Siem Reap in Cambodia is a pretty awesome place to visit. It is one of the most vibrant and happy places we have visited, despite it´s dark history. The locals are super friendly, the food is great and the activities are many. There are secluded areas off the beaten path just waiting to be discovered around every corner. So, whether you are into photography, temple jumping, history or sightseeing, Siem Reap is the place for you. Check out our complete guide on how to spend 3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia below!
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Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia
You can spend days, if not weeks exploring this beautiful country. We spent 3 days in Siem Reap, which hardly felt enough. Immerse yourself in beautiful culture, try local delicacies such as spiders or scorpions or imagine being Tomb Raider jumping from temple to temple. There are rivers and beaches, cities and villages, forest and land and the friendly locals are just waiting to give you a heartwarming welcome.
1. Visit the famous Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat is one of those natural bucket list places that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. It is the biggest Buddhist temple on the globe, and it took 30 years to build it. Climbing the stairs and sliding through the archways, you will get glimpses of a time long forgotten.
You can easily explore the grounds yourself, or you can join one of the public or private organized tours. Either way, we highly recommend you to either get an English-speaking guide to walk you through this insanely large and interesting complex, or purchase one of the guide books. You can find both guides and books at the entrance.
TIP! It is insanely warm during daytime, so bring loads of water, sunscreen and start your day as early as possible.
2. Check out Tha Prohm temple
If you are a Tomb Raider fan, you will love Tha Prohm temple. This is the temple that provided the iconic backdrop in the movie, and also lured millions of tourist visiting this place to this day. A mix between stone-structured architecture and Cambodian jungle, leaves visitors completely mesmerized. This is an absolute must-do during your 3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia trip.
TIP! Start as early as possible to avoid the crowds, this temple is extremely popular.
3. Explore the grounds of Angkor Thom
It is hard to imagine any temple being more beautiful than the Angkor Wat, but the grounds of Angkor Thom are surely in the run. This place is centered on the famous Bayon temple, but visiting this place is so much more. You can cross off sights such as the Royal Enclosure, Baphuon, the Terrace of Elephants and Phimeanakas, and you can easily spend half a day exploring these grounds.
TIP! Make sure you buy one of the delicious freshly made juices at the entrance. Such a refreshener during a hot and very humid Cambodian day!
4. Explore the city with a tuk-tuk
Tuk-tuk is the most popular way to explore Siem Reap, and is genius for a city adventure. Jump on the back and have the driver just drive you around. You will not regret it, as you take in all the impressions, smells and sights around you. This is the perfect introduction during your 3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia trip.
5. Enjoy a cooking class
If you are a foodie like us, one of the things you probably always do is to include either a food tour or cooking class during your travels. Siem Reap in Cambodia is no exception. Immerse yourself in local flavors and spices, learn about Cambodian traditions and just enjoy your culinary creation in the kitchen.
Most cooking classes includes a menu of traditional Khmer dishes using only organic ingredients. These dishes is often sprinkled pools, Amok curry or stir fried chicken and noodles.
6. Learn about Cambodia´s dark history
There are several museums you can spend your time in, if your are curious to learn more about Cambodias history during your 3 days in Siem Reap. Upon seizing the power in 1975, the Khmer Rouge began a murderous and bloody regime that lasted for 4 years.
Over 2 million people died during these years, and they was either killed, starved or striked down with disease. Pol Put´s brutal regime attempted to turn Cambodia in to a classless, agrarian society.
Here are 5 museums that depict the history of Cambodia;
- Angkor Panorama National Museum
- Siem Reap War Museum
- Cambodia Landmine Museum
- Cambodia War Remnant Museum
- Genocide Museum
7. Wander Pub Street
Even if you are not into partying, you should still include a visit to the famous Pub Street in Siem Reap. Here you will find plenty of restaurants, cheap beers, neon signs and backpackers at every bar. There are also plenty of budget hotels in the area, if you are looking for a central and convenient place to crash.
8. Visit a floating village during your 3 days in Siem Reap
If you are like us who simply love venturing off the beathen path, then this one is for you. Siem Reap is surrounded by several floating villages, and whilst most tourists travel to Tonle Sap, you should set off to Kampong Phluk.
This experience is without a doubt the highlight of our 3 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia adventure. You will see temples, schools and even houses balanced on thick, wooden trunks. Children paddling to school, fishermen preparing the fishing nets, and families cooking food. This is truly a unique way to learn more about life on the Cambodian countryside.
9. Boat trip through a mangrove forest
One of the most authentic local experiences we had was with this local lady taking us through a watery maze surrounded by mangrove forest. You can and should experience this when visiting the floating village, mentioned above. It is a highly recommended activity, and the atmosphere was just everything!