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What to Do with Seventeen (17) Hours in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Written By The Travelling Postcard on 18 April 2014 | 04:35

Want to travel to Siem Reap but don't have a lot of time to see it all? Or rather, want a relaxed day with balanced sightseeing and culture driven activities?

We only had a couple of days in Siem Reap and even though Angor Wat is the city's main attraction, there are other ways of enjoying the buzzing town. 

Siem Reap in Seventeen Hours  

1. Angor Wat for the Sunrise 
It is worth getting up at 05:00 hrs for this. Hire a tuk tuk from your hotel's reception to drive you through the Angor complex. There is more than one temple you should be circling on your map to see whilst here and the standard route the tuk tuk's take you are a pretty good reflection of it. The tour takes you about 4 hours and you shouldn't be paying more than $18.00 for 2 people. 

The tuk tuk driver takes you directly to Angor Wat in the early hours of 05:30 / 06:00 hrs, where you will see a swarm of people walking towards the temple. Stand and wait till 06:30 hrs when the sun rises from behind the temples and enjoy a most spiritual moment in silence with the crowds. Unfortunately, we had a bit of trouble with the weather as there were some clouds in the way, but this didn't tarnish the moment we had with the other 400 people standing by the lake watching. Then enjoy wandering through the temple, admiring the amazing architecture without the crowds of people you will find later on in the day. 

The tuk tuk driver then takes you to the Bayon temple of king Jayavarman VII. Enjoy exploring the ruins of this temple to see all 54 gothic towers famously decorated with 216 huge faces of Avalokiteshvara. 

The tour continues to various other temples within the complex, but we decided to head straight to Ta Prohm, the "Tomb Raider" temple, where you can see how nature has engulfed the ruins and the iconic tree roots grounded within the stones. 

2. Lunch at Belmiro's Pizza and Subs Restaurant.
Located right in the centre of town, Belmiro's is a great little place for western cuisine. The host and waiters bring this place to life and you will be stuffed with any meal you decide to have from here! Truly worth a visit if you feel like having a slice of home away from home! Read about our visit to Belmiro's here.  

3. Wander through the city centre and enjoy a Fish Massage
After lunch at Belmiro's you will need some time to walk about and let the food go down. Enjoy wandering the curious streets of Siem Reap's quirky centre. There are many market stalls to visit and massage shops to relax in, but undergoing a Fish Massage seems to be a highlight here. 

4. Take a short tuk tuk ride to the Angor National Museum 
Visiting the museum will give you a great introduction into Angor's history, religious significance and cultural upbringing. Entry is $12.00 per person and is open until 18:00 hrs. 

5. Grab a drink at Pub Street
This was our favourite place to hang out and enjoy a nice cold beer! There are many pubs to choose from so enjoy picking one out. Through these streets you will also enjoy seeing the small push carts people have offering snakes, grasshoppers, spiders and scorpions to eat... I must say, I didn't like the look of any, let alone tasting them! 

6. Aspara Dinner Show at Temple Club 
For all those budget travellers out there, we really wanted to go see an Aspara dance and dinner show but couldn't afford some $40.00 pp price tag, so instead we found out Temple Club Restaurant and Bar offer free Aspara Shows in the evenings between 19:30 - 21:30 hrs as long as you ordered some food or drinks. We therefore, made this place our dinner location and if you do the same, please please order the Garlic Prawns for starter.... Out. Of. This. World. 

7. Enjoy the Night Market 
Finally, before your 17 hour day is up, enjoy walking through the Night Market and try to snatch a bargain! Located right next to Pub Street and the bustling town centre its a great place to meander and watch Cambodian life go by.

If you have more time in Siem Reap and want to check out other activities, here is a list of ones I would have wanted to go to: 

- Quad Biking through the area - apparently very special!
- Visiting the Waterfall 
- Going to see the Floating Villages 
- A full on Aspara and Dinner Show 
- The Siem Reap Circus

Safe Travels 

For more information on planning your trip to Siem Reap: 

If you liked this, try reading:

What to do in Gibraltar if you only had 8 Hours 
Cooking Class in Hoi an, Vietnam

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