Siem Reap was the city of Khmer empire thousand years ago. Despite the war, time and climate change, this small charming city still has a lot of good things to offer.
In this blog post, we will recommend top things to do in Siem Reap. It depends on how much time you will spend in the city, we list activities down from the top priorities to the lowest ones.
If you are looking for a good hotel to stay, check out our recommended hotels at Top 10: best Hotels in Siem Reap
To help you imagine what a trip to Siem Reap is going to look like, I like to introduce a scene from Wong Kar-wai’s movie “In the mood for love”.
The scene was shot at Angkor Wat temple. I watched the movie when I was in France. It’s a touching scene.
In the old days, if someone had a secret they didn’t want to share, they went up a mountain, found a tree, carved a hole in it, and whispered the secret into the hole. Then they covered it with mud. And leave the secret there forever.
If you like to watch the whole movie, you can Buy DVD on Amazon
Disclaimer: I joined the affiliate programs. If you make a purchase or booking through my affiliate links, I will earn a commission.
Let’s start our recommendations:
1. Visit Angkor Wat
I was born in this country. I learned from its history. This country is famous. It is famous because it has the most wanted to visit temple Angkor Wat.
Visiting temples in Siem Reap is the most priority one. There are a lot of temples but I would suggest one-day visit would be enough. If you want to visit all the temples, you can spend days or even the whole week. But the temples are more or less looks similar. Unless you are an archeology who needs to know all the temples in every detail.
Below is a nice video review of Angkor Wat tour shared by Amanda Wong:
If you want to book a one day Angkor wat tour package, Book it now: GetYourGuide.com
2. Phare – Cambodian Circus Show
Phare is a unique Cambodian circus show exists in the country. You will be amazed by the performance of the young artists who are graduates from circus training center in Battambang. The show is suitable for all ages including children.
Book your ticket Now: GetYourGuide.com
After a long day of visiting temples, all you want to do is relax. The spa is one of the right activities that will give you back the energy for the next morning.
There are a lot of good Spas in Siem Reap, even at the hotel you stay. I never experience myself, but I heard a lot of good recommendations about Bodia Spa.
4. Cooking class
You might like Cambodian food even it is the first time for you. The only way to get more details in Cambodian food is to have a cooking class. But it depends, if you like to rest, stay at the hotel or swim at the pool, it is totally your choice.
If you like to learn how to cook Cambodian food, you can book a cooking class with TripAdvisor
5. Night markets
There are a few night markets in Siem Reap. The most recommended one is Angkor Night Market. You can find souvenirs, food, drink and massage there.
It is nice to have a walk there after dinner. You will find something interesting to give to your family or friends as the souvenirs from Cambodia.
For more information, visit their website: angkornightmarket.com
6. Taste premium Cambodian food at Malis Siem Reap
Malis is a high-class Cambodian restaurant. It will be expensive than other restaurant but you will have a chance to taste delicious Cambodian food that is made by famous Cambodian chef Luu Meng.
To book a table, visit their website: Malis Siem Reap
7. Pub Street
Put street is a place where you can find good and cheap food and drink. It is designed to welcome the tourists. You can find almost everything there. It is nice to visit it at night and you can stay late as long as you like.
8. Cycling around Angkor Wat
You can rent a bike easily from your hotel or shop next door. It would be a nice experience to cycling around Angkor Wat temples. The road surrounded by big trees and birds will sign all along the way.
If you like to book a half day tour package which includes a tour guide, quality mountain bike (Giant/Trek) and helmet, Book it now: TripAdvisor
9. Visit Cambodia Culture village
Cambodia culture village aims to provide you a tour of Cambodian culture with various shows, traditional houses, and history.
Do not expect spectacular shows but some shows are entertaining and introduce you to Cambodian culture and others as well.
You can go there on your own or you can book a ticket that includes a one way pick up at hotel from GetYourGuide.com
10. Old Market
This is a good place where you can find cheap souvenirs, food, and drink. You can visit it during the day time or late at night.
11. Dirt Bike
If driving a bike in the dirt or driving a Jeep and visit the country side is something you are wishing for, you can make your dream comes true. But don’t try the shooting stuff. Stay away from the gun. I bet you don’t come here to blow a cow or firing a AK-47.
For more information visit: angkordirtbike.com
12. Artisans d’Angkor
Artisans d’Angkor is a company that aims to help Cambodian artists develop their crafts and conserve Cambodian art through all their creative status and souvenirs. I am sure you will find something of Khmer art to bring to your home.
For more information, visit their website: artisansdangkor.com
13. Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary
If you are a bird lover or just want to explore the life on the Tonle Sap river, this is the right activities you can’t miss. Prek Toal bird sanctuary has around 150 bird species including some birds that you cannot see elsewhere. This is the boat ride tour.
Book a ticket now: TripAdvisor
14. Land mine museum
The museum was founded by CNN hero Aki Ra, an Ex Khmer Rouge soldier who develop a special skill to clear a lot of mines, including those that he planted himself.
Visit their website for more info: cambodialandminemuseum.org
15. Sunset Dinner Tour at Floating village
Floating village is located in Tonle Sap lake. Taking a tour in the evening will give you a good memory of nature and people who live in the floating houses. Avoid giving money to the kids or beggars.
Do not have much expectation on the food but you will enjoy the landscape, the sunset and the wind that blows from the lake.
Book a ticket now: GetYourGuide.com
16. Cuisine Wat Damnak
Each time when I have a chance to go to Siem Reap, I always want to go and try the new set menu at Cuisine Wat Damnak. The restaurant is owned by French chef Joannès Rivière. His set menu is exceptional. He used his skill to develop new flavors that based on Cambodian traditional food.
Check out more information on the website: cuisinewatdamnak.com
17. Visit Kulen mountain
Phnom Kulen was an old city of Khmer empire by the King Jayavarman 2. It’s a sacred place to learn about Khmer culture and nature. There are a few interesting sites to see such as Thousand Lingas, Pheah Ang Thom pagoda and much more. It’s a one-day trip that you will enjoy a lot.
Book a ticket now: GetYourGuide.com