A simple Siem Reap sunrise becomes a momentous event when the morning light washes over the overgrown temples and ruins of Angkor Wat. The ancient structures are housed within one of the world’s greatest religious complexes. The complex and the royal city of Angkor Thom, built in the 12th century, are regarded the main reasons to visit Siem Reap. The Cambodian Cultural Village offers an education in national history, as well as a lesson in haggling at the Angkor Night Market, a smorgasbord of shopping stalls, food sellers, and bars.
1. Beng Mealea
After Beng Mealea was abandoned, nature took its course, and the entire site has been overtaken by flora. Trees have sprouted from the stone, vines have wrapped around doorways, and roots have spread through the walls. Beng Mealea, a sandstone temple said to date from the 12th century, is a replica of Angkor Wat. The temple grounds are surrounded by a massive moat that was once completely engulfed by forest; if you enter from the south side, you’ll be surrounded by jumbled sandstone blocks and crawling vines.
2. Tonle Sap
Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It is also known as Boeung Tonle Sap and contains one of the world’s most vibrant ecosystems. The lake and its surroundings are home to a diverse range of wildlife species that helped to sustain and expand the ancient Khmer civilisation. It’s also famous for its fascinating local communities and floating towns. The massive lake in Siem Reap is 250 kilometres long and 100 kilometres wide at its widest point, giving it the appearance of an inland ocean because the opposing shore is impossible to see from ground level. Surprisingly, the maximum depth is only 10 metres deep.
3. Kbal Spean River
The well-known river of a thousand lingas, Kbal Spean, is located near Phnom Kulen, northeast of Angkor. These lingas (phallic symbols) were clearly cut into the river bedrock in order to ‘fertilise’ the waters flowing to the fields of Angkor. Other carvings of Buddha and Buddhist motifs can be found in the rocks after the lingas. The structure was constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries. The Kbal Spean archaeological site is located 45 minutes uphill through the trees.
4. Angkor Village Apsara Theatre & Restaurant
The Apsara Theatre & Restaurant is located in Wat Bo Village and is part of the Angkor Village Hotel. Go inside and you’ll find yourself in an opulent air-conditioned theatrical environment, with tables arranged low in front of the stage where you can dine cross-legged on cushions. Traditional Cambodian dancing acts are given on stage, together with Khmer set dinners. Souvenir pamphlets are handed out to assist you comprehend each subtle hand gesture and the backstories behind each complex performance.
5. Angkor National Museum
The Angkor National Museum is a must-see in Siem Reap if you want to learn about the ancient Khmer civilization and the Angkorian temples. This 2-story museum on Charles de Gaulle Boulevard has 8 galleries with approximately 1,000 relics organised by age, religion, and royalty. On a typical visit, you’ll be taken to an amphitheatre to watch a short video about the museum’s history, amenities, and services before exploring the exhibits. This orientation is offered in 15-minute increments in Khmer, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, English, French, and Thai.
6. Wat Bo Temple
Wat Bo, a short walk from Siem Reap’s Old Market, is one of the city’s oldest temples. The beautiful gardens and Khmer temples are well worth seeing. After seeing the sights here, walk across Charles De Gaulle Rd. to the Old French Quarter.
7. War Museum Cambodia
The Siem Reap War Museum is Cambodia’s sole war museum. It gives visitors a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the dangers that Cambodians faced throughout the last three decades of the twentieth century. It also offers tourists a fantastic opportunity to better comprehend the numerous things that actually happened during Cambodia’s ‘war years’. The goal of this museum is to preserve the memory of Cambodia’s most important period in history, as well as the artifacts from that time.
8. Pub Street
Pub Street in Siem Reap is the town’s nightlife epicentre, lined with rows of backpacker-friendly bars and pubs, crowded nightclubs, and international restaurants. The street is open throughout the day and until late at night. Street 08, the main thoroughfare, is home to the most well-known bars and clubs, as well as the liveliest atmosphere – they’re famous for their US$0.50 draught beer specials. Alley West and The Lane run parallel and contain cocktail bars, cafés, art galleries, and souvenir shops. Pub Street, a 5-minute walk from Angkor Night Market, is ideal for a night of Siem Reap pub hopping. The entire street closes to motorised vehicles at 5 p.m., making it safe to explore on foot at your leisure.
9. Angkor Night Market
The Angkor Night Market, off Sivatha Boulevard in Siem Reap, is made up of about 200 bamboo huts selling clothing and handicrafts made by local communities and non-governmental organisations. This outdoor market, which opened in 2007 with the goal of preserving traditional Khmer handicrafts and improving Khmer people’s lives, sells one-of-a-kind items such as silk paintings, shadow puppets, recycled handbags, and complex stone carvings decorated in silver or brass. Angkor Night Market, located in a beautiful park in downtown Siem Reap, is also a great place to enjoy local cuisine and cheap spirits, as well as live music performances until late at night.
10.Siam Reap Art Center
The Siem Reap Art Center Night Market is open from early in the morning until late at night, but it is more of a night market than an art center. Adjacent to the Old Market (Phsar Chaa or Phsar Chas), the place has a wealth of vendors selling crafts, souvenirs, the obligatory elephant pants, and refreshments.
Visit the village on stilts on Lake Tonle Sap to see real Cambodian village life. There is a village called Kampong Phluk near Siem Reap. We offer morning and evening village tours. The recommended time is between 8 and 9 a.m. The return time is about 16 hours. If you want to see the sunset on the lake, we recommend taking an evening tour; the best time to start is between 1 and 2 p.m. The return time is around 7 p.m.
12.Phnom Kulen National Park
Phnom Kulen National Park is one of the most revered destinations in Cambodia, as it features Kulen Mountain. The Kulen Mountain, formerly known as Mount Mahendraparvata, is a cultural and historical resort that marked the beginning of the Khmer empire in the 9th century when King Jayavarman II declared independence from Java and declared himself the ‘Chakravartin,’ or universal king. The Phnom Kulen temple ruins and several centuries-old consecrated carvings and sculptures are located about 50 kilometers north of Siem Reap and stretch for more than 13 kilometers down to the Angkor Plain. Most of Phnom Kulen’s areas are still undeveloped, allowing you to immerse yourself in nature’s cool, spellbinding attractions such as jungle-covered verdant surroundings, rivers, and dazzling waterfalls.
13.Wat Preah Prom Rath Temple
Wat Preah Prohm Rath is one of Siem Reap’s oldest monasteries, dating back approximately 500 years. King Ang Chan dedicated this monastery to Preah Ang Chang-Han Hoy and the spirits of Ta Pom Yeay Rat. This temple was also built to spread the Dhama (the Buddha’s teaching) and to house monks, as many visitors to Siem Reap at the time were homeless. It is not the largest Pagoda in town, and there are dozens of them, but due to its location, it may be the most visible.
14. Cambodia Landmine Museum
Every year, landmines left over from Cambodia’s many conflicts kill dozens of locals. Former child soldier Aki Ra founded the Cambodia Landmine Museum, which depicts the horrors of this national curse. The small, mostly open-air museum reopened in January 2019 after being closed due to a fire.
15. Siem Reap Old Market (Phsar Chas)
Siem Reap’s Old Market (Phsar Chas) attracts both locals and tourists, selling everything from handicrafts to fresh produce. While there’s plenty of souvenir shopping to be done here (look for hand-woven, colorful silks), the market is also a fascinating snapshot of Siem Reap life, complete with vendors selling deep-fried bugs.