Siem Reap

Things to do in Siem Reap

As one of Cambodia’s most populous and vibrant cities, there’s no shortage of things to do in Siem Reap, but there are certain activities that cannot be missed. First, every visitor must make a trip to Baphuon and Angkor Wat, two ancient Buddhist (formerly Hindu) temples located just outside Siem Reap proper and the city’s most breathtaking sites. Both built well before the 13th century, these temples feature gorgeous carved stonework depicting Hindu deities and are some of the last remaining traces of the Khmer empire that once ruled the area.

If you’re hoping to turn your trip into something of a wild adventure, feel free to visit any one of the handful of wildlife sanctuaries that surround Siem Reap. Reserves like the Boeng Peae and Kulen Prum Tep wildlife sanctuaries are home to native species like tigers, gibbons and leopards. What’s more, those with a penchant for birdwatching should be sure to pack a good pair of binoculars, as Siem Reap’s bird population is particularly fascinating.

Closer to the heart of the city is the Angkor National Museum, home to a massive collection of relics from the ancient Khmer Kingdom, or spend an afternoon at the Silk Farm at Les Artisans D’Angkor where visitors can learn and see how silk is made, worms included.

And finally, there’s Tonlé Sap, the massive freshwater lake that the Siem Reap River feeds into. Feel free to charter a boat across its waters, though that’s much easier to do during the wet season when water levels are higher. Whatever the case, it’s worth traversing to see the many floating villages that thrive along the lake and to see a bit of local culture at play.

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A handicraft collective in Cambodia.