food that ranges from Cambodian specialties to toast with garlic and cheese. Biolab has established itself as a popular coffee shop in Siem Reap for meetings and freelancers who like to work in a quiet atmosphere. There are plenty of power outlets, and staff are also happy to help with extension cords.
Temple Coffee and Bakery
Standing as Sime Reap’s inaugural modern coffee shop, this venue was opened by the founders of legendary Temple Club. Here, you can relax peacefully in the small lounges - some even nod off as it’s so comfortable it is on the mezzanine.
Temple Coffee and Bakery has made a name for itself for its unique design, a mix of industrial steel and retro that makes for great photo backdrops. Even better is Sky bar, one of the first in the city, with beanbags arranged around a pool. Here, you can enjoy cheap and fancy cocktails as a sun-downer.
For working, the Temple cafe offers a few classic tables and chairs, but the lounges upstairs are adequate. All have power outlets, and the Wi-Fi is fast enough and free. If you're hungry, the Temple Bakery has a huge selection. My tip: Coconut Bingsu, Korean shaved ice with coconut shavings and ice cream scoops.
There are now several Noi Cofee shops in Phnom Penh. However, it all started in Siem Reap in a small store next to a guesthouse on Tep Vong Street. First, it took up a corner in a supermarket, then it became a café before expanding to two more branches. During the Covid-19 pandemic, one of Noi Coffee branches closed. The other one near the bridge by the Royal Residence has just reopened after renovation.
Noir Coffee has a very unique design, often featuring dark metal with wooden furniture. Sometimes it features light walls with contemporary murals. Noir Coffee serves excellent coffee, and you can sit and work there for a bit longer. Noir was founded by a Cambodian businessman, who then turned it into a small franchise.
My tip: try the in-house noodle soups cooked using a recipe from the founder's grandmother.
One more thing: Sister Srey
Of course, Sister Srey Café at the Old Market, has made a name for itself with tourists and expats. It launched in 2021 as a social enterprise with the aim of helping young Cambodians on their way in life. A large portion of profits go to Apopo, an organization that uses African rats to clear landmines in Cambodia. When in Siem Reap, a stop here is for many mandatory.
Sister Srey tries to be as environmentally-friendly as possible and has vegan options on the menu. Efforts are made to use organically-grown vegetables that are free of chemicals. When it comes to suppliers, care is taken to ensure they also support and encourage the local community.
In addition to humanitarian efforts, Sister Srey is one of the best places to watch the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap on the riverbank. Here you can see noodle soup being cooked across the street at small stalls, fruit vendors selling mangoes straight from the basket on their motorcycle, or monks walking by on their way to the temple.
When in Siem Reap with many days aside from touring the temples, you should go to one of these modern Cambodian cafés to get a sense of local life. While Starbucks Coffee or local brand Brown Coffee are an easy choice to recommend, this selection should be handy for most digital nomads, expatriates, and visitors.