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When talking about cities or provinces with various tourist attractions in Cambodia, Siem Reap is the first one to mention. The literal name of the city is Siamese defeated. It received the name when the Khmer Empire won the war against Thai armies on that area in the 17th century. Due to having Angkor Wat, one of the most ancient seven wonders in the world, Siem Reap has become well-known to all people around the globe.
On top of that, Siem Reap has many other temples with different designing style to provide a great experience to tourists who ever come to visit the area. Not only does this city be famous for historical sites, but it also presents visitors a significant time of modern life as well. In precise, you will not run out of place to visit when you are in Siem Reap. However, if you only have 12 hours to spend in this magnificent city, here are the activities you could do to make your time worthwhile.
12 hours in Siem Reap
Morning (8am -11am)
To start our day energetically, we need to make sure that our stomach is full. Eating is good, but eating delicious food is even better. There are plenty of places where you can get a well-eaten breakfast, including small shops along the street or in the market, coffee shop, and luxury restaurants. We have listed down two restaurants where you can go in for breakfast before you start your day.
It is a casual restaurant that serves Cambodian cuisine and simple Western delight to people. The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing for an individual who favors calmness. It serves fantastic food and also suitable for a vegan and vegetarian. What makes this place even special is that it donates 30% of the profits to local education project and shares 20% of it with Khmer staff.
- Opening hours: Mon – Sun, 7:30AM – 9:30PM
- Location: 75 meters east of Old Market, behind Angkor Trade Center, opposite the wooden wheel Siem Reap, Cambodia
Rohatt Café is a place that serves authentic Khmer cuisine, Espresso café, bakeries, and pastry, drink and lounge to visitors. This place is suitable for people who enjoy luxurious and elegant atmosphere. Taking place next to the river, Rohatt café offers an awesome experience to customers. They are able to enjoy the peacefulness of the tranquil river along with the natural view while having their breakfast. For those who want sweets for breakfast can get tasty cakes from this café as well.
- Open hours: Everyday, 7AM – 11PM
- Address: Vithei Acha Svar, east road of Steung Siem reap (142.57 mi), Siem Reap, Cambodia
Bike tour around Angkor Wat
Biking around Angkor Wat is one of the most significant activities that you cannot miss. By choosing to ride a bike instead of using other types of vehicles, you will get to save more of your expenses on transportation. Moreover, biking allows you to enjoy the spectacular and striking sceneries along the way. The soothing air in Angkor Wat will make you feel a special kind capable sensation to calm your mind.
Additionally, getting a bike is pretty easy. Each guesthouse, hostel or hotel has various types of vehicles for rent to the customer. The price for a bicycle depends on the type of bikes, which is $2 to $6 a day. Lastly, before you hit the road, you need to make sure you have stocked enough water since it is going to be a long ride and staying hydrated is important. Furthermore, you need a hat and sunscreen. It can be quite hot in the afternoon. Thus, it is crucial that your skin is safe.
Visit Angkor Wat
You cannot say you have come to Siem Reap if you do not come to visit a place that is a symbol of the country. Angkor Wat is precisely the biggest tourist attraction in the city. With such an expert skill in architecture, ancient Khmer people were able to build this splendid temple that we could not find an appropriate adjective to describe how breathtaking it looks.
Visiting Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is what most tourists are looking forward to when they come to Cambodia. As you come upon it, the views get more and more surreal making the temple worth visiting. The inside of Angkor Wat is huge that it could take you quite long to sight every part of it. Many interesting historical stories behind every sculpture can present an interesting look into the past to visitors. Since Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is enormous, we suggest you find more time to spend there if you want to get every detail of this impressive temple.
Temples near Angkor Wat
Siem Reap has so many temples that having only twelve hours will not be enough to witness those breathtaking monuments. Before you do anything else, taking your time to sightsee the other temples that are around the area. Those temples include Angkor Thom temple, Taprom temple, Bapoun temple, Neakpean temple, Prerub temple and so on. Tourists will experience different styles of architectures that will leave them with memorable memory.
Preah Ang Jek Preah Ang Jorm
Preah Ang Jek Preah Ang Jorm is the most sacred place in Siem Reap city. Any people who happened to travel in Siem Reap would drop by this place. For tourists, they would come in to see how the building looks like and also prays for a safe trip during their time in the city. People who live in Siem Reap would go to this place to pray for happiness and luck.
During the important date for Buddhism, many local people would buy flowers, candles, and other sacred material to offer to the statues of the buddhas. Inside the area, the building is in golden color causing the place to look magically beautiful like a building made from real gold. It does not matter if you are a tourist or local, once you are in Siem Reap, you should pay a visit to Preah Ang Jek Preah Ang Jorm place.
Afternoon (11am – 5pm)
Lunch with street-food around Angkor Wat
Lunch is not hard to find in Siem Reap, especially when you are around Angkor Wat area. There are a variety of small shops along the street for tourists to pick. The food includes roasted chicken, sticky rice, papaya salad, meatball, grilled fish and so on. Tourists will have many alternatives to choose since there will be local sellers approaching them, asking them what or where they prefer to eat. Most of the shops take place nearby the temples; hence, tourists will discover themselves having lunch while getting lost in the delightful views of the ancient temples.
Shopping & Movie at The Heritage Walk
Siem Reap does not only provide tourists mesmerizing historical places to visit; it can also give a substantial experience for visitors who enjoy the modern lifestyle as well. One of the activities you can do in Siem Reap is going to the Heritage Walk mall. It is one of Siem Reap’s biggest shopping complex as well as a nice place to take shelter from the heat and humidity in the afternoon.
Visitors can do many activities inside the mall like shopping and watching the movie. There are a huge cinema for people in any age, plenty of restaurants in different nation style ranges from BBQ to pizza, clothes store for man and woman with a medium price, ice-cream shops for young people, a bookstore, so on and so forth. This mall is also known as Siem Reap’s new pride.
- Open hour: Everyday, 9AM – 10PM
- Location: National Road 6, Siem Reap, Cambodia
To acknowledge Khmer history better, there are no suitable places to visit other than museum. Being one of the famous cities in Cambodia, there are many museums for tourists who are into Cambodia’s history and want to get involved more from the past life of Khmer people. There are two museums that you should drop around to see; if you cannot visit all, you should at least go to see one.
Angkor national museum
Angkor National museum offers visitors an insightful view about Khmer empire form the past. There are eight different galleries with variety of themes that could make the journey inside the museum worthwhile. This is one of the places that you should include in your must-sees list.
Address: 968 Vithei, Charles De Gaulle, Krong Siem Reap
Open hours: Mon-Sun, 8:30am – 6:00pm
- Cambodian National: $3
- Foreign National: $12
- Foreign Student: $6
- Children under 6: Free
Audio tour guide: available in Khmer, English, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Chinese and Thai for 3 dollars
War Museum Cambodia
This museum is the only war museum in Cambodia. The purpose of this museum is to save the memory of an important episode in the history of Cambodia alive and to protect the collection for all the future generation of Khmer people. Visitors can get to learn more about what Cambodia faced during the last 3 decades of the 20th century. It provides tourists the knowledge that occurred during Cambodia’s ‘war years’
- Open hours: Everyday, 8AM – 5:30PM
- Location: Kaksekam Village, Srange Commune, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Kulen mountain (literally means Lychee mountain) is a sacred place in Cambodia due to its importance to Hindus and Buddhists. It takes about 60 minutes drives from Siem Reap. It is popular for its beautiful waterfall also a stunning place to discover the life of local people.
The beauty of nature is there to greet anyone who comes to explore the mountain. The peaceful environment will be able to wash your worries and give you an incredible feeling. Moreover, the sound of the water falling is like a medicine to keep your mind at ease. The best time to visit is during rainy season, but you should be careful when walking on the rock since it can be quite slippery.
Sightseeing the rice field
There is nothing more relaxing than sightseeing all the rice fields around Angkor area. In the evening, when the weather is getting cooler, you can use any kind of transportation to travel while taking in the beautiful scenario along the way. Spending up to one hour just to sight-see the golden view of the rice fields that farmers who live nearby plant, you will get to take your mind off the crowded imagine of the city and focus on the pleasant environment in front of your eyes.
See the sunset
What you should not miss when coming to Siem Reap is watching the impressing views of the sunset. Bakheng Mountain is a perfect place for that. When the sun is setting, making the whole sky turns orange & pink, visitors could capture the alluring moment with their both eyes. Another place to see the sunset is Phnom Krom Mountain. On top of the place, you will get to see all the rice fields and the relaxing river that presents you different types of serenity from Bakheng Mountain. This could be a glorious moment for everyone. Check for more: Stunning Sunset Spots of Siem Reap.
The best place to spend your remaining night in Siem Reap is the night market. Visitors can shop for traditional apparel, jewelry & handicrafts here. If you want to surprise your loved ones with souvenirs, you can always find various kinds of goods here. Not only material, but night market in Siem Reap have plenty of street food to supply for visitors at the affordable price. Most importantly, night market is close to Pubstreet. For those who think that the night is still thin and want to spend their night a little longer, Pubstreet is the best place for you.
One of the places in Siem Reap that is for adults who enjoy spotlights. The night in Siem Reap will be completed when you end your night by coming here. This area has many restaurants that serve both local and western food. A lot of nightclubs for young people who favor a modern lifestyle. You can spend a few hours in the club without feeling bored as many activities inside could make you forget about your problem. On the other hand, for people who do not like loud music, they can choose the upstairs of the clubs. The top floor of most clubs solely plays soft music, so if you are not fond of crowded place but want to enjoy the night life, the top floor is for you.
If you want to know more, Click here: Pub Street Siem Reap!!
Siem Reap plays an important role in the tourism industry in Cambodia. Every year, tourist attractions in this city left millions of tourists both foreign and local in awe. The magnificent beauty of the temples enchants deeply in tourists’ mind, making them want to visit Siem Reap again and again. On top of that, providing modern experience to the visitors is also another attraction that Siem Reap has. You can enjoy both past and modern lifestyle in this marvelous city.
However, having only 12 hours to spend exploring the city is not enough. It will be too rush for the trip and you will not get to have the best time there. We recommend you to spend at least 3 days in Siem Reap to explore all the places suggested above. By doing so, you will have more time to enjoy the best moment in your life.