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Siem Reap - What to do besides the temples

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

Siem Reap is a small town located just 400 km from Bangkok and home to the famous Angkor Temples. The city has seen tremendous growth and a rising number of travelers are ranking it high on their places to go. According to Rough Guides, Siem Reap is ranked number 9 on the top places to visit in Asia. The temples are one of the main reasons people visit Cambodia, but you might be left wondering what else is there to do?

Well, we’ve got you covered on where to go, where to eat and how to get around.

How To Get Around?

Siem Reap is a small town with everything within a close distance, making getting around convenient.

Tuk Tuk or Ride Hailing Apps

There is an abundance of Tuk Tuks all throughout Asia and as we know they are one of the most popular modes of transport. The recent introduction of ride-hailing apps such as Passapp and Grab has made transport easier and cost-effective all throughout Cambodia.

Bicycle & E-Bikes

If you prefer riding around at your own freedom, try renting a bicycle for just $1 a day. Another alternative is to hire an E-bike, these are fun, eco-friendly electric bikes which run on solar power. There are plenty of charging docks all throughout town. The price is $10 for 24 hours use, they will need a copy of your passport as a security deposit so keep that in mind. Below, we have listed the three places you can rent an E-bike in Siem Reap.

Click the link for the location:

Overlocity E-Bike Hire, Taphul Road

Siem Reap E-Bike, Tep Vong Road

Green E-Bike, Behind the Siem Reap Provincial Hospital

1. Visit The Local Market

Local markets are a social hub, where people meet, shop and sell and Siem Reap has an abundance of local markets. General markets are filled to the brim with dozens of stalls. They sell everything from fresh produce just in from the provinces, to gold jewelry and an array of ~interesting~ clothing. Take your time walking through each alley while you absorb the sights of the hustle and bustle of a local market.

Once you’ve had enough, pull up a seat at one of the many food stalls and order a bowl of hot noodle soup topped off with fresh herbs, or try a plate of rice and grilled pork followed by an iced coffee. On your way out stop by a dessert stall and pick up a traditional Khmer dessert for the rest of the way. Top Markets: Psa Leu Market and Psa Chas (Old Market)

2. Eat locally

Siem Reap is prominent with delicious street food everywhere you turn. If you’re staying in the center of town you will have no shortage of delicious meals. Along the riverside of an early evening to late at night, you will find everything from sweet treats like fruit shakes, banana pancakes or fried buns with a matcha dipping sauce. If you’re looking for dinner options try fried rice with meat (optional) topped off with an egg, or a sauteed grilled chicken leg. The opportunities for a cheap and tasty meal are endless.

Top areas to eat:

Opposite Angkor Trade Centre: You will see food carts lined up by the dozen selling delicious shakes and tasty meals. If you’re looking for a coffee, try Noi Café, popular among locals.

Selling times: 10am-11pm daily

Old Market Area: Opposite the riverside, you will find stalls selling local desserts and dinners all night long. If you have a sweet tooth, we recommend trying fried ice cream ($2.5).

Selling times: 4pm-11pm daily

3. Visit Phnom Krom Mountain

Hire a motorbike or a bicycle and head to Siem Reap’s Phnom Krom Mountain and marvel at the lush greenery. Stop along the way and take pictures as you make your way to the countryside. Explore the sights of people fishing in the river, children riding their bicycles along the bridges and the many pagodas you’ll encounter. If you’re headed by bicycle make sure to take some water and leave early to avoid the heat. When you get there stop off and have a drink at one of the many huts upon the lotus ponds. Don’t forget to catch the sunset from the top of the mountain before heading back.

You must have a valid Angkor Park Ticket to be able to visit the top of the mountain.

4. Visit a Local Pagoda

Around Siem Reap, you will see plenty of smaller local pagodas each with intricate detailing and architecture. You are allowed to pray with incense sticks or cleanse yourself using blessed water from the monks. Pagodas usually rely on donations received throughout the year on holidays like Khmer New Year and Pchum Ben. These donations allow them to renovate and conserve Cambodia’s history and culture. If you use incense sticks or lotus water please provide a small donation of 500-1000r.

Pagodas within Siem Reap:

Preah Ang Chek, Wat Preah Prom Rath, Wat Svai

Pagodas outside of Siem Reap:

Wat Svay Romeat, Kauk Chauk Pagoda

5. Experience a Traditional Apsara Show

Traditional Apsara show at Smile of Angkor

Cambodia bears a strong heritage and culture, Apsara is one of them which dates far back into Khmer history. The dance was almost forgotten during the Khmer Rouge Regime, however was brought back to life in the 1940’s for Princess Sisowath Kossamak.  Now, apsara dance shows are aplenty with many hotels offering dinner packages among the show. This is an experience which will leave you awestruck by the light movements of professionally trained dancers, a must-see when visiting Cambodia.

6. Join Aerobics At The Local Park

Daily at 5:30 pm there are local aerobics classes held down by the river front for everyone to join. It’s a popular activity among locals and few expats, it’s a fun way to get a workout in while having a great time. There are different classes available from, techno aerobics to a slower paced Apsara class. If you’re looking to learn the nimble hand movements of an Apsara dancer. An average price for a class is between 1500-2000r (40-50cents).

Location: Directly opposite Preah Ang Chek Temple, along the riverside.

7. Enjoy A Massage

Like most places in Asia, massage places are a dime a dozen and some offer great deals you couldn’t pass up. This is a perfect opportunity to wind down and relax after a long day of sightseeing or temple wandering. Massage prices vary depending on where you go, most places offer a foot massage for a few dollars. For a one of a kind massage, you could try a massage by the blind for around $5 for an hour.

8. Watch The Spectacular Phare Circus

The Phare Circus has been high on travelers lists for quite some time and with good reason. It has been dubbed Cambodia’s Cirque Du Soleil. Filled with jaw-dropping performances, exciting theatrics, music and dance bring a modern spin to Khmer art. The circus provides free training to underprivileged youth from poor communities.

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9. Workout At A Local Gym or Boxing Class

Gyms in Cambodia are always a fun experience. They’re safe, fun and popular among expats and locals. If you’re looking for a well equipped gym, we recommend Angkor Muscle Gym & Mr Ly's Gym. They're both always filled with people and they offer private and group training classes (at an extra cost). If you prefer a hardcore boxing class, we suggest trying Kingdom Fight Gym & Mr Ly’s Gym. Both offer private, group and childrens classes, Pricing:

Angkor Muscle Gym: $1 full day use of gym equipment, towel provided (extra cost for use of treadmill).

Mr Ly’s Gym: $1 full day use of gym equipment, towel provided (no treadmill) or $6 for 1h boxing class.

Kingdom Fight Gym,:$6 per 45 min class, they also offer private training & kids classes.

10. Visit The Silk Farm

The silk farm is a social enterprise run by Artisans D’Angkor. Located in Puok District just 20 minutes from Siem Reap town. Upon arriving at the farm you will be greeted by your own personal guide who will explain the many different aspects of the silk making process. You will see the intricate process of many women weaving colorful designs on the looms.