Cambodia as a whole, and Siem Reap specifically, are full of so many incredible sights and attractions. The Seam Riep nightlife, especially Pub Street, is an awesome time for tourists, and the Angkor Wat sunrise probably a top ten sight to see around the world. There are so many things to do in Cambodia that we will struggle to put it all in one post, but we are going to give it a shot! Here we go…
Are you a fan of monkeys and elephants? How about puppies and piglets? Do you enjoy ancient religious monuments? Culture? Delicious food? Of course you are! Get ready for a wonderful adventure. Cambodia has all of this and more!
Cambodia has wonders that one-up the rest of the world, starting with the Angkor temples, all the way to the food, culture, and wildlife. Your head will spin at all of the incredible things to do in Cambodia. Let us be your guide to everything from an Angkor Wat sunrise to the Siem Reap nightlife and everything in between as we share what we learned on our Cambodian adventure.
Things to Do in Cambodia
We will start with the most fun section: things to do in Cambodia. And to start this section, the most famous site in the entire country: Angkor Wat.
First off, let’s take a look at the map of the area that houses all of the Angkor temples including Angkor Wat. You are going to need it as we explore the temples.
The first thing you need to know about Angkor Wat is that it is ENORMOUS! You won’t miss it. It is literally the largest religious monument on earth.
The second thing you need to know about Angkor Wat is it is OLD! We’re talking almost a thousand years old, people. You are going to walk through the temple corridors and feel like some combination of Indiana Jones and an Instagram model.
All in all, this temple is extremely inspiring, especially at sunrise. The Angkor Wat sunrise is absolutely to die for. You have GOT TO wake up at the butt crack of dawn in order to get there, but we HIGHLY recommend you do just that.
Wake up early, jump on a tuk-tuk, and get your booty to the temple. The sky is a perfectly painted masterpiece of purples and oranges, and the reflection pool doubles the dosage of all the views.
Angkor Thom & Bayon
Angkor Thom, with Bayon at its heart, is the 2nd most famous temple in Siem Reap. Located just north of Angkor Wat, this temple is known for the over 200 giant faces carved into the stone. Faces like the one you can see right at the top middle of the picture below. There are OVER TWO HUNDRED of those and each are as big as a person!
We absolutely LOVE photography, and sharing pictures! These are the cameras we use on all of our adventures. The drone and GoPro help us get cool new perspectives (underwater, in the air, wide angle) and the Rebel we use on a day-to-day basis for most of our shots!
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While exploring Bayon, a Cambodian guide came strolling up to us. We thought he was going to ask if we needed a guide or a ride, but instead he pointed to a statue near us and said, “this phallic structure symbolizes virility and reproduction” and quickly followed with, “it’s a penis hehehe!”
We were blown away with laughter. Here we are in the middle of one of the oldest and most beautiful temples on earth, and this guy is making dick jokes. Classic! He showed us a few more penis sculptures, giggling the entire way, before he gave us a high five and went about his day. I hope he knows he really made our tour one-of-a-kind that day.
It really is something to see up close. But don’t get lost or take a wrong step! The temples at Angkor Thom has tons of twists and turns and sometimes steep drop-offs can sneak up on you…
Other Angkor Temples & Grounds
The Angkor temples in Siem Reap are pretty clustered and nearby each other, but to be honest walking them can be a challenge. A few have moats surrounding them, and some only have 1 or 2 entrances on the North and South sides. Therefore, instead of walking…
We recommend getting around on a bike if you have access to one! Biking is a great way to get around Cambodia! In fact, jumping on two wheels is a great way to see any place, and is the PERFECT way to get between the Angkor temples. You’ll be able to cruise along the streets past monkeys, pigs, puppies, and even elephants!
Walking from Angkor Wat to Angkor Thom we encountered a group of wild monkeys. These petite primates seemed harmless enough, until Zach reached into his backpack and pulled out a handful of almonds and shared a few with these furry friends.
In a flash, there were 30 monkeys of all sizes surrounding us demanding some nuts for themselves! Zach freaked out and chucked the bag as he hastily scrambled away, hiding behind a Tuk Tuk. Thankfully the monkeys didn’t throw down and left the poor guy alone
Our favorite temple, other than Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, was the Baphuon Temple. The Terrace of the Elephants was pretty unbelievable as well.
One of the amazing parts about the Angkor temples is that you can make your own adventure! The ruins are everywhere, and outside of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom there aren’t many tourists, so you’ll have the freedom to explore on your own!
After the Temples – Head to Pub Street!
The Siem Reap nightlife was shockingly incredible. We had a ridiculous amount of fun here every single night! What was so awesome about it was that it was unexpected. We have traveled around Southeast Asia and haven’t yet experienced anything quite like the Seam Reap nightlife, especially Pub Street.
To be honest, we didn’t know a thing about Pub Street until we got to Siem Reap. Once we arrived, everyone was telling us we had to go every evening, and we are glad we listened! Pub street was legit… too legit to quit!
The beers are literally $.25 and the food is between $2-$5. There is live music at multiple venues. The Siem Reap night markets are right around the street. Vendors are walking around with ice cream and crepes for $1. You will have the absolute time of your life and spend less than $10!
Do yourself a favor and make some time to check out the Siem Reap nightlife. Walk along Pub Street and visit the Night Market, and the time will fly by as you explore and adventure in this Cambodian wonderland.
Unfortunately, we haven’t personally been to Phnomh Penh, however we have heard so many incredible things about this place! The food, culture, and sights are incredible, and you can visit the city on a very strict budget.
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According to Nomadic Matt, here are the top 5 things to do in Phnomh Penh
- The Royal Palace
- The National Museum
- Choeung Ek and Toul Sleng
- Phnom Tamau Wildlife Rescue
- The Silver Pagoda
Virachey National Park
If you are interested in getting out into nature and hiking, then Virachey National Park should be near the top of your list of things to do in Cambodia. This National Park is located at the Northeast corner of Cambodia
If you have a rental car, you can head up to Virachey National Park for a day trip or perhaps a weekend adventure. Another option is to do a guided journey with a local ranger for multiple day trip. The ranger will bring you to all of the incredible parts of the park, and lodging is provided on these trips as well.
Getting Around Cambodia
First off, let’s talk about how to get from city to city. In our opinion, the best way to get from Siem Reap to Phnomh Penh is to fly. In fact, we recommend flying between any cities you will be visiting in Southeast Asia. The flights are INCREDIBLE cheap, just look for yourself, and this is the safest way to travel.
Now, when it comes to getting around Cambodia’s cities, such as Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, you have a few options: walking, biking, and tuk-tuks. These are in worst-to-first order. Seriously, the tuk-tuks are top notch, and only cost a few bucks!
If you are not pressed for time and want the exercise, you can walk basically anywhere you want to go. We decided to walk in between the Angkor temples and found many hidden gems that we would have otherwise completely missed. You will stumble upon monuments you’ll have all to yourself.
Option two is to bike. A lot of people bike from place to place, which is still great exercise and takes much less time. Note that there is no bike rental within the Angkor temple grounds, so if you want to take a bike there you must rent a bike in the city.
Our hotel in Siem Reap (Okay Guesthouse) had bikes we could use for free! Many hotels also offer this amenity, so if you want to bike then book a place with free bike rentals!
Finally, the tuk tuks. This is the fastest, most fun, and in our opinion by far the best way to get around Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Be prepared to barter for these rides, as you’ll be able to get at least 50% off the driver’s initial asking price usually. Note that you should never pay more then $2/ride within a city or within the temples. And a ride from Siem Reap to the Angkor temples should cost about $5-$7.
Best Time to Visit Cambodia
Cambodia has a wet and a dry season., which each take up half the year. However, during the wet season Cambodia receives about 3/4 of its annual rainfall.
- Wet Season: April to October
- Dry Season: October to April
Both seasons have their positives and negatives. During the wet season, of course you have a higher chance of getting rained on. But during the dry season, the country can be dry and dusty and the plant life is less lush.
Clothing We Love
You need clothes to travel. Heck, maybe you don’t. We don’t judge. If you want to hop around the world in your birthday suit then go right ahead! But if you want to cover up, here are a few of our favorite clothing items we love, and we think you’ll love too!
In our opinion, the best time to visit Cambodia is when you get the best of both worlds: October to December. When you visit in October or November, or even December, the wet season will just be coming to an end.
After the wet season, the greenery will still be lush and beautiful, and the land will not be dry and dusty yet. On top of that, the weather from October to December won’t be too hot, as it can be at other times of the year. You’ll be able to explore in a t-shirt without sweating your butt off!
More Cambodia Photos
Thank you SO much for reading this article on the best things to do in Cambodia! Angkor Wat and the other temples are a for sure bucket list item, you will not want to miss them! If you loved this article please Pin it using the images below!
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