Siem Reap beyond Angkor… Worth a visit?
Photo from Unsplash
Originally Posted On: https://adventurescambodia.com/siem-reap-beyond-angkor-worth-a-visit/
How long should we stay in Cambodia?
We highly recommend staying a minimum of 4 days, with 3 days to witness the archaeological sites, landscapes, and culture, plus a day of leisure activities. Tickets to visit the temples for a day costs $37, 3 days for $62 (valid 10 days), and 7 days for $72 (valid 1 month). Children under the age of 12 are free of charge but proof of age may be required. If your stay is rather short, plan ahead with us! You’ll have a blast with our Angkor Wat tour. Unfortunately, a third party cannot issue the temple pass tickets! You are required to purchase the tickets yourself. If you book with us, we will arrange the trip without charging you extra. We advise you to buy your ticket after 5 pm and rush to see the sunset. If you arrive after 5:30 pm, it will not be deducted from your day pass! Check out our tips for an amazing Angkor Wat experience.
Siem Reap is in the northwestern part of Cambodia, located roughly 6 hours from the capital Phnom Penh and 10 hours from Bangkok in Thailand. There is an International airport just 20 minutes from the busy downtown area but you can choose to travel by bus or car. The modern town is not far from the ruins of Angkor, the capital city of the Khmer Empire from the 9th century to the 15th century. Angkor is a huge complex of elaborate stone temples including Angkor Wat, which is drawn on Cambodia’s flag.
Exciting things to do besides temples…
The countryside will take your breath away.
If you want to better understand the Khmer way of living, an escape to the outskirts is your best bet. With our countryside tour, we drive through lush rice paddies and visit a sacred pagoda to pray and make wishes about important matters like wealth, health, marriage, and the future generation. If you’re lucky, you may get a chance to have your future told by a fortune-teller! We guarantee a unique and authentic glimpse into Khmer life.
Kulen Mountain is one of the few sacred mountains in Cambodia
With ancient rock carvings, hidden sculptures, and historic sites. About an hour away from town, it’s much less crowded due to its distance. Have a nice swim in the waterfalls, breathe the fresh air, and feast on Khmer-style barbeque in the local village. There are lots of hidden nooks and crannies worth exploring! Come by for a chance to act like a native and enjoy the natural setting.
Live and eat like a local on Road 60
Siem Reap’s exotic hub where local residents gather after a long day at work. This is the place to go for all-local Cambodian foods. You’ll find that most Cambodians follow a creepy-crawly diet, so be prepared to eat the most popular insects! Not only is Cambodia said to be the ‘World’s Highest Protein Soldier Grub Snack, but’ it’s also known for its unique delicacies. An acquired taste that is not to be missed. This street makes a big part of our After Dark Food Tour where we will walk and make several stops to test exotic food vendors. Join us for a slice of spice! Khmer cuisine is worth the try.
Phare is an award-winning circus
Opened by Cambodian refugees who returned home after the civil war. The shows are unlike any in the world! Recent Cambodian stories are told and expressed in a theater through dance, live music, and breathtaking circus arts. Phare artists are graduates of Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO school and arts center in Battambang, Cambodia. By going to the show, you contribute to the provision of free academic education, artistic vocational training, and social support programs to disadvantaged communities! We are very proud to help promote this wonderful enterprise.
Eat well, drink up, and enjoy
Siem Reap’s tourist numbers have always been on the rise with many visitors unable to resist staying only a few days! It really is a great place to come for food-lovers and backpackers because there are so many fantastic cafes, bars, and restaurants that specialize in numerous cuisines, from Western to South American and Middle Eastern. Within 2 different approaches, Chef Joanes from Cuisine Wat Damnak and Twin Chefs Kimsan from Embassy bring the Khmer cuisine to the top level. Pre-booking is a must, but if you are behind schedule, don’t hesitate to contact them directly. For those of you who miss the lively party atmosphere and Western food, there is a Hard Rock Cafe with live music and great burgers! But before you do, visit Pub street. Featuring bright lights, packed bars, and international cuisines, tourists go here for a night of action until the sun comes up!
APOPO is a global non-profit organization
Their mission is to help clear landmines in Cambodia, with rats! Visit this center to meet one of the amazing Tanzanian rats trained to sniff out explosives. If you want to learn more about these heroes and their impact, it’s only $5 per person for a short tour. Last year, Magawa was the first rat to receive the PDSA Gold Medal award. Be sure to set aside an hour to visit this center!
Artisans d’Angkor is worth a visit
If you like handicrafts from silk, craft, jewelry, or ceramics. Drop by if you wish to bring home gifts and souvenirs! Their workshops are located not far from the center of town and the Silk Farm, which is a 20-minute drive from Siem Reap. Both shops are open from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm, and with your visit comes a free guided tour in your language.
Massages a haven of peace and escape
From the dust and bustle outside. Take a break after a busy day of sightseeing at the temples in one of Siem Reap’s wellness centers. Spas such as Lemongrass Garden Spa and Bodia Spa offer a variety of massage treatments including a smooth relaxing oil massage and the popular traditional Khmer massage. Most hotels have in-house options! Booking in advance is always best but feel free to walk-in.
The Bong Pearaing Bird Sanctuary
Recently registered and recognized as an eco-tourism site in 2015. This natural dam was presumably a lake for elephants to get fresh water and cool down from the scorching heat. Today, it’s home to hundreds of species of freshwater fishes and water birds. It’s the ideal spot for those of you who love bird watching.
Yoga happens beyond the mat
Take advantage of Angkor’s peaceful atmosphere and give it a try. There are plenty of options but we especially love the sunrise yoga class at Srah Srang’s waterfront inside Angkor Archaeological Park. Make sure to get enough sleep and bring a temple pass with you! The experience is worthwhile.
As you can see, there are many different things to do while in Siem Reap. Combine these activities together and you’ll have yourself a full-week holiday. There’s so much more to learn about the culturally-rich Cambodian city. At Adventures Cambodia, we’re more than happy to offer advice during our tours including tips for your remaining days in Cambodia. If you are concerned about your health and safety, have a look at our article. We look forward to having you in Cambodia.