8 Things To Do In Siem Reap

Cambodia will always be my favorite destination. I love how rich the culture and history of this country, not to mention the magnificent temples that made it to the wonders of the world. I first visited Cambodia in 2014 and visiting it again after 5 years gave me the same amazing experience. Cambodia is overflowing with breathtaking spots to visit, Instagram worthy places, exotic dishes, beautiful ruins to admire, and warm and friendly people to meet. I have run down 8 things you can do when you visit Siem Reap.

1. Visit the breathtaking temples 
There are 80 plus temples and the most famous of which are Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm (as seen from the movie Tomb Raider). You can visit these temples by securing your ticket, either a day pass (USD37), a 2-day or a 7-day pass. One day is enough to visit all the temples and this can be done by having your tuk-tuk driver with you. They will bring you to the temples and will set a place where you can meet after your temple hopping.

The famous tree at Ta Phrom 

2. Visit The War Museum
For those who love history, you may want to stop by the War Museum. It is located near National Highway No. 6 between the city of Siem Reap and the International Airport. This museum aims to keep the memory of the civil war alive in the history of Cambodia and to preserve the unique collection for future generations. Inside the museum are tanks, warplanes, guns, and weapons. The entrance ticket is USD5.

3. Chill at the Cambo Beach Club
You may think that Cambodia is only wrapped with ruins and temples but did you know that there is a hidden beach that is approximately 20 minutes away from the busy streets of Siem Reap? Cambo Beach Club is the only beach resort in Siem Reap and is located in Lane 341, Steung Thmey Village,
Sangkat Svay Dangkum. If you want to dip (or dive) in the saltwater pool, want to play beach volleyball, or just have a bottle of beer or two while having delicious foods in an alfresco setting and listening to live music, then this place should make it in your list when you go to Siem Reap.

4. Visit the lively Pub Street 
When the sun sets and you still have the energy to stroll, you may want to visit the famous Pub Street. There are a lot of restaurants and bars where beer is cheap! Try the famous Tomb Raider cocktail from The Red Piano bar which is said to be Angelina Jolie’s favorite bar in Cambodia. For the adventurous type, you may want to try exotic foods like snake, crickets, tarantula, and scorpion which you can find along Pub Street in the evening.

5. Shop in the old market for souvenir and pasalubong 
This is located near Pub Street and this is where you can shop for almost everything from clothes, bags, paintings, souvenir items, dried fruits, and spices. The best thing is you can use your bargaining skills so you get to stretch the value of your money.

6. Visit the Silk Museum 
A tour at the Silk Museum is quite interesting as they will show you how they make silk scarves and other products from scratch. The 8-hectare silk farm is located in Puok district just off National Road 6, about 30-35 minutes from downtown Siem Reap. It all starts with the silk's life cycle and the different stages involved in silk production, from the mulberry tree orchards, silkworm breeding, the spinning mills, and the dying and weaving processes. The tour is free and they have a store where you can shop for silk products.

7. Learn pottery from Khmer Ceramics Fine Art Centre 
I have always wanted to try pottery but I don’t have the time to do it. And during my 2nd visit to Siem Reap, I finally made it! Khmer Ceramics Fine Art Centre is located in 0207, River Road, Treang Village, Khum Slorkram, Krong Siem Reap. I booked online and paid USD25 with free pick up and drop off to my hotel. I highly recommend this activity because not only it brings out the artist in you but it also relaxes your mind and calms your soul. It's soothing and very fulfilling too! Aside from learning the art of pottery, doing so will also help the instructors from Khmer Ceramics Fine Art Centre who are all deaf and mute. They are all very patient and will guide you so you can learn the basics of pottery. You also get to bring home your work of art but would take at least a day when everything is all dried up.

8. Do some charity works 
After feeding your senses with beautiful sights, it's time to feed your soul. Cambodia is rich in culture but many are living in poverty. For my 37th birthday, I wanted to do something new. I decided to look for charities that are helping kids. While doing my research, I came across Jimmy Chan. He is a tuk-tuk driver who sets aside a portion of his earnings for these students. He teaches them English during his free time. Jimmy's generosity and his humble story made it online and drew the attention of the tourists. A lot of foreigners are visiting Jimmy and doing voluntary work for these lovely kids and giving donations too. With their help, the construction of Jimmy’s Village School was made possible. 2019 wasn't my best year but I have been blessed in more ways than one. Being able to share some of it with these kids is truly a heartwarming experience. I only gave them notebooks and pencils but their eyes lit up with so much hope and their genuine smiles were priceless!
Cambodia is where I found solace ever since I visited the country in 2014. And it was even more memorable during my 2nd visit as I celebrated 37 years of existence. I left my heart in Cambodia...and I will be coming back SOON!

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