When talking about Cambodia, Siem Reap is one of the must-see cities in the list. This city is 314km away from the capital city, Phnom Penh. Tourists can use any kind of transportation to travel to Siem Reap including boats and airplane. Siem Reap has so many magnificent attractions to offer to tourists.
One of them is Angkor Wat, which we can see the picture of it standing tall in the middle of Cambodia’s flag. Due to its rich in tourist attractions, visitors will not be able to drop by all the legendary places in Siem Reap in one day without making a clear plan. To make your day in Siem Reap worthwhile, we have noted down the activities that can be quite helpful for tourists to enjoy most of the important places in this well-known city in one day from morning until night.
What to do in Siem Reap?
See Angkor Wat sunrise
There are many places to see the sunrise; however, the most beautiful spot to watch it in Siem Reap is at Angkor Wat. Since the sun will rise around 5AM-6AM, it is ideal to leave your accommodation early. It would still be dark when you arrive, but once the sun starts rising with the light hitting the top of Angkor Wat temple, the astounding view will be worth it.
Angkor Wat is also famous for its breathtaking beauty when the sun rises exactly on the peak on Angkor Wat temple. This indescribable phenomenon only happened twice a year. The first one is around 23rd of March, and the second one is around 29th of September. Millions of tourists have traveled thousands of miles just to witness this spectacular scene.
Check for more detail: Angkor Wat Sunrise!!!
After watching the sunrise, it will be time for tourists to explore the temples. Tourists should book the entry pass to the Angkor Archaeological Park one or two days before the day you travel. Booking the ticket online is more convenient. Because you do not have to worry about going to the local ticket office and standing in long queues to get your photo taken for printing ticket.
Starting by visiting the largest religious monument, Angkor Wat, that has become a symbol of Cambodia, tourists can enjoy the feeling of going back to ancient time. Being one of the seven wonders of the world, Angkor Wat hides hundreds of mind-blowing ancient histories. You will be able to understand further about the history of the Khmer empire.
Moreover, you can witness more than 3000 of beguiling apsaras that were carved on the wall with different kind of designs inside the temple. This makes Angkor Wat a truly remarkable iconic landmark for Cambodia. To better appreciate its beauty, you should get a guide to explain the history behind each part of the city. You will find yourself being amazed at each legend behind every part of it.
You might want to know: The Mysterious Angkor Thom Gates
Taking you 4km farther from Angkor Wat, one stunning temple that is standing tall to greet all the tourists who come to visit the site. Angkor Thom temple is also one of the places in the must-see list. Just like Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom is also popular in Siem Reap. Most tourists would come to this temple after exploring Angkor Wat. It is smaller in size compared to Angkor Wat, but it bears the same astonishing views.
The structure of Angkor Thom is like a gigantic jigsaw with striking 216 faces of Bayon temple. Having different kind of sculptures and different kind of design compared to other temples in Angkor area, Angkor Thom temple can capture the heart of tourists with hundreds of smiling faces that were carved on the stonewall. Another activity you should never miss is taking a picture that looks like your nose is touching with the nose of the tremendous status of smiling buddha.
One of the most amazing temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park that is only 7.8km away from Angkor Wat is Ta Prohm temple. The huge trees have dominated the whole temple. The towering trees that grow on the temples and ruins create a serene atmosphere, in which tourists can feel the relaxation while spending their time there.
Amazing fact about this temple is that it was used as a site for filming for Angelina Jolie’s film, Tomb Raider. Ta Prom temple gives off a mysterious vibe that you could immerse in the serenity of the surroundings.
You can check for more detail here: Ta Prohm Temple!!!!
Visit Angkor National Museum
To understand Khmer history and architecture better, tourists must visit Angkor National Museum. Inside, there are many artifacts collection from pre-Angkor, Angkor, and post-Angkor eras. There is a total of 8 non-identical galleries bearing inside the museum such as gallery of 1,000 Buddha images, gallery of Pre-Angkor Period: Khmer Civilization, gallery of Religion and Beliefs, gallery of The Great Khmer Kings, gallery of Angkor Wat, gallery of Angkor Thom, gallery of Story from Stones, and gallery of Ancient costume.
Additionally, it provides insightful videos for tourists that explain some facts about the Khmer empire with different languages that could be easier for foreign visitors to understand about Khmer history at a deeper level.
- Cambodian National: $3
- Foreign National: $12
- Foreign Student: $6
- Children 6-12 years: $6
- Children under 6: Free
Audio tour guide: available in Khmer, English, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Chinese and Thai for 3 dollars
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 8:30am – 6:00pm
Location: Vithei Charles de Gaulle Road
Visit The coffee shop
The most visited coffee shop is Brown café which is one of Cambodia most recognizable brands. Moreover, Brown café serves plenty kind of drink and food for the customers. You will not run out of options in Brown café.
- Brown 18 (Treeline): Every day, 6:30am – 10PM
- Brown 13 (Roastery SR): Every day, 6:30AM – 9PM
- Brown 18 (Treeline): Street 23 corner Street Achar Sva, Sala Kamroek, Siem Reap, Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Brown 13 (Roastery SR): #260 Street 6, Aranh, Siem Reap, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Bio Lab is a relaxing coffee shop with a uniqueness of serving drink in lab glasses. Young Khmer entrepreneur is the owner of this coffee shop who came up with the unique idea himself. The café serves a great deal of food and beverages with affordable price. Along with the peaceful environment, tourists are able to feel at ease after a long day spending exploring the temples and museum.
Opening Hours: every day, 7AM – 9:30PM
Addresss: #0418, Watbo Rd, Watbo Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Noir café is a local Cambodian brand. Serving locally roasted coffee and pastries to customers every day, Noir is one of Khmer people’s favorite brand when it comes to their favorite coffee shop. There is more than enough of alternative for customers to choose. You will never get enough of Noir coffee.
- Noir 1928: Monday – Sunday: 6AM – 8PM
- Noir-La Paix: Monday – Sunday: 6AM – 11PM
- Noir 306: Monday – Sunday: 6AM – 8PM
- Noir 1928: Road No. 6 Wat Bo Village Sangkat Slor Kram, Krong Siem Reap 17251
- Noir-La Paix: Samdech Tep Vong St, Under Naga Guest House Building, Krong Siem Reap 17252
- Noir 306: Road 6, Lok Tnay, road, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
If you want to see Cambodian custom, you should definitely visit Cambodia Cultural Village. It has opened to the public since 24th September 2003, making it 16 years old since the opening day. There are many shows about the life of Cambodian and ethnic groups in Cambodia heritage according to the schedule.
You will get to see plenty of shows about Khmer ceremony culture and different sections representing ethnic minorities throughout Cambodia. There is a wax museum, a performance house where you can see a traditional wedding, a cultural show, installations of the Cambodian deities and characters and different houses of Cambodia design from the past.
- Adult: US$9
- Child under 1.1m: free
Opening Hours: 8AM – 7PM
Address: Airport Road # 6, Khum Svay Dang Kum | Krus Village, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Watching Sunset at Bakheng Mountain
In the morning, we have already watched the beautiful view of the sun rising. In the evening, we cannot miss watching the sunset on top of Bakheng mountain. It takes 15-20 minutes uphill walk to the top of the temple. From here, you can get a gorgeous view of Siem Reap all the way to Kulen mountain to the north. However, due to its old age, the authority limits the number of people who could go up to the top (300 people only).
We recommend you to come early before 3:30PM in order to have a higher chance to get in. The sunset in Bakheng is one of the most splendid sights that we cannot miss. When the sky turns orange, spreading the color to all the trees, and other temples below the mountain, tourists will be able to catch an incredible sight of the sun in the orange sky. It is a blessing to our eyes.
Check for other: 3 Most Stunning Sunset Spots of Siem Reap
Visit Angkor Dynasty
Visiting Angkor Dynasty is one of the activities you should not miss when coming to Siem Reap. You will get to experience the newest cultural show at Angkor Grand Theater. Witnessing the classic stage production and modern acrobatic theatrical plays with laser lights and curved surrounding stage, it could bring tourists into a whole new level of experience. You will be mesmerized with the 4-dimensional panoramic performance as it serves as one of the biggest entertainments to visitors.
- Adult: $7-$10
- Foreigner: $50
Show Schedule: 7:30Pm – 8:45PM, daily
Address: Vithei Charles De Gaulle, Siem Reap, Siem Reap 17259, Cambodia
Visit Night Market
Pub street is popular among adults and teenagers. You will get to experience one of the most amazing night lives when coming to pub street in Siem Reap. Every night, tourists both national and international come to Pub Street to have fun. There are tons of activities you can do in Pub Street.
First thing would be visiting the night market. You will see local people selling many goods like clothes, souvenir, shoes so on and so forth. The yellow light makes the market looks sentimental which is suitable for all kind of people. Everyone who wants to buy souvenirs for their loved ones can find everything here. Although you do not have any plan to buy, it is still fun to window shopping as well.
Additionally, Pub Street also offers a fish massage service. It costs less than 4 dollars to place your feet in a tank full of tiny fishes that give massage to our feet after a long walk. It would be a waste when you come to Siem Reap and do not try this massage. Those kinds of fishes are called Garra rufa or sometimes referred to “doctor fish” because they gobble up the dead skins from our feet and expose the newer skin. We highly recommend you to try this when you come to Siem Reap.
For those who enjoy modern tourism, you can finish your night by going to temple club. Open from 10PM to late, Temple Club is one of the most outstanding clubs in Siem Reap. A lot of people gave back such an excellent review of this club.
In lower floor, there is a club with tune-up music where people could dance and sing. On the other hand, the rooftop offers a various type of atmosphere. The environment on the rooftop is chilly and relaxing which is suitable for visitors who enjoy the peacefulness
Siem Reap is a city that has a lot to offer. There are many tourist attractions in one place as well as a lot of activities that tourists could not ask for more. Despite being the glorious historical city with hundreds of ancient stories for visitors to discover, Siem Reap is also brilliant for providing tourists experience about modern lifestyle as well.
Thus, it is not enough to just spend one day in Siem Reap and expect to do all the important activities and visit all the essential places. We specifically suggest you to spend at least 4 days in this city; three days to explore all the temple and historical sites and one more day to spend on other activities. It would take more than one day just to explore Angkor sites. In order to get a deeper insight into it, you should take your time absorbing the story behind this legendary site. Last but not least, do not rush in visiting any place in Siem Reap and enjoy your time exploring.