If you’re looking for more to do in Siem Reap than visit Angkor Wat then you’ve come to the right place. Don’t worry I still cover Angkor Wat and give you some details because it is somewhere you should see when you visit Siem Reap. It is the main reason you’re planning on going isn’t it?
Never fear dear reader, let me share with you what to see in Siem Reap such as the best places to visit in Siem Reap for a fun night out, the top markets you need to shop at, museums that are worth going to and alternative and off the beaten track Siem Reap attractions in case you get bored with what the city has to offer (which you shouldn’t).
Siem Reap is so much more than just Angkor Wat and there are plenty of things to do in Siem Reap besides temples. It’s a lovely city that is awesome to rent a bike and scoot around to explore. In fact I loved Siem Reap so much that I could easily see myself living there. But enough about me, keep reading to find out what to do in Siem Reap in 3 days, which is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights.
Things to do in Siem Reap Cambodia
Spend a day temple-hopping at Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is a huge complex of many temples, not just the one and most famous temple, Angkor Wat itself. Passes to visit Angkor are for 1, 3 and 7 days. It’s not one of the cheapest attractions in Siem Reap which is why I recommend only visiting for a day. A single day will run you $37, 3 days $62 and 7 days $72.
I’m not a huge temple buff so if you aren’t either a day will be plenty for you to see the best temples such as Bayon (the one with all the faces), Ta Prohm (famous for being featured in Tomb Raider and Angkor Tom (the largest site in the complex).
I recommend grabbing a tuk tuk with some friends and for around $15 you can have a driver take you from the city, to pick up your passes and through the complex to the best sites. Or you can book a tour for almost the same price and have a trusted guide who has had reviews. A cheaper option is to rent a bike but get ready for some exercise because it will be a full day of pedaling!
Understand more by visiting the Angkor National Museum
You will understand so much more if you pay a visit to the Angkor National Museum before visiting the Angkor Wat complex itself. The museum is dedicated to preserving Angkorian artifacts and does a phenomenal job of explaining art and culture in the Khmer era dating back to the 9th-14th centuries.
Get wild on Pub Street
Okay so you don’t have to get wild on pub street, but at night it does get pretty crazy and is obviously a ton of fun as it is one of the top things to do in Siem Reap. This is where all of the backpackers gather to party their hearts out as music pounds from the speakers and people spill out onto the street and it is impossible to miss the neon “Pub Street” sign hanging across the street.
There are also plenty of restaurants lining the street where you can grab a bite to eat for an incredibly affordable price before drinks. And if you’re not in the mood to dance you can always lounge on the cushioned chairs and benches outside some of the bars. I recommend hitting up The Angkor Wat? Bar.
Get local at the Angkor Night Market
Before you check out pub street head over early to explore the many vendors at the Angkor Night Market that opens up around 5pm. You’ll find tons of local handicrafts from the community and non-governmental organizations under bamboo huts. The market started in 2007 to help preserve Khmer handicrafts and help the locals and today you’ll find lots of bags made from recycled materials, hand-carved jewelry and much more.
Spend the day exploring a floating village
Take an eco-trip to Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest fresh water lake. The area floods expanding from 2,500 square km to 12,000 where locals live in houses on stilts. A 2-hour boat ride will get you to one of the floating villages where you can then make stops at crocodile farms, find souvenirs and eat delicious food. You can even have a sunset dinner on the lake.
Kick back for a while and get a cheap massage
Thailand isn’t the only place in southeast Asia that has cheap massages. In Cambodia you can get them for anywhere from $1-7 at massage shops around the city. So if you have some time to kill or maybe decided to bike to Angkor Wat there is no better way to relax.
Eat your way through Siem Reap on a street food tour
You can get the chance to explore the city like a local and sample some of the best foods in Siem reap with a local tour guide who will take you through a night market. You’ll learn not only about Khmer cuisine but also culture and get to try famous street food dishes, snacks and of course get dinner.
Help a good cause at the Landmine Museum
If you want a bit of an insider look into Cambodia’s history or want to give to a good cause then the Landmine Museum and Relief Facility should be included on your Siem Reap itinerary. The museum is located within the Angkor National Park and was established by an ex-soldier who went back to villages where he fought and started defusing landmines he had planted by hand. Money raised by the museum goes towards further landmine clearing, to fund its new school and amputee children.
Fly through the Cambodia jungle with Flight of the Gibbon
Take a break between temple hopping and get adventurous as you explore the Cambodia jungle through the canopy of trees on 10 zip lines and 4 sky bridges. Flight of the Gibbon is famous for having courses through various spots in southeast Asia. Be warned that they are pricey for SE Asia standards but everyone always recommends them who does one!
Shop your heart out at the Old Market
The Old Market, as the name suggests, is the oldest market in Siem Reap. Locals use the market to shop for food and household items but there is also a large section at the entrance where visitors can find many vendors selling clothes, shoes, jewelry and a lot more. If you’re hungry head to the centre of the market where you can find authentic Cambodian dishes. I think this is one of the best things to do in Siem Reap, I was at this market every day roaming around!
Eat delicious food at a Cambodia cooking class
No matter where I go some of the best food I have is from the cooking classes I take and I’m an awful cook so the fact that the food is delicious is saying something. A cooking class in Siem Reap is no exception, especially since Khmer food is delicious.
Be entertained at Phare, the Cambodian Circus
A circus in Cambodia? Yes, you read that right. If you need a night of entertainment that doesn’t involve pub street then head over to the circus where you can watch acrobatics fly from the ceiling, listen to live music and have on-site dining during the show.
Alternative Siem Reap Activities
Where to Stay in Siem Reap
Find the best hostels in Siem Reap for budget backpackers, cheap hotel rooms for when you don’t want to be in a dorm room and luxury hotels for those who love to live large.
Siem Reap Hostels
Best Hotels in Siem Reap
Check out more in Cambodia
- Backpacking Cambodia on a Budget: 1-2 Week Cambodia Itinerary
- What’s Worth Seeing in Cambodia?
- Southeast Asia Packing List for Ladies
- 51 Travel Tips for Backpacking Southeast Asia
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