1. The obvious one, Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A day pass was priced at $20 and the ticket office was well organised. You get a beautiful photo printed onto your pass to remind you what you look like when you’ve had very little sleep and your hair is still soaking wet because you didn’t have a hair dryer and then off you go…
The site encompasses Angkor Wat (the main attraction) plus lots of other temples which are left over from the Kmer Empire. Just as many Roman temples in Italy survived thanks to their conversion to Catholic Churches, similarly, the originally Hindu temples are now home to Bhuddist monks who can be found in and around the site.
These stunning works of architecture are definitely a must-see when visiting Siem Reap. The carvings are incredibly intricate and despite the thousands of tourists taking every cliched picture you could think of (our tour guide did his best to take as many with us as he could, despite our protests), I did feel as though I was getting a sense of the history of Cambodia, as well as simply admiring how beautiful these structures are.
2. Visit the night markets.
Like most markets in SE Asia, you’re hit full in the face the moment you step near with noise and colour. Enjoy strolling through the crowded stalls and trying to persuade your travel companions to try the tarantula on a stick which you just passed.
Now, haggling isn’t my strong point because I give in far too easily but even I walked away with some pretty trinkets having spent next to nothing. I paid in US Dollars because that’s what I decided to get for Cambodia but apparently you get a much better deal if you pay in Riel.
3. Go eat at New Hope Cambodia Training Restaurant.
I’m never sure in different countries how legit anything is but this place in my opinion seemed to be doing more good than harm and they’re partnered with G Adventures who I’m assuming have done all the relevant research to ensure everything provided benefits the community as much as it does travellers.
4. Go quad biking through the Cambodian countryside.
And oh my days, it was so much fun. And yes, the Cambodian driving has plenty to be desired. And yes, there was the odd hairy moment when we had to weave around a herd of cows and I said a few prayers in the hope none would do anything sudden. But other than that it was awesome. Beautiful scenery, the cutest children running out of their houses to wave at you and feeling the rush as you revved the accelerator and sped along the dirt tracks.
I went with ‘Cambodia Quad Bike‘, #0057 Salakamroeuk Village. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Have a few on Pub Street.
Try a few different places, enjoying walking around and if you feel like it then dance the night away in one of the many bars. If you want to meet fellow back packers then join the Siem Reap Pub Crawl. $10 to join and you get a free t-shirt to remind you of your cringey, drunken antics for the rest of your life.
In Siem Reap I stayed at: Mekong Central Hotel
My Rating: 6/10 (did the job, safe in the room, a big bath/’swimming pool’ and decent mojitos at the bar.