With two days in Siem Reap, you can check off all the “big three” attractions of the Angkor UNESCO World Heritage Site: Angkor Thom city, Angkor Wat temple complex, and Ta Prohm, a ruined monastery. But you can also savor street food, watch a circus, cruise a lake, and discover traditional country lifestyles. Read on to find out how.
Day 1: The Big Three
Morning: Start the day bright and early with sunrise over the towers of Angkor Wat temple. Then, leave the site to the crowds, grab some breakfast, and hit Ta Prohm, known as the Tomb Raider temple, soon after it opens. Consider including nearby attractions such as Banteay Kdei and Srah Srang.
Afternoon: Start the afternoon by exploring Angkor Thom, Angkor’s last great capital city, including the Bayon Temple, with its many faces, and the Terrace of the Elephants. Return to Angkor Wat late in the day for a closer, quieter look at details including the Churning of the Ocean of Milk carving.
Night: Explore Siem Reap for a taste of this vibrant little city. Experience Cambodian street food, from oddities such as deep-fried crickets and snake “wine” to delicacies such as duck eggs and hot-and-sour soup. Then treat temple-tired feet to a pedicure from tiny “doctor fish” at a fish spa.
Day 2: Khmer Country
Morning: One of Cambodia’s great charms is its unspoiled countryside and friendly people. Get to know a typical Khmer family by taking a cooking class in their village home, or ride a bike through the countryside to get a feel for the timeless rhythms of rural work and life.
Afternoon: A cruise on Tonlé Sap lake can be a magical experience, especially during the wet season. Opt for one that visits a stilt village, such as Kompong Phluk, or a floating village, constructed atop pontoon rafts, and learn about mangrove ecosystems on a canoe trip through flooded forests.
Night: Conclude your Siem Reap stay in style with an evening of authentic Cambodian entertainment. Choose between Phare, a contemporary circus, or the Apsara dance, a classical performance with a lineage dating back to the Angkor era. Finally, let your hair down as you embrace the crazy energy of Pub Street.