Cambodia has been right at the top of my travel wish list for so long now. So when I had the opportunity to go there for a few days recently I knew that the historically rich town of Siem Reap was where I’d be spending those precious hours. If you’re planning a visit and wondering what to do in Siem Reap, I highly recommend the itinerary I created below.
Angkor Wat is the most well-known icon of the region, and what many don’t realise is that there are over 50 ruins in the Angkor (which literally translates to ‘Capital City’ in Khmer) region to explore. I was lucky enough to visit 4 of these, including one on horseback where we were the only souls in sight. But Angkor Wat will now forever hold a special place in my heart.
The temple complex is the largest in the world and spans a whopping 402 acres (165 hectares). It’s had many uses over its 900-year history, including being both a Hindu and Buddist temple, and since 1992 has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s just one of those things that you can’t truly appreciate its significance until you’ve seen it in person, and I can only hope these photos spur you into visiting ASAP.
I flew in and out of Siem Reap direct from Bangkok with Bangkok Airways, but make sure you check out AirAsia too because they currently have flights at $75USD/$100AUD return. While in Siem Reap I stayed in the amazing SiZen Retreat & Spa and found an amazingly cheap rate through Booking.com, although Expedia & HotelsCombined also still have rooms at $19USD/$25AUD per night. The staff here were beyond helpful, and I had such memorable chats over tea with some of the girls that I can’t wait to come back and continue with them.
Still wondering what to do in Siem Reap? The main calling card is, of course, the Angkor Wat temple complex. To enter the temple complex you will need to purchase an ‘Angkor Pass’, which will set you back $37USD for a 1-day pass, $62USD for a 3-day and $72USD for a 7-day. I’d recommend you buy your ticket after 5 pm, as your ticket’s validity will start the next day, but you can still pop into Angkor Park (ideally Srah Srang Lake) to watch the sunset for that evening.
I also highly recommend you eat at Marum Restaurant while you’re in Siem Reap. They are a part of the wonderful Tree-Alliance who’s students are former street youth or come from other marginalized and at-risk groups. They are trained as chefs and waiters and given the opportunity to seek employment at top-notch restaurants in the surrounding areas, and the food here is delicious!
Still wondering what to do in Siem Reap? There are some great tours on offer if you’d rather the booking be looked after for you.