Beyond Angkor Wat: Top 5 Things to Do When in Siem Reap

Beyond Angkor Wat: Top 5 Things to Do When in Siem Reap

Siem Reap, Cambodia is in every temple-lovers’ must-visit list because of the Angkor Wat, although there are other things to do in Siem Reap than take a trip to the world-renowned temple. Of course, visiting the majestic ruins should be part of all first-time tourists’ itinerary because the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage site is too precious to pass up. With visiting the Angkor Wat a given, this list will cover other Siem Reap attractions and activities that every tourist should not miss.

Make a trip to the Cambodian Cultural Village. This is a fairly new attraction in Siem Reap and was built primarily to promote Cambodian culture and history. It contains scale models of historical places, as well as full-size models of different Khmer, Chinese, and Cham huts and houses, pagodas, and mosques. The village also has a wax museum that shows scenes and prominent figures from Cambodia’s history.

Watch a performance of Cambodian Traditional Dance. As dance is an essential part of Cambodian culture, every tourist should take time to watch a performance of traditional Khmer dance. Apsara dance and shadow puppet shows are performed all over Siem Reap, with tickets at varying prices. Many hotel staff, like in Starry Angkor Hotel, will happily refer you to an Apsara show – all you need to do is ask.

Take a cruise on the Tonle Sap Lake. The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, Tonle Sap Lake holds many sights and scenes. It is home to several floating villages (Chong Khneas, Kampong Phluk, and Kampong Khleang), and the Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary, one of the most important bird reserves in Southeast Asia for globally endangered bird species. There are several tour operators that offer boat cruises on the Tonle Sap Lake for a price.

Sample local exotic dishes. Cambodians love to eat a variety of exotic food that may shock faint-hearted tourists. And by exotic, it means insects, animals, and plants that most people would not even think of eating. These include honey-dipped locusts, fried frogs and snakes, and stewed crocodiles, as well as tarantulas, crickets, and silkworms cooked in every possible way. For tourists with more adventurous palates, this is definitely a must-try. For the less adventurous, lok lak (marinated stir-fried beef) and amok (fish in coconut milk, egg and peanuts, wrapped in banana leaves) are two dishes worth a try.

Ride the tuk tuk. The tuk tuk is Cambodia’s version of a motorized rickshaw, which is an essential form of transportation in many developing countries. If you are looking for a different kind of sightseeing activity, try riding the tuk tuk around Siem Reap. It may not be glamorous, but it definitely is refreshing and eye-opening, not to mention highly affordable.

With so many things to do and so many sights to see, it is no wonder that Siem Reap tourism has continued to grow over the years. So why not head out to Cambodia and explore the numerous things to do in Siem Reap next time you take a well-deserved vacation?