Siem Reap is a popular resort town and gateway to the ruins of Angkor Wat. It's also a great base to explore the surrounding countryside.
To make the most of your time here, it's a good idea to hire a tour guide. The best ones are passionate about their job and enjoy sharing their knowledge.
The iconic Angkor Wat temple complex is a must-visit in Siem Reap, and the best way to experience it is with a tour guide. This is particularly advisable if you’re a first-time visitor as it’s easy to get lost in the crowds.
It’s also possible to hire bikes or tuk tuks in order to travel between the different temples. This is a great option for those who want to take their time in the temples, and it’s a fun and unique way to see this site.
Another interesting activity to do is visiting the Prek Toal bird sanctuary. Located on the Tonle Sap lake, it is home to thousands of local and migratory water birds, including storks, ibises and pelicans.
Angkor Thom is 7km from Siem Reap and a popular destination for tourists visiting the famous Angkor Temple Complex. Its ruins are stunning and a great way to soak up the history of Cambodia.
To get the most out of Angkor Thom, consider booking a tour that takes you to all of the major temples. Some of these include Bayon, the Terrace of the Elephants and the Leper King Terrace.
There are also tours that visit other temples outside the Angkor complex. These can include the Phnom Kulen waterfall, Kampong Phluk on Tonle Sap lake and other Siem Reap attractions.
Travelling around in Siem Reap is easy, with motos for one or two people, remork-motos for two and private cars available to rent. Some ecofriendly options are also available, such as mountain bikes or electric bicycles.
After visiting Angkor Wat, take a day trip to see Banteay Srei, which is known as the “Citadel of Women.” This Hindu temple is unique because it was built by two courtiers who were counsellors for King Rajendravarman II.
The temple is also known for its intricate carvings of devatas and apsaras. The lintels, false doors and exotic soaring pediments are all exquisitely decorated with floral motifs and Ramayana scenes.
A popular choice for tourists, the pink sandstone structures at Banteay Srei are unlike any other in Angkor. Their soft hue is a perfect contrast to the high spires of the main temples.
Phnom Kulen is one of the most beautiful and offbeat places to visit in Cambodia. Located north east of Siem Reap, it is the perfect escape from temple-hopping and offers an exciting jungle trek, waterfalls, scattered ruins and unique flora and fauna.
The most popular attractions include the waterfall, River of a Thousand Lingas and the reclining Buddha. The mountain is also home to dozens of ancient pagodas and rock shelters.
The best way to experience the mountain is to hire a guide who will lead you through the area, explain its history and tell you about the most popular sites. Tours are available from a few different companies.
Tonle Sap, known as the Great Lake in Khmer, is South East Asia’s largest freshwater lake and a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Its unique ecosystem plays an important role in providing food for local residents, attracting wildlife, and making home for many kinds of birds.
The best time to visit Tonle Sap is during the rainy season, from June to October. During this period, the plains and forests flood, wildlife is abundant, and villages float magically on the water.
You can choose from a number of Siem Reap Tours guides offering trips to Tonle Sap and its floating villages. Typically these excursions will include a cruise, round-trip transport from your hotel and a guide.