How long should you stay in Siem Reap? That’s a good question to ask. The one that follows usually is: what to do in Siem Reap other than the temples? Well, spoiler alert, there are tons of activities in the Reap, as we locals like to call it. It’s with these questions in mind that Grasshopper Adventures and Phare - The Cambodia Circus, decided to collaborate. The result is the following video, which is meant to inspire travelers to spend longer in Siem Reap by showing them that there is so much more to see beyond the temples.
Things to do in Siem Reap besides the temples
From bird watching, to art galleries, bike adventures and unique entertainment, we are confident you’ll find plenty of things to do in Siem Reap to keep you busy for many days. Here are some highlights which we featured in the video above.
Stay for the Adventure: Siem Reap off the beaten path
Siem Reap has much to offer for the more adventurous type and the best way to explore the area is by bike.
Grasshopper Adventures: Siem Reap bike tour
Grasshopper Adventures runs a number of different tours in Siem Reap to the temples and beyond. Whether you want to dive into the past by hitting the hidden trails in the Angkor Archeological Park or learn about rural life in Cambodia on land or on water, Grasshopper has a tour for you and will take you well off the beaten track, and away from the crowds. Our Hidden Angkor Conservation Cycle is a must for any responsible traveler seeking a unique experience. After exploring the off the beaten track temples, travelers have the opportunity to partake in a reforestation project led by a local pagoda! A great way to have a positive impact while on holiday.
Stay for the Entertainment: Eye-catching shows with a heart
Phare - The Cambodian Circus
Phare is a must-see for anyone coming to Siem Reap. The performances are not only breathtaking but also support a great cause. Phare performers are all students and graduates of Phare Ponleu Selpak’s vocational training center in Battambang. 4 young men founded the school in 1994 after returning from refugee camps which has grown ever since. Phare Ponle Selpak offers free arts education to the most talented and needy and have become a pillar of the Cambodian cultural renaissance.
Bambu stage and Cambodian Living Arts
Bambu Stage is a great venue in Siem Reap to catch cultural shows. Besides their own productions, they also collaborate and welcome performances by Cambodian Living Arts. Cambodian Living Arts is an NGO that focuses on preserving the Cambodian cultural heritage by seeking out old masters and recording their skills and traditions for future generations. They do an excellent job of raising awareness of Cambodia’s rich cultural past with Cambodia and beyond.
Stay for the nature: Siem Reap, a bird-watcher’s paradise
The countryside around Siem Reap offers plenty of opportunities for animal lovers to observe unique wildlife.
Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation
If you are a nature lover then Sam Veasna should be at the top of your list when visiting Siem Reap. The nearby Tonle Sap and its iconic floating villages are fascinating (check out our pedal and paddles tour) but this massive freshwater lake holds another gem: the Prek Toal bird sanctuary. You can book a number of different bird and eco tours with Sam Veasna and you can be sure you’ll be in good hands. The guides are a busy bunch so be sure to book in advance.
Stay for the culture: Ancestral skills
Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was Angkor!
Artisans Angkor: Caring for the past, crafting for the future
Artisans Angkor is a major institution and social enterprise in Siem Reap, providing training to hundreds of Cambodians and making sure ancestral artisanal skills are handed down to the next generation. This social enterprise offers free guided visits of their workshops in Siem Reap, where you’ll not only be able to pick up incredible gifts and souvenirs but also see how they are made.
Stay for the arts: a surprise at every corner
As of late, Siem Reap has attracted more and more artists and art galleries. Art lovers are sure to find their fill, whether they are looking for up and coming local talent or foreigners so inspired by Cambodia they had to stay.
Theam’s Gallery: Siem Reap’s finest
Theam’s Gallery, a personal favorite, is hard to describe. It not only boasts incredible artwork by the eponymous Theam but also showcase an amazing and unique collection of Khmer cultural artifacts. Set in Theam’s gorgeous house, all visits to Siem Reap should include a stop here.
Stay for the food
Siem Reap has a bustling food scene with some incredible local talents.
Pou Kitchen & Café: Siem Reap most charismatic chef
Pou Kitchen & Café is a great way to discover Cambodian cuisine. This Khmer-owned, fun and creative restaurant is a popular dining spot for locals, expats and tourists alike. With original dishes and great cocktails, Pou Kitchen & Café should definitely be on your list of restaurants to check out. A special thanks goes out to Antal Gabelics Photography for creating such an awesome video!