Beyond the Temples ✨ Exploring Siem Reap’s Hidden Gems

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Siam Reap Activities Featured

Beyond the Temples ✨ Exploring Siem Reap’s Hidden Gems

The Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap is the largest religious site in the world, home to over 72 major temples.

But while Angkor Wat draws hordes of travelers from around the world, Siem Reap offers much more than its legendary temples. Let’s face it, as fascinating as they are, you can only take in so many temples in a short visit to Siem Reap. Sooner rather than later you’ll be needing a break from the seemingly endless archaeological sites.

Here then are some alternative experiences to consider in Siem Reap, for your tomb-raiding days off 😵‍💫



Where to Stay – The Mane Colonial Classic

Strategically located along Street 60, just north of Siem Reap’s central area and equidistant between downtown Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, the 5-star Mane Colonial Classic is a hotel with some very nice touches.

As a welcome starter, when we arrived we found we’d been upgraded to a very large 2-bedroom suite. This was possibly due to the length of our stay, since we were spending 6 nights in Siem Reap (most visitors stay 3 or 4 nights).

Fresh fruit and water was brought to our room every day, and incensed candles were lit daily for us.

Our living room included a large flatscreen TV running  Netflix and Youtube, which is quite a bonus.

The air conditioners and bathroom extractors were quite noisy. The air conditioners are actually hand-printed – probably to disguise their age – but apart from the noise they worked just fine.

Also, working out how to regulate the shower water temperature was a complicated puzzle worthy of any of the ‘Tomb Raider’ games.

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Complimentary high tea and cakes is offered in the dining area each day at 4 pm, though due to a busy schedule we never had the opportunity to enjoy this.

All of the staff at the Mane Colonial Classic are super attentive without being intrusive.

Adjacent to the dining area is a beautiful (but dangerously slippy) outdoor pool. Hand rails would be a useful addition here.

For breakfast, a variety of choices (Western and Asian) are offered and are served directly to your table (no buffet).  The Eggs Benedict is highly recommended. Since we were leaving very early on our last morning, the manager kindly arranged a packed breakfast for us that we were able to enjoy after we arrived at the airport.

Book the Mane Colonial Hotel

Packed Lunch from the Man Colonial Classic

Packed Lunch from Mane Colonial Classic

Get your Supplies at 7 Eleven

Next door to the hotel there’s a very handy 7 Eleven supermarket. Here you can buy bottles of wine for $12, 50cl tins of beer for $1.50 (Leo beer is our favourite), and tonic water for $1.

As to be expected, they stock a good range of snacks and essentials. Note however that they only accept cash (USD or Riel).

USD & Riel: Tale of 2 Currencies

What to Do in Siem Reap

Apart from viewing the temples, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy in Siem Reap.

However, before doing any of these, make sure that you first buy your entrance tickets to the Angkor Archaeological Park. You can do this either online or by visiting the official ticket office on Street 60 (not far from the Mane Colonial Classic hotel.

It’s best to do this at least one day before you visit the Archaeological Park so that you don’t waste the early part of one of your ‘temple’ days sorting out your tickets.

Angkor Archaeological Park ticket office

Angkor Archaeological Park ticket office

Angkor National Museum

On one of our day’s off from visiting temples, we took a walk over to the Angkor National Museum to get a little more background on the history and cultures of Angkor Wat.

In fact, for orientation and background information, you should ideally visit the Angkor National Museum before you visit the temples of the Angkor Archaeological Park.

The Angkor National Museum offers a captivating journey through time, from the creation to the zenith of Khmer civilisation. Through interactive exhibits, visitors gain insights into the religions and beliefs of the ancient Khmer empire.

The museum’s eight galleries showcase a collection of Cambodian and Khmer artifacts. The first gallery boasts 1,000 Buddha images, crafted from diverse materials like wood, metal, and gold.

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Siem Reap to the Airport

From wooden and stone statues discovered at the Temples in the Angkor Archaeological Park to the grandeur of Angkor Wat and the evidence of the past in Angkor Thom, this museum immerses you in Cambodia’s rich heritage.

Allow at least two hours for exploration. 🏛️🌟

Admission price is $12 per person. You can also rent an audio guide for another $5. For more information, visit the official Angkor National Museum website.

Navigating Siem Reap with Tuk Tuks

If you’ve visited Phnom Penh, you’ll know that all 1-way fares in the centre of the city are fixed at $2. In Siem Reap, you can also travel most anywhere for $2, though when you first arrive the drivers may try to get you to pay more, so be warned.

Hiring a tuk tuk driver is a practical way to immerse yourself in local culture and conveniently visit Siem Reap’s attractions. We arranged for the same driver to meet us most days to visit the temples and for some of the longer jaunts around town.

Meet Cham, an experienced tuk tuk driver with over a decade of expertise. Cham speaks excellent English and is reachable via WhatsApp.

Cham's the Man for getting you safely around Siem Reap

Cham’s the Man for getting you safely around

Whether you’re planning a sunrise tour of Angkor Wat or want to explore the bustling night markets, Cham will ensure a memorable and authentic experience.

All Hotel Options in Siem Reap

Soar Above Angkor Wat in a Balloon

If you’re up for it, you can experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Angkor Wat from a unique vantage point with Angkor Balloon. This tethered helium balloon offers panoramic views of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, ascending to approximately 394 feet (120 meters) above the ground.

As you float, you’ll be able to capture unforgettable photos of the ancient temples, including Phnom Bakheng and West Baray.

A unique way of viewing Angkor Wat

A unique way of viewing Angkor Wat

You can choose a shared daytime ride for $20 per adult or a magical sunrise or sunset journey for $25. ​Private flights are available for $250 for a maximum of 8 persons.

This adventure promises memories that will last a lifetime. 🎈🌅

For more information and bookings, visit the official Angkor Balloon website.

Glide Through the Canopy: Angkor Zipline

Angkor Zipline offers an exhilarating zip lining experience within the Angkor Archaeological Park.

As you glide through the lush rain forest, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding jungles and ancient trees. Choose from two zipline courses, both taking you high above the forest floor. Feel the adrenaline rush as you zip past treetops, capturing unforgettable moments.

Exploring Siem Reap - Angkor Wat

Another way of experiencing Angkor Wat

Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a family looking for a unique outing, Angkor Zipline promises an unforgettable journey. 🎈🌿

For more information and bookings, visit the official Angkor Zipline website

Visit Pub Street

After tranquil temple visits, immerse yourself in the vibrant chaos of Pub Street. Neon-lit bars, restaurants, and happy hours await, offering ridiculously cheap drinks and exotic bites like ostrich or crocodile skewers.

Exploring Siem Reap

For when the going gets tough…

Keep your wits about you and explore this lively avenue with care.

Where to Eat in Siem Reap

Support the Phare Circus

Phare, The Cambodian Circus is a captivating blend of theater, folk music, and Cambodian stories, brought to life by a talented troupe of young circus artists.

Derived from challenging backgrounds, these performers showcase their skills through circus arts, using dance, music, and movement to tell powerful stories. The circus goes beyond mere entertainment—it’s a social business extension of Phare Ponleu Selpak, a non-profit arts school in Battambang, Cambodia.

By providing well-paying job opportunities to graduates, Phare breaks the cycle of poverty and supports academic and artistic education programs, as well as community outreach and engagement.

Exploring Siem Reap

If you’re in Siem Reap, don’t miss this unique and authentic top-rated evening experience! 🎪

For more information and tickets, visit the official Phare Circus website

River Promenade, Markets & Street Food

For a completely relaxing and laid-back outing, take a leisurely walk along the river promenade and visit some of Siem Reap’s most popular markets.

Angkor Night Market

The Angkor Night Market is a bustling hub of unique shops selling local handicrafts and tempting souvenirs. Whether you’re in search of intricate stone carvings, silverware, silk paintings, or recycled handbags, this market has it all.

Live music accompanies your shopping spree, and local delicacies keep you company as you explore. Don’t miss this vibrant Siem Reap gem! 🌟🛍️

Address: Angkor Night Market St, Steung Thmei Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkum, Siem Reap Town, Cambodia
Opening Hours: 5pm – 12am (daily)

Exploring Siem Reap - Siem Reap River Promenade

Siem Reap River Promenade

Siem Reap Art Center Market

Situated on the east bank of the Siem Reap River, this night market offers more than just shopping. Enjoy free nightly Apsara traditional dance performances while browsing through local artifacts and handicrafts. 🎨🎭

Address: 17000 Hospital St, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Opening Hours: 4pm – 11pm (daily)

Noon Night Market

Although slightly smaller than the Angkor Night Market, Noon Night Market is a convenient option. Explore its stalls for local treasures and immerse yourself in the atmosphere. 🌆

Eat Some Bugs!

Come on! You’ve come all the way to Cambodia and you’re going to turn your nose up at some crispy treacle spider? Get with the program and consume some of Cambodia’s famed delicacies.

For adventurous foodies, The Bugs Cafe offers an extraordinary dining experience. This insect-themed restaurant specialises in bug-based dishes, featuring delicacies such as tarantulasantsscorpionsgrasshoppers, and of course bug larvae.

Exploring Siem Reap

Do you do chips with that?

It’s a bit like experiencing your own bush-tucker trial on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

The menu at The Bugs Cafe is a fascinating blend of local Cambodian culture combined with typical tourist dishes. Imagine savoring a Bug Mac—a cheeseburger served with insect patties and sweet potato fries—or indulging in tarantula donuts, where whole marinated tarantulas are coated in tempura and deep-fried.

The friendly staff guide you through this unique culinary adventure, making it a memorable and Instagram-worthy experience. 🦗🕷️🍔

Do you need more convincing?

Endless temple-viewing is not for everyone. Hopefully these additional activities should include something to attract the whole family, young and old, and make that trip to Cambodia’s Siem Reap even more rewarding.

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