7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap, Cambodia

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor Asia, Travel Blog, Travel Guides 32 Comments

In early August I flew directly from Manila to Siem Reap in a 90-dollar round trip fare which I got from an airline fare sale.

Being my second time there I wanted to expand my culture intake and still see the basics with a friend who had never been.

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

Home of the renowned Angkor Temple complex Siem Reap lies in the northwestern part of Cambodia and is a favorite stopover in Southeast Asia for backpackers traveling by bus from Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Phnom Penh.   With so many unique things to experience in Siem Reap it can be overwhelming trying to decide what to do.  Below are seven awesome bucket list items you should include on your itinerary.

CHEAP PLACE: Where to stay in Siem Reap, Cambodia? Check out this list.

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Here are our 7 Awesome Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia

1. Indiana Jones-ing at the Temples

No visit to Siem Reap can be complete without a visit to the temple complex.  You can get a 3-day pass to the Temples for 40USD and a day passes for 20USD. If you get a day pass, I suggest you plan on what temples to visit. Touring the temples can be exhausting so don’t forget to wear comfortable (but respectful) clothes and a bottle of water.

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

The Angkor temples are real testaments to tenacity. That feeling you get when you are on the walls of these 9th and 13th-century old architectures as they unveil history is lasting.  The rise and fall of empires, the intricacy of the Khmer art, and the harmonious adaptation of the ruins to nature as it stand the test of time, these sums up my temple hopping experience.

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Angkor Wat.

2. Bargain Shopping

The bustling Old and New markets are heavens for shopaholics. You can find almost everything here. From stunning artworks to bags and everything in between. I’d say Cambodians are hardcore sellers and a pro-level haggling and bargaining skills could save you serious money. Be wise in giving your preferred offer but don’t forget to be reasonable too even if the conversion is in your favor.

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

Remember to look around before buying – many of the stalls offer the same or similar items.  Buying from the first stall, you come upon is a good way to overpay.

3. Phare, The Cambodian Circus

After visiting the temples soaking in the energy from the circus is a great way to end the day.  A circus for a cause founded in 1994 to support its performers who came from poverty stricken backgrounds. The festive mood reminds me of my childhood memories in a “Perya,” a Filipino style Carnival. The hotel where I checked-in sold the circus ticket for 18USD. You can buy tickets at the circus venue too for the same price. The show starts at 8:00 pm and it’s free seating so make sure to be there a bit earlier to secure better seats. Preferred seating is also available for 35USD (Adult).

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

They have a few different shows however the screenplay I saw was about discrimination with a little bit of humor lighten a very sensitive social issue. The group performs in a very solid stance, and you could see that they love what they’re doing.  The group is world renowned and has traveled to end the world visiting the U.S., Europe and elsewhere.

4. Afternoon Drinks on a Roof Deck

What could be a better day ender than lazing on a roof deck on a large bean bag while watching the sun as it sets over the downtown river? You can find cheap rooftop bars close to the old market area. I went to a place called “Temples Bar” somewhere in the heart of Pub street. Having a glass of cocktail and snacks with Cambodian acoustic songs in the background while catching the afternoon rays on a roof deck is a travel experience I will always remember.

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

5. Bicycle Touring

What’s the best way to explore the Siem Reap? Well, rent a bike for a dollar and get lost in it.  I didn’t mind battling for space on the road against tuk-tuks, motors, and pedestrians and all I remembered from that journey was I was biking around Siem Reap that morning. I passed by the majestic Angkor Wat and in that fleeting moment time stood still.

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

You can rent a bike for 1USD. Bike rentals are everywhere, so you don’t have to worry. If you’re lucky, you can borrow one from your hotel for free. Just ask the hotel staff politely.

6. Spend some quite time in a do-good coffee shop

While your hotel checks out is scheduled at around noon, flights back to MNL are scheduled at night, and if you wish to stay in your hotel until evening, you have to pay for a hotel day’s rate.

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

Spending some quiet time in a do-good coffee shop is a nice thing to do while waiting for a red eye flight. My friends and I spent our last few hours in Cambodia last year in a coffee shop called New Leaf Book Cafe. If you identify yourself as a book lover, then this place is your paradise. It’s a quite place in the heart of bustling Siem Reap. Enjoy a glass of iced Cambodian coffee while reading books donated to the coffee shop. And their profit goes to community projects in the province. They serve light meals, and the service is excellent. They also have wifi and power outlets where you can charge your smartphones and power banks while waiting for your flight.

New Leaf Book Café

Group 10, Phum Mondul 1, Svay Dungkum, 306 Street 9, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Transportation Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest way to book the Trains, Buses, Ferries, Transfers on this route, we use 12Go.Asia to compare the prices!

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7. Marvel at the Angkor Wat Sunrise

It was 5:15am and Mr. Chour, our tuk-tuk driver, was waiting patiently at the hotel entrance. We would be heading to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise. At first, I thought it’s impossible to capture a good picture of Angkor Wat during sunrise because the light was not sufficient to showcase the beauty of the temple and its entirety and it was hazy. The sky started to display its amazing spectrum as it unveils the outline of the temple from across the moat. The photographers started the capture every single moment of it.  It was breathtaking. I know waking up early is a pain but at that moment all I ever thought was, I just had one of the greatest adventures of my life.7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem Reap

Related Article: Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

Monkey DividersSTILL LOOKING FOR OTHER TOURS TO DO IN CAMBODIA?

Even the best DIY trips need a little help here and there. If you’re headed here, check out all these awesome experiences for only $120 and below. Use them to spice up your budget DIY itinerary, or buy one as a gift for a friend (click the photo for more details!)

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Recommended Hotels

Budget – Adan World Hostel Siem Reap

Mid RangeGolden Temple Residence

Luxury – Borei Angkor Resort & Spa

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Looking for other articles? Check out our DIY Travel Guides Around the World. For cheap and luxurious places to stay while traveling, here’s our ultimate list of best hostels and hotels!

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About the Writer

7 Awesome Things To Do in Siem ReapCarlo Teope was born and raised in Manila and currently working in the BPO industry. “My love for photography and writing grew when I became a photojournalist back in school days. I love traveling – to a point my normal weekend is away from home.

You will always find me sitting on a window seat on flights going back to Manila next to my partner, zoned out, plotting an enormous change in my life in the state of post-travel blues. Some flights pass by while some drag on forever. And to help myself mitigate the journey along the way, I write.”

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Comments 32

  1. I have always wanted to visit Cambodia. These activities all look great, and the food is supposed to be excellent too I think.

  2. Great list!!! I will definitely take this list when I finally visit Cambodia. Indiana jones temple sounds exciting!! Thank you so much for sharing this it’s very helpful for people like me who are lazy searching and arranging my own itinerary!!

  3. Whenever Cambodia is mentioned, I always remember Indiana Jones and Temple Run. Angkor Wat is really a gem that must be seen by the naked eye. Glamorous on its own. 🙂

  4. Whenever I go to a new country I love seeing culture and history so I’d love to do a lot of these and to incorporate cycling into it is great! Those paintings are stunning! If/when I go to Cambodia I definitely want to buy one!

  5. Oh wow, it looks absolutely awesome! My son would be well impressed with the Indiana Jones stuff! I have never thought of Cambodia as a holiday destination. Kaz x

  6. Wow those temples look amazing, what a beautiful surroundings to be in! A bike tour is right up my street so I would definitely do this if I ever visited Cambodia! Excellent post and a brilliant way to get people interested in going!

  7. I did 6 of these when I was there. I didn’t bike because we are not bikes people. My favourite, other than visiting the temples, has got to be watching the sunrise! It was gorgeous and it’s still deeply etched in my mind.

  8. I have always wanted to visit Cambodia ever since a friend showed to me a few of the nice places in Cambodia, those temples included. still wishing to be there soon and blog about it.

  9. Oh wow , Cambodia ! That was so not on “my screen” , what a beautiful country and we over here don’t even think of it ! I love all these old ‘temples’ and monuments . And of course the Circus !!! I have seen lots of the chinese circus artist on tv , I believe the cambodian ( is that right ?) artists are as good as the chinese although the circus is pretty young . Great photos of an amazing environment , thanks for bringing Cambodia back to mind !

  10. What a great post, I will definitely visit this place someday! and I’ll do the no. 6 with a good book with me.

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