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Siem Reap attractions and tours
Cambodia is a really cool place to tour. On my research destination to tour, I always find in Siem Reap a very interesting province to visit, full of history and outdoor action. It is the center of attraction in Cambodia. There is so much to explore and enjoy there and so many great choices to engage with Siem Reap attractions and tours. Upon my experiences I came across these fantastic details I have shared in this post.
The name Siem Reap means “Siam Defeated.” But the only rampaging hordes these days are the tourists heading to the Archeological Park of Angkor.
This once picturesque village has become Cambodia’s largest booming town and construction site. It is a very laid-back place with such a pleasant feel to live when visiting the temples and a good balance between experiencing Cambodian life and enjoying the facilities of modern services and entertainment, thanks to a large community of expatriates.
Angkor, Siem Reap’s Siem Reap temples are always set for great attractions. But when you’re templed out, there’s plenty to do in and around the city.
Siem Reap, during the years, had to reinvent itself to become the epicenter of chic Cambodia.
Siem Reas hosts everybody from backpacker party pads to hip hotels, world-class wine, and dining through a variety of cuisines, sumptuous spas, great shopping, local tours for both foodies and adventurers.
The province itself is a creative cultural scene that includes the leading contemporary circus in Cambodia.
Siem Reap activities
Activities in Siem Reap allow you to discover Cambodia’s fascinating region and learn about its unique history and culture.
It includes, of course, the iconic Angkor Wat Temple Complex and the massive Tonlé Sap Lake, one of Siem Reap’s most popular attractions. Keeping you busy and amused from morning to late afternoon, in this Siem Reap’s full-day activities list I wanted to include also many of the lesser-known locations and the quieter sights around the entire province.
There is also the inclusion of several different ways to immerse yourself in the local culture, from performing traditional dances to using old-fashioned methods of weaving, fishing, and farming.
Private Bayon, Ta Prohm, Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat tour
Without a doubt, the amazing Angkor Wat in Siem Reap’s most famous attraction, if not all of Cambodia. While visiting the area, it’s an absolute must-see.
The huge main temple is certainly beautiful on its own but is also surrounded by other stunning examples of ancient Khmer architecture in the Archeological Park of Angkor. Bayon Temple with its 200 smiling faces of Avalokitesvara, like the other historical structures in the Angkor Thom complex, is particularly fascinating.
Private Kompong Phluk tour and blessing ceremony
Following the beautiful temples, the massive Tonlé Sap Lake is often considered the second major attraction of Siem Reap. Tonlé Sap is home to several traditional fishing communities, including the village of Kompong Phluk, the largest and oldest freshwater lake in all Southeast Asia, which is so large that it is practically an inland sea.
A trip here will allow you to explore the surroundings and the famous stilted village with the background of the vast and beautiful countryside of Cambodia.
Get a close look at the local way of life.
Have a nearby lunch at a small restaurant before heading to Wat Athvea where the Buddhist monks will receive a blessing.
Private tour of Phnom Kulen and reclining Buddha
Visit the wonderful Kulen Mountains, walkthrough amazing Cambodian countryside and see the amazing streams and waterfalls of this rough area north of Siem Reap. See Kbal Spean’s hundreds of Hindu sculptures and the famous reclining Buddha of the 16th century.
You will also visit Chup Preah, where the cool mountain stream forms two waterfalls that ultimately flow into Tonlé Sap feeding. This tour is also more interesting because it stops at the Landmine Museum, on the way back to Siem Reap, after looking at the more ancient and glorious past for a strong reminder of the country’s violent recent history.
Siem Reap attractions, Tonlé Sap, silk farm and Angkor National Museum tour
This trip gives you a closer look at the history and culture of Cambodia, including a visit both to the Silk farm and to the traditional floating villages of Tonlé Sap Lake
The silk farm that still uses the old methods of collecting and weaving fabrics.
Start the day with a trip to the Angkor National Museum to see the Khmer Empire’s ancient artifacts that have been expertly arranged. The tour also includes delicious lunch and very interesting experience at the Artisans Angkor, the interesting part is that here you can see more traditional local crafts which are kept alive by masters to create memorable and unique souvenirs.
Private full-day tour of Beng Mealea and Koh Ker
While the temples around Angkor Wat are the largest and most popular, around Siem Reap there are several smaller, lesser-known sites that give those interested in exploring a real “hidden treasure” vibe.
One of the strongest is Koh Ker’s nearby ancient city of Beng Mealea and Angkor.
Both are heavily overgrown, but they still stand out as beautiful structures due to their distinctive architecture.
These are quite a long drive from Siem Reap, but in a spacious, air-conditioned car, this tour includes round-trip transport.
Beng Mealea will appear just like a lot of messed up magnificence.
Trees with space-rocket fins blasted up via debris, the branches of these natural climbers and also strangler figs passed through the wall surfaces like stitches with the material.
A lot of the holy places were ruined naturally, as well as later throughout the battle, by robbery
Throughout Cambodia’s holy places there have actually been mass decapitations of sculpture.
The heads of Buddhas, dancing females, cobras, lions and also much else have actually been marketed to the 4 edges.
The temples districts have actually been planted with mines that remain to smash individuals’ lives.
At Beng Mealea I went across the web of boardwalks that were set up not just for simplicity of gain access to. As well as yet the spirit of such locations has actually made it through as well as also magnified.
Koh Ker was once upon a time ancient capital city of the empire. It is situated in Srayong Cheung town, Srayong neighborhood, Kulen area.
The entire complex of Koh Ker stands on the highland plains called Chhork Koki.
It was constructed by King Jayavaraman IV ( 928-942 AD).
Koh Ker holy place is 35 meters high, and also its layout looks like a seven-stepped stupa. The Temple was developed to praise Treypuvanesvara, the god of joy.
Much, 96 holy places have actually been located in Koh Ker. An amazing long list of incredible temples blended with forests and the nature of the plains, the Dav, the Trapiang Target, Krahom, Andoung, Ang Khna, Dey Chhnang, Damrei Sar, the Rumlum Bey, Beung Veng, Trapiang Svay, Neang Kmao, Lingam, Srok Srolao,, Trapiang Ta, Sophy, Kuk Srakum, Teuk Krahom, Krarab, Banteay Pichoan, Kuk, Kmao, Thneung, Thorn Balang, Rohal, Chamneh, Sampich, Bat, Khnar Chen, Dangtung, Klum, Chrab, Prang, Kampiang.
Today, most of them are no more standing.
Some are just hidden in the ground.
The followings are areas that can be visited for a unique experience of the Koh Ker temples:
Pram Temple place
Regarding 700 to 800 meters north of Neang Khmao holy place is one more holy place called Pram holy place.
Constructed of laterite as well as sandstone, it rests on a little hillside bordered by shrubs that obstruct the lintel and also the lingam. The text of the holy place remains in good condition.
Neang Khmao Temple
The Koh Ker is found along a route that has to do with 3 kilometers long. The very first temple, Neang Khmao rests atop a little hillside on the east side of the route. The holy place is made from sandstone.
It is 20 meters high as well as appears like a stupa.
It has a large balcony 2 meters high as well as separated right into 3 decks.
The temple is bordered by a laterite parapet, 44 meters square and also 2 meters high.
The barricade has just 2 openings, one on the eastern side, as well as the various other on the west.
The lintel sculpture has actually been harmed, however, or else, the majority of the temple remains in good condition, while almost three-quarters of the ridge remains in good condition.
Additionally down the route is a three-peak holy place made from laterite and also sandstone.
It encounters eastern and also is called Chen holy place.
Inside the holy place, there is an item of lingam and also residues of statuary of King Jayavarman IV. A sculpture of garuda’s directly the south lintel is missing out on.
The temple is overgrown by woodland.
Regarding 800 to 900 meters further, there is the Preng well, which resembles a fish pond. Bordered by rock, it is 20 meters square.
The balcony has to do with 8 centimeters high. The water in the fish pond is clear, and also a close-by tree supplies color for fatigued site visitors searching for an area to kickback.
A parapet of Koh Ker Temple
An additional kilometer down the route is the barricade of Koh Ker holy place. 1 kilometer long and also 2 kilometers high, it is made from laterite.
Koh Ker temple lays in the middle of a ridge, bordered by 20 even more holy places.
A few of the holy places are:
Kuk Temple or Gopura
Kuk holy place or Gopura is constructed from sandstone and also has a sculpture of lotus flowers on the holy place fronton. The door structure is harmed and damaged, for many of the temples, the conservation remains a huge problem, but most of this temple still sit in very nice conditions. When was housed inside a Shiva lingam has actually been robbed.
Prang holy place is built of sandstone and also blocks. There are 5 different parts of this holy place. Around 70 percent of the holy place is still standing.
Concerning 10 meters further is Kramhom holy place (The red holy place). Constructed made of blocks and also formed like a seven-level pyramid, the holy place is embellished with a 20-meter-tall sculpture of lotus flowers.
Inside the holy place, there is 3-meter-tall statuary of Shiva with 8 arms and also 4 heads. The sculpture is sustained by an l-square-meter base. The sculpture is seriously harmed, just some components continue to be.
Additionally down is Khmao holy place. On the wall surface as well as door framework of the holy place, there is a partly harmed engraving. Near the holy place is a ridge portal to Kampiang holy place.
The entrance is a 2-meter stair. Some sculptures of lotus flowers, seven-headed nagas and also garudas stay.
Koh Ker Temple
Concerning 300 meters further to the west is Kampiang or Koh Ker holy place.
From a range, the holy place resembles a little hillside, due to the fact that it is covered by woodland.
When you will get closer, nonetheless, you will see it is, in fact, a 35-meter-high stupa made from sandstone.
It has 7 different levels that make of the entire hight of the temple, every 5 meters high over the other. Each level forms a deck 2-meter-wide balcony, as well as there is a 55- action stairs to the top.
On top of this holy place, there are big statuaries of garudas sustaining Shiva lingam Treypuvanesvara.
Close by, there is a 4-meter square well, currently entirely covered by turf. According to regional citizens, if a coconut is gone down right into this well, it will certainly roll down and show up in the fish pond near the Neang Khmao holy place.
There is greenery expanding in addition to the holy place, and also from there, site visitors have a superb sight of the bordering landscape, particularly, Phnom Dangrek, Phnom Tbeng, as well as Kulen area.
To the north of Koh Ker there is one more temple, Damrei Sar temple, however, it is greatly harmed and damaged by nature.
To the northeast, is Lingam temple. This holy place when housed 3 Shiva lingams, yet some are currently ruined.
Private full-day tour of Kbal Spean and Banteay Srei
A private full-day tour of Kbal Spean and Banteay Srei helps you to explore some of the lesser-known abandoned temples around Siem Reap, a short drive north in the beautiful mountainous area.
This tour takes you to the Banteay Srei temple of the 10th century, which is beautifully decorated with pictures of the Hindu god Shiva, while the nearby Kbal Spean is a beautiful mountain streamlined with small symbolic sculptures of other Hindu deities. It’s a lovely area, much less busy than the Angkor Wat complex.
Chanson Village full-day excursion
Spend the day in Chansor’s charming traditional village, 40 km away from Siem Reap. You can take an ox-cart ride here, learn about the local way of life, and even try for yourself a few Cambodian crafts.
This includes experimenting with mat-weaving, cooking, fishing, farming, and more. This is the perfect tour for you if you want to interact with the local community.
Private full-day tour to Ang Trapaing Thmor Crane Sanctuary
The Ang Trapaing Thmor Crane Sanctuary is home to the highest-flying birds in the world–the rare cranes of Sarus. To see these majestic creatures feeding and nesting, an expert guide will take you to and around this remarkable natural reserve.
You will also have the opportunity to see the deer of Eld, long-tailed macaques, Asian tortoises, and more. The sanctuary is a long drive from Siem Reap that requires early departure, but the tour includes comfortable round trip transfers.
Full-day countryside discovery on a quad bike
Explore the breathtaking Cambodian countryside on this thrilling quad bike trip, just a short distance from the busy city center of Siem Reap. The tour stops along the way in several villages where you can visit shops for crafts and learn local skills.
In a local restaurant, you will also be able to enjoy lunch and stop at a school to help some of the kids practice their English. It’s a great mix of adventure and learning.
Siem Reap bike tour
Visit Angkor Wat on the Angkor Kingdom’s9-hour bike tour, biking around the temple ruins in the morning light. Ride hidden trails to get away from the crowds and enjoy Khmer cuisine for lunch as well as favorites for breakfast.
You’ll experience an unforgettable9-hour morning bike ride on the Angkor Kingdom of Angkor Wat’s back trails and see the legendary temples in the soft morning light.
As the other early risers return to their hotel, Angkor will be in the best light of the day for you.
Your guide will give you an overview of Angkor Wat, after which you will take a short ride just outside the temple area to enjoy breakfast.
The rest of your day will be spent riding back trails, cycling through ruins and forests, and stopping at iconic and lesser-known temples like Bayon and Ta Prom.
Stop by Mrs. Srang’s small reservoir for a lunch of typical Khmer cuisine and drive back to the city for your hotel drop-off just as the day heats up.
Siem Reap countryside tour
Escape the hustle and bustle of Siem Reap and take a full-day tour of the floating villages of Tonle Sap to the surrounding countryside.
Visit a stylish house, cycle along red soil paths, and enjoy a typical Khmer lunch with friendly locals.
You’ll get to leave Siem Reap for this full-day tour of the Cambodian countryside around the city, transfer to Kompong Khleang, a community-owned floating village that has maintained its authenticity.
Cycle through some beautiful villages along the red soil roads and stop at the fish market to watch and participate in the Khmer fish trade.
You’ll also go to a stilt house to share with local people traditional Khmer cuisine. Return later to a pagoda, situated on an island, on your voyage.
Walkthrough the monks ‘ school, watching their daily routine.
Next, you’ll visit a floating Vietnamese village based on Tonlé Sap floating objects. The village is moving along the river and, depending on the season, sometimes up to the lake. Marvel at the floating school, hospital, and local shops.
Take the bus back to Siem Reap, passing rural villages on the way. Stop at one of them to communicate with the villagers and see some of the water-bird species that pick up at the rice paddies, if you’re lucky.
Siem Reap floating village
when you visit visiting Siem Reap, don’t miss visiting the floating villages at Tonle Sap Lake, they have become nowadays a really important point of interest, to truly understand Khmer countryside lifestyle.
The obsession with people living in floating homes, going to floating schools and dining in floating restaurants is quite a draw for the many tourists who come to Cambodia. In addition to the floating villages, there are also stilted villages along the banks of Tonle Sap Lake.
Here in these villages the houses and the buildings rest on high and thin stilts that keep the inhabitants dry during the wet season.
Chong Kneas is Siem Reap’s nearest village, approx. Sixteen km. Consists of sleek houses as well as floating houses, which are constantly pushed around depending on water levels. Chong Kneas is also the Battambang and Phnom Penh boat terminal.
As such there are numerous Korean restaurants, Chong Kneas is largely set up to serve Korean tourists. It is also a common spot for scams of rice. The local community does not own the boat tours, and the people living here hardly see any of the vast amounts of tourist money coming in.
Kampong Phluk, which means “harbor of the tusks,” is 3 villages, with mainly stylish houses, which line the main entrance from this area to the Tonle Sap Lake. It is just over 30 km from Siem Reap and is easy to manage on a half-day trip. During the dry season, the community mainly supports catching fish and shrimp but also harvesting some land crops.
Compared to some of the other villages, the road trip and the river trip are relatively short.
A private company will take you to the lake through the village as this is the main destination.
There are no activities that tourists can normally do in Kampong Phluk because it is a working village and most people focus on their industry, quite separate from the tourism industry.
It may be interesting to look at another way of life going past the houses of the locals, but it may also feel quite invasive, especially knowing that these residents are not involved in or benefiting from the industry.
Near the area, however, there are small boats that can take you around the mangroves, or flooded forest that is more authentic.
There are also a few floating restaurants and some of the local tourism industry also supports stopping here.
Kampong Phluk floating village
Discover Kompong Phluk’s beautiful village on a small group tour of Siem Reap. Experience Cambodia’s authentic face and learn about life in Tonlé Sap Lake’s floating villages.
To reach Tonlé Sap Lake, you will leave Siem Reap and travel south-east through rural villages and rice fields. Go by road to board a vessel as far as you can, and then sail down the Kompong Phluk River.
Approximately 3,000 inhabitants arrive in a Khmer village that mainly makes a living from fishing and farming. In rural Cambodia, sail along the main street, or explore on foot, depending on the weather and tidal conditions.
Maybe is a nice idea to visit a few schools, to see the large pagoda temple that rests in the middle of the village, some up to 10 meters tall, along with many stylish homes.
Get in touch with a less hectic lifestyle and enjoy peace. Relax and focus on taking marvelous pictures as you are onboard the small boat riding through the flooded forest to Tonlé Sap Lake.
Here, depending on the season, the level may vary by up to 10 meters. Return to the minivan that will take you back to your Siem Reap hotel room.
Kampong Khleang is a permanent stilted village on the banks of Tonle Sap. Kampong Khleang, meaning literally “harbor warehouse,” is a permanent stilted village approximately 50 km southeast of Siem Reap.
This village is the farthest from the villages frequently visited on the Tonle Sap River, upstream from Siem Reap. As such, it doesn’t have the same number of visiting visitors, which can be appealing if you want a more genuine experience and a more relaxed pace.
Kampong Khleang has both stylish and floating houses and many other buildings to support this large community of about 6,000 people. The floating houses are moved by the Tonle Sap Lake water levels.
The houses are more or less on the edge of the lake during the dry season.
The boat service here is owned and run by locals, which means that the local community supports your money.
There are both tours to Kampong Khleang beyond Unique Escapes and Triple-A Adventures. The Beyond Unique Escapes tour includes a visit to the local market and a village that produces sticky rice. By tuk-tuk and hiring a boat once you arrive, you can also make your way there, giving you more flexibility with timing.
Mechrey floating village also provides a real-life’ experience. Mechrey floating village is situated 25 km southwest of Siem Reap and about halfway to Prek Toal; also a floating village and entry point to Prek Toal Core Bird Reserve.
The community of Mechrey lives from fishing and, more recently, from eco-tours development.
Things are pretty grassroots level as a newcomer to the tourism industry. In Mechrey, however, many of the methods applied in other villages are evident–such as providing tourists with the opportunity to buy rice for local orphans.
While this may seem like a kind and generous thing to do while traveling, this help often causes more harm–think twice before donating in this way, donating money to a reputable organization, such as The Lake Clinic, which provides medical support to communities on the Tonle Sap Lake, can be much more beneficial.
It is often said that when it comes to Mechrey, the journey is more beautiful than the destination, but if the experience you are looking for is’ real life,’ then that’s it.
Siem Reap attractions, Psar Chaa – Siem Reap Old Market
Experience Cambodia’s flavors at Psar Chaa-Old Market, a historic shopping area that includes food, drinks, and souvenirs. Soak in this busy market’s sights and sounds as you shop for gifts.
Popular among Cambodians and tourists alike, this open-air market sells everything from silk fabric and stone carvings to regional fare. You can always explore nearby restaurants and bars or walk along the river bank if you’re tired of shopping. Psar Chaa-Old Market is just one of the many attractions you can arrange to see.
Psar Chaa-Old Market is the most popular visitor shopping experience in Siem Reap.
The outdoor stalls are selling souvenirs like silk, carvings, stoneware, faux vintage items, t-shirts, and Angkor Wat temple paintings and photos.
The fresh produce and seafood stalls are also on the market.
The food stalls are a great opportunity to sample authentic Khmer food, which is invariably served with the distinctive local Prahok, a type of fermented fish paste. Coconut milk drunk directly from the fruit is a good accompaniment.
A clear and tasty legacy of the French colonial era is the prevalence of baguettes and frog legs.
Siem Reap’s Old Market is full of energy and activity, with souvenir shops, pubs, bars and restaurants serving backpackers and tourists.
Go to the market at dawn with fresh vegetables, meats, and assorted foods on sale to experience the authentic taste of local life.
However, expect to find Buddha statues, local Cambodian arts and crafts for sale in souvenir shops.
Check around looking out for the best price for the item you wish to buy, shop like a local, have a look at local life, spices, and food, walk around the market as there is a lot to see because it is a great authentic market!
More activities in Siem Reap
- Water Festival in Cambodia