Siem Reap is one of the most popular tourist cities in Southeast Asia. You might know it because of its famous temples – Angkor Wat. While beyond that, there are many other awesome things you can do in Siem Reap. There has lots of hotels, resorts, coffee shops, and restaurants. You can see tourists are everywhere.
I have been to Cambodia many times that I can’t count. And I have stayed in Siem Reap for one year since 2018 as a full-time volunteer at ICF Cambodia.
Before I went to Siem Reap, I only know Angkor Wat temples also. While after stayed and explored there, I found lots of other things that worth your time to experience there.
Let’s explore the best and awesome things you can do in Siem Reap.
1. Angkor Wat
Visiting Angkor Wat could be the first reason for you to visit Siem Reap. Angkor Wat is the symbol of the group of temples. People usually visit them separately by different groups, you might heard the local tour guide called them grand tour, big tour, and small tour. Angkor Wat temple belongs to the small tour.
As there are differnt group of temples, it will take several days if you want to visit them all. Here are several temples I like the most:
- Angkor Wat Temple (the major one)
- Ta Prohm (my favorite jungle adventure)
- Preah Khan Temple
- Bayon Temple
There are 3 kinds of tickets to visit Angkor Wat. One-day ticket is $37.00, three-day is $62.00, and seven-days at $72.00. The one I bought was three-day ticket. You can pay your ticket by credit card or cash. When you buy the ticket, they will take one picture of you and your photo will show up on your ticket. Be sure to put your ticket well. The staff of temples will check them many times.
Please note you don’t have to buy the ticket in advance. When you go from your hotel, your tuk-tuk driver or car driver will take you to the ticket center to buy the tickets first. The cost of tuk-tuk to the small tour or big tour for one day is around $20. Max 4 person can fit one tuk-tuk.
Note: the price of tickets could vary a little bit at the different time, what I showed here was the price when I visited in April 2018.
2. Sunrise At Angkor Wat
Sunrise in Angkor Wat is awesome! You can enjoy the peace of the moment and see the sun rising up. At the same time, the sky, clouds, and the temples were lit up by the sun little by little. It’s kind of like watching a movie.
It will cost $5.00 for round trips by taking the tuk-tuk for the sunrise. The driver picks you up from your hotel around 5 am. Be sure to wear long sleeves as it’s in the early morning. When you arrive at the entrance, walk ahead and follow the group of people.
The best spot to see the sunrise is around the lake, it perfectly reflects the temples and sun on the water. The reflecting lake is on the left side when you facing the temple. When I get there at 5:30 am, I found it’s already very crowded by the lake. So if you want to do great photography, come early and find a great spot.
3. Floating village (Tonle Sap Lake)
Visiting the floating villages is a pretty unique experience. It opened my eyes to see there are a group of people live in this way. We visited the floating villages in April. It’s not a perfect time to visit there, because the water is not very high. Comparing to August, it’s a “dry season”. While this did not affect us to have great time there.
We booked a tour by a travel agency near our hotel. It’s a half day tour and the cost is $15/people (the peak season could be more expensive). The tour company will provide a tour guide and the car is a van. 12 people including the tour guide and driver for the trip.
The floating village is in Kampong Phluk, out of Siem Reap and we spend around one hour drive on the road. After this, we took the boat up the river and go inside the village.
The houses of floating villages are built very high on the wood. When water rises up, some of the house could even float on the water. It’s a very poor village. All men here are finishing men. Fishing is where their income comes. Women will take care of the kids and do the chores. They can’t finish all the year, they dried the fish and store them. Our tour guide was local resident there. He told us a lot about the life on the water. It’s hard.
After visited the villages, we waited to see the sunset. Sunset is peaceful and beautiful.
4. Rainforest Zipline Adventure
Isn’t it amazing to hear you can have Zipline experience just around Angkor Wat in Siem Reap? If you have kids to travel with you, they must love this. Angkor Zipline operates the zipline eco-adventure canopy tour in Cambodia. Beside the zipline in the rainforest, you can also expect the wildlife, birds, butterflies. They have Safety Rangers to tell you more fun facts about them.
Angkor Zipline provides different tours at different cost, $99 for the gold tour, and $59 for the silver tour. Besides the zipline activities, the tour usually includes the round trips (pick you up and send you to the hotel), insurance and meal. You can check more details about the different tours here.
Safety is their #1 priority, check more feedback from others.
5. Kulen National Park
Kulen national park usually called Kulen mountain. It’s around 45km northern from the city of Siem Reap. It will take around 1.5 hours to get there by van. The waterfall is my favorite part. If you like hiking, this will be a great place in Siem Reap. Mountains and trees, cool place for you to escape the city. If you plan to visit there, better to go there in the morning.
I highly recommend you to join a full day group tour. It saves and more convenient.
6. ICF Cambodia
Every Saturday night and Sunday morning, there are 800-1000 kids and teenagers go to ICF Cambodia for the celebration. ICF Cambodia is a Christian church and NGO which founded by Strupler family from Switzerland. They are helping four villages nearby, provide education, healthcare, food and other kinds of support to the people.
If you are a Christian who want to serve local kids and join the celebration at the weekend, this is a wonderful place to visit. The staff and volunteers are so loving and kind. You can see how God’s love shine through them.
Join the service:
Oneighty: Saturday night @ 6:00 – 8:30 PM
Kids church: Sunday morning @ 7:00 – 11:00 AM
Adult celebration: Sunday night @ 6:30 – 8:00 PM
7. Dirt Bike Adventures
If you like to explore the beauty of Cambodia in other ways, ride a dirt bike is quite a unique choice. In Cambodia, most roads in the countryside are bumpy and dirt. Kickstart Dirt Bike Adventures in Siem Reap offers the dirt bike experience from beginning to expert level. They offer bikes and different tours. Their mission is to provide great riding and adventure and help you have a deep insight into this beautiful country.
Hear more feedbacks from others about Kickstart Dirt Bike.
8. Cambodia Landmine Museum
The Museum is around 25 km north of Siem Reap (30 minutes by tuk tuk). And it’s j 7km south of the Banteay Srey Temple complex in Angkor National Park. So if you will take the grand tour to Banteay Srey, you can stop the Landmine Museum.
This museum not only serves to educate the public on the dangers of landmines, but also supports and educates the youth who was landmine affected by landmine. When you come to visit, you can get to know the Cambodia civil war and the war with Vietnam. The audio guide will also tell you about the landmines problems and the removal work of Aki Ra. The entrance fee is $5.00.
You could be touched and inspired by the story of how Aki Ra became a landmine hunter and remover. The LandMine Museum is not just a museum, but a home for many landmine affected kids. Click here for more stories about them.
9. Pub Street and Night Market
Pub street and night market are where you can enjoy amazing food and buy local things. Many people will come here by evening and night.
When you come to Pub streets, you can see lots of restaurants and bars from different countries. So don’t be afraid you couldn’t find the food you like. There are also several decent restaurants. I had a local Khmer restaurant and Mexico restaurant. They both are very good! Beer is just $0.5 – 1.5 for one cup.
In the night market, you can find many local shops and massage. Massage is very cheap here, from $5 to $20, you can always find the price that you can accept. I had $12 for one hour in and I like it.
Every place is unique, by their history, culture and people. Cambodia is a fascinating country worth to explore. Through the pure smile of kids and people, you will feel the joy. I hope you can have fun in Siem Reap and find out the beauty of it by experience those things. Thanks for reading.
By the way, I will stay in Cambodia for one year. Any questions just drop me an email or send me messages in the contact page.