12 fun things to do in Siem Reap (besides Angkor Wat temples)
Many travelers come to Siem Reap, Cambodia just for Angkor Wat. But there are so many things to do in Siem Reap besides temples. From cooking classes to off-roading with dirt bikes, to horseback riding and butterfly watching, the list goes on.
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Siem Reap, you’ve landed the right place. I’ll also cover Angkor Wat, but I suggest you jump over to my other two posts about the temples if you’re looking for a more in-depth guide.
Read them here: How to visit Angkor Wat in 2 days and The Ultimate Guide to Angkor Wat
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Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia
There’s a long list of great attractions in Siem Reap. Luckily, it’s a fairly small town, so you can easily save yourself the expense and do your own Siem Reap city tour. Simply walk, rent a bike or get around by tuk-tuk.
Siem Reap will keep you busy for at least a couple of days. You’ll spend one or two days exploring the temples, and then you should, of course, try all of the fun things to do in Siem Reap. In this post, I’ve included the best sights and activities with links to tours and great hotels. Keep reading to find out what to do in Siem Reap in 3 days.
Angkor Wat Trips
Visiting Angkor Wat temples is one of the best things to do in Cambodia. And take it from someone who’s been there twice: it’s a Cambodia must see!
Like I mentioned, I’ve written two separate posts on the temples, including how to go to Angkor Wat from Siem Reap. Both those posts are ideal if you want to visit independently.
However, if you’re all about convenience, you can join a guided tour that includes a photo stop at sunset or sunrise. They’re quite cheap compared to what you get, and you won’t have to lift a finger, although you will have to walk a bit to explore the temple complexes. These are, in my opinion, your best options for day trips to Angkor Wat:
- Book full-day sunrise tour here: Angkor Wat Full-Day Sunrise Tour
- Book full-day sunset tour here: Angkor Wat Temple Hopping Tour with Sunset
- Book full-day small group tour here: Full-Day Small Group Temples Tour
1. Take a ride in a Batmobile
Price: $2-20 ($15-20 if you’re going to Angkor Wat)
Wondering how to get around in Siem Reap? You can rent a car or walk, but it’s much more fun in a tuk-tuk. And in Siem Reap, they have batmobiles and superman tuk-tuks. How cool is that!
To avoid a rip-off, remember to negotiate the price before getting in.
2. Eat a deep fried tarantula
If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Siem Reap, you’ll find it at the night market! This is the place to taste or photograph fried insects. Snakes, roaches and scorpions – and tarantulas.
Fried spiders are a regional delicacy in Cambodia, especially in the Cambodian town of Skuon (Cheung Prey, Kampong Cham Province). There’s even an adventure tour specialised in fried insects in Siem Reap, which will show you how to cook and prepare insects.
My friend Brad from My Wanderlist recommends the fried spiders, btw. He says they taste just like “soft-shelled crab… but hairy”.
Are you feeling adventurous?
Book your ticket here: Siem Reap: Fried Insect Cuisine Adventure
3. Get a massage afterwards
Price: $1 – $7
If you just ate a tarantula, or any other bug for that matter, I’d say you deserve a nice, long massage. And let’s face it… a visit to Asia just isn’t complete without a massage.
Massage places can be found everywhere in Siem Reap
4. Take a pottery class
If you feel like recreating that famous pottery scene from Ghost, here’s your chance. You’ll get to shape your own masterpiece under expert guidance and add some Khmer ornamentation to your piece. The class takes two hours.
Book here: Siem Reap: Cambodian Pottery Class
5. Drink at Angkor What?
Having a drink at Angkor What? is a must for many travelers. This bar is famous for its buckets, great tunes and cool atmosphere, so if you’ve walked around Angkor Wat all day and need to recharge, this is the place to go.
You’ll find Angkor What? at Pub Street
6. Visit Pub Street
Price: Free activity
Whether you’re going for a drink, having lunch or meeting new people, Pub Street is where it happens. During the day, it’s a good place for eating, and in the evening all the night clubs and bars open.
Ever been to Khao San Road in Bangkok? Well, it’s similar… ish.
7. Let fish chew on your feet
Price: $2 for 20 minutes
This is as weird as it sounds. For $2 you can place your feet in a water tank filled with toothless Doctor Fish and have them clean off the dead skin of your feet.
FYI, not all operators change the water regularly, which can cause infection so be sure to try this somewhere nice-looking.
Pro tip: There’s a tank at Pub Street.
8. Explore the bizarre Old Market
Price: Free activity
The old market “Psah Chas” is right in the centre of town. This is the place to buy clothes, food and souvenirs.
Right in the middle, you’ll find the food market; a labyrinth of tables with raw meat, local sausages and grisly pig heads. In the midst of it all is a swirl of local women selling and buying, laughing and negotiating.
Throughout Cambodia’s markets, you’ll also find tropical fruits aplenty. Most of the markets have tamarind, dragon fruit, jackfruit, mango (mmmm, mango), oranges, pineapple, watermelon, mangosteens and star fruits, and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.
Fruits taste different abroad, so I highly recommend you try some. It’s cheap and absolutely delicious.
Pro tip: Remember to bring coins for change.
9. Siem Reap Food Tour
Food tours are one of my favorite solo travel adventures and it’s a great way to get to know the local life and culture. On this popular food tour, you’ll visit a local markets and learn about the Cambodian cuisine. Afterwards, you get to cook home-style traditional Khmer food at Lily & Chris’ family house in Siem Reap countryside.
Book here: Siem Reap Food Tour ($24)
10. Visit a floating village (Tonle Sap Lake)
A popular day trip from Siem Reap is the floating village at Tonle Sap Lake. It’s kind of similar to the floating market in Bangkok, although this is a complete village with a school, market, a crocodile farm and more. It’s a great way to watch the locals go about their daily life.
The 4-hour trip includes an English-speaking guide, private boat and round-trip transportation from your Siem Reap hotel.
Book here: Tonle Sap Floating Village Tour from Siem Reap
11. Visit the Landmine Museum
Price: $5 (but free guide)
The War Museum in Siem Reap has a unique collection of landmines and tanks from The Khmer Rouge in 1975 and the Vietnamese occupation in 1979. Millions of land mines and unexploded objects were left behind by decades of conflict. A few of them are kept for display here.
If you like history, you could also visit The Landmine Museum, 25km north of Siem Reap.
12. Experience an Apsara dance
Price: $25 at Smile of Angkor
One of the most exciting things I experienced in Siem Reap was an apsara dance. It’s a Khmer traditional dance drama that conveys a story – quite dramatic and really beautiful. If you like culture and dance, this is definitely worth the splurge.
You’ll notice that there are many apsara performances around town, but the only place I recommend is Smile of Angkor. The show is performed in a big theatre with lighting effects and music. The buffet dinner isn’t fantastic so you can skip that, but the show is spectacular.
I recommend you book online (the show ticket, not the dinner + show ticket).
Best Hotels in Siem Reap
Prices for accommodation in Siem Reap are really low, which makes it’s a perfect destination for both luxury and budget travelers. You can easily find a 4-star hotel at $50 per night. I did. Here are a few of my favorite hotels in Siem Reap:
- Resort La Villa Loti ($68 per night for a deluxe double room). Click here to see the latest prices.
- Hotel 20th Street ($40 per night for a deluxe room). Click here to see the latest prices.
- The Villa Siem Reap ($34 per night for a superior double room). Click here to see the latest prices.
Have you been to Siem Ream? Do you have any questions?
Great list, we didn’t do much in Siem Reap besides temple hopping because we found that so exhausting! I wish we’d gone to the Landmine Museum though, it sounds really interesting.
I didn’t either during my first visit, but back then I got an overall bad impression of Siem Reap. After my second visit, I know for sure that I’ll return! The Landmine Museum was really interesting and it taught me a lot about Cambodian history. If you ever return some day, I definitely recommend it, Amy.
Fantastic post, Miriam! There are so many interesting things one can do in Siem Reap.
Thanks, Jeremy! I was really impressed by Siem Reap this time around!
Brilliant list! The Batmobile sounds fun though I would pass on eating tarantulas. I have had my feet nibbled by fish in Hong Kong, strange sensation
Thanks so much, Suze! I’m always up for a challenge, but eating a tarantula? Never gonna happen!
Great post want to do all of them!
Great tips, Miriam! Massages were so affordable in Siem Reap. Once I saw foreigners pay only $3 for an hour and half. So relaxing!
They are! It’s the same in Thailand – that’s one of the reasons why I love the country 😉
I loved Siem Reap and this post makes me miss it! I can’t say I’d eat one of those tarantulas, but the pizza from Pizza Company looks delicious!
It’s the best, Ashley! I loved Siem Reap, too. It just has a great vibe.
Great list and perfect timing. I’ll be landing in Siem Riep next weekend. Now, I have plenty of fun, alternative ideas to keep me busy during my time there.
Lisa, that’s great to hear 🙂 Have fun in Siem Reap – I’m sure you’ll love it.
Loved Siam Riep….now you’ve got me missing those cheap massages and all that delicious tropical fruit! 🙂 Great post!
Haha, I miss them too when I look at this post 🙂
Thank you for sharing… I would like to do everything but not trying snake lol.If you will ever come back here please put The Escape Hunt Experience Angkor in your list as well ^^
I will definitely do that! I tried the Escape Hunt in Bangkok and had so much fun, but I didn’t know that there was one in Siem Reap, too. Thanks for letting me know!
Your opening paragraph is spot on. I’ve been back home for a week and feel so homesick for Siem Reap. Going back in 11 months and will try the things on your list that I didn’t this time. Thank you for posting. 🙂
You’re very welcome, Nicole! Let me know if you find any other crazy or fun activities that are not on this list. Would love to hear them 🙂
What about ceramic classes? I took them in Siam Reap and it was
unforgettable! Those things you normally don’t do!!!
That sounds like fun. And like you said, it’s not something you’d normally do in a vacation 🙂
great tip. would like to do all the list next month… Thank you for sharing Miriam & greeting from indonesia
Sounds great! I’m glad you found my post inspirational. Come back any time 🙂
Hi Miriam! What was the name of the hotel you stayed that was $53 per night? Also, are there any towns nearby that you recommend exploring?! Thanks!
Hi Nichole, I stayed at Angkor Miracle Resort and Spa in Siem Reap. The highlights in Cambodia is Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Koh Rong and Kampot. I don’t know about any nearby towns though.
Hi Miriam, i will travel to Siem Reap next month! thanks to your to do list i was able to build up my itinerary, can you tell me the website for that Apsara Dance performance? i was looking on the internet and couldn’t find the one that looks like yours ( it’s awesome ) haha, Thank you!
Hi there, Leonard 🙂
I went to Smile at Angkor, which to my knowledge is the priciest in town, but you do get a great show. I booked the tickets online through the website of Smile of Angkor at $30 per person. You can find it here – I see there’s a 20% discount at the moment: https://www.smileofangkor.info/
Have fun 😀
Nice One! Full of informations. Thanks. 🙂
You’re very welcome, Jean 🙂
Sounds like a cool n different place to meh
But i will definately go there soon
N by the way
You really pretty
Sounds like a great plan! Thanks for commenting!
Oh, I miss siem reap.. I miss the Angkor beer !! ^_^ I’m going back next week to see my Cambodian friends there.. They’re so nice and accommodating … That’s the reason why I love that country ^_^
That is a great beer 🙂
Have an awesome trip to Siem Reap!
I loved Siem Reap. Last year I spend five days in this cute town, and this year three days.
There is so much more to see than Angkor. Sadly most people only come in SR for Angkor and leave too soon!
I have so many favorite places in SR lol. The Landmine museum was very impressive!
And the Cambodian War Museum was even more impressive, since i got a chance to talk with a war veteran.
I felt the same way. Siem Reap makes me want to see more of Cambodia, so one of these days I’ll have to do something about it 🙂
Great place been many times! Some good ideas here. There are also some great out of the way places like swimming at the waterfall at Kulen mountain or the thai border temple. Wasnt sure about the comment on the market that said dont forget to bring your coins? Never seen one in Cambodia! Lots of small denomination notes is handy though! One unusual tip is watch what stall holders eat in markets – sellers come to them with food! I buy from those sellers and get to choose a wide range of local treats!
That sounds like a great tip, to watch what the locals eat. Also, I would love to visit the waterfall you mentioned – next time!
Miriam this is awesome i leave for Cambodia on Saturday and I am really looking forward to Siem Reap other than visiting temples. I am spending 5 nights (4 1/2) days. Do you think that is enough time? also I am spending 4 nights 3 1/2 days and Koh Rong….have you been there? since the Island is so small is that too much time to stay there? thanks I will appreciate anybody’s feedback
Thanks a bunch, Liz! I think you’ll find that 4,5 days in Siem Reap is enough. I only spent 2 days exploring the temples (and I saw all the important ones, plus many many more) and then you can spend the last few days exploring Siem Reap and relaxing at your hotel 🙂 I haven’t been to Koh Rong, but would love to go though. If you do get bored, you can always visit Sihanoukville or one of the other islands. There will be plenty to do (swimming, relaxing, hiking, sightseeing, snorkeling, reading books, partying, etc.). Have a GREAT time!
Thanks a lot Miriam for a great things to do in Siem Reap. Me and my wifey going there on February 2017 and we will do the list. Cheers
So glad you could use it. Have a great trip to Cambodia!
Great suggestions Miriam, we went to Cambodia a few years ago and loved it…we are planning another trip this year but will be taking family and friends with us this time….some of whom are coming over today for a BBQ to talk about the trip, I will be showing them your blog..for some it will be their first overseas trip
Thanks Helen, I’m glad you found my blog useful! Have a great trip back to Cambodia. I often think about revisiting and going to the islands.
Really cool! I will be in Siem Reap this November and will definitely try at least half of the things on your list, thank you!
So glad to hear that it was helpful! Have an awesome trip in November 🙂
Hello, Planning to go to Cambodia in August this year, however we still can’t decide between Phnom Penh or Siem Reap. What would you recommend?
Hi Fathmath, it depends on what you want to see. I’d personally go for Siem Reap because of Angkor Wat (I’ve been there twice already). It really is a must-see!
Miriam your post has helped me plan and look forward to Cambodia even more. I’m going may this year and travelling by my self. Would definitely be doing a lot of things if not all. Cheers
I’m so glad to hear that! And cool that you’re traveling by yourself – good for you. I love traveling solo and Cambodia is super easy as a solo traveler. You’ll meet lots of other travelers there if you want.
Have a great trip!
Thanks for this informational post. This will really help them who wants to go to Siem Reap for the first time. Last month one of my neighbors had visited this lovely place and she told me how well they enjoyed their vacation with family. They had visited some beautiful places with the help of Siem Reap Private Tours. As I have heard from her I really wished to go to this place but now I am super excited to visit this place after seeing your post.
Hi Sophea, I highly recommend visiting Cambodia. Not only Siem Reap but the rest of the country as well. There’s so much history here.
I’m in Siem Reap at the moment….3rd time…no temples this time just chilling, drinking, eating and enjoying massages lol! Great place to just relax a little.
Smiles at your list as went to Lake in a Bat Mobile yesterday…..must share your post with the driver!
Oooh, I’m so jealous! Have a great time and enjoy your Bat Mobile trip, haha 🙂
Visiting Siem Reap next year for 4 days and looking into excursions. Is one day 8 hr tour enough for Angkor Wat? Do you recommend at Quad bike adventures? Or visit to Tongle Sap lake tour? Going to check on Apsara show based on your suggestions.
Hi Chia, Yes, an 8 hour tour would be enough if you make sure to include the main sights. You can see a lot in one day.
I don’t know Quad bike adventures unfortunately.
How much money in commissions or fees do you make off your “referrals”? Not that there’s anything wrong with it if you were up front about it. But I detect an agency bias in what you portray, especially in the more pricey stuff. Those “doctor fish”? No they’re not. Doctor fish are tiny, like minnows. The ones here are up to 6 inches long, and they can break the skin in fragile areas. I had a nice sore afterward that bled and took a while to heal.
Hi Greg, I am upfront about affiliates. I have a clear disclaimer in the sidebar and at the top of every single blog post!
I don’t appreciate you questioning my integrity. I’ve spent the last 5.5 years building this blog, writing content and helping fellow travelers FOR FREE, and I’ve never put revenue over my readers or my integrity. If you were a long-time reader, you would know that. And you would also know that I only recommend products I use myself and can stand by 100%.
You’re welcome to ask questions about how affiliates work or why I recommend the ones I do. And if you’ve had a bad experience through one of the links, please do share it so I can stop promoting it. But don’t accuse me of being dishonest and biased.
Some people can always find something to complain about. I think that common sense is a KEY to foreign travel. I’ve never seen “dead skin fish” that were any longer than 6-7 centimeters (2.5″). I personally wouldn’t put my feet in a tank with a large fish like the ones Greg is describing. Piranha in the Amazon are @ 15-20 centimeters and they can take a large chunk out of you.
Thanks, Kevin. I wouldn’t either, but lots of people apparently find it fun. I’ll stick to foot massages and scrubs 🙂
Thanks for pitching in, I appreciate it.
I have been to Siem Reap 4 times in the last three years. The subjestions made are spot on. I would add talk to your tuk tuk drive ask about his life and home, I did and have a friend for life. Listen to them and enjoy. One of my favorite things is have lunch in a cabana and nap after local BBQ chicken and fish. And then comes the peaceful nap in the supplied hammock over the water listening to the birds and lite breeze over the water. There is so much to see but you need to ask the locals! Be ready to accept what you wouldn’t normally do and enjoy another life! I am back for 12 day trip in May and so looking forward to it!
Thanks so much for pitching in. And I agree – talking to locals is the best way to get to know a place and to make new friends.
Have a wonderful trip back to Siem Reap in May. I hope it will be just as amazing as your other visits 🙂
damn, I am so excited to visit Siem Reap next month. Is it possible to rent a bike (not motorcycle) and bike to and around Angkor Wat?
Yes, absolutely! However, Angkor Wat is enormous. It’ll take you a long time to bike between the major temples, especially if you plan on visiting those in the outer rim. Plus, it gets super humid in April and May. But if you plan to just visit some of the main temples around the centre, you can take the bike. You would just have to know where to find them 🙂
Have a great trip, Marlon.
I am lucky enogh to have been to Siem Reap on many occasions, make sure you have $1 notes on arrival it is expected to tip your porter $1 at the hotel after they take your case to your room , there is no coinage in Cambodia but you local currency in change from dollars, Try the Pottery , Rehash your Trash and the circus is a must
Great trip regarding the $1 notes. They’ll come in handy for sure.