Day 1 in Siem ReapWelcome to Siem Reap!Upon arrival at the airport, you will go through customs andimmigration. Should you opt to purchase a transfer to your hotel; arepresentative will be waiting for you as you exit immigration. Arriveat your hotel, check in and do not give in to jet lag! There is so muchfor you to see and do!
We recommend you get acquainted with the city, jump on board one of the traditional tuk-tuks in town and head to the local markets for some sensational street food sampling. The Old Market is situated in downtown and is the oldest and one of the best markets in Siem Reap. Check out the endless stalls filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, seafood, snacks, and souvenirs. In the food hall sample some of the local favorites including `prahok` (fermented fish paste), pork sausages, noodles, rice and frogs legs.
From here make your way to the Angkor National Museum, this modern archaeological museum features a large collection of Angkorian artifacts and educates visitors on the art and culture of the Khmer civilization with treasures and collections on display throughout eight galleries.
Head over to the Wat Damnak Pagoda which sits on the east side of the Siem Reap River. The location was the previous site of the
Royal Palace from 1904 – 1927 and features the largest pagoda in the city, a public school and the largest library in Cambodia. Here you can see the resident monks wandering around the tranquil grounds which feature Buddha sculptures, trees, and a pond.
Make your way over to the Cambodian Cultural Village and marvel at the 13 tiny villages with miniature buildings and structures that represent the cultural heritage of several different ethnic groups. There are shows and performances held here daily featuring traditional dance, folk games, elephant shows and dancing peacocks.
On your first evening in the city head back to the markets, the Angkor Night Market is a mile long street featuring over 200 huts/stalls selling one of a kind items. There is a food court where you can grab some dinner and wander the market for the special souvenir to take home. You can opt for a foot massage after a long day on your feet, listen to live music and performances and if you are feeling adventurous take the five-minute walk over to the famous Pub Street filled with bars and other restaurants.
Day 2 in Siem ReapStart your day off super early with a trip to the largest religious monument in the entire world, Angkor Wat (the temple opens at 5:45). Grab coffee and breakfast on the go and head to the most iconic temple and grounds, which are best seen during sunrise or sunset. This is a magical experience, one not to be missed as you watch the sun climb up behind the temples providing spectacular silhouettes that reflect on the lake with some of the greatest photo opportunities you will ever see.
Please Note: Woman must cover their shoulders and clothing must come down past the knee. This is a religious site and access to the park can be denied if you are not dressed appropriately.
Explore the depths of the Angkor Archeological Park and immerse yourself in the mystifying architecture and ancient history this Khmer Kingdom holds. Inside these grounds, visitors will find Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Baphuon, the Royal Palace, Preah Palilay and the famous Ta Prohm Temple where scenes from `Tomb Raider` were filmed. Spend your morning exploring the depths of the jungle and marvel at some of the most enchanting sights in the world. Head back to your hotel during midday for some lunch and a nap, exploring temples can be quite exhausting.
For the afternoon head back to the park and continue exploring the hundreds of temples on site, you can end the day there with a spectacular sunset and head back to the city for some dinner.
Alternatively take a cruise on the Tonle Sap Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Cambodia. Experience the traditional floating fishing villages, forests and wildlife reserves that sit on the lake. Visit the villages, meet the locals who live and work here, sample some of the fresh fish caught here and other local delicacies. The area is home to a large variety of wildlife including crocodiles, snakes, turtles and birds, a very popular place for fishing and bird watching.
Head to the Phare Ponleu Selpak circus for this evening`s entertainment. Cambodia`s version of Cirque du Soleil, this highly acclaimed circus features a variety of performances including acrobats, dance, and music featuring young Cambodian performers who have graduated from the Phare Ponleu Selpak performing Arts School in Battambang. Enjoy dinner and the show and retire back to your hotel for the night.
Day 3 in Siem ReapToday make your way to the Banteay Srei Cambodian temple, this 10th-century temple is dedicated to the Hindu god of Shiva and Vishnu about 20 northeast of Siem Reap. This spectacular temple is carved out of red sandstone with three-dimensional stone carvings the decorate the walls. The name of the temple translates to `Citadel of Woman` and these well-preserved carvings were created by the woman. Take a boat ride on the baray (reservoir) located in the grounds and explore the hidden charms of the temple and surrounding forest. You can grab a bit to eat in the area close by with many traditional Cambodian restaurants to choose from.
Make your way to the Cambodian Landmine Museum and Relief Facility which is located just south of Banteay Srei. This museum was established in the late 1990`s when a former child soldier Aki Ra returned to the area to clear the landmines he had once been made to set up. There are said to still be over 5 million landmines still left in the countryside by the Khmer Rogue forces from the 1970`s.
From here visit the beautiful Banteay Srey Butterfly Center, the biggest butterfly enclosure in Southeast Asia. There are thousands of species of butterflies here the fly freely around the large netted tropical garden environment. Experience the pupae metamorphosis stages of the butterfly, feed them and wander are these stunning grounds filled with flora and fauna.
On your last evening in the city visit Miss Wong`s elegant cocktail bar which is situated on `Alley West` and `The Lane` which both run parallel to the famous Pub Street. After a busy day of exploring sit back in this Shanghai-style bar with a relaxing ambiance, enjoy one of the famed cocktails such as the rose and lemongrass martini which is served with rose petals. Take a stroll around the alleys and streets filled with art galleries, shops, bars and cafes and pick a place to enjoy some authentic Khmer or Cambodian cuisine.
Alternatively, make your way over to Pub Street which offers a wide array of international restaurants. Enjoy the vibrant pedestrian filled streets lined with rows of bars that stay open until the wee hours and massage parlors offering cheap foot and back massages after a long day of temple exploring. Check Angkor What? Bar for cheap drinks and write on the graffiti filled walls.
Additional Days in Siem ReapShould you be able to spend additional days in Siem Reap check out some of the other temples such as Banteay Kdei, the Buddhist temple built in the 12th century with a similar design to the Angkor Wat and Bayon style architecture. The grounds are un-restored but are going under renovation.
The Preah Khan Temple also built during the 12the century is one of the most significant buildings built during the Khmer empire, most un-restored, set in the jungle with galleries, temples, and shrines dotted around the 140 acres of land.
Your Last Day in Siem Reap
Depart from your hotel to the airport for your return flight home.We recommend that you purchase a private transfer to the airport if sothe representative will meet you at your hotel with plenty of time toget you to the airport for your flight out.