The 6 Things You Should Check Out While In Siem Reap - Updated 2023

things to do in siem reap
Adrian Chew
Adrian Chew 

Most visitors to Siem Reap are here to explore the UNESCO world heritage-listed temples of Angkor Archaeological Park, including enchanting, world famous Angkor Wat and the sprawling temple city of Angkor Thom, home to the Bayon. Besides these things, you might consider taking a cruise to the lesser visited floating villages or a bike ride through paddy fields and villages. For foodies, there are markets, street vendors and for the city types the many trendy pubs, cafes and restaurants in Pub Street. As for shopping, visitors can shop at the many night markets, galleries and artisan workshops for souvenirs. In the evening, see an Aspara dance show, or a quirky Phare Cambodian circus or perhaps go for a massage in the many spas in Siem Reap. So, discover, smile, and find yourself in Angkor.

1. See Cambodian countryside in a unique way: KhmerWays Moto Adventures

The best way to discover a country is the way of the locals. In Cambodia, Khmer’s major means of transportation is by motorbike, enabling travelers to reach the remote beauties of the real Cambodia. It is famed as ‘The Wild West of Asia’. While at the city you should book a day tour on motorbike.The KhmerWays Moto Adventures is a way to explore the countryside through green rice fields, lush bamboo groves and remote jungles towards hidden villages, ancient temples and breathtaking views. Besides this, it is the perfect way to integrate the Khmer lifestyle and experience the country like no other tourist. If you are staying at hotels or other types of accommodation, KhmerWays will send someone to pick you up from the hotel. And there is more, you can either be the rider or the passenger while on the tour. The tour will leave Siem Reap via backroads and ride through villages and rice fields to see life outside the town. During the journey, you will pass through farms, watching the locals working on their farm, water buffaloes basking in waterholes, kids enjoying their freedom in the countryside, and be amazed how different the speed of life is compared to bustling Siem Reap.

Next, there will be a stopover at the isolated Koh Krong Temple. Then you will have lunch in one of the KhmerWays recreation huts, at a beautifully restored ancient water reservoir. While waiting for your tantalizing BBQ lunch to be served, you can have a swim in the refreshing water, go inner tubing, try your hand at fishing or relax and indulge in the surrounding nature. You will then head over to the secluded and rarely visited ruins of Chao Srei Vibol with its colorful wat to take in the legacy of the Khmer Empire in peace. At the end of your tour, you will be drop off at your accommodation.

KhmerWays Moto Adventures

Address: Wat Bo street, Road 60, Siem Reap

Price: Depends on which package you opt for (bookings required)

Duration: Whole day

Contact: + 855 89946832

Near by Food: BBQ lunch, snacks and drinks provided as part of tour package

Website: KhmerWays Moto Adventures

2. Experience Tonle Sap Lake through the Tara River Boat Cruise

Posted by Tara River Boat on Saturday, 8 April 2017

Like the famous temple of Angkor Wat, Tonle Sap Lake is a natural wonder and a must-see for travelers, preferably by boat. Lake Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia, is an enormous pond that dramatically rises and falls with the seasons. The Tara River Boat Cruise takes you to the floating village of Chong Khneas and into a world which time has forgotten; a scene of unimaginable beauty with children swimming in sparkling blue water and women paddle their boats, laden with bananas, flowers, fresh vegetables or other produce. Next, you will head over to the flooded mangrove forest for a tour of the silted homes and a visit to the Gecko Centre, Crocodile, and Fish Farm. Then its time for a stop on the Tara River Boat for the best view of the sunset in a beautiful setting, taking in the array of colors and stunning scenery. It is the perfect end to any day.

This is one of the best way to experience The Great Lake. This tour includes pick up from your hotel, an English speaking guide, stunning sunset views on Tara Boat, a free meal and unlimited drinks. You can enjoy the comfort of the viewing deck, sipping your drinks while you wind down and relax. This is the only river boat service available to the floating village.

Tara River Boat Tours

Address: 63 Krong, Siem Reap

Price: Depends on the tour package you opt for (bookings required)

Duration: Half day to whole day

Contact: + 855 92957765

Near by Food: Buffet available as part of tour package

Website: Tara River Boat Tours

3. Explore Siem Reap City with a private tour guide (from USD 57.0)

A part of Siem Reap
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Milei.vencel used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Head out into the city streets and back alleys of Siem Reap on this private tour with an experienced local guide. Learn about the Siem Reap rich history, talk with locals and gain insight into one of Cambodia’s most popular destinations. This tour caters for those who only have a short time to spend in Cambodia and want to get a good impression of the country and Siem Reap. Take a tour on a tuk tuk, and you will follow your guide through Siem Reap highlights. Be ready if you opt for this private tour package, as the guide will pick you up from the hotel. Then you will proceed to visit the Angkor National Museum, where you will learn about the area’s most famous temple and see the artefacts and exhibits being displayed. Later, you can take a stroll at the Royal Garden. While at the garden, be sure to take photos or you can ask your guide to take a memorable snapshot for you. Next, the guide will bring you through stalls of a local market filled with colorful fruits, herbs and other regional delights. Various delicacies and souvenirs can be found here.

This private tour also includes a visit to a Buddhist Pagoda. Do remember to receive blessings from the monk while at the Pagoda. In addition, pay a visit to a local school and check out the Royal Residence. Then proceed to the war museum, where you will gain a deeper understanding of the Khmer Rouge and Pot Pot regime. This five hour tour hits all the highlights and is perfect for the first timer. Guides are also flexible and tailor the itinerary to the traveler’s interests. This tour costs around 69 USD, which includes an English speaking guide, mineral water, all admission fees, pick up and drop off from your hotel.

Private City Tour in Siem Reap

Duration: 4 hours

13 reviews

4. Learn more about culture, religion and royalty at Angkor National Museum

Angkor National Museum, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Source: Photo by user e_chaya used under CC BY 2.0

While in Siem Reap, you need to visit the city’s Angkor National Museum. It opened in 2007 and houses more than 1,000 artifacts from the ancient Khmer empire. Located along Charles de Gaulle Boulevard, this expansive museum has eight galleries showcasing era, religion and royalty. The displays include relics from the pre-Angkor periods of the Khmer kings. The many stone pallets of Angkor Thom and Sanskrit inscriptions, as well as traditional costumes of former kings, queens, warriors and Aspara dances, are displayed prominently in the museum. Apart from that, visitors are able to watch a short video about the museum history and services in an amphitheater, before exploring the galleries. The video is available in Khmer, Korean, Chinese, English, French and Thai and easily caters to international tourists. This orientation is schedule every 15 minutes.

Angkor National Museum’s most impressive section is the gallery of 1,000 Buddhas, where hundreds of wooden, jade and metal sculptures are carefully arranged. Each is fitted with short descriptions of its material and original locals, though some were recovered from the temple ruins of Bayon, Angkor Wat, Banteay Kdei and Preah Vihear. Visitors are advised to visit the Angkor National Museum before visiting the temples, as there are numerous touch screen videos, information and commentary on the Khmer civilization and Angkor temple. Angkor National Museum is a must-visit attraction.

Angkor National Museum

Address: 968 Vithei Charles de Gaulle Blvd | Khrum 6, Siem Reap

Price: About 12 USD (Adults), 6 USD (Children, 6-11 years), Free entry (Children below 5 years)

Opening hours: Monday-Sunday (8.30am-6pm, April-September), (8.30am-6.30pm,October-March)

Duration: About half day

Access: By tuk tuk

Contact: + 855 63966601

Website: Angkor National Museum

5. Uncover Angkor hidden gems and charms by tuk tuk (from USD 65.0)

Posted by Aishwarya Shankar on Sunday, 5 March 2017

What comes to mind when you hear of Angkor? Of course, temples. This tour is hands down the best way to explore Cambodia’s religious architecture. You can see the sunrise with Angkor Wat as your scene backdrop with this full day tour to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor Archaeological Park, and also visit the most spectacular temples of Ta Prohm, Bayon, Angkor Thom and Preah Khan, reflecting the Angkor history. If you do not want to miss the sunrise, depart early from your hotel in the morning by tuk tuk. Once there, marvel at the incredible sunrise of Angkor Wat and take the best photos. It is a sight to behold, stunning and picturesque. As the sun moves higher, you will be lead to the beautiful Ta Prohm Temple. Here you will see the famous entwined trees where some of the scenes of ‘Tomb Raider’ were filmed. Then, you will head onwards to Angkor Thom and the mystical Bayon Temples. Roam further into the temples and immerse yourself in stories told by your guide.

From here you will move to Baphuan and the beautiful Elephant Terrace, before climbing up the hill Phnom Bakheng to see the fabulous view of the Angkor area. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at your hotel. It is a day to be inspired and amazed. If you are a first timer and someone who is curious about the site history, you can listen to your English speaking guide explaining every detail of the temples with ease.

Private Angkor Wat Tour from Siem Reap

Duration: 8 hours

58 reviews

6. Watch the daring and unique Phare: The Cambodian Circus Show (from USD 18.0)

Mark your calendars! Same Same but Different is coming back for its second appearance on December 3rd. Come watch our...

Posted by Phare, The Cambodian Circus on Thursday, 1 December 2016

You will never believe that Cambodia has their own circus show. Learn about life in Cambodia via a modern circus act. You will get to enjoy an amazing blend of traditional theater, music, dance, acrobatics, juggling and stunts, which are all beautifully choreographed and performed. Phare is Siem Reap’s most unique, authentic, top rated evening entertainment. The young circus performers are mostly university youths. They will impress you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm and talent. Sit back and relax while experiencing the bright future of Cambodian arts in a beautiful big top tent.

Besides the show, Phare Café completes your experience with a delicious 3 course set dinner, before or after the show. You can choose from fish or local beef, to vegetarian options for main course. If you plan to watch any of the circus performances you need to book in advance as the high season will be from November to April every year. This is definitely an awesome show and a must-see for all travelers.

Siem Reap Phare: The Cambodian Circus Show Admission Ticket

Duration: 1 hour

1084 reviews

Truly a Kingdom of Wonder

Siem Reap has certainly blossomed into one of the key Asian destinations for travelers due to its wealth of attractions. It is also particularly easy to travel in because of the relatively high level of English language spoken, in comparison to neighboring countries. With its unique and fascinating history of 1,000 year old temples, artists, poets, writers, photographers and film makers are flocking to be close to the astonishing ruins of Angkor. Cambodia was hidden from the outside world for much of the last century, but is now emerging from years of isolation and becoming increasingly popular on the travel trails. So now is the time to visit, before everyone else does!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

I was born and raised in a small town called Muar, Johor in Malaysia. After my parents got married, I moved to Kuala Lumpur and currently residing in Selayang, Selangor. My favourite pastime...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Siem Reap
Good things are meant to be shared!