Ultimate Siem Reap Travel Guide: 17 Top Things To Do (2024)

In this extensive travel guide, we explore the top things to do in Siem Reap and how to get there, around, and more.
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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Croatian-Slovenian full-time travel duo, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists for over 4 years. We write in-depth travel guides about destinations we have personally visited, providing practical travel tips and recommendations.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

About Siem Reap

Siem Reap is the starting point for all tourists wishing to visit the nearby Angkor Wat.

And while Angkor Wat is the city’s main attraction, there are many other things to do in this sprawling city.

We especially liked walking along the river in the shade of the many trees by the path, eating street food, and exploring markets.

There’s a bunch to do in Siem Reap beyond the temples, so read along!

Siem Reap Travel Tips

But first, before we jump into the top things to do in Siem Reap, let’s cover the essentials and tips to help you have a more fun, enjoyable, and safer trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Stay connected with an eSIM

Instantly connect to the internet on your arrival in Cambodia by buying an eSIM package in advance.

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Book trusted tours

Siem Reap is easy to explore on your own, but if you want a guided experience, you can opt for one of the top-rated Siem Reap tours on Viator or GetYourGuide.

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Get travel insurance

While Siem Reap is a safe destination, we recommend getting travel insurance for any trip outside your country. We highly recommend an insurance package from Heymondo. And as our reader, you get 5% off the price.

Travel map

We have compiled a Siem Reap Travel Map, which you can refer to when exploring.

Top things to do in Siem Reap

While Siem Reap was only a tiny settlement before the intense Angkor Wat exploration started in the early 20th century, it is now a fully-fledged city, the 2nd biggest in Cambodia, with lots to do in and around it.

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1. Visit Angkor Wat

It goes without saying that the top thing to do in Siem Reap is to visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s most famous and visited attraction.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Angkor is a spectacular collection of temples, built from the 9th to 15th centuries and officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

And for a good reason, as Angkor Wat is truly a wonder of the world in every sense.

Angkor Archeological Park is open every day from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, but many temples are open between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The complex grounds are immense, and exploring all the temples around can take days.

Read all about exploring Angkor Wat in our dedicated Angkor Wat Travel Guide. (coming soon)

Tickets

The entrance ticket to Angkor Archeological Park costs 37 USD for one day, 62 USD for three days, and 72 USD for the seven days pass.

You can buy your Angkor Wat tickets online on the official website of Angkor Enterprise.

Beautiful grounds of Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

There are many different ways to explore Angkor Wat, as you can go around in a tuk-tuk, private car, bicycle, bus, or even on foot if you don’t mind the scorching heat.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

No matter which way you choose to go around, make sure to buy your tickets in advance online, so you don’t have to wait in line on your arrival at the site, as the queue at the ticket office can be long

We went around on a tuk-tuk with our local driver Lem, and you can easily arrange your tuk-tuk driver in Siem Reap for about 20 – 25 USD per day.

Our driver was great, and we can highly recommend him. He was recommended to us by our friend Jason who has gone with him around Angkor Wat 2 times already.

Contact Lem Tuk Tuk Siem Reap at +855 78 943 966 (WhatsApp).

Schedule

You can also book affordable tuk-tuk tours online, like the Small Circuit by TukTuk, the Grand Circuit by TukTuk, or the 3-day by TukTuk.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

Klook.com

And while in Angkor Wat, you can also go ziplining! We had no time to go last time, but on our return, we would definitely go. It’s not the craziest zipline experience in the world, but it looks fun!

RECOMMENDED TOURS

2. Visit the Phsar Chas Old Market 

While in Siem Reap, you have to visit the Old Market (Psar Chas), which not only caters to tourists but is an actual local market visited by the city’s inhabitants for their daily shopping needs.

Busy Old Market in Siem Reap

Cambodians love buying fresh ingredients as much as possible. So it’s likely that one family visits the market multiple times per day. And since the Old Market in Siem Reap is an all-day market, it’s easy to do so.

The Old Market in Siem Reap is open every day from 6 am to 9 pm.

On Siem Reap’s Old Market, you can find everything you can expect from a South East Asian market.

And what we loved the most about the Old Market is that a few stalls offer freshly made food inside the market.

Food cooked in the morning at Old Market of Siem Reap

Not only that, but they also have delicious pastries and snacks, which you can usually only find in markets like this one.

We visited the Old Market many times, but the first time was on a Siem Reap Morning Food Tour, where we explored the various veggies, herbs, and other ingredients used in Khmer Cuisine. (more on that later in the article)

Don’t miss Siem Reap’s Old Market, if not to buy something, then to just look around at all the exciting goods sold.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

3. Visit APOPO and the Cambodian Hero Rats

One of the coolest things to do in Siem Reap is to visit the APOPO center, where you can observe how the hero rats help to demine Cambodia, one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

Hero rat sniffing for explosives at APOPO in Siem Reap, Cambodia

And the highlight of this 45-minute tour is the chance to hold and pet one of the retired rats.

Note: If you’re afraid of holding a rat, don’t be! They are super cute and love human contact! And if you’re lucky to get the one that climbs on your shoulder, even better!

Matej Span holding a retired hero rat in APOPO, Siem Reap, Cambodia

We feel like they did a great job combining supporting a fantastic project and animal interaction without any abuse. So each visitor helps speed up the demining process and get the chance to hold a rat, which we would otherwise never be able to. Such an excellent idea!

You can watch the demonstration of how a rat finds mines and unexploded ordinance in the field. It’s so cool to see how fast but thorough these rats are.

Fun fact: The rat’s weight is just under 2kg, which is how much weight is needed to trigger most mines, so if they walk over one, they won’t activate it, unlike humans.

We recommend taking about 1 hour from your day in Siem Reap to visit APOPO and learn about one of the most critical projects in Cambodia, the demining that will save hundreds of lives.

Tickets

The entrance ticket to APOPO is 8 USD per person, and you can take a tuk-tuk there for about 1 USD from downtown.

APOPO Visitor Center in Siem Reap is open daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm, with the last tour starting at 4:30 pm.

Before coming, we recommend you book your visit in advance, as there are limited spots daily.

Contact APOPO at visitor.center@apopo.org, or better yet, message them on WhatsApp at +855 61799237 (we arranged our visit on WhatsApp).

There’s also a tour we found online that combines a visit to APOPO and the national museum.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

4. Go on a food tour

The perfect way to explore Siem Reap’s and Khmer cuisine more in-depth is by joining a food tour that takes you around the different spots in the city, trying various delicious traditional dishes, snacks, and desserts.

Siem Reap Cambodia food tour

We went on the Siem Reap Morning Food Tour by the Urban Forage team, who also run the famous Ultimate Phnom Penh Food Tour.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

And we got to try different local Khmer dishes and receive valuable information on the history and culture of the places we passed by.

Banana fritters stall, Siem Reap

We highly recommend the Siem Reap Morning Food Tour, and what’s great is that they have a vegan/vegetarian option as well, so it’s suitable for everyone. Yes, in Cambodia, of all places!

Eating vegetarian at Banlle Vegetarian Restaurant in Siem Reap

5. Visit Siem Reap temples

There’s no shortage of temples in Siem Reap that are not part of the Angkor Wat complex, and while they are not as old or as grand, they are very much worth visiting.

All of Siem Reap’s temples are free to visit, but donations are appreciated.

Wat Damnak temple, Siem Reap
Wat Damnak temple

And since they are all within walking distance from the other spots in the city’s downtown, they’re easy to visit.

Wat Damnak

The former royal residence of the Cambodian monarchy, Wat Damnak, has a rich and dramatic history.

And when they moved the royal residence away from Wat Damnak, they turned it into a temple, and now it’s home to the important Center for Khmer Studies.

Pond at temple grounds of Wat Damnak, Siem Reap

Wat Damnak has no official opening hours, but you can freely walk the grounds between sunrise and sunset.

Wat Bo Pagoda

Built sometime in the 18th century, Wat Bo Pagoda is one of the oldest temples in Siem Reap.

The streets around Wat Bo are full of great coffee shops, restaurants, coworking spaces, and many great places to stay.

We were staying in Nary Villa (with a really nice pool!), two streets up from Wat Bo Pagoda, and were passing it daily on our way to the night market.

Wat Bo, like Wat Damnak, has no official opening hours, but you can freely walk around the grounds between sunrise and sunset.

Wat Preah Prom Rath

Located opposite the river, Wat Preah Prom Rath is a beautiful temple to visit, especially for sunset, when the golden light strikes the details inside the temple.

Details in the interior of Wat Preah Prom Rath, Siem Reap

Wat Preah Prom Rath houses Khmer-style pagodas, some dating back to the 16th century.

You can visit Wat Preah Prom Rath anytime from sunrise to sunset.

6. Walk along the river

Siem Reap’s riverside is a great place to go for a walk or run. And since the trees partially cover the walkway, it luckily offers a bit of shade.

Colorful riverside in Siem Reap, Cambodia

And the riverside is where you can find street food stalls during the evening, starting close to Wat Preah Prom Rath and ending at the roundabout a few minutes down from the Old Market.

7. Eat and drink at the night market

Visit the night markets in Siem Reap and try some delicious food, snacks, and drinks.

We frequently went for some tasty roti with bananas and chocolate on our visits. Click here to find the exact stall we ate roti at.

And we even managed to find a stall that agreed to make us some delicious vegetarian dishes. They made us fried morning glory with garlic, fried rice with veggies, and a mixed cabbage and other veggies dish.

All you have to do is ask because sometimes it’s unclear from the menu if the dishes can be “vegetarianized.” And many can. 👍

And the best thing you can get for a dollar at the stalls at night is all the fantastic drinks like coconut shake, lemon shake, passionfruit juice, and similar. Amazing!

The night markets in Siem Reap start operating in the late afternoon, about 1 hour before sunset, so from about 5 pm until about midnight.

We loved the street food stalls nearby the river the most, as they offered enough space with tables and chairs to enjoy the delicious food.

Eating street food at night by the river, Siem Reap

This was a vast contrast to our favorite SEA night market, Jonker Street Night Market in Malaysia, where you had minimal options for seating.

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8. Enjoy an evening at Pub Street

Pub Street is Siem Reap’s center of nightlife, lined with live music bars, cafes, and restaurants with cheap beer, and is open late into the night.

It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for a night out in Siem Reap, as it’s busy and lively.

Busy Pub Street, Siem Reap

And you can also get yourself a nice fish pedicure for about 3 USD for 20 minutes with a beer or drink included at the many places on and around Pub Street.

9. Visit the Made in Cambodia Market

If you want to go shopping for some Cambodian-made products rather than the regular factory-made items from China that you can find elsewhere, check the Made in Cambodia Market.

All the products and handicrafts sold on the Made in Cambodia Market are locally made, and many support local initiatives.

The market is not big but offers many different things like jewelry, clothing, creative souvenirs, and paintings.

The Made in Cambodia Market is open every day from mid-day until 8 pm.

Herbs, perfumes and tinktures, Made in Cambodia Market, Siem Reap

We also managed to find some tasty ice cream!

10. Visit Tonle Sap Lake

Siem Reap is only a few kilometers north of Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and among the most productive fishing lakes in the world.

This vast lake supports Cambodians with their main protein, fish, which is one of the main ingredients of Khmer cuisine. And over half of the fish consumed in Cambodia comes from the Tonle Sap Lake.

Tonle Sap Lake, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Visit the Tonle Sap Lake Floating Villages

There are a few floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake, of which the Kampong Phluk Floating Village is the most famous and the most visited.

What’s interesting, though, is that the floating villages don’t always float, as during the dry season, when the water level of Tonle Sap Lake drastically drops, they are like typical villages, and you can walk/cycle through them.

Kampong Phluk Floating Village, Tonle Sap Lake, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Kampong Phluk Floating Village on Tonle Sap Lake

We have mixed feelings about visiting these villages because they get very little from visiting tourists (tour operators are not from there).

Most floating village residents are ethnic Vietnamese who were exiled during Khmer Rouge and later returned, but many are without Vietnamese or Cambodian papers. So they’re currently stateless and have no right to own land or take jobs. That’s why they are living in floating houses.

But they have lived there for generations before, so we hope that they will soon be granted citizenship and that their lives will improve.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

Go on a Sunset Dinner Cruise on Tonle Sap Lake

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon and delicious dinner or cocktails as you take in the beauty of Cambodia’s largest lake on a sunset cruise.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

Visit the Prek Toal Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve

RECOMMENDED TOURS

11. Visit the Angkor National Museum

To learn more about Angkor and Khmer history, visit the Angkor National Museum, which is dedicated to the preservation and education of the culture of the Khmer civilization.

Not only that, but the museum also provides a lot of background information about Buddhism and Hinduism, their symbolism, and architecture.

Carvings and details, Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The museum hosts a great collection of preserved statues, carvings, and art, with signs explaining the meanings. And if you’d like a better insight, get an audio guide.

Angkor National Museum is open every day from 8:30 am to 6 pm, and the ticket costs 12 USD and 5 USD for the audio guide.

It’s worth visiting the Angkor National Museum before you visit the Angkor Wat temples, as you can get a better overview of the complex.

You can buy the tickets on-site or book them online and get a tuk-tuk ride included.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

12. Get a massage

After exploring the sites in and around Siem Reap, pamper yourself with a nice massage!

Foot massage, Siem Reap, Cambodia
We got a foot massage! 😀

There are plenty of great massage places in the city, and they’re very affordable.

You will do a lot of walking on your Angkor Wat exploration, and getting a foot massage afterward is a lifesaver!

RECOMMENDED TOURS

13. Visit Battambang on a day trip

You can also visit Battambang on a day trip from Siem Reap, ride the iconic bamboo train, visit the killing caves, and watch millions of bats coming out of the cave of Phnom Sampov.

While it’s a long day out and about, it’s worth including in your time in Siem Reap.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

The bats flying out of the caves at sunset is a fascinating spectacle. And while we haven’t seen it in Battambang, we did see it near Bangkok. You can watch our Thailand Bat Caves YouTube video to see what it looks like.

14. Day trip to Kulen National Park

While there aren’t many waterfalls around Siem Reap, the one worth visiting is the Kulen Waterfall, about 2 hours of drive to the north in the Phnom Kulen National Park.

You can get a tuk-tuk driver to get you there for a half-day or join one of the organized tours that include a few other attractions there, like the reclining Buddha and the river of 1000 lingas.

Among its many highlights is the 1000 Lingas River at Kbal Spean – an archaeological site with incredibly intricate Linga carvings adorning its riverbed.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

15. Do a Khmer cuisine cooking class

While you can experience Khmer cuisine by eating at restaurants, the best way to explore Cambodian cuisine is by joining a Khmer Cooking Class.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

We highly recommend checking cooking classes in Siem Reap on Cookly, the best platform for finding cooking classes worldwide.

16. Bike around the countryside

Siem Reap’s countryside is beautiful, and you can enjoy it on a bike ride around.

Cycling around Angkor Wat Archeological Park, Siem Reap

There are many bike shops in the city where you can rent a bicycle for about 5 USD per day.

And there are also plenty of Siem Reap biking tours heading out every day that you can join if you’d like a bit more organized schedule and want to see some things you might not know of yourself.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

17. Watch a show at Phare, The Cambodian Circus

Admire the fascinating choreography of Phare, The Cambodian Circus, a musical, acrobatic, and dance spectacle telling unique Cambodian stories.

What’s great about The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap is that they don’t use any animals in their performances, which we highly support!

The Cambodian Circus is open every day from 5:30 pm, with shows starting at 8 pm.

RECOMMENDED TOURS

Other things to do in Siem Reap

Now that you know all the top things to do in and around Siem Reap, we want to show you some other things worth doing if you have extra time.

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Best time to visit Siem Reap

Siem Reap is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is in December and January, when it’s dry, you have clear blue skies, and it’s still not too hot.

The months between November and February are the driest and coolest, but they are also the high season and when the biggest crowds are found in Siem Reap and Angkor.

Sunrise crowds at Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

The hottest months in Siem Reap are April and May, when it’s scorching hot, with temperatures regularly over 40 degrees Celsius.

And the wettest months in Siem Reap are September and October, while the monsoon with more frequent rains runs between May and November.

Where to stay in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is not a big city, and the downtown attractions are all within walking distance from one another, so anywhere you stay should be fine.

No matter where you stay in Siem Reap, going around on foot or by tuk-tuk is easy.

We stayed in the Wat Bo area of Siem Reap, in the beautiful Nary Villa with a fantastic pool.

Pool and loungers, Siem Reap

The streets around Wat Bo are full of great coffee shops, restaurants, coworking spaces, and many great places to stay.

Top-rated hotels in Siem Reap

Luxury: Anansaya La Maison

Mid-range: Khmer House Resort

Budget: Long Night Hotel

Where to eat in Siem Reap

You won’t have trouble finding great places to eat in Siem Reap, as there are a lot of local Khmer restaurants and many foreign cuisines like Italian, Mexican, Greek, and more.

We ate a fantastic lunch at the famous Banlle vegetarian restaurant, which we can highly recommend.

Soft tofu dipping sauce and vegetables, Banlle Vegetarian Restaurant, Siem Reap

For some amazing ice cream, check out Gelato Lab, and if you dare, try the pepper-chocolate one!

Delicious icecream at Gelato Lab, Siem Reap

And finally, don’t skip the night markets!

Night market in Siem Reap, Cambodia

How to get to Siem Reap

The fastest way to get to Siem Reap for most travelers is to fly into Siem Reap International Airport.

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If you’re arriving by plane, we recommend you book your private airport transfer in advance. But getting a taxi or tuk-tuk at the airport shouldn’t be a problem either, and it will cost you between 10 and 15 USD.

You can get to Siem Reap by bus from Bangkok in about 9 hours and by bus from Phnom Penh in about 6 hours.

But the most comfortable way to get to Siem Reap from Phnom Penh is with a Phnom Penh to Siem Reap Private Car service.

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We came to Siem Reap with a VIP bus from Phnom Penh, and it was quite a pleasant journey. Before that, we came to Phnom Penh by bus from Ho Chi Minh City.

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How to get around Siem Reap

In Siem Reap’s downtown, you can get around easily on foot, as most attractions are within walking distance from one another.

Sunset at the Wat Bo Pagoda temple grounds, Siem Reap

Otherwise, we highly recommend renting a bicycle or going around with the tuk-tuks.

In Cambodia, you can even call a tuk-tuk on Grab (Asian Uber) and Pass App. Otherwise, just hail down an empty one in the street, and negotiate the price before driving away.

We were staying in the Wat Bo area, and there were always a few tuk-tuks somewhere around in the streets close to us, and it would cost us about 1 USD to get a 10-minute ride to the downtown near Old Market. 

Tuk Tuk is the best way to get around Siem Reap, and we can only dream of having a similar mode of transport elsewhere in the world.

It’s affordable, comfortable, quick, and great for cooling off during the ride.

Of course, if you want the most comfortable way to get around and have air conditioning, then hiring a private car is the best choice.

RECOMMENDED

Klook.com

How many days in Siem Reap is enough?

For most travelers, 3 nights in Siem Reap are enough to see the main temples in the Angkor complex, enjoy a night at the night market and pub street, and go to the lake or waterfall.

The length of your stay in Siem Reap primarily depends on how many days you want to spend exploring the Angkor Archeological Park.

Of course, you can see the highlights of Angkor in a day, but if you want to see more of it, especially at a more relaxed pace, then the three-day ticket is ideal.

Matej Span at the Angkor Wat Archeological Park, Siem Reap

Prices in Siem Reap

Siem Reap is generally cheaper than Phnom Penh, but the admission tickets and transport can add up. And in the high season, the hotels have higher prices.

But a few-day visit to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat shouldn’t set you back more than 200 USD per person.

AccommodationFoodTransport
Hotel: $35 – $150 / nightInexpensive meal: $2 – $4Taxi 1km: $1 – $2
Hostel: $5 – $10 / nightMid-range meal: $7 – $10Bike rental: $10 – $20
Siem Reap budget overview

Arijana Tkalcec at the Angkor Wat Archeological Park, Siem Reap

Is Siem Reap a safe destination?

Much like all of Cambodia, Siem Reap is a very safe destination for all travelers.

Health Insurance

No matter the general safety situation, we always advise against traveling outside your country without valid travel insurance.

We recommend the following for Cambodia:

What to pack for your visit to Siem Reap

Siem Reap is always hot, so we highly recommend packing some lighter, breathable clothes and long pants, as you will need them for visiting Angkor temples.

Mosquito repellant

Don’t forget to bring some mosquito repellant (natural if possible) because the Angkor complex is surrounded by a moat, as well as a few lakes where mosquitos breed. And a river runs through Siem Reap, so there are plenty of mosquitos there as well.

Sunscreen

Don’t forget to take plenty of sunscreen, as your visit to Siem Reap will involve being in the sun a lot, especially at Angkor. We highly recommend buying a reef-safe sunscreen if you plan to combine your trip to Siem Reap with other destinations like Koh Rong, Kampot, and similar.

Reusable water bottle

We highly recommend taking a reusable water bottle so you can refill it with fresh cold water. On your Angkor visit, if you’re taking a tuk-tuk, your driver will likely have cold bottles of water with him. And for us, it was very convenient to just fill our bigger bottle from them and take it with us, as the water stayed cold longer.

Light clothes

Take some light clothes that dry fast for your visit to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat.

We traveled with our favorite travel clothes from Unbound Merino. The shirts were great as they dried super fast after getting sweaty (which you will), and unlike other clothes, they don’t stink up after one wear, so you can reuse them a lot.

Heads up: Our readers get 10% off Unbound Merino clothing (code: SHIPPEDAWAY). ♥

And lastly, a hat would be a great idea, as again, you will be in the sun often.

Is Siem Reap worth visiting?

Siem Reap is absolutely worth visiting, not only for Angkor Wat and the other temples but for many other fun, exciting things to do.

Lights at night on a bridge in Siem Reap, Cambodia

We enjoyed our visit to Siem Reap and will definitely return on our next Cambodia visit. It’s a cool city that seems to be growing quite nicely.


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Arijana & Matej
Arijana & Matej

Full-time travelers, photographers, bloggers and travel journalists.

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We're Arijana and Matej, a couple and travel blogging duo from Croatia and Slovenia who thrive while slow-traveling. And we have been doing it for over 4 years.

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