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Best things to see in Siem Reap

Article by GVI

GVI

Posted: January 23, 2023

Are you ready for an adventure in one of the most fascinating destinations in Southeast Asia? Siem Reap, located in Cambodia, is a destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the ancient temples of Angkor Wat to the colourful markets and delicious local cuisine, Siem Reap has something for everyone. In this guide, I’ll be sharing with you the best time to visit, budget tips, a wide variety of activities and tourist attractions, the best temples and ruins to visit, and some itinerary options to help you make the most of your time in Siem Reap. Trust me, you won’t want to miss out on all that this country has to offer. So, let’s dive in and start planning your trip of a lifetime!

When to visit 

When it comes to planning your trip to Siem Reap, timing is everything. The best time to visit depends on what you want to see and do. If you want to explore the temples without the crowds, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. This is also peak tourist season and prices for accommodations and flights tend to be higher. 

But, if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the shoulder season (May to October) is a great time to visit. The weather is still warm, and there are fewer crowds, which means you can explore the temples without the crowds and lower prices for accommodations and flights.

Budget

Siem Reap can be a budget-friendly destination, but it all depends on how you plan your trip. Accommodations range from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxury resorts. For transportation, you can opt for tuk-tuks or renting a bike or scooter. To save on costs, you can also consider staying in smaller towns instead of big cities and look for deals and discounts.

What to do

Siem Reap offers a wide variety of activities, from exploring ancient temples to experiencing local culture. The main attraction in Siem Reap is the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Other temples worth visiting include Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and Bayon. You can explore these temples on foot, by bike, or by taking a guided tour.

What to see

Siem Reap is known for its ancient temples, but it also offers a wide variety of natural and cultural attractions. Some of the must-see temples include Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, Bayon, and Preah Khan. 

You can also explore the beautiful Tonle Sap lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. The lake is home to floating villages, where you can see the traditional way of life of the local people. 

Other must-see attractions include the colourful markets, where you can find everything from traditional Cambodian crafts to delicious street food, the Cambodian Cultural Village, where you can learn about the country’s rich history and culture, and the Phare Circus, where you can see talented performers in a unique and contemporary setting.

Best temples to visit

The most famous temple in Siem Reap is Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Other temples worth visiting include Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm, and Bayon, which are known for their intricate carvings and impressive architecture. The Banteay Srei temple, known for its intricate carvings, and the Banteay Samre temple are also worth a visit. You’ll be amazed by the beautiful and intricate carvings and the history behind these temples.

Itineraries

Siem Reap is a destination that offers a lot to see and do, and it can be hard to know where to start. That’s why I’ve put together some itinerary options to help you make the most of your time in Siem Reap.

One-day itinerary:

  • Start your day at the famous Angkor Wat temple complex, where you can see the sunrise over the temple.
  • Visit the Bayon temple, known for its impressive stone faces.
  • Take a break for lunch at a local restaurant and try some traditional Cambodian cuisine.
  • Visit the Ta Prohm temple, made famous by the movie Tomb Raider.
  • End the day by exploring the lively night market in Siem Reap and shopping for souvenirs.

Three day itinerary:

  • Day 1: Visit the Angkor Wat temple complex and see the sunrise, visit the Bayon temple, and take a break for lunch.
  • Day 2: Explore the temples of Angkor Thom, including the famous Baphuon and Phimeanakas temples, and take a boat trip on Tonle Sap lake to see the floating villages.
  • Day 3: Visit the temples of Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, and enjoy a traditional Apsara dance performance in the evening.

Five day itinerary:

  • Day 1: Visit the Angkor Wat temple complex and see the sunrise, visit the Bayon temple, and take a break for lunch.
  • Day 2: Explore the temples of Angkor Thom, including the famous Baphuon and Phimeanakas temples, and take a boat trip on Tonle Sap lake to see the floating villages.
  • Day 3: Visit the temples of Ta Prohm and Preah Khan, and enjoy a traditional Apsara dance performance in the evening.
  • Day 4: Visit the Banteay Srei temple, known for its intricate carvings, and the Banteay Samre temple.
  • Day 5: Take a guided bike tour of the countryside to see traditional Cambodian villages and explore the rice paddies.

 From the ancient temples of Angkor Wat to the colourful markets and delicious local cuisine, Siem Reap has something for everyone. Remember, Siem Reap offers a lot to see and do, so take your time and enjoy every moment of your trip. And if you’re looking for an even more immersive experience, consider volunteering with GVI in Siem Reap, where you can give back to the local community and gain an even deeper understanding of the culture and history of this amazing destination. So, pack your bags and let’s go!

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