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3 Days Itinerary Discover Siem Reap

January 20, 2024 - 3233 views

Even with three days, you will get a taste of Siem Reap and time for a handful of other engaging experiences.

Siem Reap is home to none other than Angkor Wat. Beside the famous Angkor Wat temple complex, there are many things to do and see in Siem Reap. Take a couple of days to explore the area and you will see what this jewel in the crown of Cambodia has to offer. If you only have three days, this suggested itinerary will give you a good mix of temples, countryside, and culture.

The first day in Siem Reap

On the first day, of course, you should focus on the star sights at Angkor Archaeological Park, like Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, Bayon and Ta Prohm. Probably no one goes to Cambodia these days without a visit to the Khmer temples of Angkor Wat. This is not without reason. Start at sunrise, so that you can snap iconic reflection photos. Once you are in Siem Reap, you will notice an interesting thing that houses and buildings in the city cannot be built over 5 floors following the rule because it will be higher than the temples.

Biking is a very exciting way to explore the temples of Angkor

Biking is a very exciting way to explore the temples of Angkor

Most travelers visit Angkor temples by tuk-tuk or on a tour but biking to the ruins a viable option in the right conditions. You will find bicycles for hire everywhere from guesthouses and mini-marts to laundries and specialized bike hire shops. The advantage of doing an organized bike tour is that you will have a guide to get you through the heavily trafficked areas, which can be dangerous.

In the morning, go to a bicycle shop to rent a mountain bike and helmet and get ready for a full day of cycling. First, ride to the ancient city of Angkor Thom and explore many attractions inside its walls including the South Gate, the famous Bayon Temple, the Phimeanakas Temple, the Royal Enclosure, the Elephants Terrace, and the Terrace of the Leper King. As you meander through the jungle site, one fantastic piece of the artwork appears after another - a truly mesmerizing experience. Stop for a picnic lunch before continuing to visit the Angkor Wat in the afternoon. No trip to Siem Reap is complete without a visit to Angkor Wat, and rightly so. There is no end to the depth of Angkor Wat, so spend enough time immersing yourself within its history, bas reliefs, impressive architecture, and mysteries.

Imposing Angkor Wat

Imposing Angkor Wat

At dinner time, be sure to enjoy a traditional Apsara dance performance. End of the day, pamper yourself with a traditional Khmer massage after a long day of climbing around temple ruins for better sleep. 

Second day in Siem Reap

Embark on a trip to Phnom Kulen National Park by Jeep Car

Embark on a trip to Phnom Kulen National Park by Jeep Car

The next day will be very exciting with a trip to Phnom Kulen National Park by jeep car. Two hours from Siem Reap, Phnom Kulen is the ideal day out for anyone who is looking to explore the wildlife of Cambodia. Enjoy scenic views all the way and get insight into the Cambodian rural lifestyle. Phnom Kulen has a religious significance to Hindus and Buddhists who come to the sacred mountain on pilgrimage. Reach the top of the mountain to visit the Preah Ang Thom Pagoda and see the beautiful reclining Buddha statue, a highlight for even the most experienced travelers. Head to the area of Kpal Spean – River of Thousand Lingas, look above over the spectacular waterfalls at the temple sites with carved animal figures. Enjoy a refreshing swim in a large pool at the base of the waterfall. On the way back to Siem Reap, you will have a chance to stop at the famous Banteay Srei – Citadel of Women which regarded as the jewel in the crown of classical Khmer Art.

Lingas And Sculptures Of Hindu Gods And Waterfall At Kbal Spean

Lingas And Sculptures Of Hindu Gods And Waterfall At Kbal Spean

In the evening, if you still have energy, wander through the infinite stalls of the night market. There is a vast selection of clothing, souvenirs, and jewelry, as well as massage parlors and bars. When in Siem Reap, do not miss out on the chance to explore amazing street food. Food carts and food stalls lined the length of the riverside and filled the parks, while mobile vendors roamed the streets, stopping to set up shop wherever a hungry crowd gathered around.

Street stalls in Siem Reap

Street stalls in Siem Reap

Third day in Siem Reap

On your last day in Siem Reap, start with a hearty breakfast. Get out of the town center a bit more of what the tiny town has to offer. Those that want to marvel at the fisherman's way of life will want to visit Tonle Sap Lake. This is Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, but the real treat is seeing how the fisherman lives. This is a unique area with clusters of floating villages along the shores. Wooden houses are built on long, sturdy stilts to avoid getting soaked by the flooding that makes this area so perfect for fishing. It is an interesting day trip that may change your own perspective on what it means to have a simple life.

Take an excursion on a traditional wooden boat on the Tonle Sap Lake. For one hour, the boat will take you around the floating villages that show you a different side of Siem Reap. You will experience close to daily life on the water of local people. Remember, a visit to Siem Reap's floating villages is a "love-it-or-hate-it" experience. Visit with a good tour company and a good guide, you will leave with memories. But go on your own or with a disreputable travel agency, you may never want to return to Cambodia as you would be over-charged, hassled, or begged to pressure to buy souvenirs.

Floating village in Tonle Sap Lake areas

Floating village in Tonle Sap Lake areas

At the end of your trip, do some shopping at the Artisan D’Angkor - handicraft center or the Old Market, a lively outdoor market where you will find everything: antiquities, silver and gold jewelry, gems, silk, kramas, stone and wood carvings, as well as T-Shirts, CDs and other souvenirs.

Three days will give you a taste of Siem Reap, enough to explore and venture further into the Cambodian countryside. But no matter how many days you spend, Siem Reap is truly a cannot miss destination. As amazing as Angkor Wat is, the people are what really makes your travel experience special. If you have the time, why not spread it out and enjoy the beautiful attraction over a few days?


(Images source: Internet)

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