Siem Reap: More than Just Angkor Wat

Siem Reap is a vibrant city in Cambodia that is best known as the gateway to the world-famous Angkor Wat temple complex. However, Siem Reap has much more to offer visitors than just Angkor Wat. The city is home to a variety of other temples, shrines, and cultural attractions, as well as a thriving nightlife and food scene.

In this blog post, we will explore all that Siem Reap – one of our favorite Southeast Asian cities – has to offer visitors. We will also provide tips on how to plan your trip and get around Siem Reap.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, food, or nightlife, Siem Reap has something to offer everyone. So start planning your trip today and experience the magic of Siem Reap!

Did You Know: In Cambodia, both Cambodian Riel and US Dollars are widely accepted. In general, smaller purchases (less than $10) are made with Riel, and larger purchases are made with the Dollar. Be aware that US Dollars with any kind of damage will not be accepted. If you’re given change and notice that any dollars you received have rips in them, do not hesitate to ask for bills that are not damaged.

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Siem Reap Temples

Top 10 Things To Do in Siem Reap

1. Visit the Angkor Temples

These are the reason people come from all over the world to Siem Reap, and we can understand why! Exploring the Angkor temples is an extraordinary way to spend a day (or more) in Siem Reap, and we can’t recommend them enough. While Angkor Wat is the most famous, there are other amazing and less crowded temples like Bayon, Ta Prohm and more!

Check out the Ultimate Guide to Visiting the Angkor Temples

Ta Prohm Angkor Wat
Ta Prohm

2. Get a Fish Massage

This is the most eventful pedicure you’ll ever experience! When wandering the streets of Siem Reap (especially near Pub Street), you’ll see tanks of fish lining the streets pretty much everywhere. For just a few dollars, you can dip your feet into these tanks where fish will eat away at your dead skin. Most of these massages come with a free beer or water – I definitely needed the beer for this experience! It’s super ticklish, but you will (kind of) get used to it. You can also get an hour-long body massage for $3!

3. Have a Drink on Pub Street

Pub Street is Siem Reap’s most lively street, especially later at night. Lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants, this is where locals and tourists come to party! Even if you don’t drink, it’s cool to walk down Pub Street at night.

If you get tired of the $1 draft beers on Pub Street, head over to Embargo Craft Beer across the river! The craft beer scene in Southeast Asia is rapidly growing and the owner of this bar is extremely knowledgeable regarding craft beer and traveling Southeast Asia.

Pub Street Siem Reap

4. Shop at the Markets

Siem Reap has tons of incredible markets – they’re truly impossible to miss. These markets are most popular on the weekends but still impressive on weekdays.

  • Night Market: The Siem Reap Night Market is a vibrant and bustling market that is a must-visit for any visitor to Siem Reap. The market is located in the heart of the city, and it is open every evening from 6pm to midnight.
  • Old Market: This market is MASSIVE. There are tons of stalls selling everything you could possibly want or need.
  • Made in Cambodia Market: This market has small shops that sells products that are authentically made in Cambodia. These crafts are super interesting, and one of the stores even sells magnificent art pieces done by a 13-year old!
  • Green Market: This is an extremely new market that has food from all around the world. You have Chinese, Thai, Italian, Cambodian, Spanish, Ukranian, Turkish and more cuisines, which are all delicious.

5. Experience the Local Cuisine

Cambodia has some delicious food, such as Fish/Chicken Amok and their curries. If you love food, this Siem Reap street food tour is a must do. Street food can sometimes be a bit dicey in Southeast Asia, so having a tour guide who knows which stalls are best is a must. After you’ve had some of the amazing food Cambodia has to offer, try your hand at this cooking class!

Cambodian Food Chicken Amok
Chicken Amok & Cambodian Fried Noodles

6. Explore the Floating Village

The Siem Reap Floating Village is a unique and fascinating community located on the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The village is home to over 10,000 people who live in houses that are built on stilts above the water.

Visitors can take boat tours of the village, visit the floating houses and schools, and learn about the unique lifestyle of the villagers. The people of the floating village make their living primarily from fishing and tourism, and they also sell handicrafts and souvenirs to tourists.

The floating village is a beautiful and serene place to visit. It is a great way to learn about the Cambodian culture and way of life. We highly recommend taking this sunset tour of the floating village.

7. Bathe Elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary

The Kulen Elephant Forest Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that provides a safe and caring home for retired elephants from the tourism industry.

Visitors to the Kulen Elephant Forest Sanctuary can learn about the elephants, their history, and the sanctuary’s mission. Visitors can also participate in a variety of activities, such as feeding the elephants, bathing them, and walking with them through the forest.

Check out this tour to learn about elephants and to see them up close in a natural environment; this is also a great way to support the conservation of elephants in Cambodia.

8. Visit Kulen National Park

Kulen National Park is a protected area in Cambodia that is home to a variety of natural and cultural attractions, including the sacred Phnom Kulen Waterfall, the Kbal Spean River with its ancient carvings, and the Prasat Bakong temple. The park is located in the Phnom Kulen mountain range, about 50 kilometers from Siem Reap.

In addition to the waterfall and the river carvings, Kulen National Park is also home to a number of other temples and shrines. One of the coolest things we saw in this park was the giant reclining Buddha. This is free to see and really quite remarkable!

The park is a great place to escape the crowds of Siem Reap and learn about the history and culture of Cambodia, while also enjoying the beauty of the Cambodian countryside. We went here with a tour, which seems to be the easiest way to get there and make sure you see all the best that the park has to offer. Keep in mind that the park entrance fee is $20 (which is usually included in the cost of a tour, so don’t be surprised if tours seem a bit expensive!).

Reclining Buddha Kulen National Park

9. Visit Cambodia’s Landmine Museum

Cambodia has a sad history of innocent people being harmed as a byproduct or direct cause of American bombings, the Khmer Rouge Regime’s genocide, and Vietnamese occupation. This museum tells this story and educates people on what is currently being done to remove these still-active explosive devices in rural areas.

10. Wander into Siem Reap’s Temples

While the Angkor temples may steal the show, you will accidentally stumble into some amazing temples while exploring different parts of Siem Reap. Some of our favorites were Wat Preah Prom Rath (pictured below), Wat Bo, and Wat Damnak. These are all free!

Where to Stay in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is filled with amazing hostels and hotels to fit any budget – you really can’t go wrong!

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Best Time to Visit Cambodia

Cambodia’s rainy season starts in early or mid May and lasts through October, so the best time to visit Cambodia is from November to April. We went in mid-October, and it rained lightly pretty much every day for an hour or so. Though this can be annoying if you’re trying to fit a lot into your days, we recommend visiting during the shoulder months of October and May to try to avoid the heavy crowds.

How to Get to Siem Reap

Siem Reap is super easy to get to by plane or bus – you can get here easily from pretty much any domestic or international location!

How to Get to Siem Reap by Plane

Siem Reap’s new airport (SAI) is the closest airport to Angkor Wat, with direct flights from various cities in Southeast Asia and some major hubs worldwide. From the airport, you can take a taxi, tuk-tuk, or ride-sharing service to reach your hotel in Siem Reap.

Book your Cheap Flight with Skyscanner

How to Get to Siem Reap by Bus

Siem Reap is well-connected by bus to other major cities in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. Taking a bus can be a budget-friendly option, but the journey times can be longer compared to flying.

Book your Bus Tickets on 12Go

Getting Around Siem Reap

You can rent a moped, although it is around $10 a day, which is twice as expensive as other places in Southeast Asia like Indonesia and Thailand. Grab (the Uber of Southeast Asia) is also popular and the cheapest mode of transportation. You can also hire a tuk tuk driver for the day, for around $20. We highly recommend this mode of transportation for your day(s) exploring the Angkor temples.

Check out our favorite driver Chaky Chark! You can reach him at +855 12 532 992

Siem Reap Temple

Keep Exploring Cambodia….

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Our Favorite Travel Resources

Accommodations: We use for hotels and HostelWorld for hostels. We also use VRBO or TrustedHousesitters for longer stays.

Flights: We recommend using Skyscanner to find the cheapest and best flights.

Ground Transport: We use 12Go and Omio for buses and private transfers, and and Discover Cars for rental cars.

Activities: GetYourGuide and Viator are the best websites for booking organized tours.

International Medical Insurance: We highly recommend SafetyWing for Digital Nomads and HeyMondo for those not traveling full-time, or who frequently engage in higher-risk adventure activities.

eSIM: We recommend Airalo or Holafly for getting data internationally.

Check out our Travel Resources Page for more of our favorite travel-related products and services!

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