Use the quick links below to jump to a particular section of our sights and activities coverage for Siem Reap.
The question of overcrowding at Angkor Wat is becoming a serious one, and efforts are being made by numerous bodies to try to address it. One Cambodian artist has been doing his own bit too as his work offers a novel way of viewing Angkor: in miniature. Dy Proeung, 75, is one of the few artists to survive the Khmer Rouge regime and is today considered an old master and an important part of ... Read more about Angkor's grandeur on a minor scale: Dy Proeung's work .
This museum is dedicated to the efforts of one man to clear Cambodia’s soils of the most vicious remnants of war. It’s also a record of global efforts to reduce and abolish the use of landmines, a weapon that has a disproportionate impact on civilian ... Read more about Cambodian Landmine Museum .
For the first 45 minutes of our trip through the mammoth, 20,000-square-metre building, we didn't spot another visitor. The museum opened in November 2007, and its shopping mall-like feel contrasts with the thousands-year-old artefacts contained within it. A visit is a comfortable, air-con alternative to visiting the temples themselves, and a nice educational supplement to the history of ... Read more about Angkor National Museum .
Within less than a minute’s walk of Siem Reap’s Old Market is a quiet little hideaway, a fragrant oasis where you can escape the hustle and the crowds of Siem Reap and take a moment to breathe, relax and get your bearings. More than that, if your curiosity about Angkor goes more than skin deep, then it’s also an essential destination to add to your list, as the library here at Wat Damnak ... Read more about Wat Damnak & the Centre for Khmer Studies .
Wat Bo Pagoda, close to the Siem Reap River on the east side, is one of the oldest in Siem Reap and a peaceful place to escape and take a break from touring the major temple sites of nearby ... Read more about Wat Bo Pagoda .
Wat Thmei pagoda, located on one of the roads leading to Angkor Wat, is worth pausing at particularly if you won’t be visiting Phnom Penh. Here at this active monastery you can understand more about Cambodia’s tragic history since this now relatively built up area of town was formerly a site of killing fields in Siem Reap during the Khmer Rouge ... Read more about Wat Thmei .
Stuffed frog, sauteed cricket and deep fried tarantula are probably the best known examples of Cambodia’s rich street food tradition – partly because Gordon Ramsay pulled faces and swore a lot when he was forced to try them on a recent TV series and partly because, well, they all sound rather grim. But dining on Cambodian street food is not just about claiming bragging rights for the most ... Read more about River Garden Street Food Tours .
Celestial nymphs born from the Churning of the Sea of Milk, thousands of Apsaras gracefully adorn the walls of Angkor’s temples flying through the air or dancing in Indra’s Heavens, smiling quietly to themselves. Devatas are the more earthly semi-divine Goddesses, whose features are carved into the walls as they stand, sporting imperial impressions and often holding a lotus flower. These are ... Read more about Apsara Dancing .
Bright lights, glitz and glamour. Rosana Broadway certainly doesn’t come close to under-delivering if you measured its success and entertainment value by the number of sequins on ... Read more about Rosana Broadway .
Eye-popping acrobatics, hypnotic dance, thrilling, bone-chilling music, dramatic live art, enough energy to power a million dreams and stories that will make you laugh, then cry, then smile deep inside. That is the essence of Phare, the Cambodian Circus, a contemporary performance troupe that brings Cambodian history and culture to the fore with a special style. It is one of the genuinely ... Read more about Phare, the Cambodian Circus .
Work may be the last thing you have on your mind if you’ve hit the road for a while, but we know people in Cambodia who’ve had to scramble to find a quiet place with decent, reliable internet for an unexpected Skype interview, catch up on their studies or carry on with their freelancing projects. Enter: co-working ... Read more about Co-working spaces .
With Cambodia’s colourful history and tales of red rebels, kidnappings, landmines, corruption and dodgy roads, it’s unsurprising that parents might think that, say, Brussels or the local petshop might be better options when planning a trip with their kids. Yet Cambodia is child friendly, and a large number of parents are making the journey here with their children, and thoroughly enjoying it ... Read more about Siem Reap with kids .
Finding a gym in Siem Reap is an awful lot easier than doing burpees. With so many hotels in town, there are plenty of first-rate gyms to choose from. But if you’re not fortunate enough to be staying at one of those, there are plenty of dedicated independent gyms too. They may be a little more rough and ready, but still do everything you need to work up a decent sweat — though you’ll likely ... Read more about Where to work out in Siem Reap .
At certain times of year life in Siem Reap without a pool verges on the tortuous. Many expats make a point of leaving Siem Reap as soon as April arrives and the elements unleash the most ferocious heat and energy-sapping humidity of the year. But with a bit of forward-planning it can be an excellent time to visit: hotel prices drop, the crowds at Angkor Wat diminish, and even if you are staying ... Read more about Swimming pools in Siem Reap: part 2 .
The last thing I ever thought I’d discover on coming to Asia was an amazing hairdresser. I’d hoped to find new people, tastes and experiences for sure. And to develop a totally new relationship between myself and the world around me, well that would be nice too. But to find a hairdresser able to bid me farewell without wondering where that faint sobbing sound is coming from, not a hope. I’m ... Read more about Getting a haircut in Siem Reap .
Cambodia is a country that takes on your senses and gives them a thorough going-over, sometimes in a bad way, but more often in a way that leaves you aching for more. More sharp and fat scents of spice and jasmine as you wander down a random street; more gorgeous scenery in richly saturated colours; more soft, silken fabrics, more aromatic dishes; more smiles, and, okay, perhaps less of the ... Read more about Taking good photos of Siem Reap’s temples: Learn from the best .
The work of Angkor Hospital For Children (AHC) is immense. Since 1999, the paediatric teaching hospital — Cambodia’s first — has provided more than one million medical treatments, education to thousands of Cambodian health workers and prevention training to thousands of families. A non-profit, the hospital relies entirely on donations. There is also one form of donation on which they and ... Read more about Angkor Hospital For Children .
It is hard to believe that the village of Anlung Pi is just 25 kilometres from the five-star hotels of Siem Reap and the iconic lotus bud towers of Angkor Wat. Tourists don't come here, and they shouldn't. The village itself is unremarkable, but if you were to walk through the fields, just a few hundred yards from the neat, traditional wooden village houses, you would find yourself in the middle ... Read more about Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families .
Angkor Fight Club is a small gym just to the west of the city offers classes in Muay Thai, mixed martial arts and Crossfit, and it does it at prices you’d be hard pressed to find in the West, which might be why it is gaining so much in popularity. That, and the growing attraction of sports like UFC (ultimate fighting championship) to public ... Read more about Angkor Fight Club .
To say that Siem Reap has an abundance of cooking classes is a bit like saying it sometimes rains in England. There are loads, but we highlight a couple here that we like for various ... Read more about Cooking classes .
Ingredients for a good cocktail class are not just fresh and exciting produce, but ample tasting opportunities. Cycling home in a not-too-straight-line after the 90-minute class at Asana bar is a testament to the fact the lesson here didn’t fall ... Read more about Khmer cocktail class at Asana .
As Siem Reap grows, so too does the number of creative types and entrepreneurs drawn by the vibrancy, beauty and spirit of this dusty little corner of the world. The result is an absolute treasure trove for souvenir hunters looking for something original and unique to Siem Reap, all the better to trigger happy memories, or wow friends back ... Read more about Shopping in Siem Reap .
As you walk the streets, or drink and dine in Siem Reap you will at some stage undoubtedly be petitioned by children and adult male landmine victims to buy books or, in the case of the kids, postcards, jewellery or flowers. This post is not just a request to not buy anything from the children, but also a strong call to please buy from the ... Read more about Buy from adults, not street kids in Cambodia .
A variety of workshops, ateliers and artisan showrooms are home to impressive wares where you can find special gifts to take home from Siem Reap, while also learning how they are made — in Cambodia — by observing first-hand the efforts of skilled handicraft workers. Here’s our round up of where to find more meaningful artisan mementos at workshops, which are all free to ... Read more about Artisan workshops .
An iconic and ubiquitous symbol of Cambodia, the krama is a piece of cloth, usually about 1.5 metres long and between 40 and 90 centimetres wide with a crisscross pattern that seems to have as many uses as it does little coloured checks. It is the single item of apparel that allows one to distinguish Cambodians from their neighbours, or anyone ... Read more about Cambodian kramas .
On first impressions, Siem Reap might not seem like a fashion haven, but there are options here and, believe us, it’s better than a few years ago when female expats had to be physically restrained from mugging arriving planes of visitors in the hope of getting their hands on trousers (or knickers) they could pull up past their ... Read more about Clothes shopping .
The word ‘souvenir’ is derived from the French for to remember, and far more than their beauty or intrinsic value that of course is the ultimate purpose of those odd trinkets we buy when we travel. We’re not really buying a thing so much as a memory trigger: for that moment on a rubbish day at home when our eye should fall on the misshapen elephant on the shelf that instantly transports us ... Read more about Handicrafts from Siem Reap: Are they really? .
As the name suggests, Garden of Desire is a place in which to set your heart free. It is also a window into the mind of Ly Piseth, the designer who came back to Cambodia in 2007 in order to restore his own soul. Along the way, he has tapped into a creative seam that expresses not just his own spirit but also the very essences of the natural world that surrounds ... Read more about Jewellery in Siem Reap .
The busy streets of Siem Reap are in a constant state of flux as bars, shops and restaurants open, close, move or refurbish at an astonishing rate. Eventually, some establishments settle down and start to become part of the scenery. A sort of settling has now taken place on Alley West, Siem Reap’s freshest, funnest, chicest and most eccentric little ... Read more about Siem Reap street guide: Alley West .
One of the best and most interesting ways to evoke memories of a trip somewhere special is not through things you touch — souvenirs (though there can be a place for them, of course) — but through the things you can smell, preferably also employing your nose’s partner in a good time, your sense of taste. You can do a little something about that by attending one of the many cooking classes ... Read more about Siem Reap's cookbooks .
I’m one of those people who claims to be non-techie and unswayed by market caprice, but somehow always contrives to have something that’s nearly up-to-date, but insufficiently à la mode that I can lay claim to an air of above-it-all superiority. I think the technical term for it is hypocrite. I don’t have a Mac, but spend far too much time playing with Photoshop on my extra-wide laptop. I ... Read more about Where can I get my camera/computer/gadget fixed in Siem Reap? .
There appear to be people in Siem Reap who are seriously worried that the world might one day run out of markets. It’s the only rational justification I can think of for the gay abandon with which these temples of trade are being chucked up in every spare square metre of space that can be found here. There is no doubt a sweet and faithful hope of creating an eternal global monument to market ... Read more about Siem Reap Old Market .
You can be forgiven for thinking that Siem Reap already has a surfeit of markets, although you might be hard pushed to distinguish one from the other. However the Made in Cambodia Market is absolutely worth your time. Aside from the colourful, original array of food, art, clothing, homewares, cosmetics, toys, jewellery and more, its chief defining characteristic is, as the name suggests, that ... Read more about Made in Cambodia market .
There is nothing like a visit to thriving city centre market to make you feel really connected with the local culture. While Bangkok has Chatuchak, Saigon has Ben Thanh, and Phnom Penh has the art deco Psar Thmei, what does Siem Reap have to compete with these mercantile icons? The answer is Psar Leu, a sprawling, covered workaday market where prices are low, the air is surprisingly fragrant, and ... Read more about Psar Leu Market .
Heading down a wide road on the outskirts of Siem Reap at night, when camera-toting temple tourists are tucking into their fish amok in front of an Apsara dance show, and backpackers head to Pub Street, you’ll hit a dead end — welcome to Kyung Yu, a funfair that sets up daily come ... Read more about Kyung Yu Fun Fair .
A 15-minute stroll north from the Old Market, along the shady west bank of the Siem Reap River, with its ornate stone streetlamps and hotch-potch of animal and religious sculptures, leads you to The Royal Gardens, the Siem Reap city centre’s only open public green space. It is an area that provides visitors with a restful antidote to the dusty streets of downtown, and a handful of free ... Read more about Siem Reap's Royal Gardens .
While they’re not as pushy as their counterparts in Bangkok, it’s still almost impossible to walk through central Siem Reap without hearing the siren call of “you want massaaage?” as pitchers nervously exhort you to enter their particular spa space. And there are now so many of them with the same glass front, same menu and unknowable service that it’s impossible to separate the wheat ... Read more about Where can I get a good massage in Siem Reap? .
Siem Reap is home to a broad selection of yoga classes in a variety of styles. The only drawback is that given the largely transient nature of the client base, little is available for advanced practitioners. However, for those in the early or middle stages of their practice, there is much to choose ... Read more about Yoga .
At the physical heart of Cambodia, an immense body of water is the soul of the nation. The great Tonle Sap lake not only sustains Cambodian stomachs, with its harvest accounting for more than 50% of Cambodia’s protein intake, it is also a source of immense national ... Read more about Tonle Sap Lake .
What can one say about Chong Kneas, if one really had to be polite about it. It’s a sort of port and long canal about 12 kilometres from Siem Reap, flanked by scrubby green-brown banks to the west side of which you can see the edges of part of the floating forest that makes the Tonle Sap Lake such a richly abundant source of food. Along the top of the east bank, depending on the time of year ... Read more about Chong Khneas .
The Lotus Farm is a 20-acre lake producing thousands of gorgeous lotus flowers, all harvested to create a unique, silk-like textile, and was set up by local brand Samatoa in ... Read more about Lotus Farm .
Whether you’re a bird watcher, simple nature lover or culture vulture, there’s something to intrigue and enthral at Prek Toal, a floating fishing village on the far side of the Tonle Sap lake, and also home to one of the most important colonies of water birds in Southeast ... Read more about Prek Toal bird reserve .
Getting out into the countryside for scenes of rural life, where ox carts trundle along against a backdrop of vibrant green rice fields sprinkled with quaint, quiet villages, is one of the loveliest ways to spend your time around Siem Reap and a great reason to add another day in Cambodia into your itinerary. But the sleepy pace of the countryside need not be reflected in your choice of transport ... Read more about Quad biking .
A floating village on the northern reaches of the Tonle Sap, Mechrey is not the loveliest spot in the world, but it offers some great bird-spotting opportunities, as well as a chance to witness a unique way of life for those who live on the ... Read more about Mechrey .
The serene temples of Siem Reap may not conjure up images of white-knuckle adventures for adrenaline addicts, yet there are an ever-increasing number of opportunities to ramble along little-trodden routes and escape the crowds by foot, bike, horseback and petrol power. Here’s a roundup of some of the best adventurous and active ways to see famous Angkorian antiquities and contemporary rural ... Read more about Adventure activities in Siem Reap .
Ecotourism is the most important word in the Cambodian tourism lexicon at the moment. Everyone is at it, or claims to be, in response to the growing desire of tourists to enjoy something that’s at once different, involved or “experiential” to use the other crucial industry buzzword, and environmentally responsible (we won’t talk about airline carbon footprints here). But notwithstanding ... Read more about Ecotour or not ecotour .
For cyclists, Siem Reap is genuinely twice blessed. Firstly, all the major sights are within easy striking distance of the town using pedal power alone. And secondly — and more importantly given the tropical climate — the terrain is pretty much flat as a pancake, making cycling a year-round ... Read more about Cycling around Siem Reap .
How hot and sticky is it in Siem Reap? Even in the cooler months of the year, after a day spent trampling around Angkorian temples or visiting any of the many other things to see, you feel horrible before it’s even midday. Clothes are stuck to everything. A river, a whole river, of sweat has gushed down your back and God knows where. Your dominant mood is sluggish with a hint of irritation. And ... Read more about Swimming in Siem Reap .
A centre dedicated to protecting and preserving some of Cambodia’s most at-risk wildlife, the Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity allows visitors a chance to appreciate the wild diversity of this beautiful ... Read more about Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity .
Tara offers a series of packages, which can take you to Chong Kneas, Kampong Phluk or Kampong Kleang. The Tara Riverboat itself is at Chong Kneas and you are brought there by a small, guided engine boat up a channel and out on to the lake. The Chong Kneas sunset tour includes a trip to the Gecko Environmental Centre, a two-course dinner and unlimited drinks. The day tour includes the meal and ... Read more about Tara Riverboat .
Unlike its well-touristed sister, this is a stilted rather than floating village (you may see some floating rafthouses about the place). It's a very different place between the wet and dry season. The houses are on six-metre-high stilts, so in the height of the wet the water is close to the top, but in the dry, the village is, well, dry, and so the houses tower six metres above you. During ... Read more about Kompong Phluk .
It's massive -- the largest on the lake -- and around 10 times the size of Kompong Phluk. As with Kompong Phluk, the main livelihood here is fishing, but in a number of ways it is a more interesting village to visit. There's a large village temple and a good stretch of village can be wandered through, even in the height of the monsoon. Further afield you can continue by boat out to a meeting ... Read more about Kompong Khleang .
Motorcycle tours open up Cambodia in a way that nothing else can, creating a chance to explore the kingdom’s rural life and culture as well as its countryside and wildlife along roads that can be otherwise inaccessible or ... Read more about Motorcycle tours .
Templed-out? You won’t have been the first person to have been overwhelmed by the number of Angkorian ruins to take in. Angkor Silk Farm is just one of the antidotes available to help balance out the historical with the contemporary — it costs nothing at all to visit and we found it surprisingly ... Read more about Angkor Silk Farm .
Despite being lost in a hot and dusty corner of the world, Siem Reap is not short of indoor and outdoor running possibilities. It’s just that the outdoor ones can be a little awkward in ... Read more about Marathons .
Fancy a night of joy, madness, music, dance and ginormous puppetry? Then keep an eye out for The Giant Puppet Parade, which happens every year around about the end of February/beginning of March. It’s the joyous creation of the Giant Puppet Project and one the biggest nights of the year in Siem Reap: an occasion to let the kids from the many children’s organisations around town stand out and ... Read more about The Giant Puppet Project .
First, to break the bad news: Siem Reap is not Bangkok. There are no mega-cinemas to be found here, though we have moved up in the world with our very own small big screen cinema in the middle of town. But on the positive side, Siem Reap is not Bangkok: mega-cinemas are crowded, frozen temples of anaemic consumerism, dedicated to sucking out the last of your soul, along with your dollars — or, ... Read more about Cinemas .