Top 10 Things To Do in Siem Reap, Cambodia


Veda Reddy, CEO, Planetwildlife


This is my travelogue of a recent, fun 4-day trip to Siem Reap. Short as it was, I fulfilled my long lasting wish of visiting the ruins of the ancient lost city of Angkor. You can't visit Siem Reap and not see Angkor Wat! But there’s a lot more to do in Siem Reap and this is my guide for your next Siem Reap holiday. Don’t miss these 10 essential experiences at Siem Reap:

1. Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat at Sunrise

No doubt, it is one of the world's greatest monuments. The largest Hindu temple complex in the world, Angkor Wat is a massive structure surrounded on all sides by a moat. Whether you're a hardcore shutterbug or just want to see the temple at its best, capture the beauty at sunrise.

2. Angkor Thom - Faces of Bayon

Faces of Bayon

The largest temple in the complex, Angkor Thom is the second most visited temple after Angkor Wat. Covering an area of 9 square kilometres, at the center of Angkor Thom is Bayon Temple, which is home to massive, carved stone heads. The next popular site is the Terrace of the Elephants, part of the walled city of Angkor Thom. Angkor's King Jayavarman VII used this terrace as a viewing platform to watch his army.

3. Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm

Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm is preserved in the same condition in which it was found—trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor’s most popular temples. Ta Prohm is where Tomb Raider was actually filmed, one more reason for all the Lara Croft fans to visit.

4. Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea

Beng Mealea (meaning “lotus pond”) is where you can see what the temples would look like if left to nature.  Located 40 km east of the main group of temples at Angkor, this will appeal to the Indiana Jones in all of us!

5. Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei

Known as the “city of women“, Banteay Srei was built in dedication to the Hindu God, Shiva. With a number of outstanding red sandstone carved statues, Banteay Srei is an astonishing sight to visit. A land mine museum along the way to Banteay Srei is a frequent stop on the return trip back to town. It tells the story of land mines in Cambodia and their sobering impact on the country’s past, present, and future.

6. Tonle Sap Lake

Tonle Sap Lake

If you're after a taste of “real” Cambodia, take a tour of the Tonle Sap fishing villages where you can see traditional stilt architecture, floating rice paddies, and talk to local fishermen who might invite you home for a freshly caught lunch.  A visit to the floating village on Tonle Sap Lake is one of the most popular non-temple attractions around Siem Reap.

7. Go on a Tuk-Tuk Ride

Tuk-tuks are the easiest way to get around Siem Reap. You can get anywhere in the main city for USD 2. Tip the driver well and you'll have a friendly and eager tour guide who will show you the best of Siem Reap.

8. Old Market and Pub Street

Old Market Siem Reap

With an assortment of dried packaged fruit, spices, shirts, silver, scarves, and everything else, the Old Market is undoubtedly the best place to buy souvenirs in Siem Reap. If you're too busy temple-touring during the day, you can still get the market experience at Angkor Night Market. The Night Market is similar to its daytime counterpart, though slightly more upscale and without any food items.

Angkor Beer

With buzzing restaurants, bars, and clubs, Pub Street is the heart of Siem Reap’s nightlife. It can get pretty loud and boisterous here. Most of the restaurants are touristy and similar to each other, but it’s a great place to hang out and enjoy a few beers. 

9. Watch the Traditional Apsara Dance

Apsara Dance

If your taste in nightlife is a little more muted than Pub Street, take a look at traditional Cambodian culture at a Khmer dance show, named Apsara for the “heavenly dancers” depicted on the Angkor temples.

10. Khmer cooking class

Palm Sugar Making Siem Reap

If you're hooked on Cambodia's delicious curries, take a traditional cooking class. Khmer chef instructors will guide you through local markets and identify all the exotic ingredients. Then don your chef's apron and hat to prepare dishes of your choice. Alternatively, you can enjoy palm sugar making with the locals.

Inspired to travel to Cambodia with us? Consider our Classic Cambodia holiday or contact our Cambodia Destination Specialist, Veda at for a competitively-priced custom tour.