Top 5 things to do in Siem Reap
Adventure World traveller, Angela recently visited Cambodia and fell in love with the jaw-dropping temples, Khmer cuisine and the hustle and bustle of the local markets. Angkor Wat
is the largest religious monument in the world and probably the top reason as to why you would find yourself in Siem Reap, but Angela discovered there’s more to do in this fascinating city.
Visiting the temples is the reason most people go to Siem Reap
in the first place. Angkor Wat is actually just one of the near 400 temples
in the vicinity of Siem Reap. Built in the 9th century, originally as a Hindu Temple, Angkor Wat is the largest and most well known of the temples. The most popular times to visit Angkor Wat is sunset and sunrise so be sure to get there early to secure a good spot for amazing photos. Ideally you would allow two days to visit the temples. You can do it in one day, but the temperatures are mostly in the high 30’s so if you can get an early start to get to the temples by sunrise, spend the morning exploring (preferably with a guide, it makes a huge difference) and spend the afternoon relaxing. Day 2, repeat.
From the back of a vespa sporting a fetching orange helmet, you will be whisked through the city streets and out into the countryside.
A fantastic day out, and an opportunity to visit locals in the country as they go about their day. The owner of Cambodia Vespa Adventures, Akim, has designed the tour around places she knows tourists will be interested in, starting with a visit to her family land where the inhabitants extract palm juice from the trees - a process which has not changed in 100's of years, and involves some death defying tree climbing. Visit a local market which is a challenge in sensory overload and onto a pagoda, where a monk performs a special blessing. Travel by long boat out to Baray Island where extensive renovation of a temple is occurring. A delicious lunch made up of typical khmer foods is served at a farm, a great chance to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. The vespa drivers are mostly women, and are extremely competent and careful drivers, used to dealing with all ages and sizes of guest.
Off the local tourist beat, this tour with a local guide by tuk tuk was a real highlight. First stop is a rice wine workshop to sample the wares and learn about the process of rice distillation - a traditional medicine not to mention a delicious alcoholic tipple when infused with a variety of fruits and spices. Warmed by the rice wine, it's on to Street 60, the local night market.
Buzzing every night with a fun fair, khmer foods and market goods, it's a truly local hang out with no shortage of fried spiders, crickets and other local specialties for sample. Your guide will show you a stall to try the delicious foods, in our case “kill your mother in law” buns. Yum! Onto a local restaurant for dinner and your choice to end the tour at your hotel or Pub Street to continue the fun.
Visit the central market
for the obligatory cambodian scarf or t-shirt. The markets are just off Pub Street and the vendors are expecting you to barter for their wares. The general rule of thumb is around half the price they start out at, but everything is very good value compared to western prices.
Pub Street is the bustling central street full of bars and restaurants. Take a break from the hustle of the market, which is open late at night, for a refreshing Angkor beer
, or a cocktail on a rooftop as you sit and watch the busy street below.
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