Siem Reap is definitely one of the most visited cities in Cambodia, all because of Angkor, the huge and ancient temple complex. But there’s more to this city than just temples. Keep reading for the best things to do in Siem Reap!
Explore the temples of Angkor
You just can’t visit Siem Reap without at least going to admire Angkor Wat at sunset (or sunrise). You’ll quickly understand why this is the most visited tourist attraction in all of Cambodia.
If you’re in for more, Angkor Wat is just one of many magnificent temples in Angkor Archeological Park, a World Heritage Site. They’re remains of the Khmer Empire, dating back to the 9th to 15th century and truly impressive! Read how we spent 3 days in Angkor here.
Are you a morning person? Then you’ll want to consider this Angkor Sunrise Bike Tour with Bo, a local guide. Otherwise, you can sleep a little longer and join his cycling tour of some of the most famous temples at Angkor.
If you prefer a little more luxury, like an air-conditioned vehicle instead of a bicycle, you might want to check out these options:
Or, you can do like we did and approach a tuktuk driver on the side of the road or rent a Green e-Bike to explore Angkor.
What to do in Siem Reap besides temples
Although we definitely recommend exploring Angkor for at least a day, there are more things to do in Siem Reap besides temples. Even though we ourselves didn’t have enough time to do many of these activities, they’re on our to do list for the next time we visit Siem Reap!
Spend an evening at Pub Street
Pub Street is a pretty popular street in Siem Reap, easily recognisable from the big neon sign. It’s flanked by many bars serving Angkor beer and hosting live music. Most of them are open late, with blasting speakers and bucket deals, making it popular with backpackers.
We had a couple of Belgian beers at The Red Piano during our visit. Pretty expensive, but worth it for a taste of home after traveling for a few months!
Take a Siem Reap cooking class
Taking a cooking class in Siem Reap is a great way to get to know the local cuisine. Prepare an authentic Khmer meal with the guidance of a local chef and enjoy your home cooked meal afterwards. Bonus: you get to recreate the Cambodian flavours back home!
There are different cooking classes in Siem Reap, both in the city centre and in the countryside. Most will include a visit to a local market. Easily compare the different cooking classes in Siem Reap on the Cookly website. There’s even one that’s charity-based, supporting poor local families.
Join a Siem Reap food tour
If you don’t like cooking, but you like eating, your best option to get to know the Cambodian cuisine is joining a food tour. There are many food tours on offer in Siem Reap, most of them in the evening. Some provide Vespas, others will take public transport or a tuktuk.
These food tours usually introduce you to the classic Khmer dishes, snacks, and dessert, but there’s one that will challenge you to try fried insects. I won’t, but maybe you will?
Go hiking in Phnom Kulen National Park
Escape the busy streets of Siem Reap for a 6 km (~ 4 miles) hike to the Phnom Kulen Waterfall. The waterfall is situated in the Phnom Kulen National Park, just an hour’s (scenic) drive out of Siem Reap.
You can do this day trip from Siem Reap on your own or join a trekking tour in Phnom Kulen National Park with Buffalo Tours. If you do so, there’ll be time for a relaxed swim at the waterfall, before heading back down for a local lunch (which is included).
Go on a countryside bike tour
See more than just the city centre of Siem Reap and go explore the surrounding rural areas on a private guided bike tour. You’ll stop at and learn about local craftsmanships and handicrafts like basket weaving and a rice wine distillery.
Visit one of the Siem Reap floating villages
There are a couple of floating villages near Siem Reap, all located on the shores of Tonle Sap, a huge freshwater lake. The furthest one is probably the least touristy one: Kampong Khleang, a one hour drive from Siem Reap.
If you’d like to book a Siem Reap Floating Village Tour in advance, we suggest checking out Community First: Kompong Khleang Floating Village Tours. Their staff comes from the village, and their profits are donated to the Bridge of Life Charity to fund things like education and clean water.
Their Kampong Khleang tour usually takes place in the afternoon, so you can catch the sunset over Tonle Sap. It costs $35 (~ €32) per person and includes transportation from Siem Reap, water and snacks, an English-speaking guide, and boat tickets. No hidden costs.
Interested in a homestay in Kampong Khleang? You can stay at ST 63 Homestay, albeit slightly more luxurious than the average family living in the floating village. They offer tours as well. Check rates and availability at ST 63 Homestay here.
Have fun at the Art Box Trick Art Museum
If you’re looking to escape the heat or rain, you might want to check out the Art Box Museum. It’s a trick art museum, where you can pose with huge real-life artworks like Angkor in winter, different kinds of wildlife, or the 7 wonders of the world.
The museum is open daily from 9:00 until 20:00. Ticket prices are between $10 (~ €9) and $15 (~ €14) per (non-local) adult. Buy your ticket in advance at the Art Box website or check out GetYourGuide for any ticket deals for this trick art museum.
Try an Escape Room
We love escape rooms, elaborate themed puzzle games, and have tried some all over the world. Unfortunately not yet in Siem Reap, although there are several options. I’ve found 2 interesting ones: The Great Escape and Escape Break.
Both have a bunch of rooms to choose from, and both include transportation from your accommodation. Escape Break is slightly more expensive though. While The Great Escape has just one location, you can find Escape Break on Koh Samui in Thailand as well.
A visit to Angkor will definitely be one of your Siem Reap highlights, but it’s interesting to learn about the local life in a food tour or countryside tour as well. Oh, and a Siem Reap cooking class is a great activity too, which you can benefit from back home as well. Anyway, there are plenty of fun things to do in Siem Reap, choose what you like best and enjoy!
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