Things to do in Siem Reap

Things to do in Siem Reap

When you think of important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia, one place immediately comes to mind; Angkor Wat. It’s part of a temple complex that attracts over 2 million tourists to Siem Reap every year. 

But after spending a few days in the city, we realized that the Angkor Archaeological Park isn’t the only thing to do in Siem Reap. Siem Reap is home to interesting architecture, a thriving food scene, and surprising nightlife. 

In this post, you will find our favorite things to do and plenty of tips for your trip to Siem Reap.

How to get there 

We got there by boat from Battambang. You can read more about getting there by boat from Battambang here
 
You can also get there by bus, taxi, or plane from Phom Penh. From Phnom Penh, it takes around 7 hours by bus. If 
you don’t mind paying a bit extra, you can travel from Phnom Penh by hiring a private car and driver for the day. 
This is the most comfortable and quickest way to travel. 
 

Where to stay

We stayed at the Unity Hostel in Siem Reap’s city center.  The location could not have been better and the staff
is very friendly. We really enjoyed our stay there! 

Angkor Wat 

Just north of Siem Reap lies the stunning 400 square kilometers Angkor Archaeological Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to more than 50 ancient Khmer temples including the most famous one, Angkor Wat. 

We loved exploring the Angkor temples in Cambodia! In this post, you will find everything you need to know for a visit to the Angkor Archaeological Park. We explored the temples for 3 long days. Read more about the Angkor Archaeological Park here

Pub Street 

Pub Street is the center of the action as the night falls in Siem Reap. It’s a 100m stretch of road speckled with neon-lit clubs, bars, restaurants, and vendors. 

Pub Street is where backpackers from all over the world gather and dance the night away. Every evening the road is blocked off to traffic, making it a relaxing and safe place to hang out. 

We loved hanging out here during the evening. 

You will see a lot of vendors selling insects like ants, scorpions, grasshoppers, tarantulas, … 

Cambodian locals have been eating tarantulas and other insects as a delicacy for years, which is a sad holdover from the days of the Khmer Rouge regime when food disappeared and the local population was starving. The tarantulas are still eaten here today. 

We decided to try it out at the Bugs Cafe! The Bugs Cafe is a restaurant specialized in bug dining. Every item on their menu has bugs in it. 

We tried the tarantula donuts, the pan-fried marinated scorpions, and the lumpia stuffed with ants. 

The service was friendly and explained all the options. The food looked inviting, aside from the fact that it was insects of course. The taste itself was remarkably good; well prepared and seasoned. We weren’t a fan of the scorpion and the tarantula but we loved the lumpia with ants. It’s a bit pricy but worth a visit! 

You can get to the Bugs Cafe on foot or by tuk-tuk. It’s just a 5-minute walk from Pub Street.

The Cambodia Landmine Museum 

The Landmine Museum is located within the Angkor National Park around 30 minutes from Siem Reap and is the most popular attraction in Siem Reap after Angkor Wat. The museum aims to educate visitors about the impact of mines and the importance of clearing landmines in Cambodia and contains a collection of items from the Khmer Rouge and Vietnamese occupation. 

Money raised by the museum goes towards supporting amputee children affected by the mines and to fund a new school. 

You can get to the Cambodia Landmine Museum by tuk-tuk from Siem Reaps city center and the entrance fee is 1 USD per person. 

Bike 

Get off the beaten track and discover the countryside. Cycle through villages, and rice fields, smile, and wave at locals going about their daily business as you feel the wind in your hair. We loved it!  We hired a bike for a day at a shop next to our hostel. But you can also go on a guided bike tour. 

Visit a Floating Village 

The Tonle Sap Lake is known for its floating villages. Visiting one of these villages is quite an adventure and a unique way to experience rural Cambodia. 

You can book a tour at one of the shops in Siem Reap or you can take a tuk-tuk to the boat docks and pay for a ticket there. We took the boat from Battambang to Siem Reap and saw a lot of floating villages. You can read more about our experience here.

Night Markets

There are a couple of night markets in Siem Reap. The Old Market (Phsar Chas) was our favorite market. Here you can buy affordable clothes and souvenirs.  
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