The biggest attraction in Siem Reap is obviously Angkor Wat. Most tourists come with the sole purpose of seeing these ancient temples. And it’s definitely worth going for the temples but not being a huge temple person I decided to only spend one day in Angkor Wat. But what else is there to do in Siem Reap to make sure you don’t get templed out??
Here’s 4 Epic things to make your trip to Siem Reap even more awesome.
1. ATVing at Sunset
Since my brother and I grew up riding ATVs, there was no way we weren’t going to ride through the country side of Cambodia. I mean how often do you get a chance like that? And don’t worry even if you have never been on one of these bikes their super easy to learn how to ride and the roads are so flat that it’s pretty much impossible to hurt yourself on one (I guess you could run into a tree, but there aren’t very many trees). I booked our tour through Quad Adventure Tour and it was easily in my top 5 things I did while in Cambodia. You are picked up from your hotel and taken a little bit outside of the main city area to the company’s office. You are then outfitted with your safety gear and given an overview of how the bike works. Each person goes a short distance with one of the employees so that they know you’re good on the ATV. After that it’s time to ride through the country side for about an hour. We passed through little villages where the kids come out and yell hello, and stopped every now and then to let a large cow cross the road. We came to a bunch paddy fields just in time to watch the sunset go down. The tour guides were super helpful and answered a ton of questions we had about Cambodian/Khmer culture since we had just arrived that morning. They also offered to take a ton of pictures of us.
Tips: I’d highly recommended doing an ATV tour with Quad Adventure Tour. It was such an awesome way to see the outskirts of the city. The one we did was USD 32 a person and lasted about two hours.
2. Try Infused Sombai (Rice Wine)
Before we left, I was looking up random things on TripAdvisor and came across this random store that was making and selling flavored rice wine. Those who know me know I would never say no to trying a new style of alcohol. Sombai Liqueur’s store is a little bit off the beaten path. Our tuk tuk driver got lost twice on our way there. You could walk from the main area, but we were staying on the other side of the main tourist area. There’s a red sign outside though to make it a little easier to find. They offer free tastings off all of their flavors of Sombai. And there’s at least 10 flavors, anything from coconut-pineapple and banana-cinnamon to ginger-red chili and galangal-tamarind. When you come in they show you the area where they infuse the wine and hand-paint the bottles. Then it’s time to get tasting. When you leave it feels like your taste buds have been on a rollercoaster from all the different flavors.
Tips: There’s no pressure to buy anything but it’d be hard not to especially since they offer airplane size bottles. Smaller bottles are USD 8 while bigger ones are around $20.
3. Shop and Eat on Pub Street
As with most big cities in Southeast Asia, Siem Reap has a large restaurant, bar and shopping street. While of course it’s not comparable to the crazy-ness of Kao San Road in Bangkok, I was surprised with how much the city was still alive late at night. There’s a million places to shop, eat and drink around Pub street. Don’t miss trying out Amok, a Cambodian dish made with fish or chicken and coconut curry, cooked in a banana leaf.
Tips: Make sure to grab some street side “pancakes” with Nutella. So delicious!
4. Watch a Show at the Phare Circus
The circus was also not at all what I was expecting. When I hear the words circus, I typically envision tightrope walker, a giant elephant and such. But this was more acrobatic, and had a pretty clear political agenda. While the circus is not at all comparable to Circ du soleil, it was a pretty interesting way to spend an evening. Plus who can say no to helping out local artists?
Tips: Tickets usually sell out so book in advanced on their website. Tickets cost between USD 18 and 35.
Details: Siem Reap is an amazing city in Cambodia. All of the locals are friendly and the food is amazing. If you are heading to Siem Reap I completely recommend the Bopha Pollen Hotel. We set up our tour to Angkor Wat with them; they had great service and a beautiful, clean hotel.