During the past ten to fifteen years, Siem Reap has distinguished itself as one of the most important destinations in Southeast Asia. In the heart of these attractions is, naturally, the rich historical heritage of the region, but the city also offers many additional activities to attract tourists. The question is not what to do in Siem Reap; it’s rather how much time to spend to experience the extreme variety of the region.
Special Things to Do in Siem Reap
When visiting a new place, tourists often focus on activities carrying local specificity. But Siem Reap offers more than that: it’s traditional enough to display a strong identity, yet versatile enough to come up with the strangest solutions in the world.
- Take cooking classes (Le Tigre de Papier). Many online guides mention them and they are right, really. In a matter of days you can learn about a cuisine that’s actually unknown in the Western world.
- Try horseback riding (The Happy Ranch). It may seem difficult in the first place, but many establishments have guides who can help you if you’re a beginner.
- See cultural representations of local theatres. We suggest the Apsara Theatre for its impressive dance shows.
- If you’re stressed or in low spirits, get a massage (Lemongrass Garden). If you don’t have a plan for one afternoon, get a massage. If you’re just curios, get a massage. And if you’re skeptical, you really need to get a massage.
- Explore the neighboring villages with a quad. A truly off-road experience.
- Take gulf courses (Phokeethra Country Club).
- Phare the Cambodian Circus: Phare performances are an astonishing immersion into Cambodian modernity with a daily theatrical circus show of international standard. Modern Cambodian tales are embodied by a new generation of talented artists.
Visiting places around Siem Reap
Here are the most important places you need to see if you plan on visiting during your stay in Siem Reap:
- The Angkor Wat. You need at least one day for this one, but it’s worth it.
- Local temples. There is a something specific for each and every monastery in this area.
Shopping, Trading, Buying, Spending
It depends on what you want to buy. If you’re really into shopping, follow the list below:
- Souvenirs – Even if you can find souvenirs anywhere in Siem Reap, the Old Market is preferable.
- Clothes – The Night Market, but also many boutiques on the streets in the city center.
- Crafts – Artisans d’Angkor is located in the center. Superb silk products are available.
- Market – The Angkor Trade Center is all you need, even if you plan on staying more than you’ve originally anticipated.
Eating – A Whole New Experience
Restaurants are extremely varied in Siem Reap. If you’re interested in eating something special, something rare or something unusual, check this out:
- Eat traditional food – Many restaurants in Siem Reap advertise traditional food, but few really do offer true Khmer dishes. Try Psar Chaa or Khmer Kitchen Restaurant.
- Eat Asian food – A little spicy, when it’s not tangy or pungent. Try Dead fish Tower or Curry Walla.
- Eat international food – Funky Munky and Blue Pumpkin are very popular among tourists. Beware: they sell sweets!
One more thing: once you’ve finished seeing what you wanted to see and doing what you wanted to do, make sure you leave enough time in the last day for a walk on the streets of the Siem Reap. If it’s the dry season and you don’t do it in a rush, you will remember such an afternoon for the rest of your life.