When planning to have Siem Reap tours, watching the sun rise over the Angkor Wat’s towers must be at the top of your bucket list. In fact, many tourists come for holidays to Cambodia to visit the spectacular UNESCO World Heritage-listed ancient temples.
So, you are considering exploring Siem Reap, the gateway town around 5.5 km from Angkor Wat, hiring a tuk-tuk driver, and looking forward to blowing your mind with the 1000-year-old temple’s epic archaeological ruins.
However, spending your days exploring only the famous Angkor Wat might be a bit boring. So, what’s more to see or do in Siem Reap other than just visiting Angkor Wat? This article gives you more ideas to help you choose the awesome things you can do in Siem Reap.
Having Breakfast on Tuk Tuk
On the first day of the holidays to Cambodia in Siem Reap, consider having a special breakfast experience by exploring the city while savoring delicious local Cambodian food in a different setting. In Siem Reap, you can find tuk-tuk rides serving delightful breakfast while taking you to explore the beautiful sights and sounds of the city. It’s the perfect way to start your day and make lasting memories during your trip.
Phare Cambodian Circus
Eight young refugees founded Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang in 1994 to provide opportunities for underprivileged kids after the horrors of Pol Pot’s regime. Cambodian people enjoyed the circus for centuries as a vibrant part of Khmer culture. You can also see the carvings of acrobats in ancient Cambodia’s temples. However, in 1975, the Khmer Rouge banned art and culture, and thus, the circus was no longer part of their culture.
Phare Ponleu Selpak promotes Cambodian Circus and provides free food, education, training, and jobs to over 1000 students. Cambodian Circus has a second venue in Siem Reap where you can see graduates performing a combination of comedy, acrobatics, dance, and circus skills reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil.
A Boat Trip on Tonle Sap Lake
Cambia is home to two main Tonle Sap floating villages: Chong Khneas and Kampong Phluk. To explore the Tonle Sap Lake, consider having half of Siem Reap day tours there. The floating village of Chong Khneas is around 10 km south of Siem Reap.
You can explore the floating village on a traditional wooden boat and take local-life photos of fishermen, women picking wood on the lake, kids returning from floating schools, and more.
If you love nature and prefer a less crowded place, Kampong Phluk is a must added destination in the Cambodia tour packages. To explore this floating village, you will have to go through the heart of the mangrove forests on the lake’s margins. Kampong Phluk, a group of three villages, is located around 16 km southeast of Siem Reap.
Angkor National Museum
An excellent way to escape the afternoon heat is to book tickets for the Angkor National Museum, which displays thousands of artifacts and carvings from Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. The archaeology museum was opened in 2007 to give context to the temples you might love to visit and reveal the history of how the Khmer Empire rose and fell across eight galleries.
Moreover, when exploring the museum, you can learn about the ancient kings who built the mighty complexes, how the religion and beliefs of Angkor temples changed from Hindu to Buddhist and back again, and enjoy exhibitions focusing mainly on Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom.
Blow Off Steam at Pub Street
Are you looking forward to having a vibrant night in Siem Reap? If so, don’t miss out on adding Pub Street to your Cambodia tour packages. Decorated with bright neon lights, this lively street is filled with live bands, tourists, and local vendors.
You can find a multitude of places to try cheap food and drinks here. Moreover, you can get local souvenirs at a reasonable price at the nearby Old Market. Pub Street is also home to fish spas where you can relieve your travel fatigue by immersing your feet into a tank and having little fish nibble the dead skin, providing relaxation.
Visit to Beng Mealea
If you are looking for sites in a more original state, Beng Mealea is the right destination for you. Situated around 70 km outside Siem Reap, Beng Mealea receives relatively fewer tourists and, thus, is a quiet place. The tranquility and rawness of the site will offer you great peace of mind. You will feel like you are at your private discovery amid the jungle.
Much of the temple is overrun with trees and vines, but you can ask the guide about the secret paths. Much off the beaten track, Beng Mealea differs significantly from other Angkor temples. You will be mesmerized by the archeological ruins and find the temple most picturesque and photogenic.
Visit Banteay Srei
When stepping into Banteay Srei, you will feel like you are in a fairytale. On your way from Beng Mealea to Siem Reap, don’t miss out on visiting Banteay Srei, as it’s a true masterpiece of ancient history.
Red-colored stone and intricately detailed art style make it different from other Angkor temples. Those on the sandstone walls are breathtaking corners with unique and detailed architecture and ornamentation, leaving you in awe of the fine craftsmanship.
On your way back to Siem Reap, ask your tuk-tuk driver to take you to Tip Lam sugar maker and the local market to experience the local Cambodian life.
Almost every tourist planning a tour in Cambodia might have heard of the Angkor Wat temple complex as one of the famous attractions and must-see in Siem Reap. However, this Cambodian city has much more to offer. You can invest a day to explore Angkor Wat, but consider giving your remaining days to the things mentioned above and places to make the best out of your tour to Siem Reap. Furthermore, collaborating with the best travel agent for Vietnam and Cambodia is the ultimate way to know the hidden gems in these countries rather than just visiting the famous places.