Siem Reap is home to one of the greatest sites in the world: the Angkor Temples. If Angkor Wat is a place you see, Siem Reap itself is a place you do. What makes it great? Siem Reap has a charm of a provincial town replete with boutique hotels and villas, excellent restaurants, and unique handicraft workshops, and efficient transport facilities. The nightlife of Siem Reap is another plus. In this article, we introduce our way of exploring the Angkor temples and how to explore Siem Reap to the fullest.
1. How to explore the Angkor Temples
To avoid the crowds, start early in the morning.
As the ruins remain the top reason that travelers choose to travel to Siem Reap, it’s inevitably overcrowded. But you could always find the moments at the Angkor Temples for your own if you start early in the morning, at around 4.30AM or 5AM. Admire the tranquility and the beautiful sunrise over the Angkor Wat before other groups arrive. However, the West Gate is usually crowded no matter what time it is because it provides an iconic view of the temple.
The best season to visit the temples is between September and October and it starts to get more and more crowded towards February. April to June is usually considered as a bad period to visit Angkor Wat. It’s unbearably hot and dry and sometimes it rains. However, it’s the period when most of the temples are at their quietest.
2. Don’t forget the less visited temples
Top sites at the Angkor Complex are: Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Ta Phrom, Phnom Bakheng (for the sunset). There is also a number of significant temples in the area, like the Banteay Srey (37 km north of Angkor Wat) that could be worth a half day or a day trip; Beng Mealea (40km from the main group of temples at Angkor) that is largely untouched with spectacular sights to see.
Also, if you are flexible with the timeline, spend some time exploring Koh Keh temple, Kbal Spean, Ta Keo, Preah Khan, and Pre Rup.
3. Craft your souvenirs
With fabulous boutiques, Siem Reap definitely makes your shopping experience a memorable one. You can even craft your own souvenirs at a local workshops, be it: lacquer ware, silverware, silk scarf, paintings, stone and wood carvings,…
Addresses that we love:
- Theam’s House
- Artisans Angkor
Although these gifts do not belong to this crafting category, we believe that: pepper and palm sugar could be excellent gift options from Cambodia.
4. The nightlife in Siem Reap
Pub Street is the first thing to think of if you want to immerse in the nightlife of Siem Reap. You might love the vibrant atmosphere of the main walking area, but what located in the nearby alleys will surprise you.
Addresses that we love:
- Picasso Bar
- The Republic Siem Reap