12 Must Do Things In Siem Reap

Nestled in the heart of Cambodia, Siem Reap is one of my favorite areas on earth if not my number one fav.

Visiting Siem Reap is like jumping into the pages of National Geographic or diving into your TV while Earth is playing on Netflix. It is a destination that seamlessly weaves together the threads of natural beauty and rich history.

Top Things To Do In Siem Reap Cambodia

Siem Reap is one of my favorite 3 cities on earth. I had no idea how much fun I would have and how consistently amazed I would be at this quaint town in Cambodia.

Aside from not having a beach it has everything you could want in a foreign destination. If you were planning a vacation to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos or anywhere in Asia definitely make it a point to stop in Siem Reap for 3-4 days.

Top Things To Do In Siem Reap Cambodia

Flights are pretty cheap around Asia and Siem Reap is easy enough to get to from multiple countries surrounding it.

Visit The Floating Village Of Kompong Phluk & Tonle Sap

Just a short drive from Siem Reap lies the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap.

Explore the floating villages, where stilted houses rise above the water, and witness the daily lives of the local communities. A boat tour on the lake offers a glimpse into the resilience and adaptability of the people who call these floating communities home.

Best things to do in Siem Reap Cambodia

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re in National Geographic this is the tour for you. You’ll see see traditional stilt architecture, the floating village, floating rice paddies, crocodiles, fishermen, a treehouse walkway, traditional meals and memories to last forever.

This was one of the best cultural things I have experienced as we meandered down the river in a quintessential long-tailed boat, witnessing farmers pick morning-glory, fisherman getting the families dinner and witnessing daily life in this incredibly unique village.

Best things to do in Siem Reap Cambodia

It’s about a 45 minute tuk-tuk ride to where you will find your boat waiting that will take you for your 3-4 hour trip. I was all alone one my tour and on the entire trip I only saw 2 other tour groups.

The tour typically takes you down the river stopping at a little restaurant along the river where you can walk down a stilted walkway through the jungle and you might even bump into some unique wildlife!

Best things to do in Siem Reap

After the river restaurant stop it is on to Tonle Sap where you will visit the floating village and eat lunch at a floating restaurant in the middle of the lake.

My restaurant also had crocodiles that you could feed as well as a giant python! After some terrific local food it’s back in the boat to head back down the river before you head home.

Best thing to do in Siem Reap: Bike Through Angkor Archaeological Park  

While this is a no brainer, obviously visit the park… if you are able to, biking through it is in itself such a better experience.

To this day, biking Angkor Archaeological Park is still one of my favorite days on earth. 

Biking allows you to venture off the beaten path, discover some hidden gems, see things you might not see if flying by in a car and of course work up a sweat to eat all the food.

Best things to do in Siem Reap

It makes it so easy to just stop and take pictures of every random thing and site that pops up on your journey. I will go into some of those amazing things you might see!

Get ready to be transported into history for your entire day.

If you want an adventure, don’t get in a taxi or a tuk tuk but rent a $5-10 mountain bike and create your own incredible tour. There are $2-5 bikes available as well but for my adventure you are going to want more comfort so you can bike around the entire park!

I started early in the early morning and ended coming back at dark. If you want to exercise a little while on vacation this is the best way to see the park.

Best things to do in Siem Reap biking around town

While Angkor Wat is the crown jewel, the entire park is worth and entire day of exploring, eating street food, going for a swim and more! There are so many temples to see, each of them with their own cache and beauty.

Some of them were featured in movies like Tomb Raider, some you can climb to the top of for incredible views, and some are in the jungle where you’ll find yourself all alone in a haunting setting.

Best things to do in Siem Reap visit temples

Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm are the main big three to see but definitely try to see as much as you can along the way! You can definitely see the big 3 and make it to Phnom Bakheng for an incredible sunset.

Biking is great as you are more inclined to stop at multiple things whether it is for a snack, drink, a unique view and so many things you might miss if you were driving by.

The best time to go for Angkor Wat is for sunrise but truly anytime you go will be memorable. I highly suggest not just going there to snap a picture and leave… go explore. The artitecture, hallways, unique rooms and more are absolutely incredible.

Eat Scorpion, Snake and More!

Best things to do in Siem Reap eating snake

This is why you came to Asia right? To see, do and eat the craziest stuff you might ever see? Look, it doesn’t taste good, it is gross but it only costs $1-2 and you have to do it! If I had to rank it I would go grasshopper is the best, then snake, then scorpion and larvae ends it off as it is disgusting.

eating scorpion in siem reap

Rope Swing into a historic Moat

The moat itself is a gorgeous site. I had never seen a moat before and have always wanted to since days as a child making one around your sandcastles.

It is another stunning piece of architecture by the people that goes back hundreds of centuries ago.

Top Things To Do In Siem Reap Cambodia

If you are lucky you will see some local children swinging from one of the many trees into the moat… and if you are brave enough, go on and join them!

Is the water clean… who knows but… such an experience.

Surround Yourself With Monkeys… Carefully

monkeys in siem reap

Who doesn’t live monkeys! They are everywhere around Angkor Archaeological Reserve. Most of them are very friendly and will even steal your smoothie! With that said there are some who attack so be very careful when approaching them.

I saw one family get very aggressive with some tourists hissing and such… so let them approach you but also make sure you have nothing they can steal!

Visit Pub Street & Go To Pub Street For A Pub Crawl, Street Party & Drinks

best things to do in Siem Reap

Siem reap is a great place for a party as it is a backpackers hub. If you want to drink the pain away from your long bike ride in the park or just let loose here is the spot!

There are tons of pubs, street vendors, pub crawls and sometimes an entire street party! Okay… I made a street party but… it can happen.

Stay At A Beautiful Hotel For Less than $50-75 A Night

best things to do in Siem Reap

One of the best things about Asia is you can stay at 4-5 star resorts for so cheap. Traveling countries like Cambodia offer a ton of great hotels at a fraction of the price you’d find in the US.

Really affordability is the best reason to go to Asia where you can live like a king for cheap!

Eat Street Food At The Old Market

best things to do in Siem Reap eating frog

Not only are there bugs to eat but there is of course the best asian street meat, noodles, drinks and more.

If streat food isn’t your thing (it should be) then there are a plethora of restaurants to eat at in the area as well. I kid you not stuffed frog was one of the best tasting things I’ve ever had!

Get 4 Handed Massages & Spa Day For Cheap

Asia corrupted me as I now only want to do 90 minute massages and ideally 4 handed ones! Imagine the perfect 90 minute massage for like $25-30. It’s incredible if you want a spa day, massages, pedicures etc… Asia is the place to be pampered!

Go Shopping In the Old Market

best things to do in Siem Reap

Some of the most beautiful art, cheap clothes, knock off goods, and tons of souvenirs are to be had at the Old Market where you can spend hours meandering through the stalls, window shopping, negotiating and I suggest buying some absolutely stunning paintings for $50.

Keep in mind that any paintings you get will have to be re-canvassed back home, which costs $150-200! With that said, still do it as it is completely worth it.

People Watch

best things to do in Siem Reap

There is some unique stuff to see and people to watch in Cambodia. From the traditional ceremonies and dances to the poverty to the chaos you won’t be bored while walking the streets of Siem Reap.

I felt bad taking a picture here but I just had to share the poverty in Cambodia. There are orphanages abound in Cambodia and the poverty is incredible. In Siem Reap you escape the picturesque beaches and fruity drinks to truly see the Cambodian culture for good and the bad.

If you are to travel I always suggest Asia over anywhere else in the world so you can dive in and truly see a whole new world.

Fish Spa Pedicure

best things to do in Siem Reap

You may have seen a fish spa in NYC or an airport in Mexico but they aren’t anything like this! Here they have multiple pools with multiple sizes of fish.

There are larger ones that literally feel like they are chomping into your feet… it’s an awful feeling for some like me but others love it. If the big ones aren’t for you, you can do medium, small and tiny ones!

Visit the Cambodia Landmine Museum

An incredibly sad part of Cambodian history surrounds the genocide in the late 1970s and conflicts the cambodian people have gone through.

The Killing Fields in Phnom Penh was one of the saddest and most somber feelings I have ever had and this museum is no different.

best things to do in Siem Reap

While it is sad it truly is a part of history you need to know and be educated about.

Don’t Get Scammed or Pick Pocketed

best things to do in Siem Reap

It isn’t overly bad or anything in Siem Reap but always be careful when traveling anywhere. There is a common scam in the area where you’ll be approached by a woman with an adorable baby who asks you to buy powdered milk for her baby.

You then buy it for $20 and she will give it to a guy who then goes back and sells it back to the store. Hopefully some of the money goes to the family regardless but still sad it has come to that… and how do you say no to that cutie!

What are some other great things to not miss in Siem Reap?

There are some other amazing things you can’t miss when visiting if you have time such as the Phnom Kulen National Park mountain & waterfalls. If you want to visit some nature trails and work up a sweat then this is the place.

There is also the Phare Circus that is cheap and just something fun to check out to support the local people and get some entertainment.

How Long Should You Visit Siem Reap?

You should stay in Siem Reap for at least 3-4 nights as there is so much to do. 4-5 nights is the ideal length of time to stay in Siem Reap so you can explore it all without being too rushed.

The Angkor Archaeological Park alone you spend an entire day at; you need an entire day for Tonle Sap; you could easily spend another half day at the Park if you wanted and that only leaves 2 days to relax and see some other sites. 

best things to do in Siem Reap

Keep in mind from when you land into Siem Reap by the time you land, go through customs, get your bags and then a 1 hour drive from the aiport to the hotel, plus checking in, unpacking etc… you lose half a day or more there.

Odds are you may just want the first day to grab some food and a beer… thus, take the travel day, adventure days… only 1 day of actually true relaxation and such. 

Getting around Siem Reap 

Renting a bike for $3-15 USD a day is the best option. Definitely pay more and get a mountain bike if doing the long haul bike ride around Angkor Archaeological Park.

You can also get around town very easily with Tuk-Tuks, which are typically around $2-3 USD for anywhere in town.

Taxis are an option as well but not as worth it if going a short distance.

Top Things To Do In Siem Reap Cambodia

Getting From The New Siem Reap Airport To Town

The airport is new as of October 2023 so be sure to google and see if there are any updates as there is talk of a rail method happening, new shuttles are always added and of course you can taxi.

Taxis are $25-35 USD while there are also shuttle busses that will take you into town for cheaper or apparently there is talk of free options. 

Where is the best area to stay in Siem Reap?

The town itself is not very big so ideally just stay somewhere central in the heart of town. Any hotel website will have hotel reviews and such to read so you can make sure you are close enough to everything and access to town for shops, restaurants and bars.

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Hola! I’m Fraser & this site is a guide to help you reach your goals, travel the world and create amazing food in between. Get inspiration for travel, recipes & to follow your dreams.

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