Things to Do in Siem Reap

Sunday, December 23, 2018

One of the first things that will come to your mind when you hear about Siem Reap in Cambodia is definitely the world famous Angkor Wat. However, it’s not the only thing that will excite you in this cultural paradise. As a traveler who is eager to discover its true essence, you will find an assortment of things to do in Siem Reap. 

The magnificent temples, delicious cuisine, vibrant markets, and the Angkorian architecture will surely amuse you. For a more authentic experience, chat with locals and find out about the Asian lifestyle or travel through less taken roads. But, here are some things to do in Siem Reap in 3 days to get the best out of it.

Angkor Wat

Visiting Angkor Wat Temple is an absolute must on the things to do in Siem Reap!
Visiting Angkor Wat Temple is an absolute must on the things to do in Siem Reap!

This UNESCO World Heritage monument is the largest temple in the world and is undeniably the icon of Cambodia. Angkor Wat Temple complex is one of the best preserved Angkor monuments and shows the impressive craftsmanship and rich architecture of the Khmer Kingdom. 

Believed to have been built during the 12th century, it is in the form of a mountain temple symbolic of the mythical Mount Meru. Another interesting fact is that unlike other temples in the region, Angkor Wat Temple is oriented towards the West and is dedicated to god Vishnu. 

It is better to hire an official tour guide who will explain Angkor Wat facts in detail like how and when was Angkor Wat built. 

Ta Prohm

Ta Prohm Temple is an unique mix of nature and architecture that you shouldn't miss!
Ta Prohm Temple is an unique mix of nature and architecture that you shouldn't miss!

Renowned as the ‘Tomb-Raider Temple’, Ta Prohm is another relic in Angkor that will capture your heart instantly. You will find this place serene and shady where overgrown trees encircle the temple’s ruins with its large roots. 

The labyrinth formed by the blend of nature and architecture makes it a picture-perfect destination. That is why Ta Prohm Tomb Raider scene in the film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider featuring Angelina Jolie became world famous. Here's a complete Siem Reap guide, so arm yourself with information before visiting this stunning place. 

The temple was built in mid 12th century, and archeologists have taken immense steps to preserve it. Ta Prohm is a major highlight in Angkor that you shouldn’t miss.

Banteay Srei

Banteay Srei is made of red sandstone and its carvings tell the story of Ramayana.
Banteay Srei is made of red sandstone and its carvings tell the story of Ramayana.

If you are a person who loves observing intricate stone carvings and interpreting their meanings, here’s what to do in Siem Reap. 

This pink-hued ‘Citadel of Women’ is an elegant Hindu temple located about 20km north of Angkor Wat. The Banteay Srei temple faces the east and consists of four enclosures built using red sandstone. 

Read more: Things to Do in Phnom Penh

The outer enclosure which is a walkway to the main entrance is lined with galleries on both sides. The exquisite carvings are presumed to be done by women and have scenes from the Ramayana story. 

The opening hours are from 7.30AM-5PM, and the Banteay Srei entrance fee is included in the admission fee of Angkor.

Angkor National Museum

Angkor National Museum houses many historical remnants of the Angkor and Khmer civilization.
Angkor National Museum houses many historical remnants of the Angkor and Khmer civilization.

This museum is a modern-styled massive building located on the way to the Angkor site. It houses thousands of historical artifacts and sacred remnants of Angkor Empire and Khmer civilization. 

The interior of the Angkor National Museum is absolutely stunning, and the visitors are given a short presentation before the entry. There are separate galleries that hold exhibits from different eras, religions, and royalties. 

Here, you will find a large collection of Buddha statues, exhibits from the pre-Angkorian times, information on kings who reigned during the time and inscriptions of the Angkor kingdom that highlight its importance.

The museum is open from 8.30AM-6.30PM, and the Angkor National museum price is $12.

Kampong Phluk

Kampong Phluk Floating Village is located on Tonle Sap Lake.
Kampong Phluk Floating Village is located on Tonle Sap Lake.

Looking for things to do in Siem Reap besides the temples? Visit a floating village for a unique experience. Kampong Phluk is such a village where lined up stilted houses and boats will amuse and sadden you at the same time. 

Located within the floodplain of the great lake Tonle Sap, it will give you an insight into the rustic and tedious lifestyle of its inhabitants. Since the village remains isolated from the city’s hustle and bustle, it doesn’t attract a lot of attention from tourists.

Read more: Cambodian People

The Tonle Sap River not only helps Kampong Phluk villagers to suffice their daily needs by fishing but also provides water for all purposes. 

One of the interesting Tonle Sap lake facts is that it is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.

Landmine Museum

Landmine Museum was established by a former Khmer Rouge child soldier who wanted to raise awareness on the landmine situation in Cambodia.
Landmine Museum was established by a former Khmer Rouge child soldier who wanted to raise awareness on the landmine situation in Cambodia.

This museum was established in 1997 to educate people about the landmine situation faced by Cambodia and its potential dangers. It also engages in removing the vast number of landmines that were planted during the three-decade war the country went through in the past. 

The founder, Aki Ra himself has planted landmines since the age of five as he was a suppressed child soldier to the Khmer Rouge. The Landmine Museum consists of four galleries which exhibit a vast collection of deactivated arms like guns, hidden mines, booby traps etc. 

Here, you can also learn about the horrific wartime experiences faced by its victims including soldiers who were forced to battle. 

Kulen Nature Trails

Kulen Mountain offers its visitors untouched nature and much more.
Kulen Mountain offers its visitors untouched nature and much more.

Looking for adventurous things to do in Siem Reap? Head to the Kulen Mountain which is both a national park and a religious site. 

The hiking trails available here will surely offer you a breathtaking nature-bound experience. The nature park aims to preserve this site which is home to native flora and fauna while providing visitors an opportunity to enjoy. 

Read more: Best Hiking Trails in Cambodia

The park is full of exciting sights with two magnificent waterfalls, a tall sandstone-made Buddha statue, some archeological sites and much more. 

So, take a day off from the buzzing city and trek to explore the hidden charms in Phnom Kulen National Park.


Out of the many charming places in Cambodia, Siem Reap holds a prominent position and has attracted tourists for a very long time. While Angkor Wat is partly the reason behind this popularity, there are a lot of exciting places and other things to do in Siem Reap. It is better to have a tour guide who can fill you in with interesting details about these places. But, if you are a challenging and an enthusiastic person willing to explore them by yourself, adventure awaits you. Also, if you are looking for things to do in Siem Reap at night, there are plenty of nightclubs, bars, and night markets.  You can purchase handcrafted goodies from these night markets as gifts or souvenirs.

Raeesha Ikram freelance content writer for aSabbatical
Travelling isn’t a mere journey to different places. Instead, it’s an eye-opener revealing how beautifully diverse the world is.