Things to do in Siem Reap
Besides visiting the main Angkor Wat complex and surrounding temples, Siem Reap has many more activities and attractions to offer to tourists who want to get off the beaten track to discover different parts of it. These activities are carefully selected and suit families, independent travelers but also group travelers. Please consider one of our recommendations.
Khmer Ceramic Fine Arts Centre
Center is a must-see for art lovers, craftsmen, and handmade ceramics lovers. Indeed, the Center is one of the unique places in Siem Reap which still offers authentic handmade Cambodian handicraft. BONUS: The Center also offers Cambodian pottery that will allow you to make your own travel souvenir. Website: www.khmerceramics.com
Kampong Khleang Village
Kampong Khleang floating village is located about 50km (1 hour drive) away from Siem Reap. The village is one of the largest settlements on Tonle Sap Lake and offers an exceptional experience into daily life of people living on the water. In the dry season the water levels retreat and the villages expands further into the Great Lake. Board a local boat and see floating and stilted houses. Observe the local customs and interact with local people. Exploring the small island, which is home to a bustling market, a pagoda, a school and a health centre before returning to Siem Reap.
Cycling Siem Reap’s Countryside
Siem Reap is surrounded by small rural roads that link the small villages around Siem Reap. Paths lead through paddy fields and villages where you will greet by friendly villagers. Discover temples where the typical tourist usually never goes and cycle the rural roads to really get in touch with the local communities. Several stops can be made on the way to see farmers at work, to visit a local school or a local home and of course to taste the delicacy of local snacks and fruits. The cycling tour can also combine with temple visits. View related tour
We support people in need and helps guests donating useful materials to school children, orphanages, children hospital or poor families. For example, you can donate communal water well for families to access clean water, building or renovating house for the poor, visit orphanage and deliver school material for the kids. Watch concert of Dr. Beat Richner and make donation to the children hospital. You may want to go with the guide to the local market and buy school materials for the children in the village and donate it directly to the kids, buy materials for renovating a local house... The activity can be short or long depending on your available time.
Kampong Phluck flooded forest (good for late September to early March)
Like Kampong Khleang, Kampong Phluck is a wonderful floating village experience. Visiting this village is highly recommended between August and February when the water levels are high. The village has a bit more of an adventurous feeling to it. Unlike Kampong Khleang, Kampong Phluck is a village completely built on stilts. The houses rise high above the water, sometimes up to 10 meters. Visit a local home and chat with the owners about their daily activities. Kampong Phluck also has a marvelous flooded forest to explore. Stop your boat and relax in the flooded forest and enjoy picnic lunch. View related tour
Blessing ceremony by Buddhist monk
Wat Damnak is one of the most beautiful Buddhist pagodas in town with French colonial architecture reflecting its history and a large garden filled with statues. Bring candles and incense sticks to the pagoda and participate in a good luck blessing ceremony, performed by a monk that reside at the temple. Sit on the mat while the monks chant blessings and sprinkle holy water on you – a traditional way which is believed pass on the good luck of the gods. Afterwards, a sacred thread will be tied around your wrist. This will protect you from any evil spirits or accidents. Before you continue on your journey, you will receive a small keepsake from the monks to remind you of this special moment. View related tour
Quad bike countryside ride
Quad biking is a fun way to discover Siem Reap surroundings. Whether you want a relaxing sunset tour with the family or an extreme adventure 2 day ride to the remote temple of Koh Ker, there are packages that tailor-made for you. View related tour
Kayaking on Tonle Sap Lake’s flooded forest
Board a local wooden boat which will take us to the amazing floating village and mangroves for your unique kayaking experience. On arrival, we will be greeted by monks in their brightly colored robes for receiving a good luck blessing before you gently kayak through the floating village where you will be welcomed by warming smiles from the humble Cambodian people who live on this fantastic lake. We continue to enjoy kayaking until we reach the end of the village and there you will be welcomed by our local host, where we will stop for a local lunch in a beautiful setting. After beautiful lunch, we continue to gently kayak to the exotic mangroves seeing rare birds in this tranquil setting giving you a once in a lifetime experience leaving you with ever lasting memories.
Khmer food lover cooking class
If you like to prepare your own Khmer food, enjoy a cooking class at Sojourn Villa. The class is offered in the community with a wonderful open air kitchen. A village walk allows you to observe how the local people cook their food before you partake in your own gastronomic adventure.
See amazing sites of the World Heritage Angkor Wat and nearby temples from the air. Scenic flight will take you to Angkor Temple Area and floating village. There are many options of flight starting from scenic 8-minute flight to full day trip to visit remote temples such as Koh Ker, Beng Melea and Preah Vihear.
The past decade has seen a flourishing tourist industry with some three million visitors per year enjoying a full range of cultural and luxury travel experiences. And golf is proving to be an increasingly important part of that package. Siem Reap is the golfing centre of Cambodia. There are now three international standard courses each with their own variety and challenges for everyone from amateurs to professionals. In addition, with the temples of Angkor Wat nearby, Siem Reap is proving to be one of the world’s best undiscovered golf destinations. View related tour
Angkor National Museum
The newly opened Angkor National Museum in Siem Reap promises eight chronologically ordered galleries of Angkorian-era artifacts and multi-media presentations of Angkorian history and culture. The Museum had just opened its doors and was not quite completed at time of printing, but should be very soon.
Prek Toal is Southeast Asia’s single most important breeding ground for globally threatened large water birds. The sanctuary harbors seven species of water birds of global significance such as Spot billed Pelican, Milky Stork, Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Greater Adjutant, Black headed Ibis, Oriental Darter. The Prek Toal area consists of seasonally inundated freshwater swamp forest with a high botanical diversity. Short tree shrub makes up most of the landscape, forming a dense under story with scattered large trees, which form the vital nesting ground for large water birds. Prek Toal is unmatched throughout South East Asia for the number and populations of endangered water birds it supports through the dry season. Large flocks of cormorants, storks and pelicans are almost guaranteed from January to May, along with herons, egrets and terns. Prek Toal can be visited as a day trip from Siem Reap. The village is about an hours boat ride from where visitors embark from Siem Reap.
Balloon ride (tethered balloon and hot-air balloon)
Take a tethered helium balloon ride 200 meters straight up for an amazing aerial view of Angkor Wat, Phnom Bakheng, West Baray and other ruins amongst the surrounding jungle and rice paddies. Bring a camera and binoculars if you have them. The big, yellow balloon is based on the road from the airport to Angkor Wat, about a kilometer from the front gates of Angkor Wat. Hot-air balloon is new addition to Siem Reap but hot-air balloon is not allowed to fly near the temples so it only flies over the city and offer far away view of Tonle Sap Lake, Kulen Mountain, Phnom Bok Mountain, countryside view and view over Siem Reap city.
Cambodian Cultural Village
A unique, sprawling cultural attraction in Siem Reap, intended to introduce the visitor to Cambodian culture and history. Wax museum with scenes and figures from history. Fascinating 1/20th scale models of sites such as Phsar Thmey and the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh and the hills and temples of Oudong. Full scale models of a variety of Cambodian architectural types, including different styles of huts and homes, hill tribe houses, pagoda and mosque.
Cambodian Landmine Museum
The Cambodia Landmine Museum has evolved from a small shack museum by former soldier and deminer Akira to a formal museum and charitable organization. Through the exhibits, the museum tells the story of landmines in Cambodia, how they have impacted the country’s past, present and will continue to impact its future. The story is told through the story of Aki Ra, our founder, who was suppressed into the Khmer Rouge Army as a child soldier, and spent his youth fighting in the wars that ravaged his country for nearly 35 years. The Cambodian Landmine Museum is more than a museum. It is also a home that provides education and support for dozens of at-risk youth and landmine affected children rescued by Cambodian Landmine Museum Relief Facility project. Many children who are part of this family suffered overwhelming hardships. The Cambodian Landmine Museum Relief Facility was created so that it might serve as a place of healing for bodies, hearts and minds. We believe that love, support and education will help secure a better opportunity for the children that live here. View related tour
Khmer Arts and Crafts
Cambodia is also known for its arts and crafts. The concept of silk weaving, painting, basket making, wood carving, silver crafting, buffalo skin carving, knife/sword making, stone sculpting, pottery and ceramic are some of the ancient traditions of Khmer ancestors that still last till present time. It is worth paying a visit to these workshops to witness and understand more about Khmer arts and crafts. If you are interested, perhaps join in some small activities like ceramic or buffalo skin carving classes. View related tour
Siem Reap War Museum
Displaying a wide variety of military hardware and equipment in decrepit condition, taken from the battlefield. Heavy armor including T-54 tanks, anti-aircraft guns, artillery pieces, rocket launchers, APCs, small arms and piles of disarmed mines, bombs and small arms. Most of the larger pieces are labeled.
Banteay Srei Butterfly Center (BBC)
Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre (BBC) is an interactive butterfly exhibit located 25 km north of Siem Reap, on the road to the Landmine Museum and Bantey Srey temple. The exhibit consists of a netted tropical garden with thousands of free-flying butterflies, all of which are native species to Cambodia. The enclosure is South East Asia's largest butterfly exhibit and provides residents and tourists with an interactive and visual environment to learn about butterflies and support local communities. A guided tour of the center allows you to see complete process of butterfly farming.
Horse riding and horse card riding
The Happy Ranch Horse Farm offers countryside trail rides from 1 to 3 hours. From sunrise to sunset, the horses will take you on a journey to places that are otherwise unreachable, through local countryside villages, scenic rice fields and tourist-free temple ruins, all waiting to be explored. An authentic taste of the real Khmer lifestyle viewed from horseback, and a welcome break from other tourists.
Cambodia is a land of culture, tradition and the Khmer ethnic civilization. A Cambodia countryside homestay is one of the best ways to fully immerse yourself in Cambodia whilst experiencing absolute, unadulterated authenticity. This is about meeting and getting to know local Cambodians, living their lifestyle and experiencing Cambodia travel at grassroots level during an adventure that is sure to involve a series of unexpected encounters, pleasant surprises and long-lasting memories. Note that is real village homestay that means the facilities are basic.
Camping and jungle trekking
The perfect experience for those who wants to experience the natural and historical Cambodia that few visitors ever have a chance of seeing. The Cambodian countryside, its hidden, mysterious temples and traditional village life are all here, waiting for you to discover. Camping out under the Cambodian sky will be an experience that you will not soon forget and will want to return year after year as hundreds already have.
Kong Kear Angkor Gondola
Angkor Gondola is an unique Khmer traditional boats service in the moat along Angkor Thom Great Wall. Come and discover a natural wonders, hidden treasure of the historical site and cultures. Travel the water where history, nature and culture come alive while you can enjoy sunset view with cocktail on the boat.
Ox-cart and buffalo-cart ride
Siem Reap also offers you a unique opportunity to explore a real Cambodian countryside. You will have a chance to experience a memorial ox-cart or buffalo-cart ride (Ro Teh Ko). The slow moving cart is an ancient Cambodian transportation means in the past time. You will ride through villages, interacting with the locals, passing by Buddhist pagoda, schools, crossing rice paddies, seeing seasonal vegetable plantation and more.
Old Market and Night Markets
Of the various traditional Cambodian markets in Siem Reap, the Old Market offers the deepest selection of souvenirs and curios. There are souvenir vendors throughout much the market, especially on the river side. Nearby is The Angkor Night Market which is a good place to shop for some unique items of Cambodia. Unlike the Old Market and Central Market, some of the items sold here come from the remote villages, made by small communities.
Apsara Dance Show
Experience dance and music styles of a Khmer dance performance. Discover history and legends of the Kingdom through various types of popular and classical dances performed by the Apsara Dancers. Step back in time to the courts of the Angkorian Kings and wonder at the magnificence of the traditionally styled performers' costumes. This is called “Apsara Dance”.
Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)
ACCB is the first nature conservation center in Cambodia, located near Kbal Spean, about one hour north of Siem Reap. The aims of the center are the rescue, rehabilitation, breeding and reintroduction of threatened wildlife, in combination with an environmental education program, promoting wildlife conservation and training local villagers in the sustainable use of natural resources. Free guided center tour Monday to Friday at 13:00 (for groups, other times can be arranged). Close on all national holidays.
Volunteering is a popular way to be able to 'give something back' to the world - whether to a local community or organization, the world 'as a whole' or to the natural environment. People give their time, skills and sometimes goods or money towards a positive outcome. Volunteer options can be give blood, dine for a cause, do volunteer work at orphanage, teaching English at pagoda, shop responsibly, donate to an NGO, donate pump-well, solar-power light to poor family, support a disadvantaged child...there are many ways to that you can help disadvantaged Cambodians and contribute to the development of the country.
Cambodian circus Phare Ponleu Selpak
“Phare, the Cambodian Circus” is an offshoot project of Phare Ponleu Selpak (Association) which translates as “Brightness of the Arts” in English. PPS Association is a Cambodian non-profit, non-governmental association founded in 1994 by eight young Cambodians ex-refugees artists in the area of Anchanh Village, Ochar Commune, Battambang Province. It serves as a tool to build the careers of Cambodian Artists, to revive Cambodian art scenes, to make worldwide arts connections with Cambodia and to contribute to the artistic, educational and social programs of PPS Association. The circus is an amazing blend of traditional and modern theater, music, dance, acrobatic, juggling and contortion beautifully choreographed and performed in a story about Cambodian lives and society. During one hour, through high technical skills, the performers transmit the emotion and excitement and totally blow the audience away thanks to their distinctive personalities and humor. The show is on daily.