Visit Angkor Wat. This iconic temple is the highlight of any trip to Siem Reap. It is one of the largest religious monuments in the world, and its intricate carvings are a testament to the Khmer Empire's engineering and artistic prowess. Explore the Angkor Archaeological Park. The Angkor Archaeological Park is home to over 1,000 temples and ruins, making it one of the largest archaeological sites in the world. In addition to Angkor Wat, some of the other popular temples include Ta Prohm, Bayon, and Banteay Srei. Take a sunrise or sunset tour of Angkor Wat. Watching the sun rise or set over Angkor Wat is a truly magical experience. The temple is bathed in a golden light, and the atmosphere is serene and peaceful. Go on a cycling tour of the countryside. There are many cycling tours available in Siem Reap, which offer a great way to see the countryside and get some exercise. You can cycle through rice fields, villages, and forests, and you may even see some wildlife along the way. Visit the Floating Village of Kampong Phluk. This floating village is located on Tonle Sap Lake, and it is a unique and fascinating place to visit. The houses are built on stilts, and the villagers live a simple life off the land. Learn about Cambodia's history at the War Museum. This museum tells the story of Cambodia's 20th century wars, from the Khmer Rouge era to the Vietnam War. It is a sobering but important reminder of the country's recent history. Take a cooking class. There are many cooking classes available in Siem Reap, which are a great way to learn about Cambodian cuisine and try your hand at making some traditional dishes. Visit the Night Market. The Night Market is a great place to buy souvenirs, clothes, and handicrafts. You can also find delicious food stalls at the market, and it is a lively and vibrant place to spend an evening. See a performance at Phare Ponleu Selpak. This circus school is home to a troupe of talented performers who put on amazing shows. The performances are a mix of traditional Cambodian circus skills and modern acrobatics, and they are sure to leave you entertained. Relax at a spa. There are many spas in Siem Reap that offer a variety of treatments, from massages to facials. This is a great way to unwind after a day of exploring the temples
There’s no right or wrong way to explore Angkor Archaeological Park, but you can be strategic about it. Start with official 'Wonder of the World' and the largest religious site on Earth, Angkor Wat but get up early to see it at sunrise as they'll be a lot of people with the same idea. Alternatively, go for a hilltop complex like Phnom Bakheng at dawn to avoid crowds (most people visit here at sunset). It's best to do most of your exploring before the midday sun hits, although the 'Tombraider Temple', Ta Prohm, is a good one to go to in the afternoon, as it's shaded (read: half-eaten) by tightly-knotted banyan trees. Get the three-day temple pass ($62) if you're here for anything longer than a weekend break, as it's worth taking time to explore the smaller, off-road temples like Preah Pithu, in and around the main city of Angkor Thom.
For the more adventurous, you can make the one-hour trip outside of town to the mysterious twelfth century temple, Beng Mealea. Found deep in the jungle, it has the same 'unearthed' feel as Ta Prohm, but without the tourists queuing up to do an Angelina Jolie pose in front of it. Scrambling around piles of crumbling bricks and roots wrapped around sandstone, you'll feel like the true explorer of a lost empire.
Get some background at Angkor National Museum. Put it all into context at this comprehensive museum, which explores the Buddhist and Hindu treasures found at the nearby temple sites and tells the full story of the powerful Angkor civilization. As the museum gives an overview, rather than detailed explanations of the early Khmer royals and their grand schemes, it might be better to go before you visit the Angkor complex.
Watch the sun rise over the Angkor Temple to reveal the natural beauty of this area. Roam around and gaze across at the amazing scenery and unrivaled architecture. Stroll through the temple's complex chambers and learn the site's fascinating history.