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The Best Things To Do In Siem Reap, Cambodia


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ranique Ricciardi



Welcome to Siem Reap, Cambodia – a city bursting with rich history, stunning architecture, and a vibrant culture. Located in northwest Cambodia, Siem Reap is best known as the gateway to the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, one of the most iconic archaeological sites in the world. But there’s so much more to this enchanting city than just ancient ruins.


Siem Reap offers a plethora of experiences for every type of traveler. Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure seeker, a food lover, or an art enthusiast, this city has something for everyone. From exploring the magnificent temples to immersing yourself in the local culture, Siem Reap promises to leave a lasting impression.


One of the must-visit attractions in Siem Reap is, of course, the world-famous Angkor Wat. The largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of Cambodia. Marvel at the intricate carvings, towering spires, and stunning architecture that make this temple a true masterpiece.


Another temple that should be on your list is Ta Prohm, famous for its fusion of nature and architecture. Known as the “Tomb Raider Temple” thanks to its appearance in the movie, this temple is a captivating sight with trees growing out of the ancient ruins.


Bayon Temple is another highlight of Siem Reap, best known for the many stone faces that adorn its towers. These serene and enigmatic faces are believed to represent the Buddhist bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara or the king who built the temple.


As you explore the ancient ruins, don’t miss out on the chance to visit Angkor Thom. This walled city features impressive structures such as the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants, showcasing the grandeur of the Khmer empire.


Siem Reap also offers a glimpse into Cambodia’s more recent history with attractions like the Landmine Museum and Relief Center. Learn about the devastating effects of landmines on the country and the efforts being made to eradicate them.


If you’re looking for a break from the historical sites, head to the vibrant Old Market, also known as Phsar Chas. Here you can immerse yourself in the local culture, shop for souvenirs, and sample delicious Cambodian street food.


For those seeking adventure, explore the nearby Tonle Sap Lake and its floating villages. Take a boat ride and witness the unique way of life of the local communities who live on the lake.


Siem Reap is also known for its thriving arts scene. Catch a performance at Phare, the Cambodian Circus, and be amazed by the acrobatics, dance, and storytelling that showcase the talent of local artists.


These are just a few of the incredible attractions and experiences awaiting you in Siem Reap. From ancient temples to cultural immersion, this city will captivate your senses and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Siem Reap and a must-visit destination for any traveler. This magnificent temple complex is the largest religious monument in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Built in the 12th century, it is a stunning example of Khmer architecture and craftsmanship.


As you enter the temple complex, you’ll be mesmerized by the intricate carvings and bas-reliefs that depict Hindu mythology. The central towers rise majestically against the sky, creating a spectacular sight at sunrise and sunset. Exploring Angkor Wat is like stepping back in time, as you wander through its corridors and admire the grandeur of this ancient wonder.


2. Ta Prohm


Nestled amidst the jungle, Ta Prohm is a temple that has been left largely untouched, allowing nature to reclaim the ruins. It is famous for its intertwining stone walls and the massive tree roots that have enveloped the temple, creating a magical and ethereal atmosphere. Ta Prohm’s appearance in the movie “Tomb Raider” has made it even more popular among visitors.


3. Bayon Temple


The Bayon Temple is known for its striking feature – the 216 stone faces that adorn the towers. These serene and enigmatic visages are believed to represent Buddhist Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara or the face of the king who built the temple. Exploring Bayon Temple is like being immersed in a world of mystery and spirituality.


4. Angkor Thom


Angkor Thom, meaning “Great City,” was once the capital of the Khmer empire. Enclosed within a massive wall, it houses several impressive structures, including the Terrace of the Leper King and the Terrace of the Elephants. A highlight of Angkor Thom is the imposing South Gate, decorated with stone statues of gods and demons.


5. Banteay Srei


Banteay Srei is a smaller, but equally captivating temple located outside the main Angkor complex. Known as the “Citadel of the Women,” it is renowned for its intricate stone carvings, considered to be some of the finest examples of Khmer art. The temple’s pink-hued sandstone glows in the sunlight, adding to its allure.


6. Preah Khan


Preah Khan, meaning “Sacred Sword,” is a sprawling temple complex that has been partially reclaimed by the jungle. It’s similar to Ta Prohm in its appearance, with trees growing through the stone ruins. The temple is known for its maze-like corridors and captivating carvings, providing visitors with a sense of adventure and exploration.


7. Tonle Sap Lake


A visit to Siem Reap wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the unique ecosystem of Tonle Sap Lake. This massive freshwater lake is not only the largest in Southeast Asia but also home to a vibrant floating village. Take a boat ride and witness the daily life of the local communities who reside on the lake, living in stilted houses and relying on fishing for their livelihood.


8. Phare, the Cambodian Circus


For a dose of entertainment, head to Phare, the Cambodian Circus. This dynamic and energetic performance showcases a fusion of traditional and modern circus arts, acrobatics, dance, and storytelling. The talented artists captivate the audience with their artistic skills and engaging performances.


9. Old Market (Phsar Chas)


Immerse yourself in the local culture at the bustling Old Market, also known as Phsar Chas. This vibrant market is a sensory delight, with stalls selling fresh produce, local handicrafts, souvenirs, and an array of street food. It’s the perfect place to try local delicacies like fish amok and indulge in some retail therapy.


10. Angkor National Museum


For a deeper understanding of the Angkor temples and Khmer history, a visit to the Angkor National Museum is highly recommended. The museum showcases a vast collection of artifacts, including statues, carvings, and ancient relics, providing a comprehensive overview of the Angkor civilization.


11. The Landmine Museum and Relief Center


The Landmine Museum and Relief Center sheds light on Cambodia’s tragic history with landmines. Learn about the devastating impact of these weapons on the country and the ongoing efforts to remove them. The museum also supports survivors and affected communities, making it a meaningful and educational visit.


12. Floating Villages


Experience the unique way of life in the floating villages around Siem Reap. Take a boat tour and witness how locals adapt to living on the water, from floating houses and schools to fishing and farming. It’s a fascinating glimpse into a different way of life.


13. Artisans Angkor


Artisans Angkor is a social enterprise that supports local artisans and traditional craftsmanship. Visit their workshops and witness the meticulous process of creating silk textiles, stone carvings, woodwork, and other exquisite handicrafts. Purchasing from Artisans Angkor not only supports the local community but also ensures the preservation of ancient crafts.


14. War Museum Cambodia


The War Museum Cambodia provides insight into Cambodia’s dark past and the devastating effects of the Khmer Rouge regime. The museum houses a collection of military vehicles, weapons, and informative displays that offer a somber reminder of the country’s history.


15. Kulen Mountain National Park


Escape the city and venture to Kulen Mountain National Park, a picturesque natural reserve located approximately 50 kilometers from Siem Reap. Explore waterfalls, ancient ruins, and visit the sacred sites that hold cultural and historical importance to the Khmer people.


16. Quad Bike Adventure


Embark on an exhilarating quad bike adventure and explore the beautiful countryside surrounding Siem Reap. Ride through rice fields, local villages, and hidden trails, immersing yourself in the scenic landscapes of Cambodia.


17. Biking Tours in Siem Reap


Discover Siem Reap on two wheels with a biking tour. Cycle through lush countryside, visit remote temples, and interact with local communities along the way. It’s a fantastic way to get off the beaten path and experience the beauty of the region.


18. Cambodian Cultural Village


Experience the diverse traditions and customs of Cambodia at the Cambodian Cultural Village. Explore traditional houses, watch cultural performances, and learn about the country’s history, art, and cuisine. It’s an interactive and educational experience that provides a deeper understanding of Cambodian culture.


These are just some of the incredible attractions and activities that await you in Siem Reap. Whether you’re captivated by the ancient temples, fascinated by the local culture, or seeking adventure in nature, Siem Reap offers a truly unforgettable experience.



Siem Reap, Cambodia is a destination that seamlessly blends history, culture, and adventure. From the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, and Bayon Temple to the vibrant local markets and captivating cultural performances, Siem Reap offers a truly immersive experience for every traveler.


Exploring the ancient temples of Angkor allows you to step back in time and marvel at the architectural brilliance and intricate carvings that tell the stories of a bygone era. The mystical atmosphere of Ta Prohm, with its intertwining tree roots, creates a sense of wonder and intrigue, while the enigmatic faces of Bayon Temple leave a lasting impression.


Siem Reap is not just about ancient ruins, though. The city offers a wide range of activities for those seeking adventure or cultural immersion. From boat rides on Tonle Sap Lake to witness the floating villages, to quad bike adventures and biking tours through the picturesque countryside, there are endless opportunities to explore the natural beauty and unique way of life of the local communities.


Immersing yourself in the local culture is made easy with visits to the bustling Old Market, where you can sample delicious Cambodian street food and interact with friendly locals. The Cambodian Cultural Village provides further insight into the country’s customs and traditions, while the Artisans Angkor workshops showcase the talent and craftsmanship of local artisans.


Siem Reap is also a place of historical significance, with museums like the Landmine Museum and Relief Center and the War Museum Cambodia educating visitors about Cambodia’s challenging past and the resilience of its people.


Whether you are exploring the ancient temples, engaging in exhilarating adventures, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Siem Reap promises a travel experience like no other. The charm and beauty of the city, along with the warm and welcoming hospitality of its people, will leave you with memories to cherish for a lifetime.


So, pack your bags, prepare to be amazed, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Let the ancient wonders, vibrant culture, and natural beauty of this incredible city enchant and inspire you.