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Angkor Wat in Siem Reap
Written by Janani on June 12, 2020 Share on

Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia – Top 7 things to do in Siem Reap

Whether you plan on just travelling around to see the ancient temples or to visit historical sites and museums, or simply go for adventurous activities, Cambodia has a bit of everything for everyone. This small country in the Indochina peninsula is known for its ancient temples and sleepy coastlines dotted with glowing plankton. With an awe-inspiring and mind-blowing collection of ancient temples, Siem Reap is home to the world-renowned Angor Wat. Besides Angor Wat, this quaint town boasts hundreds of natural and manmade attractions such as well-preserved colonial structures, cultural theme parks, unique museums, expansive lakes and lush mountains. Read on to know about the best things to do in Siem Reap.

Top 7 things to do in Siem Reap

  1. Tour the Angkor Wat
  2. Cambodia Landmine Museum
  3. Kulen Nature Trails
  4. Aspara Dance Performance
  5. Angkor Pottery Center
  6. Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre
  7. The Old Market

Tour the Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat meaning ‘Temple City’, is one of the largest religious monument ever built. It is also the largest Buddhist Temple in the world, spanning over an area of 200 hectares. It was originally built as a Hindu temple in the 12th century and was dedicated for Lord Vishnu. Later in the 14th century, this temple was converted into a Buddhist Temple. Statues of Buddha were added during this period.

Angkor Wat in Siem Reap
Source: Google Images

Though it is not an active temple, it is one of the most important tourist attractions in Cambodia. The main structure is surrounded by a 650-foot-wide moat that is 13 feet deep. Angkor Wat’s main entrance is to the west (a direction associated with Lord Vishnu) of the main structure and the second entrance is to its east. 

Angkor Wat
Source: Google Images

A visit to this magical, mysterious, and wholly mesmerizing temple is a must-do activity when it comes to things to do in Siem Reap. Stroll through one of history’s lost civilizations and get a glimpse of a long-forgotten world.

designs in Angkor Wat
Source: Google Images

Tips: Make sure you hire a guide to walk along with you into the temple. 

Cambodia Landmine Museum

Cambodia still remains to be one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Decades have passed since the civil war, the brutal Khmer Rouge regime and genocides, the American bombings, and the Vietnamese occupation, but these life-threatening reminders still exist hidden in the rice fields of Cambodia. Even today, dozens of people are killed or injured by the unexploded leftovers from these wars. 

Landmines in the Cambodia Landmine Museum
Source: Google Images

The Cambodia Landmine Museum strives to educate its visitors on the importance and need for clearing landmines. In addition to the briefing on the landmines, you will also get to see some active and detonated landmines. 

The Cambodia Landmine Museum believes that it will take several decades more, for Cambodia to be free of landmines. 

Kulen Nature Trails

The Kulen Mountains are located at about an hour’s drive from the northern Siem Reap. This is the only trail that goes through the semi-evergreen forests where the silvered langurs live. This trail isn’t difficult. It’s moderate and pretty much can be done by everyone. 

The trail was set up by the Ministry of Environment with the help of other NGOs. The main goal of setting up this trail is to preserve the natural habitat for wildlife and also to provide an alternative income for the local communities, who rely majorly on poaching and logging. 

Water fall in Kulen mountains, Siem Reap
Source: Google Images

The hidden gems of this rainforest include ancient temples, esteemed monasteries, and rushing waterfalls. The best time to hike is during summer. Also start the trail early morning to avoid crowds.

Aspara Dance Performance

Apsara Dance performance is a historical dance performed in Khmer by Apsaras meaning ‘Beautiful girls’. It is said that Apsaras are beautiful girls who had supernatural powers. 

Apsara Dance in Siem reap
Source: Google Images

The dance dates back to the Angkorian times when Suryavarman II was in power. Back then, these Apsaras or the goddess-like women danced only for the royal family. However today, you can be of royalty if you purchase a ticket for the evening performance. 

Angkor Pottery Center

Get to learn the basics of both traditional and contemporary pottery making techniques here in the Angkor Pottery Center. Formerly known as the National Center for Khmer Ceramics Revival, it is run by Ms Paruth Hann, a skilled Khmer traditional potter. 

Pot making
Source: Google Images

With English-speaking pottery teachers, you will get know how to make pots, vases, bowls and other ceramics. Get your hands messy, by spinning the pottery wheel and moulding the wet clay to form beautiful pieces. You also get the opportunity to fire them in a ceramic oven. Make your own pots and carry them all your way back home. This is an incredible and unique, must-do cultural experience in Siem Reap.

Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre

If you love the sight of butterflies, make your way to the Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre. This is an interactive butterfly centre that exhibits over 30 species of butterflies and offers a perfect opportunity to get close to your favourite insects. 

butterfly perched on flower at daytime
Source: Unsplash

Stroll around the centre with dozens of Cambodian butterflies flying within the rainforest-like enclosed garden. This centre also offers an educational tour that talks about the various stages of the butterfly cycle. The Banteay Srey Butterfly Centre is open between 9 am and 5 pm (every day). 

The Old Market Of Siem Reap

Called as Psah Chas, this market sits right in the heart of the town. This market began in the 1920s when all the locals of Siem Reap gathered together to sell their produces. This is the best place to witness the local shopping. Test your bargaining skills in one of the country’s toughest markets. It’s not easy to negotiate prices here and if you plan on bargaining, then the New Market in Siem Reap is the ideal place for you.

Old Market in Siem Reap
Source: Google Images

The market is divided into small sections depending on the goods they sell. If you want to feel the real taste of the Cambodian market, then visit this market early morning. Make your way to the food section the middle of this market, early in the morning – for an unforgettable and unique food experience. If you are claustrophobic, visiting this market is highly not advisable. 

Apart from above activities, other things to do in Siem Reap include Cycling, Spa Treatment or a Fish Pedicure, Dirt biking, wandering and enjoying the nightlife in Pub Street and last but not the least, eating red ants. The red ants or fire ants in Siem Reap are truly a Cambodian delicacy that is enjoyed and appreciated by tourists across the world. Make sure you try them. For more information on such interesting places, keep reading Pickyourtrail Blogs. Also, visit our website and check-out bestselling travel packages to Cambodia.

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