You could literally spend days exploring the breathtaking temples of Angkor Archaeological Park and still not have seen it all. This post looks beyond the temples at other things to do in Siem Reap; floating villages, markets, countryside tours, khmer cooking class, street food tour, and more.
Top things to do in Siem Reap:
1. Explore the Siem Reap countryside
A morning spent exploring the Siem Reap countryside via mountain bike or quad bike. We began our day at the Grasshopper Adventure office across the river from Old Market at 7am for $25 we cycled 35km at a leisurely pace straight out of the town centre accompanied by a guide and a bike mechanic. Concerned about the 35km distance? Fear not, an 8 year old boy on the tour basically lead the group the entire way.
2. A street food tour
The River Garden’s Siem Reap Street Food Tour took us on a short tuk tuk ride out of the town centre to a highway lined with vendors. It was here we feasted with locals on the weird and the wonderful! Everything from barbecued meats, exotic fruits, local snacks, and more.
3. Take a Khmer cooking class
The Tigre de Papier Cambodian cooking class is a little different to others. Each participant chooses an entree and a main to prepare and cook from the restaurants extensive menu. The 3 hour $15 USD class includes a trip to Psa Chas market to purchase vegetables and spices.
4. Tonle Sap floating villages
A day tour of Tonle Sap floating and stilted villages was high on my to-do list when we visited Siem Reap. Although it was the beginning of the wet season it had not rained for months and we were informed the low water level may cause some restrictions.
The tour I had my sights set on was Tara Boat tour of Kompong Khleang. This stilted village is the largest and least visited with a cost of $72 USD. That being said, both Viator and Urban Adventure offer tours for $35 USD to the closer villages, Chong Khreas, and Kompong Phluck.
5. Discover local arts, crafts and trades
Artisans De Angkor offers a free tour of their silk farm and workshop. The silk farm tour explained the complete process from the mulberry tree plantation to weaving silk threads. It was incredible to see the detailed patterns being produced by hand. While the store is on the expensive side, one patterned scarf takes four days to weave alone (excluding the rest of the extensive process) and you can definitely feel the difference in quality.
6. Watch an Apsara dance show
Temple Bar, on Pub Street in the heart of Siem Reap, puts on a free Aspara show nightly from 7:30pm. With traditional Khmer music and dance the show is quiet intriguing.
There are many markets in Siem Reap:
- Angkor night market – The cleanest and most spacious of all of the markets. Open for 4pm to midnight, the Angkor Night Market is mainly for tourists and is therefore a little pricer, but still fairly cheap by Western standards.
- Old Market – Also known as Psar Chas, this market is in the heart of Siem Reap. There is something for everyone in town here; silverware, DVDs, fresh produce, fabric, spices and loads more. In the centre of Old Market you’ll find the food market which is quite the spectacle in the earlier half of the day.
- Siem Reap Art Centre Markets – Across the river from Old Market you’ll find Siem Reaps newest market with a range of oil paintings, drawings, souvenirs, etc. I found a few stores in this Art Centre Markets selling scarfs and t-shirts completely different to those offered at other Siem Reap markets, or in the rest of Cambodia for that matter. I did notice the prices started a lot higher in this market however they also dropped a lot easier, so don’t forget to bargain.
Planning a trip to Cambodia? Read this complete Cambodia Travel Guide for helpful tips on where to go, what to see, things to do, what to eat, Cambodian beaches and islands, transportation and more!