There are plenty of reasons to look forward to a vacation in Siem Reap, Cambodia. While Angkor Wat alone makes a trip to Siem Reap worth it, there are tons of other incredible things to do.
Most of tourists to Siem Reap have one thing in mind - the temples of Angkor. No doubt, these temples are the highlight of any visit to Cambodia. But, what can you do after visiting Angkor Wat?
In fact, it is certainly worth staying a few days longer in Siem Reap. Here are things to try while you are there:
The Angkor temples should be on everyone's bucket lists! The Angkor Archeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a reminder of the Khmer Empire. One day is not enough to see all; you can buy a three-day pass to visit all the individual ruins. Rent a tuk-tuk or get yourself a bicycle. Aside from the ancient temples, the archaeological park also features boats, lakes and ancient trees.
No trip to Cambodia is complete without a visit to Angkor Wat, and rightly so
The “Apsara” tells the story of mythical beings through a traditional dance filled with graceful movements, coy smiles and intricate hand gestures. One of the most impressive things about watching an Apsara performance is seeing the elaborate costumes the dancers wear—gold headdresses, dangling earrings, bangles, anklets and rich silk dresses embroidered with gold patterns. Tourists will have a chance to discovery of Khmer's unique heritage via the show. Most tourists opt for a dinner and performance combo offered at any of a number of local hotels and restaurants.
After a long day of walking from temples to temples, it is nice to treat yourself to a little pampering. In the evenings, many massage parlours set up along the sidewalk. Sink back into a comfy wicker chair and indulge in a 30-minute foot massage for only $2. Talk about a bargain!
Foot Massage in Siem Reap
One of the most rewarding ways of exploring another culture is through tasting their food. Taking a further step than eating, learning how to prepare local dishes is also one of the most wonderful souvenirs you can take home with you. You will discover all the secrets of this simple but tasty cuisine from how to choose the best ingredients to how to prepare and cook them.
Khmer Cooking Class
This local market sells everything from clothes, leather goods, home furnishings, food, spices, fish and more. Make sure to use your bargaining skills. Even if you do not want to buy anything, the experience of walking through the market is worth the trip. You will truly get a sense for how the locals live in Siem Reap.
Phsar Chaa (Old Market)
This is the main area for nightlife in Siem Reap. The street is lined up with bar after bar, all serving the freshest beer. There are also some delicious Cambodian restaurants around the area. The energy of Pub Street offers a unique contrast to the slow-paced relaxing environment of Siem Reap.
Pub Street at Night
Tonle Sap Lake is another world from Siem Reap. Most of Cambodia’s floating villages are based on Lake Tonle Sap. Getting in a boat tour moving between the floating homes and small fish farms, you will experience close to daily life on water of local people. The three most popular villages are Chhong Kneas Kampong Phluk, and Kampong Khleang.
Floating Village in Tonle Sap Lake Area
Just as common in other South East Asia countries, riding an elephant is a fun and exciting way to experience a city. Luckily in Siem Reap, you can pay a small fee to ride an elephant around the Angkor temples.
Riding an Elephant
You will see them on every street around town - glass fish tanks filled with little fish called garra rufa. These tiny fish, also known as “nibble fish,” eat the dead skin off your feet, leaving them smoother. If you are not too squeamish, grab a seat at one of the tanks and dip your feet for a quick "fish-feeding" session. Most of these fish spas also offer a free glass of beer to help ease the nerves. And, know what's great? It is not expensive, and sometimes free for the first treatment!
Feed Fish With Your Dead Skin Cells
A great way to see how locals live is to rent a bicycle for a few dollars and bike to the outskirts of town. Follow the course of the Siem Reap River and you will eventually come across rural communities where adults go about their daily business and children play and cool off in the river.
Things would be more interesting if you have the specific destination with a knowledgeable tour guide and high quality mountain bicycles. There are all sorts of different bike tours on offer in Siem Reap, from fairly easy one-day rides, such as Angkor cycling tours, countryside cycling tours, Tonle Sap cycling tours to more demanding multi-day bike tours.
Getting around by bike is a great way to explore
Final words, while Angkor Wat gets most of the publicity, and justifiably so, there are still many really cool and authentic things to do in Siem Reap. So if you find yourself venturing to northern Cambodia to see this amazing Wonder of the World, make sure to try out some of these to make your trip even that much better.
Image Sources: Internet.