A town soaked in culture and history, which sees the most breathtaking sunrises, here’s what you need to know about the beautiful, charming, ancient and mystical Siem Reap.
Things to Do and See
Phnom Kulen Waterfalls: The serene faces of Hindu deities gaze up at you through the waters of this scared river. Visit Kbal Spean where thousands of Lingams are intricately carved into the riverbed.
Angkor Wat: Complete with marble stairs and stone-structures archways, Angkor Wat is the crown jewel of the Angkor complex. Get here early to watch the sun rise over the towering temples.
Angkor Thom: It literally translates to “Great City” and the gigantic stone monuments still standing today testify that it indeed was one. The Bayon Temple, at the heart of the city, has nearly 11,000 faces carved into stone.
Banteay Srei: It means “The Citadel of the Women”, and the entire temple is carved out of red sandstone including some of the most well-preserved figures.
Ta Prohm: With enormous serpentine tree roots taking over the ancient stone temple, it's one of the most photographed sites in Siem Reap. Don’t forget your camera!
Cambodian Landmine Museum: Founded by an ex-soldier Aki Ra, who went around villages and started diffusing landmines, the museum will give you an glimpse of how the Vietnam War direly affected Cambodia.
Military Shooting Range: A little heavy on the wallet but you can shoot a range of automatic weapons and even throw a live grenade under expert supervision. Where else are you going to get to empty a magazine without consequences?
Wander Around Pub Street
If you want to experience the Siem Reap’s nightlife, this is the place to be. There’s music pounding from the speakers, neon lights that light up the street, cheap drinks and people partying.
Kayaking: Sail through the serene and fresh waters of Tonle Sap lake with professional Kayaking experts.
Quad Bike: Take a Quad bike tour to explore the hilly terrains, lesser-known architectural wonder and Siem Reap’s beautiful country side.
Cooking Class: Know how to cook the local Khmer food and Siem Reap’s other popular street foods. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too!
Angkor Pottery Center: Learn how to create a ceramic bowl, from the local artists, with Khmer carvings on it.
When to Go
It’s monsoons from the May to October. The dry season is from November to February, which is the best time to visit Siem Reap.
You’ll need a passport that’s valid for at least six months post the entry date, before you can get a visa. You can obtain the visa online which takes lesser time than the regular Cambodian visa.
Dress conservatively while visiting temples, other religious sites and somebody’s home.
Remove your shoes and hats before entering an area of worship and a home.
Never touch the natives on their head, even if it’s ruffling a kid’s hair as they consider it to be the most sacred part of one’s body.
Never point the bottom of your feet to anything sacred or at people, it’s considered to be rude.