Siem Reap Things to Do

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Best Rated Things to Do in Siem Reap

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    Dancers at the Bayon

    by balhannah Written Oct 19, 2008

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    As I wandered around the Bayon, I came across a group of Dancers. They were only there for photo shoots. You could have your photo taken with them, or, them on their own, with your camera for $1. They were in traditional costume, and looked really good. (see photo)

    The Dancers
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    Old Market

    by theguardianangel Written Nov 19, 2012

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    The best place to buy more varieties of souvenirs is in the old market. Name it! Shirts, bags, pens, calendars, bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces, puppets, paintings, hats, caps, fridge magnets, key chains, wallets, clothes, coffee, fan, etc.- you have it here!
    The souvenir shops are situated on the sides of the market. Inside are fishes, vegetables, etc.are being sold. Dried fishes, I think those are eels, can also be seen hanging in front of the stores.

    Always remember to bargain, most of the vendors here are snob in giving discounts so don’t show them how much you want it because they’ll make a stand for the undiscounted price they gave.

    What my friends and I did was that we went into shops, look around, ask for the price then if we find it cheaper than the other stores that’s when we ask for a discount, if granted then we buy at once.

    I observed that most of the Cambodians are artists; when I looked in the paintings displayed at the corner of the shops, it mesmerized me. Their works of art are amazing! The canvasses looked very much alive!

    inside wonderful paintings dried fishes
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    Wander the Passages

    by AlbuqRay Updated May 19, 2009

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    Northwest of the Old Market is a rectangular block that some call the Passage. To me it is more appropriately called the Passages. Canby Publications has one of the better maps of the Old Market area. Hospital Street is the northeast boundary. Pub Street runs southwest to northeast along the northwest side. Pub Street Alley runs down the middle parallel to Pub Street. The southeast boundary is the Old Market. Street 11 is the southwest boundary. Perpendicular to Pub Street Alley are three equally-spaced "passages." Although most of the passages are actually open-air, the whole complex seems more like an indoor mall filled with restaurants, bars, shops, galleries and couple of hotels.

    Center of Pub Street Alley Looking Southwest enter of Pub Street Alley Looking Northeast Center Passage Looking Northwest Southwest Passage from Old Market Side Pub Street Alley from Hospital Street
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    Wat Thmey

    by AlbuqRay Updated May 18, 2009

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    A "new wat," Wat Thmey, was built at a genocide memorial site in 1997 (I think). Now these unidentified remains of Khmer Rouge victims are preserved in a new stupa and the pagoda is officially named Wat Tep Pothivong; however, it is still generally called Wat Thmey. Not only does Wat Thmey have a memorial to help us never forget those atrocities, it also now has an orphanage for children whose lives have been affected by HIV and a library.

    Wat Thmey Pagoda Looking Out the Front Gate Grounds at Wat Thmey Normal Stupas at Wat Thmey Back Part of Wat Thmey
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    Cambodian Landmine Museum

    by blueskyjohn Updated Sep 29, 2014

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    This is a very interesting and informative museum, dedicated to educating the public about the history and on going efforts to clear landmines still spread across Cambodia. There is an entrance fee of $3.00. Well worth the support it gives for their cause.

    I was given a tour by Bill, a retired American soldier well educated in the history of mining through Cambodia and Viet Nam. I learned quite a bit from Bill. There are excellent information signs and displays of deactivated landmines and UXO's (un-exploded ordinance).

    The location is also a relief facility for at-risk children from villages through Cambodia. They are doing great work here and if you have the time it is worth a visit. It is especially easy if you are going to or from Banteay Srey Temple complex.

    Hours:
    Monday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    Tuesday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    Wednesday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    Thursday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    Friday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    Saturday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm
    Sunday 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

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    Angkor Silk Farm - Artisans d Angkor

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Mar 21, 2009

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    Artisans d'Angkor National Silk Centre
    The National Silk Centre is about 16 Kilometers west of Siem Reap on Route 6.

    We really enjoyed the tour through here and once again there is no charge and you have your own personal guide.

    The tour starts right from the beginning, outside with the planting of the mulberry trees which are used for raising the silkworms. They feed on these leaves until they reach the cocoon stage.

    Then you will see the artisans extracting the silk threads from the cocoon shells using hand reels. The threads are then treated and dyed with colors from all natural products prior to spooling.

    Some of the items take weeks or even months to make and many are collector’s items. Another great tour, well worth doing.

    National Silk Centre Shop
    This shop is mainly silk products e.g. ready to wear men’s and women’s clothing, fashion accessories, cushions, silk bedding etc. There is also a small collection of sculptures and statues. Of course in that small selection I managed to find 2 items I just had to have.

    I bought the Head of Buddha (Lacquer ware & Gilded) on a black base which cost US$69 and also the Head of King Jayarvarman V11 (Lacquer ware) on a black base which cost US$59.

    Opening Hours 7.30am - 6.00pm

    After you have finished your tour and shopping at the Artisans d'Angkor National Silk Centre step outside to their outdoor Cafe and have something to eat or a nice cold drink.

    More Artisans Shops & Cafes
    There are Artisans d'Angkor shops in the departure area of Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap Angkor Airport.

    Opposite Angkor Wat there is also the Angkor Cafe, another good place for lunch and a drink and also a chance to purchase some products from Artisans d'Angkor craftsmen.

    There are Artisans d'Angkor shops in the departure area of Phnom Penh International Airport and Siem Reap Angkor Airport.

    Angkor Silk Farm - Artisans d Angkor Angkor Silk Farm - Artisans d Angkor Angkor Silk Farm - Artisans d Angkor Angkor Silk Farm - Artisans d Angkor Angkor Silk Farm - Artisans d Angkor
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    Nightlife at the Pubstreet

    by theguardianangel Written Nov 21, 2012

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    My friend and I got lost since we don’t know where to find the KFC. Yes, one of the popular fast foods in the world and why are we finding it!? Three of our friends got so exhausted and fell asleep without having dinner and because we are thoughtful friends, we decided to buy them food somewhere for take-out. However, we got lost… until we found ourselves in the PUBSTREET, haha!

    This place is very much alive when we got here. Loud party music is played with a disco ball hanging at the center of one of the streets. Bars, women, men, are seen everywhere. There are also guards/policemen, paramedics and tuk-tuk drivers are seen at the corner of the street.

    Along the streets are also souvenir shops and one of the popular items being sold here are those made of the crocodile skin and very expensive. One of the locals we talked to said that it’s not advisable to buy any items around the area because it costs a lot of dollars.
    Then after a few misleading paths… at last, we finally accomplished our mission! We found the KFC!:)

    the night we got lost items made of crocodile skin stores Pubstreet by day KFC!!!! cafes are also around
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    Ta Phrom - Angkor Archaelogical Park

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Apr 3, 2013

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    Ta Phrom was built in the mid 12th early 13th Centuries and is east of Angkor Thom. Ta Phrom has been left untouched except for the clearing of some jungle for a path for visitors and some structural strengthening to help stop further deterioration.

    Its a stunning place with massive fig and silk-cotton trees growing from the towers and corridors and spreading their gigantic roots over, under and inbetween the stone pillars of the complex.

    This temple was one of King Jayavarmans first major temple projects and was dedicated to his mother. Ta Phrom was originally a buddhist monastery and there was a sandscript inscription on stone (this is now in the Conservation d'Angkor). This stone tells about the size and function of Ta Phrom.

    Ta Phrom was very wealthy in its time having control of over 3140 villages, 79,365 staff to maintain the complex, including 18 High Priests, 2,740 officials, 2,202 assistants and 615 dancers.

    Property that belonged to the temple was a set of golden dishes weighing over 500 kilograms, 35 diamonds, 40.620 pearls, 4,540 precious stones, 512 silk beds and huge stores of jewels and gold.

    Some of the temple is impassable and some areas are accessable only by small narrow passageways. There are many lovely spots to just sit outside and wonder at this amazing place.

    An absolute must to visit Ta Phrom and explore for a couple of hours.

    Ta Phrom Ta Phrom Ta Phrom Ta Phrom Ta Phrom
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    Ta Prohm explorations

    by PandawitchElphie Updated Mar 18, 2014

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    If you're the type of tourist who is not in a hurry to go from one temple to another, plan to stay here for half a day. After lunch would do. WHen the sun is at its hottest, you're going to love the canopy of the trees. THIS is the shadiest temple to go to. And, if you take your time, you get to see Ta Prohm when it's being bathed by the golden afternoon sun.

    We took the EAST ENTRANCE, and we went reverse of the crowd. Usually, the crowd likes to enter the temples from the front. We, on the other hand took the left side entrance... taking us past areas where we got lucky and there were no tourists (oh yeah-- happy dance!).

    This was MY favorite temple. My reason for going to Siem Reap in the first place. The trees!!! The glorious trees! The giant trees that are trying to take back what man stole from them thousands of years ago.

    (actually, they're parasite trees-- giant vines that grow over and around actual real trees and slowly kill the original tree--leaving giant fragile trees in its place).

    We basically explored the place and took our time because we like to take pictures. No, we're not professional photographers but we still had tons of fun with our tripods. On my next visit here (and yes, there WILL be a next visit), I'm taking a tourguide. Mr. Chet probably. So I can learn about the things we just walked by.

    THAT's the thing-- you can appreciate the beauty of the temples...but it takes a tourguide to actually tell you that that weird sculpture is actually a symbol of 'sex' or that the carving on your left is the image of the world being created.

    There's not a lot of statues or carvings here-- it's a pretty bare temple. The main attraction would be the trees or the fact that it is a temple being surrounded by the jungle.

    Tip:
    Again, take water.
    Enter the temple areas and search for the trees.
    Make sure you have your picture taken with the Tomb Raider tree.

    Exploring the Ruins Tomb Raider tree My narnian shot from Ta Prohm My Panda...a VT by extension Ta Prohm from the west
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    Chong Kneas floating village

    by rosequartzlover1 Written Mar 23, 2014

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    I've read some traveller's comment about this place from other website and so many people complaint about it.They said that it's a "rip off" so I have some idea what I'll face and expect that I won't be ripped off anything.And finally I felt that I was ripped off too.It's hard to avoid now,I think it become tradition already there ,that they will charged you such a very expensive price for just a "so and so" experience.When we arrived at the ticket booth and ask the price, they saw that we are only 2 customer and ask for 25$ each.We felt it too much and start to hesitate if we should go on or not.In the mean time staffs talked to each other in very angry face about us and the manner was so rude.I tried it anyway just want to see if it's worth paying or not,just to have some experience to tell other people,and I can say "It's not worth paying" The payment was include a guide.I tried to enjoy the trip but NO ..because there are many floating village in some other place in the world including my country and this place is just "nothing" But if you go ..be careful about the shop that they try to sell some kind of food,rice and drink for children in the area.People said it's a scam ,I don't know that it's really scam or not but I notice their reaction..the shop staff,boatman and the guide ..and I can feel that it's a scam.The guide promise that he will bring us to visit the school that these orphant are living but when we didn't buy anything from that shop ,he simply skip the school and head back to the port.I heard that what they do is..bring the things we buy back to the shop and re sell it again and the kids didn't get anything that we intend to give.Anyway that day I saw a couple bought a big sack of rice.They are kind ..yes...but I hope the rice will really go to the kids.
    1.The port ,those are the boat ..by the way I tried to think that I paid in a price of "private" boat cuz there are only 2 of us.But if you are in group and still have to pay 25$ each,that's too much,so if you want to go ..try to negotiate and please tell me the result.
    2.THe shop they sell food and rice for kids.
    3.The floating church.
    4.The floating market..there are restaurant and shop and a small crockodile farm in the area but not many of them in the water,most of them became a souvenir hanging in the shop already.
    5.Above the shop ,there's upper deck to see a little better view around the lake.The shop at main deck sell product that similar to downtown market.I treid to bargain something but very hard to get.I found that people here were not friendly at all,not like some other places in Siemreap.That's why I can say I was disappointed visitting there.

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    Downtown Siem Reap, How to enjoy !

    by Michel69 Updated Dec 8, 2010

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    Avoid the crowd of Pub Street, there is so much more to do !
    - Walk along the river in the South, towards Tonlé Sap. You will discover a traditional Noria and traditional houses on piles.
    - Chill out, drink or eat at Silk Garden, a lovely bar made in bamboo. The owner Anthony is the famous DJ D'Tonn of the town. The place is located in the Lane (50 meters from pub street).
    - order your tailor made silk clothing at Samatoa (close to Silk Garden, in front of the entrance of the provincial hospital).
    - enjoy a celtic concert at Molly Malone's or a techno party at X Bar (end of pub street, opposite the pharmacy Ucare).
    - visit and experience ceramics workshop on the road to the temple.
    - visit the workshop of Senteurs d'Angkor (soap, spices, ...) on road National 6
    - Experience the local night atmosphere at Nightclub Zone One.

    At Samatoa Silk Garden Around Psa Leu Market
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    Get a fish Pedicure

    by stevemt Written Mar 4, 2013

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    This is actually quite amazing. I thought about this and came across this one by pub street, $1 for 15 mins plus a free drink - I was in

    For the first few mins it really tickeled, then was great. My feet felt great at the end, and really clean.

    Would recomend this to anyone.

    Yes you lucky people - they are my legs

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    Angkor Wat - Angkor Archaelogical Park

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Mar 31, 2013

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    Angkor Wat was built in the first half of the 12th century, it is the largest monument in the Angkor group and is quite simply breathtaking. The temple itself is 1 kilometer square and consists of 3 levels surmounted by a central tower, this is then surrounded by a wall measuring 1300metres by 1500metres and then surrounded by a moat. The exterior walls of the first level are covered with magnificent bas-reliefs and each section tells a story.

    Only the King and High Priests were allowed on the third level of Angkor Wat.

    When you are standing at the bottom of the stairs on this level the climb up can look very frightening. This is the easy part, the view at the top is magnificent but coming down for me was very scary. (I did not realize if I had walked round a bit more to the south stairway that there is concrete steps and a handrail). I did eventually make it back down, but very slowly and my quads were sore for a couple of days, but it was definitely worth it!!

    2012 Update:

    Now there is only one section open to the public to climb to the top, there are wooden steps and handrails so it is much easier and the old steps are protected.

    Our 3 day pass was $40 and you do not need a photo for this pass, they take your photo there and it is all processed very quickly. You buy the pass at the entrance to the park.

    We do not bother with a guide but highly recommend buying Dawn Rooney's Angkor book for your first visit, we paid $5 for a genuine second hand one - much better quality than a copy one, make sure its the fourth or a later edition. This book tells you everything about the temples, the time you will need to spend there and has maps, photos etc.

    Gary's first visit to Angkor Wat was in 1992, so things had certainly changed. He was amazed at the amount of people there. Last time when he was there it was just himself, 2 other people and a monk.  Back then there were still a lot of areas that had not been cleared of mines. There were absolutely no shops, restaurants, toilets etc at all, just a few locals on bikes selling bottles of water.

    When we were leaving we were lucky enough to see a couple of young girls who were part of a wedding at Angkor Wat, they looked lovely with their white dresses and red umbrellas!
    Angkor Wat was absolutely fantastic and you really have to experience it to truly know how amazing it is.

    Allow approx. 3 hours to see Angkor Wat.

    More Siem Reap Photos Here

    Angkor Wat Angkor Wat Angkor Wat - no longer any stairs like this Angkor Wat Angkor Wat
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    Artisans d' Angkor Stone & Wood Carving Centre

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Apr 4, 2013

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    The Artisans d' Angkor Stone & Wood Carving centre is in Siem Reap town 200 metres off Sivatha Road.

    On this tour you will see the artisans working on pre cut blocks of stone or wood, following very precise techniques they trim and carve the blocks with their own handmade tools. See how Lacquering and Gilding is done on Sandstone, once these objects are finished they have an aged look similar to that of an original artifact.

    Then move on to see how wood is lacquered and gilded, watch the wood being degreased and then see colors being applied from natural pigments. The pieces can then be decorated with copper leaf gilding. Sand is then applied and the object is polished to give it a glossy look.

    After you have finished the above tour, the highlight (for me) was going into the showroom and seeing the beautiful products on sale. The shop is a showcase of wood and stone carvings, silk products, magnificent bas-reliefs plus much more. There is absolutely no pressure to buy.

    Products are not cheap in these shops, but then again they are not rubbish souvenirs mass produced for tourists. You are paying for quality products. I purchased a natural sandstone Head of Pranhaparamita which sits in a black stand. She is exquisite (and very heavy) and cost US$59

    The shop is fantastic and there were so many beautiful things I would like to buy. Maybe next time??

    Artisans d'Angkor was created to help young people find work in their home villages, allowing them to practice their crafts and providing them with a vocation and a role in society.

    Artisans d'Angkor is intended to provide a sustainable and fair development for arts and crafts in Siem Reap province, offering young artisans a job on-site or in its rural workshops in and around Siem Reap.

    It gives artisans fulfilling and stable working conditions and provides them with a vocation, so that they can express their talents and continue to develop their skills.

    Artisans d'Angkor was created in 1999 as part of a 3-year supported project to professionally integrate young artisans that had been trained by the Chantiers-Ecoles de Formation Professionnelle.

    The CEFP are a Cambodian state-run organization that aims at providing the training required by young people (most of them living in the rural areas and having received little education), and at preparing them for their professional integration.

    The CEFP have contributed to reviving traditional craft-jobs (stone & wood carving, lacquering, gilding and silk related jobs).

    There are 2 training centers, the Craftsmanship centre for stone and wood carving, gilding and lacquering and the National Silk Centre for mulberry tree growing, silkworm breeding and treatment of the thread, then its weaving.

    Both centers have free great guided tours that are definitely well worth doing. After the tours look around the shops and maybe buy some good quality gifts to take back home. I certainly did!!

    Artisans d’Angkor is also now completely self-financed.

    It invests in new apprenticeships and skill creation via continuous training, sets up new rural village workshops, and participates in major projects in order to promote Cambodian culture and handicrafts, as for the 2005 World Expo.
    It has created over 700 jobs both for artisans (550) and non-craftsmen.

    Fifteen workshops are operating in villages in Siem Reap province for craft jobs such as stone and wood carving, lacquering, gilding and silk related jobs.

    Since its creation, Artisans d'Angkor has pioneered a new social policy in Cambodia, guaranteeing levels of pay and social and medical welfare.

    The artisans have also formed an association which has a 20% stake in the company.

    Artisans d' Angkor Stone & Wood Carving Centre Artisans d' Angkor Stone & Wood Carving Centre Artisans d' Angkor Stone & Wood Carving Centre Artisans d' Angkor Stone & Wood Carving Centre Artisans d' Angkor Stone & Wood Carving Centre
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    Aki Ra - Land Mine Museum

    by Cathy&Gary Updated Apr 5, 2013

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    Aki Ra is a mine clearer and opened his museum in 1999. We first visited in 2006 when the museum was very simple, just a corrugated iron building, some rickety sheds plus open air eating and sleeping quarters. This museum has now moved and is located on the road to Banteay Srey.

     As a young child Aki parents were killed and he spent years in various armies, fighting with the Khmer Rouge, then against them. One thing he learnt all about was Mines.

    In 1993 Aki worked with the UN clearing mines, this was a good time in his life as he also had the opportunity to go to school and study, so life took a turn for the better. Once the UN left, Aki kept clearing mines and amassing a huge collection of guns, bombs, mines etc.

    This collection is now the Cambodia Land Mine Museum.

      Aki and his wife Hourt have 2 sons, they also have a small group of children who are land mine victims living with them. The children are supported and sent to school by the Museum. There is now a small charge to see the museum and a small shop there where you can buy drinks, books, T Shirts etc.

    Sadly Hourt died on April 14th 2009, she was only 28 years old.
    The museum is not as good as it was before the move near Banteay Srey but it is still worth a stop!

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