The Ultimate List of Things to do in Siem Reap plus Bonus Travel Guide

Siem Reap is Cambodia’s most popular tourist destination, but before arriving, many tourists only know about the Angkor temples. I spent nearly a week in the city, and I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I wanted to do there. Besides visiting Angkor, I spent a day exploring the town and went on two-day trips to Cambodia’s other UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Preah Vihear and Sambor Prei Kuk. Even accomplishing all of this though, I left knowing there were so many other cool things that I wanted to do. Because I want to show the full expanse of activities available to travelers in the area, I’ve listed all of my favorite things to do in Siem Reap, but I’ve also gotten suggestions from other seasoned travelers so you can determine exactly which activities belong on your Siem Reap itinerary.

 

Beyond things to do, I’ve included a mini-travel guide to the city with suggestions for day trips from Siem Reap, the best restaurants, nightlife recommendations, where to stay, and a transportation overview.

 

Things to Do in Siem Reap

There are many things to do in the city. You can explore the town, take a class on Khmer cooking or artwork, learn about the Khmer Rouge’s devastating effect on the region, or relax at one of the town’s many spas. Whatever your travel style, there is something to do in the city.

 

Angkor Wat and the Other Angkor Temples

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat

 

Most travelers heading to Siem Reap already have a visit to Angkor circled on their itinerary. It’s such a big, bucket-list type item, that it deserves a little thought and planning into how exactly you’ll spend your time there. Because of this, I recommend reading these articles and listening to my podcast episode all about the history of Angkor:

 

 

Quad Bike Adventure

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Quad Bike Adventures - Collab Entry

For an adventurous activity after touring the temples of Angkor try quad biking with Quad Adventure Cambodia. The adventure starts as soon as you are picked up from your hotel as you pile into the back of an oversized tuk-tuk. The drive to the quad bikes is fast and bumpy, giving you an indication of what’s to come! Make sure you’re holding on, otherwise you might be out the back.
After a safety briefing and test drive, we were off, two to a quad as we were a mixture of adults and children. It was great fun for everybody. The surroundings are beautiful as you travel through rice fields and local villages. The tracks are muddy, bumpy and wet, providing plenty of laughs and adventure. Our tour was just over two hours and included a brief stop for a drink and to view a local crocodile farm.
We would highly recommend quad biking for anyone wanting to get out into the countryside around Siem Reap in an adventurous way. Our group contained adults and children ranging from 8-15 years and all were well catered for. Great fun. Read more about our family-friendly activity suggestions in Siem Reap.
Contributed by from Go Live Young

The Landmine Museum

 

Cambodia has an estimated five million landmines left over from the Khmer Rouge era, and these landmines still kill and injure Cambodians every year. While most people focus on learning about the Khmer Rouge in Phnom Penh, their effect on this region was devastating. Take time to learn about the history and the current situation with a trip to the Landmine Museum.  The museum is just thirty minutes outside of the city by tuk-tuk, and the drive offers breathtaking scenery along the way. You will get to see landmines, learn how they work, and understand the enormous effort that it will take to rid the country of these dangers.

Artisans Angkor Silk Workshop

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Artisans Angkor - Collab Entry

 

Sericulture and silk weaving are among Cambodia’s oldest and most revered art forms. In Siem Reap, you can see the process for yourself on a free tour of the Artisans Angkor Silk Farm.

 

Artisans Angkor, one of Cambodia’s best-known social businesses, was founded in 1992 with the aim of reviving traditional Cambodian crafts. As well as gift boutiques in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, Artisans employs thousands of Cambodians in its vocational training workshops.

 

Free tours of the Artisans Angkor Silk Farm begin with a walk through the property’s leafy mulberry gardens and a visit to the wooden stilt houses where the silkworms are kept. Pride of place is the ‘golden’ silkworms, which spin lustrous, flaxen threads. Golden silk was once used exclusively to weave sampot chang kben garments for Cambodia’s royal family and elite. After the silk industry was all but decimated during Khmer Rouge times, Artisans Angkor and other social enterprises stepped in to try and revitalizes the country’s silk heritage.

 

Inside the main workshop, a team of artisans demonstrates the entire silk textile process—extracting the threads, spinning, dyeing, ikat staining, and weaving. Exit through the gift shop for a range of textiles and garments made from silk cultivated on the property.

 

The Artisans Angkor Silk Farm is located in Siem Reap’s Puok District, about 30 minutes by tuk-tuk from Pub Street. Free transportation to the farm is available from the Artisans Angkor boutique in town at 9.30am and 1.30pm (contact them ahead of time to reserve a seat). Free guided tours of the Silk Farm depart on demand between 8 am and 5 pm daily—no need to book, just show up.

 

Contributed by Emily from Wander-Lush

 

Ziplining

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Ziplining - Collab Entry

 

Angkor Zipline, formally known as Flight of the Gibbon, is located inside the Angkor Archaeological Park about 30 mins drive from Siem Reap. You will need a valid pass to the Angkor Park when visiting Angkor Zipline so be sure to factor that in when you are purchasing your tickets for Angkor Wat.

 

The team at Angkor Zipline practice a very high standard of safety, I was surprised at the procedures in place to prevent any accidents. Everyone is required to wear a harness and helmet securely fitted by the staff at Angkor Zipline. When climbing between zip lines, you will always be linked to a safety line, they exercise a two-link safety precaution requiring you to place the safety link securely in place on the new line before removing the other.

 

There are twenty-one platforms linking the ten zip lines that have you swinging through the Cambodian jungle just like the gibbons that call this place home. It was great to watch the kids grow in confidence as we progressed through the course with our two allocated staff members. By the end, the kids were zipping through with no hands and singing songs at the top of their voices. Read more about our adventures ziplining in Cambodia here.

 

It was a great family-friendly activity and I highly recommend it should you be in Siem Reap.

 

Contributed by Sally from Our 3 Kids v The World

 

War Museum Cambodia

 

The largest war museum in the country, the War Museum Cambodia is dedicated to educating visitors on the consequences of the wars of the last three decades of the twentieth century within Cambodia. You get to see the machines of war while being lead by a local guide who can explain their personal experiences. Guides are typically war veterans, eyewitnesses to violence, or current landmine victims.

 

 

Nature Walk near Siem Reap with Bees Unlimited

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Nature Hike - Collab Entry

Exploring Cambodia’s natural scenery and wildlife is an excellent way to experience the country. Dani with Bees Unlimited is a long-time ecologist and naturalist who loves Cambodia and its people, land, and culture. The nature walk is a delight of relaxed trails where you can engage in “what is this?” and “hurry, come take a look!” discoveries, especially arachnids and butterflies. It’s a great opportunity to let kids be kids by running around after insects and frogs, learning about Cambodia, and asking Dani questions about conservation efforts, plants and more. It’s not to be missed!

 

The nature tour can include time at a couple of temples also so it’s easy to count this as one of your ‘temple’ 1/2 days. Because Dani meets with you the night before the tour, you’ll already know what to expect and what to bring. Bring a macro lens if you have one, binoculars, and bug spray.

 

Book in advance. Tours operate on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Price: $40/adult, only; but, you’ll need to purchase a Temple Pass for this tour. To book a tour: Call Dani at 012 436 475; or E-mail him at dani@beesunlimited.com.

 

Contributed by Cerise from Enchanted Vagabond

Phare Circus

 

Siem Reap Phare Cambodian Circus Ali Garland

 

My favorite alternative thing to do in Siem Reap is going to a show at Phare, the Cambodian Circus. You’ll find no animals or clowns here though. This circus is all about the performers who use their artistic talents to tell a story. I was amazed at the acrobatic skills and gravity-defying stunts, like climbing up a tall tower of chairs and doing a handstand on the top. The show is in Khmer but there are screens translating into English and several other languages. It’s pretty easy to follow even without knowing exactly what the dialogue is.

 

The best part about seeing a show at Phare is that it supports a good cause. In 1994, former Khmer Rouge refugees created a non-profit school to teach other former refugees. What started as a way to cope and heal through art now includes free formal education for victims of the Khmer Rouge era, street kids, trafficked kids, orphans, and others dealing with poverty and health problems. The performers are graduates of the school in Battambang, and profits support the school so they can continue this important education.

 

Shows run every night and are about one hour long. Tickets are US$18 to $38 depending on which seats you choose, and you can buy your ticket online at pharecircus.org. The venue is located on Phare Circus Ring Road, just south of the intersection with Sok San Road. Tuk-tuks should know where it, and rides typically cost $2-5 one way. Read more about my trip to Phare Circus here.

 

Contributed by Ali from Ali’s Adventures

 

Khmer Cooking Class

 

Cambodia - Cooking in Siem Reap - Collab Entry

 

If you get tired of wandering around the dozens of intricate temples of Angkor Wat, then you could consider enjoying a relaxing cooking class. Siem Reap has plenty of places where you can learn how to cook authentic Khmer food and have fun doing it. You simply have to choose one and make a reservation, if the case and make sure to go with an empty stomach. So that you can properly enjoy the food that you have cooked. It’s quite impossible to fail given that the ingredients used will be fresh.

 

In certain places, you can check beforehand what you will be cooking and then decide whether that menu suits your tastes or not. When I did the cooking class, I learned to prepare some delicious spring rolls with peanut sauce, but also a refreshing green mango salad. What I liked the most was the fact that I received a detailed recipe describing what I had just learned. And furthermore, I was also provided with alternatives as your chefs are aware that the ingredients used in Khmer food are not easily accessible in all countries. So it’s nice to know that you can use other items without changing much the taste of the food.

 

I would recommend mixing the incredible Angkor Wat temples with some bites of Khmer food freshly cooked by you.

 

Contributed by Andra from Our World to Wander

 

 

Get a Massage

 

Massage parlors and spas are seemingly everywhere in Siem Reap, so you will definitely be aware of this as an option. I went twice and got foot massages at two different places. For between $1 – $7 you can get an expert massage. These are different than a western-style full body massage, since you sit in a room in a lounge chair, fully clothed. My foot massage included calves and popping my back. It was a great way to relax after long days exploring temples.

 

Day Trips from Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a great place to base yourself while exploring more of northern Cambodia. During my visit, I went on two different day trips from Siem Reap, visiting both of the country’s additional UNESCO World Heritage Sites beyond Angkor. However, there are many other great day trip options from the town, including visiting Tonle Sap, floating villages, and additional Khmer temples.

 

 

Preah Vihear

 

Cambodia - Preah Vihear - Day Trip from Siem Reap

Until recently, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was incredibly difficult to see. The focal point of a dispute between Thailand and Cambodia, there are bullet holes in the temple from the conflict. In addition to it being extremely dangerous, the road to Preah Vihear from Siem Reap was horrible, and it was accessible only via motorbike.

 

That’s all in the past now, as Preah Vihear is open for tourism. The border dispute has been settled, with the temple now being considered internationally as the sole property of Cambodia. The country also invested in new roads, making this an easier day trip from Siem Reap than ever before.

 

For my visit, I arranged a private driver through my guest house. I spent $90 round trip to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you can split the cost among three or four people, it can become a great deal. It’s about a four-hour car ride from the city, but there’s nothing like sitting on the edge of a country, staring into Thailand and Laos, while also exploring a beautiful ancient temple. And while Angkor can be crowded, I was the only English speaker at Preah Vihear during my visit, and there were about three dozen local tourists in a group nearby.

 

Sambor Prei Kuk

 

Cambodia - Sambor Prei Kuk - Day Trip from Siem Reap

 

Cambodia’s third and newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, you can reach Sambor Prei Kuk either by public transportation or by hiring a driver. Since I had already hired one for my visit to Preah Vihear, I hired the same driver. It cost $90 for the day.

 

Sambor Prei Kuk translates to “many temples in the splendor of the forest,” and is the ancient pre-Angkor Khmer capital. There are many different octagonal temples and a few that are structurally different. While there I saw only one tour group of about twelve Europeans, and other than that it was just me wandering through the woods visiting each temple alone. Towards the end of my visit, I ran into a local family taking wedding photos among the temples, which was a beautiful site.

 

This region and Preah Vihear are both in need of tourism dollars, so beyond seeing gorgeous temples, you’re also stimulating the local economies.

 

Banteay Chhmar

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Collab Entry - Banteay Chhmar

 

Sure, Banteay Chhmar may not be as well-preserved as the temple complexes in Siem Reap, and its three-hour-driving distance north from Angkor Wat may put off some.

 

But Banteay Chhmar offers its own unique rewards – a ruined temple complex with gorgeous carved relief walls and a tragic history; surrounding villages that immerse visitors in the local culture; and side trips to silk factories, an artificial lake and satellite temples, all without the massive crowds of the Angkor Temples.

 

Both Banteay Chhmar and Bayon near Siem Reap were built by the same majestic monarch, Jayavarman VII, in the 12th century AD. But while Bayon thrived long after the king passed, Banteay Chhmar fell into ruin a few centuries after its construction.

 

Walk around the surviving wall reliefs, and you’ll get some sense of Banteay Chhmar’s majesty in its prime: one wall depicts a battle between Jayavarman and his Champa arch-enemies, while another shows his son Srindrakumara doing battle with a monster.

Further, around Banteay Chhmar, you can check out a baray, or artificial lake, built during the Khmer Rouge era; and a silk factory run by local villagers. For local accommodations, you can choose a local homestay, or if you have more money to burn, choose to go glamping right inside Banteay Chhmar itself!

 

Contributed by Mike from Southeast Asia Time Traveler 

 

Swim and Picnic at Koulen Waterfall

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Koulen Waterfalls -Collab Entry

 

When you are templed out, plan a refreshing day trip to beautiful Koulen Waterfall near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Located in Phnom Kulen National Park, about 1-hour drive from the city. The breath-taking waterfall is picturesque and perfect for swimming. Many Khmers believe the water is holy, and you will see some visitors filling a bottle to take home. There are food stalls, very basic changing stations and toilets (small fee to use, bring your own TP), and a few shops selling toys and swim gear. When we visited, our kids enjoyed climbing the boulders, dipping in the cold water, and swinging in the misty air of the falls. The water great for swimming and is refreshing on a hot day!

 

The footpath and stairs down to the waterfalls are very steep and sometimes uneven, but safe. There are a lot of people going up and down so just take your time with little ones and older family members (or parents carrying all the swim gear!). It’s a public space and there is considerable trash and rubbish on the ground – we found this most places we went in Cambodia. You’ll have to look beyond this aspect to the natural beauty around to enjoy your time. Bring a towel. There are rustic changing rooms on site.

 

It is easy to combine a visit to these falls with other nearby attractions such as the River of 1000 Lingas, Reclining Buddha or Banteray Srei temple. A private taxi or driver for the day is about $30 – 50 USD.

 

Contributed by Cerise from Enchanted Vagabond

 

River of Thousand Lingas

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - River of Thousand Lingas - Collab Entry

 

Situated about twenty-five kilometers from the Angkor monuments and a forty-minute hike through the jungle is the riverbed of Kbal Spean. Kbal Spean is known as the “River of Thousand Lingas” because it actually has over one thousand carvings of lingas.

 

The linga or lingam is regarded as the divine phallus of Lord Shiva in Hinduism and lingas are found everywhere in Cambodia particularly in Angkor temple sanctuaries where worshippers have been pouring water over them for centuries. In the riverbed of Kbal Spean, water rushes over the carved lingas and feeds the rice fields below, thus the lingas symbolize fertility.

 

There are a number of carvings of other Hindu gods on the riverbed as defined in Hindu mythology, for instance, Vishnu with Lakshmi reclining on a serpent with the lotus flower emerging from Vishnu’s navel which bears Brahma, the creator, and a four-faced Brahma sitting on a lotus.

 

Contributed by Kathleen from Kat Pegi Mana: Where Is Kat Going?

 

Tonle Sap

 

Cambodia - Tonle Sap Lake House - Siem Reap - Collab Entry

 

We chose to visit Tonle Sap Lake for a day trip from Siem Reap to escape the busy city for a day. And the easiest option was with an EXO Travel Guide, and Driver local to the area. Helping to support local tourism always has the benefit of us understanding more about the local life in the places we visit.

 

The drive out into the countryside had us passing by beautiful fields of growing lotus plants. It was so interesting to see the type of houses along the route to the boat dock Phnom Karom, where we would board the boat to Tonle Sap Lake.

 

The family boat chosen had three young brothers who would navigate the tributary to take us to the Chong Kneas floating village, on Tonle Sap Lake. They worked hard, especially when the boat ran aground in the low water.

 

What a surprise to see the size of the floating village.

 

For over 300 years, when Vietnamese arrived to fish and live on the lake, this village has survived. By adapting to whenever the water level rises or falls, the villagers untie their homes and move the whole village. Even the school floats. Incredible.

 

As tourists, you can help the local economy by buying goods or snacks while visiting one of the four floating village markets. Read more about our suggestions for putting together a Cambodia itinerary here.

 

Contributed by Maura from Travel Kiwis

 

Kampong Phluk Stilted Village

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Kompong Phluk

 

Kampong Phluk is one of Cambodia’s many villages that sustains their way of life by fishing and farming around the Tonle Sap Lake. Unlike the more famous floating villages that actually sit on the lake, the community of Kampong Phluk built their houses on land next to the lake, where the buildings are held 10 meters up in the air by wooden stilts.

 

In the dry season (November – April) you can actually walk or ride a bike through the neighborhood and observe the locals daily lives as an independent tourist. In the wet season (May – October) The lake floods and you have to rent a boat and ride through the neighborhood with a guide.

 

We rode our tandem bicycle through the village and had such a blast interacting with the local kids and riding our bike down all the neighborhood streets. Every street is lined on either side by colorful wooden houses perched above the ground. At one point we got one of the local kids to take a ride on the back of our tandem!

 

Ticket Prices: Dry Season (November – April): $5/person (walk) / Wet Season (May – October): $20/person (boat ride). How to Get There: Kampong Phluk is located 30 kilometers south of Siem Reap. To get there you can either rent a bicycle or scooter or take a tuk-tuk.

 

Contributed by Cara from Crawford Creations

 

Siem Reap Travel Guide

If you are using this post to plan a trip to Siem Reap, here are recommendations for where to eat, stay, transportation tips, and a nightlife guide.

 

Where to Eat in Siem Reap

There are dozens of options on places to eat in Siem Reap, everything from local markets, to upscale Khmer restaurants, to trendy international spots. I share some of my favorite places at the end, but first are some recommendations from other travelers and food experts.

Breakfast at the Old Market

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Old Market - Collab Entry

When the perimeter of Siem Reap’s old market (Psar Chas) is surrounded by tourist-friendly restaurants and souvenir shops, it’s possible to forget that very local breakfast fare is available in the middle. In between the two, buyers and sellers haggle over the day’s fresh produce while live catfish and crabs writhe in basins. Rows of different colored chickens lie on their backs with their scrawny claws sticking out at you but don’t get the sight put you off. They don’t put off the city’s best chefs, whom you might spot shopping for ingredients ahead of the day’s service.
Work your way to the center of the market and you’ll find locals and intrepid visitors tucking into breakfast shoulder-to-shoulder at the counters of two stalls. For $1.50, you can get delicious barbecued pork on white rice, accompanied with pickles, chili, and a hearty radish-and-carrot soup, or rice noodles with poached chicken and pig’s blood cubes in that same vegetable soup. More permutations are certainly available – the stallholders understand some English, so ask away and you’ll be rewarded.

 

Contributed by Nicholas from Rambling Feet

 

The Sugar Palm

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - The Sugar Palm - Amok - 2foodtrippers -Collab Entry

 

The Sugar Palm is an excellent restaurant for experiencing authentic Khmer food in Siem Reap. Travelers who visit this restaurant can expect an upscale dining experience thanks to the restaurant’s elegant, colonial building and classy cocktails; however, the restaurant’s star attraction is amok, a classic Cambodian dish. We became fans after just one bite of the creamy, silky amok, so much so that we scraped the bowl until every last bit of the flavorful casserole was gone. In fact, we were so enamored with The Sugar Palm’s food, especially the amok, that we returned for a repeat performance even though we were in Siem Reap for just four days. Note, the menu skews higher here compared to other Siem Reap restaurants; however, the prices are a relative bargain in light of the restaurant’s use of local ingredients and excellent cooking. Read more about our Cambodian adventures here.

 

Contributed by Mindi from 2FoodTrippers

 

Spoons

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Spoons - Collab Entry

 

On my last trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia, the hubster discovered a restaurant he knew I would fall in love with–and he was right! While researching possible places to grab a good meal, he came across Spoons, a delicious restaurant that helps the educational development of underserved Cambodian young adults. It’s located down a meandering dirt road, as most good places are in Siem Reap. It was recommended to have a reservation, but we just bellied up to the bar underneath their beautiful, massive bamboo canopy and were served quickly by their incredibly friendly staff. I had some of the best food of my life there, and that is not an exaggeration. If you like fish, I highly recommend the red snapper.

 

Whenever we’re asked about our most recent trip, we rave about Spoons because it serves as a training facility for students to gain hands-on experience. It is part of the EGBOK organization (which stands for Everything is Gonna Be OK), so all proceeds go towards supporting the costs of running EGBOK. As their mission states, it’s a place where students gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in their future hospitality careers and lift themselves and their families out of the cycle of poverty. Make Spoons part of your itinerary for your next trip to Siem Reap–you won’t be disappointed.

 

Contributed by Caroline from Not Your Average Gal

 

Mexican Food Options

 

Anyone who knows me knows that my number one talent is finding the best Mexican and Tex-Mex options in a city. Since I don’t live in the USA, where the Tex-Mex is ubiquitous, I have made it my mission to find the best Tex-Mex wherever I am. Siem Reap, with its emphasis on catering to Western tourists, is a mini-Mexican food oasis. I tried four different places (yes four!), and while they wouldn’t pass as great in the states they are legitimately good for the long-term traveler who needs a nachos or guac fix.

 

Viva Restaurant

This was by far my favorite, which is great since there are two of them. This means you can go to it two days in a row without anyone knowing but you and your dining companions. The nachos here are legit. Think a big, greasy Tex-Mex place in the middle of nowhere that just gets it – that’s Viva Restaurant. Don’t come here if you’re not a true Tex-Mex junkie because you won’t be cool enough to handle it.

 

Tex Mex & Steak House

 

Not as good as Viva, but still a good option if you’re looking for a good place with variety. Just a tad more expensive than Viva and a touch less tasty, but this is still a satisfying place. A tiny bit more “foodie” than Viva, so maybe a better bet if you’re traveling with foodies who don’t think Cambodians can do good Mexican food.

Happy Ponchos

 

A little bit outside of the center of town, this place is adequate, not great. However, if you happen to be staying nearby and need a fix, it’s a good emergency option. Note, this is not a “happy” restaurant.

Siem Reap Nightlife

Siem Reap is a fun city to hang out in after-hours since there are a ton of options that range from family-friendly to positively wild. Whatever your travel style, Siem Reap nightlife has something to offer you. So if you’re looking for something to do in Siem Reap at night, here are some great options.

 

Pub Street

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Pub Street - Collab Entry

 

Angkor Wat is truly amazing as well as the other temples in Angkor, but when the sun goes down, there’s only one place you should head for if you want some fun night out, and that’s the pub street in Siem Reap!

 

It’s open all-day but is more laid back during daytime with restaurants and shops open. In the evening there will be happy hour available and party going on until late night. It’s the perfect place to have a good time with other travelers.

 

If you want to do something “exotic”, it’s also here that you will find scorpions, maggots, bugs, and spiders served as food. Similar to what you can find at the famous backpacker street Khao San Road in Bangkok as well.

 

At the Pub Street in Siem Reap, you can also go for some spa or live music performance, or take a stroll to the nearby night market. If you’re looking for a good place to eat, I can recommend The Red Piano.

 

Contributed by Alex from Swedish Nomad

 

Apsara Dance Performance

 

Cambodia - Siem Reap - Aspara Dance Performance - Collab Entry

 
There are many other ways to witness the rich culture of Cambodia than visiting the Angkor Wat temples. Apsara Dance performance is one of them. You can find Apsara dancers in luscious garments wearing elaborate headdresses dancing to the tunes of Khmer music. This is a fantastic opportunity to soak in the Khmer classical style in Cambodia.
The performance takes place every night in many pubs in the Pub Street Area – the most happening area in Siem Reap. Some are paid performances, and some are free to watch as long as you dine there. Performances are usually between 8 PM and 9 PM. I went to Temple Club in Siem Reap for Apsara dance performance, and I knew my trip to Cambodia wouldn’t have been complete if I had missed this performance!

 

Contributed by Raksha from The Roving Heart

 

Enjoy some Happy Pizza

 

“Happy pizza,” “happy shakes,” and other “happy” meals are available at a few different restaurants which all are next to each other. I went to two during my time there, and both times I got a shake. It was way stronger than edibles I’ve had in Amsterdam, so unless you have a very high tolerance for “happiness” I would recommend only drinking half. To get there, just ask your driver to take you to Happy Pizza, but it doesn’t matter which of the restaurants on this little strip you go to since they basically have the same menu. You can also get food that isn’t happy, just ask.

 

The Night Market

 

Siem Reap’s Night Market is a bit touristy, but it’s a fun place to walk through and browse if you want to shop but are too busy during the day. It’s near Pub Street, and hard to miss if you’re looking for it.

 

Where to Stay in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is full of hotels, hostels, guest houses, and other options for where to stay. Here are a few that I can recommend.

 

Guesthouse Option: Hak’s House

I stayed at Hak’s House, a guest house on the edge of town. I loved my time there, and I found the owner and his family incredibly welcoming. They helped me arrange day trips, countless tuk-tuk rides, and made me breakfasts for my early days without me even asking.

 

Alternate Option: Local Homestay

 

Cambodia - Seim Reap - Homestay - Collab Contribution

 

One of the best things I did in Cambodia was staying in a local family homestay.

 

Having spent a few days exploring the temples of Angkor my girlfriend and I were a little tired of tourists; as magnificent as they were, we fancied getting off the beaten track and doing something totally different.

 

In pursuit of a more ‘authentic Cambodia’ experience, we decided to stay with a local family, in their guesthouse just north of Siem Reap. When we arrived we knew we’d come to the right place. It was in the middle of nowhere, slap bang in the countryside with nothing but rice paddies and farmland for miles.

 

The guesthouse was lovely but basic. We slept on straw mattresses on the floor, bathed in concrete tubs full of cold water, filled from the well nearby, and had no electricity until evening time, when a generator kicked in. It was back to basics living, and it was awesome.

 

The people we stayed with spoke some English, but not a lot. They lived with very little- poor by Cambodian standards. But they made do with what they had and were some of the happiest, down to earth people we met on our trip.

 

They had the most welcoming, warm way about them and invited us into their family with open arms, taking us out for day trips, showing us the local area and cooking us delicious homemade traditional food. We even helped out with the English class that they run every evening for children in the nearby village!

 

This was a real taste of actual Cambodian life, away from the hustle of tourist destinations around the country. I’d recommend it to anyone.

 

Contributed by Danny from Coddiwomp

 

 

Siem Reap Transportation Guide

 

The most common way to get around the city is by tuk-tuk. It’s easier to get a fixed price if you have it arranged by your accommodations instead of negotiating yourself. For example, my guest house was a $3 tuk-tuk when I used the guest house to arrange it, but drivers on the street frequently quoted me $5 and up. I don’t begrudge them trying to make a buck, but I used my accommodations to book whenever possible. When I did have to negotiate in with a driver, I was usually able to get them down to $4.

 

The cost for a tuk-tuk to and from the airport fluctuates. To get there, you can usually get it for $6. The fixed tuk-tuk price from the airport is $9, but you can negotiate with them if you go to the ones that aren’t in the line. Taxis to and from the airport are fixed at $9.

 

Note that Uber is not available in Siem Reap like it is in Phnom Penh, and there are no taxi apps that work there.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Traveling to Siem Reap

Here are some of the most common questions people ask me about visiting Siem Reap.

 

Safety Questions

Siem Reap is a very safe place to travel. However, here are the most common questions about safety in Siem Reap.

 

 

Is Siem Reap safe for Women Traveling Alone?

Yes, Siem Reap is safe for solo female travelers. However, use the same common sense you would use in any other part of the world:  let someone know where you’re staying, don’t go out at night alone intoxicated or under the influecne of anything. My best safety tip for women travling alone is to arrange transportation backfrom town to your accomodations through your hotel

 

Is Siem Reap Safe at Night?

Siem Reap has the same safety issues you find in any major tourist scity: lots of pick pockets, minor tourist scams, and petty theft. Keep your wits about you (I never recommend getting drunk alone in public). Plan your transportation ahead of time so you’re not negotiating a taxi back late at night.

 

What are Your Best Safety Tips?

Don’t be out late at night alone if you’re drunk or under the influence. Keep your passport and cash in a hard to access place. Don’t have all your money and credit cards on you at one time, keep them spread out by having some with you and leaving some in your htoel safe. Have emergency cash on you so you’re not stuck. Keep the name and address of your accomodations on a piece of paper in case you get mugged and don’t have your cell phone anymore. Get a local sim card so you have internet access at all times.

 

Is it Safe to Travel by Tuk-Tuk?

Tuk-Tuks are generally safe. They drive slower than cars. While they don’t have seatbelts, you don’t really have any other options. Sit back and enjoy the ride, since it’s a fun way to get around.

 

Is the Drinking Water Safe?

No, don’t drink the water. Use bottled water for everything from drinking to brushing your teeth.

 

Money Questions

Siem Reap is a huge tourist city, so money is pretty simple here. Everyone wants your money, and they have made it easy for you to pay for things.

 

 

What Currency does Cambodia Use?

Cambodia has a local currency, but most people use American dollars, which are widely available.

 

 

What is the Best Way to Get Cash?

The best way to make sure you get the most advantageous exchange rate is to use an ATM to get out cash. Just make sure you have a bank account that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Bonus if your account also doesn’t have an ATM withdrawal fee. Avoid exchanges, especially the ones at the airport.

 

 

Can I Use Credit Cards in Siem Reap?

Credit cards can be used at Angkor and at some restaurants, hotels, and stores. However, most businesses, all tuk-tuks, taxis, and markets only take cash.

 

 

Siem Reap Itinerary Questions

Many people have a hard time putting together a good itinerary for Siem Reap since it’s hard to know how much you will love Angkor and therefore how many days you’ll need to do the rest of the items you’re interested in. Here are some general questions I’ve gotten about visiting Siem Reap.

 

 

How Many Days Should I Spend in Siem Reap?

It’s hard to know how long to spend in Siem Reap. Most people combine this region with a trip to Phnom Peh or with Laos, Vietnam, or Thailand. I would say that four day is the absolute minimum to spend here, though I would recommend 5-7 days.

 

 

How Many Days Should I Go to Angkor Wat?

I only went one day because I had other trips that I wanted to do. I think this was a mistake. In retrospect, I wish I’d spent two days in Angkor, plus the two-day trips I did, and one day relaxing and exploring the city. There are so many temples to see and Angkor has such an interesting history, that I think I could have spent more time at some of the lesser visited temples. I know that I will go back one day, though. If this is your first and probably only trip to Siem Reap, plan to spend 2-3 days in Angkor, and then if you decide you don’t need the second day after you visit, go and enjoy a spa day or any of these other great activities in the area.

 

Have you Been to Siem Reap? Are you planning a trip and looking for things to do in to Siem Reap? Post your tips and questions below and I’ll add them to this Siem Reap Travel Guide.

 

 

Pin this Travel Guide for Your Trip to Siem Reap

 

Things to do in Siem Reap plus a Bonus Siem Reap Travel Guide

One Comment

  1. Great ideas! I picked up a few new ones for our next family trip to Siem Reap with kids. Thanks!

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