What to Do and See in Siem Reap
Siem Reap is one of the world's most popular destinations
The town sits poised at the doorway of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor Archaeological Park featuring the majestic Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.
Siem Reap has a charm all of its own with an appealing blend of times; the old, with its original clusters of villages, developed around pagodas, the French Colonial-era, with the addition of charming shop houses, and the new, with the construction of modern stylish buildings, restaurants and hotels.
The provincial capital has progressed into a vibrant town bejeweled with the serene Siem Reap River and shady boulevards.
The Temples of Wonder
The Angkor Archaeological Park extends over approximately 400 square kilometres and as well as the visual beauty and archaeological significance of Angkor Wat, encompasses numerous temple ruins including Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srey, Terrace of the Elephants and many more, some just a little further from the main park but easily accessible. They all reflect their own unique facade, mystique and history.
Angkor passes are purchased on the main entrance to the road to Angkor Wat. Tickets are sold as 1 day ($20 USD), 3 day ($40 USD) and 7 day ($60) blocks and must be used on consecutive days.
For a real high, and a great view of the temples, hop onboard a helicopter – prices start from US$90 per person.
See and experience…
The Cambodian Landmine Museum and Relief Facility (CLMMRF) was established in 1997 by ex-child soldier Aki Ra. After years of fighting he returned to the villages in which he planted thousands of mines and began removing them, by hand, and defusing them with homemade tools. It is also a home providing education and support for dozens of at-risk youth and landmine affected children rescued by the CLMMRF NGO.
The Cambodian Landmine Museum Relief Facility was created so that it might serve as a place of healing for bodies, hearts and minds. Located 7klms south of Banteay Srei Temple – open year round 7.30am – 5.30pm. Tickets US$3
Phare – The Cambodian Circus
Mixing traditional and modern theatre, music, dance, juggling, acrobatics, contortion and aerial acts, this one hour performance is an explosion of emotions and excitement.
Apsara dancing performances
Observe traditional Khmer dance where the performances display stories and messages of Cambodian culture. There are regular performances at various venues in town
Angkor Centre for Biodiversity
The very first nature conservation centre in Cambodia, providing wildlife rescue and rehabilitation services, breeding of threatened species and environmental education.
Concert by Beatocello
Every Saturday at 7.15pm at the Kantha Bopha Children's Hospital – Dr Beat Richner plays the cello and speaks about medical issues affecting children in Cambodia. Free but donations are encouraged.
Showcasing the best of Khmer fine arts and crafts and preserving traditional Khmer skills in silk-making, stone and wood carving, lacquering and painting. The organisation promotes the development of individuals and improves the lives of many people living in rural areas.
Visit the workshop for a sensory journey of Cambodia including scents, spices, oils, teas and other local products. Free tuk tuks run from their shop opposite old Market.
If you have the energy then Siem Reap has the activity with quad biking, dirt biking, golf, mini-golf, putt putt, cycling tours, Flight of the Gibbon, horse riding and much more to ensure your adrenalin pumps. For spectator thrills, you can watch Cambodian boxing matches at the CTN Angkor Arena.
For wholesome family fun, Jungle Junction is an adventure wonderland with loads of entertainment, including playgrounds, a cinema and restaurant and bar facilities.
If you enjoy a workout there are a number of gymnasiums in town where you can pay a small fee for access to their facilities or memberships can be arranged if your stay is long term.
There is yoga and meditation class, chats with Buddhist monks and you can even take part in a blessing ceremonies. Have your feet massaged, enjoy a cool swim or lose yourself in a good book.
Expand your knowledge and acquire some unique skills whilst in Siem Reap with classes in cooking, cocktail making, ceramics, Khmer culture and language. There are even workshops where you can learn a craft and even print your own T-shirt.
Give back to the local community by giving blood at the local hospital, shop, eat and drink for a cause at NGO cafes. Many boutique shops are run by not-for-profit organisations and sell their own unique locally made products so you can even shop for a purpose
Shop til you drop…
From cheap, cheerful and comfy Cambodian clothing at the Old or Night Markets, factory outlet stores, to high-end fashion in boutiques, Siem Reap has fashion to suit everyone.
It's best to simply walk around and explore and don't forget the alleyways – there are some really good finds.
For grocery shopping, there are mini-marts everywhere but there are a couple of larger supermarkets offering some popular Western items.
Wine and dine…
Siem Reap is a food-lover's haven with enough cuisines and venues to literally eat oneself around the globe. The wine selection here is extensive offering international wines from all over the world and again, suiting all budgets.
Especially explore the local Khmer cuisine – it is fresh, fragrant and full of flavour.
Let your taste buds (and budget) guide you. From cheap dining around the old market to fine dining in internationally acclaimed restaurants, it is all here for the savouring.
Shop til you drop…
Bars and clubs are another thing that is prevalent in this town and you will find your favourites.
Enjoy a refreshingly cold beer, sip on cocktails and enjoy fine wine. Watch some sports, listen to live music, or dance the night away in a club – Siem Reap is up as late as you like it…
The nightlife in Siem Reap is enticing with so many bars and clubs not closing until 4am. Around pub street is the main concentration of venues and you can get your groove on and party the night away…
Treat yourself to a massage which in Cambodia is a traditional treatment for health, relaxation and offers therapeutic benefits. Pamper yourself in aromatherapy, body scrubs, body wraps, beauty treatment, a manicure or pedicure.
You might also want to have some dental work done or have your eyes tested and a new set of glasses fitted – the cost of these services are very affordable.
There is so much to do and see here in Siem Reap you may never want to leave
Cambodia is a relatively small country and other destinations are easily accessible from Siem Reap. The country's capital and bustling metropolis of Phnom Penh is only a five hour bus trip away.
From Phnom Penh, a few more hours on a bus will take you to the coastal towns of Kep; famous for its fresh crab, Sihanoukville; notorious for its beachside party vibe beach, and Kampot, renowned for its chilled riverside feel, peppercorns and rural landscape.
Recommendations and arrangements of onward travel are easily made whilst in Siem Reap.