Siem Reap - Angkor Wat

5 Unique Things To Do in Siem Reap (2024)

From soaring through the jungle canopy on an exhilarating zipline adventure to mastering the art of Khmer cuisine in a traditional cooking class, there are many unique things to do in Siem Reap. In this guide, you will find the top 5 unique experiences beyond the iconic Angkor Wat.

On a six-day birthday getaway, my journey led me to Cambodia. The initial stop was the vibrant capital of Phnom Penh, followed by the enchanting city of Siem Reap. Each locale possessed its unique charm, offering many experiences for tourists and travellers alike.

This article may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. For complete information, please see our affiliate disclaimer here.

About Cambodia

Cambodia has a rich history and diverse cultural heritage and is located in South East Asia. The largest capital city of the country is Phnom Penh. Known for its breathtakingly beautiful Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the country is becoming popular among tourists.

Cambodia presents heaps of things and activities, and to fully explore and appreciate its wonders, a recommended timeframe of at least two weeks is advisable. Within this period, you can visit various destinations throughout the country, from the renowned Angkor Wat to the coastal beauty of Krong Siem Reap. But if you are short on time and want a perfect five-day itinerary, here is the itinerary for 5 days in Cambodia.

Whether you are captivated by ancient temples or seeking coastal serenity, Cambodia’s attractions cater to various preferences and interests.

About Siem Reap

Siem Reap, the pivotal gateway to the awe-inspiring Angkor Wat temples, is the capital city of Siem Reap Province in Cambodia. With its rich historical significance, this charming city has evolved into a prominent tourist destination within Cambodia. Renowned for its strategic location near the iconic Angkor Wat complex, Siem Reap combines historic grandeur with modern amenities seamlessly.

In addition to serving as a convenient base for exploring the ancient temples, Siem Reap is a cultural hub featuring vibrant markets, traditional performances, and a distinctive blend of Khmer architecture and contemporary influences. As a testament to its glamour, Siem Reap continues to attract globetrotters seeking an immersive experience in Cambodia’s cultural heritage.

Siem Reap - Angkor Wat

Siem Reap is one of my preferred cities among the two destinations I explored in Cambodia. I highly recommend allocating a minimum of four days in Siem Reap to fully immerse yourself in its tourist attractions. Those seeking a comprehensive guide for a five-day itinerary in Siem Reap can refer to 5 days itinerary in Siem Reap.

Best Time to Visit Cambodia

Cambodia showcases its best, which is optimal for a visit from November to April/May when dry weather prevails. It is crucial to acknowledge that Cambodia maintains a consistently hot and humid climate year-round. Rainfall characterises the period from May to October, marking the country’s rainy season.

Siem Reap

PIN for later reference | Unique Things to do in Siem Reap

2 unique things to do in Cambodia
PIN for later reference – Unique Things to do in Siem Reap

How to Get to Siem Reap?

I thoroughly enjoyed the local transportation options in Cambodia, which encompass a variety, including buses and taxis. What makes it particularly convenient is the flexibility of payment, with the added advantage that they accept both USD and Cambodian Riel.

Transportation in Cambodia Between Cities

I opted for Giant Ibis buses to travel between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap cities. The booking procedure is effortlessly streamlined and conducted entirely online. The process involves selecting the desired route, specifying the date and number of passengers, and completing the payment seamlessly with a credit or debit card.

Note: I had booked the bus tickets before I landed in Cambodia.

The buses ensure utmost safety, and sleeper seats are also available for booking for those embarking on a night journey.

Transportation Within Cities

For an optimal city travel experience, Tuk Tuks emerge as the ideal choice – affordable, speedy, and, most importantly, enjoyable. A noteworthy instance is my Tuk Tuk ride for two from Phnom Penh City to Phnom Penh International Airport, which cost me just USD 7 – a remarkably economical option. It’s important to note that Tuk Tuks exclusively accept cash; fortunately, they do accept USD.

Tip: Engage in friendly haggling with the Tuk Tuk driver; occasionally, you might pay only half the initially quoted price.

A piece of advice for those considering a Tuk Tuk in Angkor Wat: the ride can be somewhat uncomfortable due to the expansive nature of the temple complex. During my visit with my mother, we opted for a bus tour at Angkor Wat, providing a more comfortable and convenient experience as we explored the vast array of temples.

Where to Stay in Siem Reap?

Siem Reap is embellished with plenty of lodging choices, spanning hotels to resorts, meticulously designed to meet the varied needs of the influx of visitors enchanted by its cultural and archaeological marvels. The hospitality sector thrives in response to Siem Reap’s popularity, presenting various options tailored to every traveller.

One noteworthy accommodation is the Spring Palace boutique hotel in Siem Reap, which I found delightful during my stay. However, it’s worth noting that the location may pose a challenge, given its distance from Angkor Wat.

Here are a few alternative hotels worth considering:

Review of Spring Palace Boutique Hotel

The property itself is expansive, offering various room categories. The rooms, characterized by their spaciousness and cleanliness, boast large bathrooms without any issues. Notably, the hotel arranged convenient pickup and drop-off services to/from the bus stop.

Featuring a swimming pool, spa, and an in-house restaurant, the property provides a comprehensive experience. The restaurant specializes in excellent Cambodian dishes, allowing guests to savour the local cuisine, although I found the prices a bit higher compared to market offerings.


The reception staff proved exceptionally helpful and approachable, promptly addressing concerns with a smile. As a solo female traveller, safety is paramount, and I felt completely secure with the hotel’s staff. They offered information on sightseeing places and efficiently arranged cycle rickshaws and taxis.

I made my reservation through the Makemytrip website, and the entire process was seamless. Here are the details for reference:

  • Name: Spring Palace Boutique Hotel
  • Website:
  • Address: Thmor Meas Road, Siem Reap, 17254, Cambodia
  • Cost: USD 150 for three nights for double deluxe room

Overall, I was impressed with the rooms, bathrooms, amenities, and the attentive service provided by the staff.

5 Unique Things to do in Siem Reap

Beyond the usual routine of exploring the Angkor Wat temples, Siem Reap offers five additional intriguing activities that shouldn’t be missed. Additionally, I highly recommend indulging in the delightful breakfast offerings at the amazing cafes that serve breakfast in Siem Reap.

See Phare, The Cambodian Circus

In the morning, I asked my mother about her past experiences with circuses. She shared that she had attended one when she was very young. Prompted by this conversation, I swiftly booked two tickets for Phare, the Cambodian Circus, a recommendation courtesy of my colleague’s daughter, who spoke highly of this renowned Cambodian spectacle.

  • The cost for the circus admission was USD 18 per person for general admission (Seat C), and we paid an additional USD 6 for a Tuk Tuk ride to the venue.
  • Tickets can be conveniently purchased at any tour agency in Siem Reap or through online platforms. If unsure, ask your Tuk Tuk rider, as they can direct you to a travel agent selling the tickets.

I arrived at the venue around 7:30 PM, and the show commenced at 8 PM. While the circus had a minimalist setup without significant sponsors or extravagant costumes, the performances were exceptional. The artists displayed remarkable talent, captivating the audience with each segment of the show.

Cambodian Circus at Siem Reap
Cambodian Circus

Satisfying my mother is not just challenging but nearly impossible. Very few things capture her interest, with her soap operas usually taking precedence. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration. In essence, pleasing my mother is often a daunting task. However, I struck gold this time – she thoroughly enjoyed the circus.

My mother enthusiastically applauded every time an artist soared high on a tray held by others or executed breathtaking aerobatic stunts on a rope. Watching the artists perform in awe, it was evident that we were at a Cambodian Circus. This unexpected triumph in bringing joy to my mother made the circus experience all the more special.

Visit Artisans Angkor

Artisans Angkor stands as evidence of the revival of traditional Khmer arts and crafts. This unique social business was established to preserve Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage and provide employment opportunities for local artisans.

Upon entering Artisans Angkor, visitors are greeted by skilled craftsmen meticulously crafting intricate sculptures, handmade silk products, lacquerware, and more. The centre serves as a workshop and a showcase for these exquisite creations, allowing guests to witness the artistic process firsthand.

What sets Artisans Angkor apart is its commitment to empowering the local community. The artisans, many from underprivileged backgrounds, undergo rigorous training to hone their craft. The centre provides a dignified and sustainable livelihood for these talented individuals.

As you explore Artisans Angkor, you gain insight into the intricacies of Khmer craftsmanship and contribute to preserving Cambodia’s cultural legacy and the welfare of its artisans. It is an immersive experience that combines cultural appreciation with social responsibility.

Take Cambodian Cooking Class

Embark on a culinary adventure in Siem Reap by participating in a Cambodian cooking class. This hands-on experience offers a unique opportunity to delve into the rich history of Khmer cuisine, known for its flavorful and aromatic dishes. Numerous cooking schools and establishments in Siem Reap provide immersive classes, allowing participants to savour authentic Cambodian flavours and learn the art of preparing these dishes.

In these classes, expert chefs guide you through the vibrant local markets to select fresh ingredients, introducing you to the diverse array of herbs, spices, and produce that characterise Cambodian cooking. Back in the kitchen, you will be taught the techniques and secrets behind crafting traditional dishes such as Fish Amok, Beef Lok Lak, and Nom Banh Chok.

The experience extends beyond just cooking; it is a cultural journey connecting you with Cambodia’s heart. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook, a Cambodian cooking class in Siem Reap promises to be a memorable and flavorful addition to your travel itinerary.

Papaya Salad - Siem Reap

If cooking isn’t your forte, that’s perfectly okay. However, delve into Cambodia’s distinctive street food and cuisine scene. You will encounter a variety of unique and unusual street delicacies that cater to non-vegetarians and those who relish trying novel foods without any reservations. Cambodia’s street food culture is an adventure for your taste buds, offering an array of flavours and textures that reflect the country’s rich culinary heritage. Embrace the opportunity to savour these unconventional treats, adding a delicious dimension to your Cambodian experience.

Experience Bamboo Train (Norry)

Go on a thrilling adventure in Siem Reap by experiencing the Bamboo Train, locally known as “Norry.” This unique and exhilarating mode of transportation offers a one-of-a-kind journey through the Cambodian countryside, providing both an adrenaline rush and an authentic glimpse into local life.

The Bamboo Train consists of a simple bamboo platform on wheels, propelled along the tracks by a small engine. As you ride through the scenic landscapes, you will witness picturesque rice fields, traditional villages, and the natural beauty of the Cambodian countryside.

The experience is about the journey and the encounter with local communities along the way. You may have the chance to interact with friendly villagers, gaining insights into their daily lives and the cultural richness of rural Cambodia.

While the Bamboo Train is an unconventional and rustic means of travel, it promises an unforgettable and off-the-beaten-path adventure for those seeking a unique experience in Siem Reap. Be prepared for a bumpy ride full of excitement and the opportunity to create lasting memories.

Attend the Apsara Dance Show

Since I set foot in Cambodia, I’ve been raving about the Apsara Dance show non-stop. Even my mother, accompanying me on this trip, is probably tired of hearing how amazing the show is. I had initially booked the dance show in Phnom Penh on the day of our arrival, but due to my mother’s exhaustion, we had to cancel regretfully.

We planned to attend the Cambodian Circus during our early days in Siem Reap. Unfortunately, the tickets we requested weren’t available. However, here we are at Koulen restaurant, making an unexpected shift to witness the Apsara dance show.

The Apsara show beautifully depicts Cambodia’s Khmer heritage, combining the grace of Apsara ballet, the Mekhala dance, and the Hindu mythological narrative of Ramayana.

The performance was truly magnificent, with grand and stunning costumes. However, the only element I found lacking was some form of informational material, like a booklet or a single sheet, explaining each dance segment. Such documentation would have helped understand and appreciate the nuances of each dance performance.

Apsara Show at Siem Reap - One of the 5 Unique Things to do in Siem Reap
Apsara Show

In Siem Reap, numerous venues host Apsara dance performances. We opted for the one our Tuk Tuk driver from Easy Tour recommended.

The show, including a buffet dinner, was priced at USD 12 and ran for an hour from 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM. The Tuk Tuk ride to the venue incurred an additional USD 4.

Bonus thing to do – Visit the Night Markets

Siem Reap has several night markets to explore and purchase local products and souvenirs. These vibrant night markets offer a variety of goods and an excellent opportunity to connect with and contribute to the local community.

Is Siem Reap Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Despite travelling with my mother, I explored numerous places in Siem Reap alone, and I must say, I encountered no significant issues. The city is exceptionally safe for solo female travellers. Nevertheless, as with any destination, exercising caution, particularly at night, is advisable. Trusting your instincts remains key to ensuring a secure and enjoyable experience.

Closing Notes

As previously highlighted, my experience travelling in Siem Reap was truly delightful. Exploring the temples of Angkor Wat, including the remarkable Bayon Temple, was a highlight. Moreover, engaging in unique activities that not every traveller experiences in Cambodia added an extra layer of enjoyment to my trip. I highly recommend including these distinctive experiences in your list of things to do in Siem Reap.

How can you support me?
You know how much I love coffee, so you can buy me a coffee – Buy me Coffee!

Or you can purchase from one of the below travel resources without any extra charge to you:
Travel Resources
Book your flight on or
Reserve your accommodation on Stay22
Reserve your stay at a hostel on HostelWorld
Use RentalCars or DiscoverCars for hiring self-driven cars
Book your tours and travels or purchase tickets on Viator or GetYourGuide
For a universal SIM card, use DrimSim
Buy comprehensive travel insurance on SafetyWing and WorldNomads

If you liked this article and if it was helpful in your planning or traveling, do share, tweet, or pin this post.

Follow me on Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | LinkedIn

Do you have a question? Do you want any suggestions and tips for travel, hikes, and scuba dives? Use the Subscription box below to sign up and get updates by email.

Learn how to plan more, travel more, & live more

Get valuable travel tips and tricks, travel inspirations and listen to my stories in your inbox.

5 Unique Things To Do in Siem Reap (2024)
    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Also read:

    PIN for later reference | Unique Things to do in Siem Reap

    2 unique things to do in Cambodia
    PIN for later reference – Unique Things to do in Siem Reap