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10 Best Things to Do in Siem Reap

Siem Reap’s Most Popular Attractions

This list of the best things to do in Siem Reap proves that there’s more to this quaint town besides the iconic Angkor Wat temple ruins. As Cambodia’s unofficial tourism capital, Siem Reap boasts hundreds of natural and manmade attractions such as breathtaking temples, well-preserved colonial buildings, unique museums, cultural theme parks, expansive lakes and verdant mountains.

History buffs will delight in the many well-preserved stone carvings found at Buddhist and Hindu temples while nature lovers can enjoy a wide range of activities, such as hiking, bird-watching, picnicking and swimming. If you’re looking to experience the local lifestyle, there’s a wide range of cultural dances and traditional performances within central Siem Reap. Catering to just about any type of traveller, read on to discover Siem Reap’s most popular attractions.

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    Angkor Wat is the main reason most visitors come to Siem Reap, boasting five lotus-like towers that stand 65 metres tall, 12th century Khmer architecture, and about 2,000 stone carvings of Apsaras (celestial dancers). Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Angkor Wat was constructed to worship the Lord Vishnu (a Hindu deity) and, according to scholars, served as a funerary temple for King Suryavarman II. The temple ruins are located within the Angkor Archaeological Park. Visitors are required to purchase an Angkor Pass, which is priced at US$20 for a one-day pass, US$40 for a three-day pass, and US$60 for a seven-day pass. Read More...

    • Location: Angkor Archaeological Park
    • Price Range: US$20 (one day), US$40 (three days) & US$60 (seven days)
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    Ta Prohm Temple is a tranquil monastery built during the mid-12th century by King Jayavarman VII in commemoration of his mother. It was believed that this 600-room monastery and its surrounding area had a population of over 70,000 people, most of them being high priests, monks, assistants, dancers, and labourers. Hosting a maze of courtyards and galleries, the walls and doorways of the ancient structure are also gripped by huge trees and hanging vines, which give visitors the feeling of discovering a temple lost in the jungle. Due to its breathtaking appearance, Ta Prohm Temple was also featured in both the movie and game Tomb Raider. Read More...

    • Location: 1km east of Angkor Thom
    • Price Range: US$20 (one day), US$40 (three days) & US$60 (seven days)
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    Ba Yon Temple houses approximately 50 towers with four massive stone faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara on most of them. It was built in the late 12th century to serve as the official state temple of the Mahayana Buddhist King Jayavarman VII. Set in the middle of Angkor Thom, these carvings are easily the most recognisable structures of the ancient Khmer Kingdom. Featuring a serene expression, each of the four faces are four metres in height and oriented toward the four points of the compass. Ba Yon Temple is flanked by two long walls with intricate bas-relief scenes of daily life, including battlefields, markets, religious rituals, cockfighting, and childbirth. Read More...

    • Location: Central Angkor Thom
    • Price Range: US$20 (one day), US$40 (three days) & US$60 (seven days)
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    Angkor Archaeological Park is where you can find Siem Reap’s iconic Angkor Wat as well as 50 Hindi and Buddhist temple sites constructed between the 9th and 12th centuries. Representing the pinnacle of ancient Khmer architecture, art and civilization, this park was once the largest pre-industrial city in the world and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1992. Another prominent sight here is the Terrace of the Elephants, a striking 300 metre—long wall decorated with fine sculptures of elephants, garudas, a five-headed horse, Khmer dancers and warriors. Visitors looking to explore the entirety of Angkor Archaeological Park are encouraged to purchase the multi-day passes as there are so many sightseeing opportunities here. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 05:00 – 18:00
    • Location: Siem Reap
    • Price Range: US$20 (one day), US$40 (three days) & US$60 (seven days)
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    Tonle Sap Lake

    Tonle Sap Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, making it an important natural resource for the local population in terms of fishing and wetlands. There are over 300 species of freshwater fishes, snakes, crocodiles, tortoises, and otters as well as 100 varieties of water birds such as storks and pelicans. The best time to visit is during the wet season (between June and November), where you can spot and photograph traditional floating villages around the expansive lake. Another must-visit while you’re at Tonle Sap Lake is Prek Toal Biosphere Reserve, where you can enjoy a guided boat tour through the marshes and lake for US$129. Read More...

    • Location: 15km south of Siem Reap
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    Visiting the Old Market – known locally as Psar Chas – is among the most popular things to do in Siem Reap town itself. The covered structure is centrally located, just west of the Siem Reap River, as is as popular with locals as it is with tourists. At its heart is a fresh market, selling a pungent combination of produce, seafood, meat and spices. Around that is an eclectic selection of souvenir stalls, with good prices for interesting curios. On the periphery of the market, there are many good budget restaurants, serving mostly Khmer dishes. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 20:00
    • Location: Psar Chas Road, Siem Reap
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    Siem Reap Pub Street

    It’s almost certainly the US$0.50 draught beer which a trip down Pub Street such a popular attraction in Siem Reap. The brash and colourful road is lined with iconic bars, clubs and restaurants, with more in the nearby Alley West and The Lane. You’ll also find quaint cafés, souvenir shops, art galleries and more in this bustling nightlife hub. Pub Street gets busy from soon after 17:00, when it is closed to vehicles and becomes a pedestrianised zone, and the party only stops at about 04:00 the next morning. Read More...

    • Location: Street 08, Siem Reap
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    Wat Damnak Pagoda, set along Wat Bo Road, was originally a royal palace during the reign of King Sisowath. Today, it houses a school, two charities, and a sewing academy for young local women within its grounds. The establishment is most popular for housing the Centre for Khmer Studies, an extensive library filled with over 11,000 books, journals, encyclopaedias, directories, maps, guidebooks and daily national newspapers in English, French and Khmer languages. Offering a tranquil retreat from the bustling town centre, you can enjoy some reading or stroll along the verdant garden courtyard at Wat Damnak Pagoda. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 17:30
    • Address: Wat Bo Road, Siem Reap
    • Tel: +855 063 964 385
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    Phnom Kulen National Park, located 45km north of Siem Reap, is believed to be the nation’s most sacred mountain. The top of Kulem Mountain has over 55 ancient temple ruins while the summit houses a 16th century Buddhist pagoda and an eight-metre-long sandstone statue of a reclining Buddha. The admission fee is US$20 and, while it’s a steep price compared to Angkor Archaeological Park, visitors can access the two impressive waterfalls that form the focal point of Phnom Kulen. Featuring multi-tiered rocks and cascading waters, the waterfalls are great for swimming, picnicking, and memorable photo opportunities. Read More...

    • Location: 47km north of Siem Reap
    • Price Range: US$20
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    Angkor National Museum, opened in 2007, houses 1,000 artefacts from the ancient Khmer empire. Located along Charles de Gaulle Boulevard, the expansive museum is divided into eight galleries that are themed by era, religion and royalty. Displays include relics from the pre-Angkorian periods of the great Khmer kings Funan and Chenla, Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, stone pallets with ancient Khmer and Sanskrit inscriptions, as well as traditional costumes of former kings, queens, warriors, and Apsara dancers. Visitors are advised to visit the Angkor National Museum prior to the temple site as there are numerous touch-screen videos and informational commentary on the Khmer civilisation and the majesty of Angkor. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Daily 08:30 – 18:30
    • Address: 968 Charles de Gaulle Blvd, Siem Reap
    • Tel: +855 63 63 966 601
    • Price Range: US$12
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