Siem Reap is known for its historic temples, in fact, the Angkor Complex is the largest religious site in the world. Many tourists flock to the city to see these beautiful temples, however, there are plenty of non-temple things to do in Siem Reap. It’s easy to get templed-out so if you’re wondering what are some things to do in Siem Reap other than visiting temples then keep reading.
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Non-Temple Things to Do
Shop at the Night Markets
The city is filled with bustling markets and many of them open up shop before nightfall. It’s one of the quintessential non-temple things to do in Siem Reap. From handmade artisanal finds to Cambodia fashions, there’s plenty of night markets where you can get your shop on! Come prepared with cash in hand and practice your negotiating skills. I must say that when haggling keep in mind that you should not push to pay less than what is fair. Many vendors do start very high but not all so be mindful.
Siem Reap Art Center Night Market
every day from 4 pm – 11 pm
every day from 7 am – 9 pm
Siem Reap Night Market
every day from 11:30 am – 10 pm
every day from 6 pm – 4 am
Noon Night Market
every day from noon – midnight
ANM Khmer Market
every day from 5 pm – midnight
Drink at Pub Street
Enjoy the “Night Market” within the Pub Street area from 6 pm until 4 am! Yup, the party doesn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning. Popular bars in this area include The Red Piano Bar and the more chill Miss Wong. Alternatively, you don’t even have to go inside a bar, there are plenty of “bar carts” (at least that’s what I called them) that line the streets.
Eat Delicious Street Food
There’s no shortage of street food in Siem Reap and it’s one of the BEST non-temple things to do in Siem Reap! It can be found at every night market and on just about every corner. From delicious fruit smoothies to fresh seafood, to barbecue and more, you’ll find a bit of everything that will satisfy anyone’s tastebuds.
If you’re looking for endless options head to the Pub Street area of town or any night market. Street food vendors line the street and offer yummy plates of food at great prices.
Swim and Chill Out at Cambo Beach Club
Open every day from 9 am – 10 pm, Cambo Beach Club is a “beach club” that hosts many pool parties and other social events along with swim lessons and yoga. It’s a great place to hang out with friends (or make new ones), play beach volleyball, swim at the pool, and enjoy a cocktail or two!
The beach club even has sand and a huge saltwater pool! sounds and amazing place to chill. If you’re looking for a fun and chill place to be in Siem Reap this is it.
Visit Wat Thmey (Killing Fields)
A visit to Wat Thmey (Killing Fields) is emotional but something that’s is beneficial for those who want to learn more about the tragic history that took the lives of millions of Cambodians. It’s an educational experience even for those who are already familiar with the history.
Visit the Countryside & Have Lunch in the Lotus Fields
In the countryside, about a 30-minute ride away from the city center of Siem Reap lies many lotus farms. If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path non-temple things to do in Siem Reap then check out the countryside! I had the pleasure of visiting this family-owned lotus farm and had the best time. There are many lotus fields, but the one I went to had these little huts where you can order food and drinks. I ordered a coconut and took a nap in the hammock since I had a long day visiting temples.
Spend the Day at Tonlé Sap Lake
Tonlé Sap Lake is the largest freshwater in South East Asia and is also connected to the Mekong River. Tonlé Sap Lake is also a great place to watch the sunset. The view you catch on your way to Phnom Krom Temple is stunning. You don’t have to go all the way up to the temple and if you do choose to just go after 5:30 pm because an Angkor Temple Pass is not needed.
Tonlé Sap is also where the floating villages are located. This is a popular tourist attraction. You’ll be taken around via a boat and see how life is in these villages. It’s important to be mindful when visiting, the people aren’t a tourist attraction so treat this as an experience and always ask for permission if you want to photograph someone.
Marvel in the Beauty of Kulen National Park
Kulen National Park is about an hour and a half from the city and is located in the mountains. If you’re looking for a refreshing experience definitely consider a visit. The climate is cooler, the water is perfect, and it’s less crowded than the busy city.
You can book a tour to go to Kulen national park or ride there is you rented a motorbike. Alternatively, you can rent a car but some of the roads are dirt roads so I’m unsure how a smaller car would handle it. I booked my tour online and the day before. It was one of my favorite non-temple things to do in Siem Reap!
You get picked up in the morning from your hotel then go to get the tickets for the park. It’ll be $20 for the entrance ticket but some tour operators are able to get a discounted ticket of $18. From there you’ll head to the park.
You’ll head to the canyon which is really pretty. You’ll see the river with a Thousand Lingus, then head to a temple. After that is the waterfall! You’ll spend a little over an hour here. Bring a lock for your backpack. You can leave it with your guide or you can pay to leave it in a locker. You can also pay to use a changing room if you need to change into your swimsuit. After that, you’ll head out and go to lunch and one last stop before heading back to the city.
See the Sunset From a Rooftop Bar
Siem Reap has a few rooftop bars and the best time to go is definitely sunset! I suggest getting there at least 30 minutes before sunset to secure a seat/table with a view. Then stay until the sun goes down. And don’t forget your mosquito repellent, they’re out at this time!
JAYA HOUSE RIVER PARK – SKY BAR
This intimate bar has a great happy hour and a nice view set in the direction of the sunset. Come for the happy hour between 5 pm – 7 pm for 2 for 1 drinks.
SORIA MORIA ROOFTOP BAR
This relaxed rooftop bar serves up tasty cocktails and a selection of wines. Their “sunset happy hour” is every day from 5 pm – 7 pm.
This fun rooftop bar located in the heart of Pub Street has a half-pipe that Tony Hawk once skateboarded on! Come to enjoy live bands, DJs, and $1 beers.
NATURAL SKY LOUNGE
This rooftop bar also serves up delicious food. Enjoy the view of the city and a creative craft cocktail from 4 pm to midnight.
THE GLIDE BAR AT THE AVIARY
From 6 pm to 11 pm you can enjoy drinks and small bites from this rooftop bar. Since the bar doesn’t open until 6 pm you may miss the sunset here so definitely check the sunset time before heading out.
Upperdeck at Courtyard by Marriott is an oasis with amazing craft cocktails. They are away from the city but do offer a shuttle service to their property from Pub Street every day at 5:45 pm.
Get Pampered With a Massage
It’s hard to say “no” to a massage when they cost a fraction of the price you would pay back home. And I think that’s what makes it one of the best non-temple things to do in Siem Reap. If you’re more of the relaxed type, have had a long trip or a long day, or looking to escape the heat, a massage is what you may need! There are many spas all over town offering an array of services.
I had a wonderful foot massage on my last day in Siem Reap. I wanted to send the day exploring the city, eat some good food, and do a little shopping before flying out. My one hour massage was pure bliss and a good escape from the busy streets and sweltering sun.
Siem Reap Tips for Getting Around
Passapp is like Uber but for tuk-tuks. This is a great way to get around because you don’t have to haggle with drivers. Grab is another ride-sharing app that is available in Siem Reap and many other cities throughout Asia. However, for Siem Reap my go-to was Passapp. You’ll know approximately how much you’ll be paying before you confirm the ride and then pay in cash. The payment will be in Cambodian riel on the app but you can also pay in US dollars.
Airport to City Center & Bus Station to City Center
If you’re flying into Siem Reap it’s about a 30-minute tuk-tuk ride to the city center and if you’re coming from the bus station it’s about a 15-20 minute ride. Traffic can back things up so it’s important to keep that in mind. Your accommodation can arrange pick-up/drop-off for you. A tuk-tuk ride to the airport can cost between $5-7 USD but higher-end hotels may charge more.
Where to Stay in Siem Reap
There are a large number of choices but I broke down some options for you depending on budget and location.
Onederz Siem Reap
If you’re looking for a backpacker budget type of hostel with a relaxed vibe and a killer rooftop pool, Onederz has it! This hostel is located in the heart of the city so getting to the night markets, Pub Street, and restaurants is quick and easy.
Bokre Angkor Hostel
Don’t be fooled by the name, although it is a hostel it also offers private rooms. This place has a pool and a friendly and helpful staff who will help make your stay comfortable. I stayed in a private room here and also booked my tuk-tuk driver through them to take me to the temples. It’s a 15-minute walk from Pub Street or a quick tuk-tuk ride.
This charming hotel has a pool and garden that makes you feel like you’re in an oasis away from the bustling city. They offer free pickup which is convenient for those flying in or taking the bus. The location is central, a moderate walk away from Pub Street but a convenient location to get to and from temples and other Siem Reap attractions.
The Unique Angkor Villa
This beautiful hotel offers a great value for the price and is conveniently located about a 5-minute walk away from the markets and close to Pub Street.
Araya Angkor Residence
This stunning hotel is a 19-minute walk from King’s Road Angkor and does offer free pick-up from the airport. reducing plastic consumption. They make a conscious effort to reduce waste and use reusable glass bottles for water instead of plastic bottles. And many of the toiletries have eco-friendly packaging.
Sarai Resort & Spa
The gorgeous Sarai Resort & Spa is a little slice of heaven. The entire rest is elegantly-furnished featuring traditional Khmer-style decor. You’ll feel like you’re miles away from the bustling city center but you’re only a short walk away from Pub Street.
Phka Chan Hotel
Phka Chan Hotel is the perfect place if you’re looking for a comfortable hotel for a family. Their family-styles rooms are a great value and it’s located a short walk away from the Angkor Night Market.
This mid-century modern inspired hotel is probably one of my favorites when it comes to design. Templation Hotel offers unique accommodations from private pool villas to luxury “tents” that have their own pool!
Le Méridien Angkor
It’s hard not to have a favorite hotel and staying at any Le Méridien never disappoints. Le Méridien Angkor is no exception. With stellar service and Khmer-inspired decor, the hotel offers nothing but the best.
Jaya House River Park
I fell in love with Jaya House River Park. It’s located right on the river and a short tuk-tuk ride to Pub Street. The location is central and the property is gorgeous. After a long day of exploring relax in their gorgeous pool and enjoy a delicious cocktail.
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